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Mid-Ohio Vintage Grand Prix

Mid-Ohio Vintage Grand Prix July 2008
SVRA, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, has upwards of 400 participants spanning ten groups of race cars with vehicles from around the world. Most of the cars are period-correct, racing in the same configuration as originally raced many years ago. The cars are arranged into groups based on a number of different criteria and offer spectators a wide variety of racing to enjoy. The list includes vintage stock cars, production-base GT racers, open-wheeled Formula cars, and more. Most events feature 10 groups of racers competing in 30 minute Sprint Series races. There are often several featured MotorCheck Enduro Series races plus several special events, which would place either a marque or type of car in the spot light.

Recently, the SVRA took to Mid-Ohio's 2.4-mile, 15-turn racing circuit as they battled a rain-soaked weekend in quest for the checkered flag. The Austin Healey Sprite and MG Midget were the features and highlights of many of the weekend activities, including a 50th Anniversary race on-track and the 10 Annual British Car Showdown.

Enduros
There were two Enduros with the first held on Friday and the second on Sunday. John Deford led the way in his well-tuned Porsche 914/6 and would maintain that position until the last corner of the last lap. After seventy-five minutes of racing, first and second place were separated by only 00.114 seconds. The Porsche 914/6 driven by Ron Zitza and Gregg Frey took the coveted top spot. Third place went to John Schrecker in a Porsche 356SC Roadster.

Howard Katz and Travis Engen led the pack out of the pits for the Second Enduro of the weekend. Katz drove a TOJ 205C while Engen piloted a Lola T97/20. There was much shuffling between all positions throughout the race, but when the checkered flag fell, Engen was in front followed by Katz. Third position went to Michael Snowdon in a GRD 272.

Feature Races
The Formula B feature race was scheduled for Saturday, but was postponed to the following day due to the weather. When racing began, it was a fierce battle for position between the Brabham BT29s. Dave Handy's BT29 led from the start, followed by Shelby Mershon's BT21 and Joe Blacker's BT29. By mid-race, there were a total of five Brabhams in the top five spots. As the race came to a close, the Brabham's held their position, with Joe Blacker out in front. A mere 00.127 later, Handy crossed the line. So far, Sunday's races were shaping up to be very entertaining.

Next on the agenda was the Formula Atlantic Feature. Ian Bass in a March 79B quickly established a strong lead. Robert Blain sat comfortably in second in a March 762. Third place was another March, driven by David Kane. On the second lap, Kyle Kaulback in a Lotus 69 negotiated his car into the third spot. There would be no more top position changes and this is the order they would finish.

The Austin Healey Sprite/MG Midget Feature race occurred mid-day on Sunday, in-between the Group Races. Just prior to the start, the rain began leaving conditions less-than ideal. Just after the race began, more rain fell. Many of the competitors went to the pits and did not return. Those who stayed out battled the elements more than each other. When the race ended, Scott Schhmidt in an Austin Healey Sprite MK3 was in the lead, followed by Chris Gross in an Austin Healey, and the MG Midget driven by Richard Rzepkowski in third.

Race Results
The first Optima Battery Sprint of the day was Group 10 featuring some more powerful cars of the day. From the start, it was three Porsches that led the way. Mark Walriven drove his Chevy Monza from fifth place into the top spot after several hard-fought laps. Second place would go to Stan Crawford in a Porsche 911 RSR. Third went to Brian Lockwood driving a Porsche 964 C2 Cup.

Group 1 was led by a pair of Mini's. James Fuerstenberg's Morris Cooper S was chased by Greg Wold driving an Austin Cooper S and last year's Group One Champion, Harry Gentry in a Austin Cooper S. It would take Gentry a few laps, but he skillfully drove past the Mini's and into the lead. By lap four, Fuerstenberg was forced to retire, leaving Wold in second and Terry Milnes' Austin Cooper-S in third. Though it appeared positions would change, this was the order to the finish.

Group 2, featuring Formula Cars, had a similar story as in the Formula B Feature, and saw a trio of Brabhams on the podium. Ian Baas, driving a Titan MK6 was able to break the group up part-way through the race, but on the final lap, Joel Quadracci driving a Brabham BT29 overtook him for third. Phil Harris in a Brabham BT23C took second and first went to Marc Giroux in a Brabham BT29.

