It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

Sport and Specialty - Blackhawk Classic 2020

John Wheeler in his #25 Alfa GTV.

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times was, “Don’t change the car, your next four seconds will come from between your ears”.

He was right of course, but then again, he was driving his beautiful #25 Alfa GTV, and I was racing my red Bugeye Sprite. Cute as hell, but certainly not a sexy Italian. My times got much better, but I still loved the looks and performance of his blue GTV. About ten years ago, envy got the best of me when a fellow racer was selling his GTV. Somewhat the worse for wear, but hey, it was a 1969 GTV with bad yellow paint. I was smitten.

I learned to drive all over again. Alfas are a little different. You need to steer them with the throttle. If the car understeers, don’t slow down, speed up! Turn in a little earlier and harder and get on the gas earlier. She’ll go down to the apex and pop up at track out. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m sure that’s not a particular Alfa trait, but it sure feels good in one. Enjoy the video.

(All video and photos by https://www.nvsndmedia.com/)


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We’re Racing Again! The 2020 VSCDA Blackhawk Classic

We’re Racing Again! The 2020 VSCDA Blackhawk Classic

We’re Racing Again! The 2020 VSCDA Blackhawk Classic

Last week, Cyndi Paceley of Vintage Motorsport magazine reached out to me for my impressions about upcoming the VSCDA Blackhawk Challenge. She was interested (after the racing concluded) to see how I felt the event went overall, and also specifically how the current Covid-related issues affected the event.

Her story will appear in the upcoming issue, I’m looking forward to reading the full story. Below is what I sent her regarding my impressions. (spoiler alert – we had a great time)

 

Sport and Specialty Alfa Romeo GTV

All photos courtesy Bill Nesius Photography

Hi Cindi,

It looked to me that all of the participants of VSCDAs Blackhawk Classic came away with a happy racing experience, and positive thoughts for this long race weekend. The strict Illinois quarantine rules dictated a laundry list of dos and don’t that in the end were all pretty easily tolerated and well managed.

Registrar Stacey Donato and Race Chair Ron Soave worked closely with track management to ensure that all of the various guidelines were interpreted properly and enforced reasonably. Race registration, communications, and payments were done on-line and flowed smoothly, Masks were to be worn in any buildings, social distancing was expected in paddock areas, and temps were religiously taken prior to entering the track area. No spectators (except for restricted crew) were allowed which in the end had little effect on the racing, just the general attendance. Midwestern Council of Sports Car Clubs managed the staffing and few, if any, issues were reported. Meals were served at the concession stand, and the attendee dinners were a take away boxed affair, which were great. I think common sense prevailed and virtually no policing was needed, as expectations seemed to be met by the participants. Good email and social media communications were helpful, as was the digitally sent driver’s meeting.

My 1969 Alfa Romeo GTV ran well most of the weekend and kept ahead of the other Alfa competitors until I succumbed to bad CV joint late Saturday during the heat race. The car count was off as expected, but we all had someone to race with and there were plenty of enthusiastic drivers to share stories with afterwards.

With many questions as to what a COVID 19 event may feel like, it seemed as if the track management, the sanctioning body and the participants all pull together to meet the state and local regulations, and follow the common sense recommendations, we just may be able to pull off a safe and fun vintage racing season here in the Midwest.


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For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

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A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
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Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again.

I quickly asked, how about multiple corner workers on a station? How about safety and rescue, bridge personnel, T&S, stewards, and race control? Not to mention, tech, registration, presentations, etc.

The response I got had something to do with one man against the machine, and that single competitors are safe within their cars, etc.

At that point I realized this person must be new to this whole amateur racing thing and decided I would bail out before my head exploded. I exited the conversation, but of course I couldn’t stop thinking about the notion that how you could possibly hold a race weekend in a socially distanced environment?

So much of a race weekend has little to do with driving, that I opine occasionally that, “I went to a party and a race broke out!” I believe most of us feel this way.

For background, I’ve held a comp license for well over twenty years, as well as a steward’s license and worked virtually all race weekend specialties at one time or another. It’s rewarding to me paying back through volunteering and enjoy that side of the racing community as do others. Typically, I run in Vintage Historic events, but also run in current era groups.

What I actually like best is that I have a group of paddock mates for most weekends, usually crewless, and looking after our own cars. We typically come alone, but our group is usually together.

In essence, the hardest thing I tried to imagine was a weekend with my friends and fellow racers, having to socially distance. On many race days we’re only out on track 15to 20% of the time at best. The rest of the time we’re prepping or visiting. I would go so far as to say that for many of us a race weekend is the pinnacle of our summer social activities.

Without the people, this wouldn’t be the same. Congratulating the winners and friends who had a great race is part of the enjoyment. Thanking and seeing your worker friends at the end of the day is a given. So much of a race weekend has little to do with driving, that I opine occasionally that, “I went to a party and a race broke out!” I believe most of us feel this way.

This isn’t a political statement. In fact, I’m on a race committee organizing for an early July event we hope will come together. I certainly believe we can balance our need to feel the thrill of driving and racing, visiting with our good friends, and provide for a safe environment for the participants and workers.

Things will need to be fluid this year for sure. I certainly hope that we can keep the sport we love to share, safe to race, but also allow us to share our humanity. After all of this quarantine time, we’re going to need some quality-time with our racing friends. Stay safe!!


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Your Virtual Tour Guide

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For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

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Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
A Winning Blackhawk Vintage Classic with VSCDA

A Winning Blackhawk Vintage Classic with VSCDA

A Winning Blackhawk Vintage Classic with VSCDA

Last weekend was the annual Father’s Day VSCDA Blackhawk Vintage Classic. After a Spring of rain, cold, and snow, it was a real pleasure to get out with a minimum of precipitation and a maximum of track time.

Ron Soave and Jeff Poracik did an exemplary job as race chairs planning a real racer’s event. There was three days of solid in-car time along with tons of socializing with our fellow Midwest car brothers and sisters. Bill Oakes and I shared a fun paddock and had a blast. See you next year, and looking forward to the October VSCDA Blackhawk event.


Read More of My Blog Posts


Your Virtual Tour Guide

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For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

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Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more

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