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Scenes of Laguna Seca Vintage Motorsports Weekend

by Bob Heathcote
Monday, August 22, 2011

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The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has earned its stripes as the premier historic automobile racing event in the U.S., and motorsports enthusiasts from around the world have taken notice. They come not only by the tens of thousands to watch the sentimental past of car racing come roaring back to life but also by the hundreds to personally strap into the driver’s seat and test the legendary turns and challenging elevation changes of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where the annual event is synchronized every third week in August with Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week.

This year at the August 19-21 event, 550 perfectly maintained “time capsules on wheels” fell smartly into 17 Rolex Race Groups whose drivers qualified on Friday for their start order on either Saturday or Sunday.  And while every group winner was proud at the end of their designated race day, none was more emotional than Terry Larson (Mesa, Arizona), who was deemed worthy of the overall Rolex Award of Excellence, given at Sunday’s awards ceremony to the driver who excels in the spirit of the weekend. He not only personally raced two of the three cars he brought with him (a 1954 Jaguar XK120, a C-Type Jaguar and a 1958 Lister Jaguar) but also was instrumental in coordinating the Jaguar C- and D-Type cars featured in the Jaguar Heritage display, which punctuated Jaguar’s presence as this year’s special marque.

“It’s hard to put into words how I feel about this wonderful award; it’s so nice to be appreciated for what you do,” said Larson, who also was presented with a Rolex Steel and Gold Daytona. “I love the marque, especially the C-Type and D-Type Jaguars, and I worked on gathering the cars for everyone to enjoy. It would give anyone who put it together a lot of satisfaction. That’s kind of what a real enthusiast is all about--you don’t need recognition to make it worthwhile, but I sure do appreciate it.”

Appropriately, Larson also received a special giclee print of this year’s poster artwork, which featured a Jaguar E-Type rendered by artist Bill Patterson. Rolex Awards of Excellence were also awarded in each race category, as determined by an independent panel.

More Emotion – Spectacular 1-2 Finish for the Group 44 Jaguars
In motor racing, sometimes things do not go well and days of preparation are for naught. At other times, however, the joy of a brilliant finish creates magic, as it did today when the Group 44 Jaguars of Rick Knoop (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Doug Smith (Plantation, Fla.) finished first and second, respectively, in Rolex Race Group 6B (1981 – 1989 FIA Mfg. Championship and IMSA GTP cars). It was cause for hugs and cheers, but more important, it was a salute to Jaguar and Bob Tullius, the driver and special guest in attendance at the event who helped establish Jaguar’s name in international racing from the mid-1970s through the ’80s.

“I haven’t seen Bob Tullius in 25 years, and I actually raced against him when he raced this car that I drove today,”  said Knoop, adding that “back in the day” he also fought tooth and nail with Chip Robinson, Doc Bundy and the other Group 44 drivers. “Today’s race was so exciting-- can you imagine 24 cylinders (between Doug’s V12 engine and mine) coming off the Corkscrew?  I tell you, that is what living is all about.”

Doug Smith said that he started second and finished second. “Rick is such an awesome driver, and today’s race was the most fun I have ever had in a race car,” he said. “As I waved to the fans in the stands I got a bit choked up; it was an awesome feeling. My family is a motorsports family, and I grew up watching these cars race, so this weekend has been a childhood fantasy for me. Waking up tomorrow will be a disappointment, because it will mean it’s all over until next year; I really didn’t want this to end. The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is definitely Disneyland for big kids.”

An International Affair
Though its largest contingent came from 27 states across the continental U.S., this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion was decidedly international, with drivers representing 14 countries (USA, France, Monaco, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, England, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany, Spain) as well as Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

France’s Yves Junne (Paris), who races Porsches in Europe at events such as the Le Mans Classic and Spa Six Hours, drove a Porsche 904 belonging to a good friend and his own Lola MKI, which he keeps in the U.S. “This event is wonderful for us Europeans,” he explained, adding that this is his fourth time here for it, “because it has a lot of flavor and, of course, the association with the other events here in the Monterey area such as the auctions, the (Pebble Beach) Concours d’Elegance, and all the other activity. Everyone loves racing the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and even those who have never been here--they all wish to.”