Group 7 took to the track next, featuring Can-Am cars, Sports 2000 racers, and SCCA A & B Sports Racers. Robert Blain in a Chevron B31/36 led the group on the first couple of laps. He was overtaken by Joel Finn in a Chevron B23. Behind them was a slew of S2000's. After a few laps, Blain retired from the race, Finn was still in the lead, and David Clubine in his Swift DB2 had assumed the second position. Jack Ruscilli was in third but soon retired from the race. Things got interesting on lap eight, as the rain let-loose, spectators went running, and most of the cars headed for the pits. On the final lap of the race, the Dave/Noah Arude Swift DB2 was in the lead. In second was another Swift DB2 driven by David Clubine. Finn finished third.

Group 7 was followed by the rain-soaked Austin Healey Sprite/MG Midget Feature race. Next was the Group 3 Optima Battery Sprint. Rain was still an issue but most Group 3 competitors took the track. The pack was led by a pair of Porsche 356's followed by a Yenko Stinger. When the race came to a close, the Lotus Super 7 driven by Bob Colaizzi was in the lead. Second went to the Porsche 356B driven by Vic Skirmants.

The big-bore production sports cars of Group 6 were up next. The Corvettes did battle for the podium spots throughout most of the race. On the final lap, the rain began and shuffling occured throughout the ranks. The top three spots were secured by Corvettes, with Peter Klutt in the lead, followed by Chris Hines and then Tommy Thompson. Fourth went to a Camaro and fifth to a Sunbeam Tiger.

Groups 4 & 5 were next. The rain was still heavy and with the combined group, the field was very large. Sitting in front was the Jaguar XK150 driven by Max Heilman who would finish in the same position he began. Second went to Travis Engen driving a Lotus 23. Richard Milburn took third in his Jaguar XKE.

The final race of the day was Group 8 featuring series produced sports cars and sedans in production prior to 1979. By now, the rain was slowing but still an issue. A pair of Alfa Romeo GTV's took the top two spots followed by a BMW 2002. Erik Wood took first followed by Robert/Heidi Mocas and Tim Murray.

Conclusion
At times, the rain was very intense making it a difficult weekend for spectators and racers. Nevertheless, the race groups were populated and the racing was often very intense. The hills, turns, and fast straight stretches at Mid-Ohio provided many opportunities to enjoy the vintage machines.

Galleries

1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce  
1959 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark I  
1959 Lotus Seven  
1960 Austin-Healey Sprite  
1962 Austin-Healey Sprite  
1965 Austin MINI Cooper S  
1965 Triumph Spitfire MK2  
1965 Wolseley Hornet  
1966 Austin MINI Cooper S  
1966 MG Midget MkII  
1967 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark III  
1967 Morris Mini-Minor  
1967 Triumph Spitfire  
1970 Ginetta G15  
1971 MG Midget MKIII  
1972 Austin-Healey Sprite  
1973 MG Midget MKIII  
1974 Ginetta G15  

1962 Lotus Type 22  
1967 Brabham BT21  
1967 Titan MK3  
1968 Brabham BT23C  
1968 Brabham BT29  
1968 Brabham BT30  
1969 Brabham BT29  
1969 Brabham BT30  
1970 Chevron B17B  
1970 Hawke DL2  
1970 Lotus 61 MX  
1971 Titan MK6  
1972 Ensign LNFB  
1972 Titan MK6  
1979 Crossle 35F  

1955 Austin-Healey 100M  
1956 Morgan Plus Four  
1957 Lotus Eleven  
1958 Austin-Healey Sprite  
1959 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark I  
1959 Elva Courier MKII  
1959 Porsche 718 RSK  
1960 Porsche 356B  
1961 Lotus Seven  
1961 Porsche 356B  
1962 Lotus Super Seven  
1962 Morgan Plus Four  
1962 Volvo P1800  
1963 GSM Dart  
1963 Triumph Spitfire  
1964 MG B  
1965 MG MGB MKI  
1965 Porsche 356 SC  
1966 Chevrolet Corvair Yenko Stinger  
1966 Chevrolet Corvette C2  
1966 Lotus Cortina MKI  
1966 Sunbeam Tiger Mark IA  
1967 MG MGB MKII  
1968 MG MGB MKII  
1969 Alfa Romeo Duetto 1600  
1970 Triumph TR6  
1971 MG Midget MKIII  
1972 Porsche 914/6  

1956 Lotus Eleven  
1958 Jaguar XK150  
1959 Devin DeMar MKII Special  
1959 Lotus Fifteen  
1960 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1961 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1961 Lister Knobbly  
1961 Lola Mark 1A  
1962 Dolphin Porsche Porphin  
1962 Lotus 23B  
1963 Chevrolet Corvette  
1963 Lotus 23B  
1964 Elva MK VII  
1966 Jaguar XKE E-Type  
1966 Lotus 23C  
1966 Lotus 47 Europa  
1967 Porsche 910  

1963 Jaguar XKE E-Type  
1964 Chevrolet Corvette C2  
1964 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Racer  
1965 Chevrolet Corvette C2  
1966 Sunbeam Tiger Mark IA  
1967 Chevrolet Camaro  
1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2  
1968 Chevrolet Camaro  
1968 Chevrolet Corvette C3  
1969 Chevrolet Camaro  
1969 Chevrolet Corvette C3  
1970 Chevrolet Camaro  

1972 Chevron B23  
1975 Chevron B31/36  
1975 TOJ 205C  
1981 Tiga SC81  
1982 Tiga SC82  
1983 Tiga SC83  
1985 Lola T598  
1985 Lola T86/90  
1985 Ralt RT5  
1985 Swift DB2  
1986 Lola T86/90  
1986 Swift DB2  
1990 Swift DB5  

1962 Lotus Super Seven  
1963 Lotus Super Seven  
1964 Lotus Elan  
1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTV  
1966 Ginetta G4  
1966 Porsche 911S  
1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia  
1969 Porsche 911  
1969 TVR Tuscan  
1970 Porsche 914/6  
1971 BMW 2002  
1971 Datsun 240Z  
1971 Porsche 911  
1971 Porsche 914/6  
1972 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV  
1972 Alfa Romeo Berlina 2000  
1972 BMW 2002  
1972 Ford Escort MKI  
1972 Porsche 914/6  
1973 Porsche 911 RS Carrera  
1985 BMW 325  

1969 McKee MK12C  
1971 Lotus Type 69  
1972 GRD 272 F2  
1972 March 722  
1973 March 732  
1975 Lola T332  
1976 Lola T460  
1976 March 762  
1976 March 76B  
1976 Ralt RT1  
1978 Ralt RT1  
1996 Ralt RT41  
1997 Lola T97/20  
2001 Lola T97/20  

1974 Porsche Carrera RSR 3.0  
1977 Porsche 911  
1981 Furey MKII  
1986 Porsche Fabcar GTP-L  
1990 Chevrolet Corvette C4  
1992 Porsche 911 Carrera  
2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra  

1952 Bentley R-Type  
1953 MG TD  
1954 Sunbeam Alpine  
1955 MG TF 1500  
1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN2  
1958 Austin-Healey Sprite  
1960 Austin-Healey Sprite  
1960 MG A  
1961 Austin-Healey Sprite MKII  
1961 Morgan 4/4  
1962 Austin-Healey 3000 MKII  
1962 Lotus Super Seven  
1963 Sunbeam Alpine  
1964 Cooper Monaco  
1964 Morgan Plus Four  
1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe  
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Speciale  
1966 Austin MINI Cooper S  
1967 Austin-Healey 3000 MK III  
1967 Sunbeam Alpine  
1969 Triumph GT6  
1973 Jaguar XJ6  
1974 Jensen Healey  
1974 MG MGB MKIII  
1974 Triumph TR6  
1975 Triumph TR6  
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500  
1976 Triumph TR6  
1977 MG MGB  
1977 Triumph Spitfire 1500  
1979 MG Midget MKIV 1500  
1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500  
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