John Hugenholtz , a Dutchman who now lives in Schilde, Belgium, has been coming to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since 1984, and this year he raced his Lotus Elan 26R. He commuted from his hotel to the races in his Shelby Cobra, which is just one of the impressive cars from his large automobile collection.  “Many of the American racers we have met, they come to Europe to race, and when we come here they invite us to stay at their houses, and we have such a nice time,” said Hugenholtz. “So half of our pleasure is the racing but the other half is the friends we now have here.”

Andrew Prill (Halstead, England), who first came to the event in 1998 and has missed only two years since, added: “Whether you go to the Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival or any of the other great historic events, they all have their own distinct feel. For us who come here from abroad, we’re not accustomed to the same feeling of camaraderie as we get here. The spirit here is remarkable--I’ve had some guys who I’ve had a great dice with come out of their cars after the race and shake my hand. We certainly appreciate all that Rolex has done to keep the sport at the level it is. Cars and watches--those are two of my favorite things. Rolex has become synonymous with first rate motor racing, and we all appreciate that.”

Next Year’s Featured Marque
Cobra, one of the most recognized and iconic names in the motorsports and automotive worlds, will be the featured marque at next year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion on August 17-19, 2012. Today’s announcement was made at the closing awards ceremony by Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca who was accompanied by the growl of a Cobra driving on to the stage.

Created by Carroll Shelby in 1962, the original Shelby Cobra quickly established itself as the dominant American competitor on the international sports car racing scene, narrowly missing the World Sports Car Championship in 1964 and winning the championship in 1965, a remarkable achievement "from scratch" against established European competitors. This success was prompted by a strong partnership between Carroll Shelby and Ford Motor Company. Shelby chose Ford engines to power his cars that consistently outperformed its competitors.

Next year will be the 39th year of historic racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Carroll Shelby was honored in 1997 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races®, and 2012 will be the first time the Shelby Cobra will be featured.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is an annual tradition that hosts approximately 550 authentic and historic race cars from nearly every decade of motorsports history. The cars are divided into individual groups according to age and engine size, and each one must be period-correct in their presentation.


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Group 6B pace lap, Jaguar XK-5 and XK-7
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# 0 Ernie Spada, 1981 Lola T-600
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# 16 Tom Malloy, 1988 Porsche 962C
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# 25 Norm Cowdrey, 1967 McKee CanAm
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# 10 Alberto Francioni, 1968 Lola T-70 Mk 3B
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Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-9
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Engine detail of # 12 Jeff Lewis, 1980 Lotus 81B
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# 29 Rudy Junco, 1981 Arrows A3
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# 87 Cove Britton, 1964 Jaguar E-Type
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# 81 Bruce Hudkins, 1922 Ford Model T Speedster
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# 31 Peter Giddings, 1930 Alfa Romeo Tipo B "P3"
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Big crowds at the Corkscrew viewing areas
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# 10 Jon Shirley, 1962 Ferrari GTO
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# 73 Charles Wegner, 1966 Ferrari 275 GTBC
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# 20 Ken Epsman, 1976 Chevrolet Monza
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# 390 Olga Reindlova, 1960 Porsche 356B
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Group 4A race action
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Sports racers
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Group 7A race action led by Cobra's and Mustangs
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Sports car race action
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Road & Tack remembers Phil Hill's world Championship 50 years ago
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Group 9A race action
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# 1 Jimmy Castle, Jr., 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
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# 44 Doug Smith, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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# 44 Rick Knoop, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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# 44 Rick Knoop, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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2011 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Sunday
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"Best Wishes your friend Carrol Shelby"
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Group 7B staged
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Group 7B race start
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# 97 Hal Monheim, 1962 TVR Grantura III
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View over a Can-Am car
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View over a Can-Am car
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# 10 Alberto Francioni, 1968 Lola T-70 Mk 3B
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# 101 Dennis Losher, 1971 Shadow MkII
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# 101 Dennis Losher, 1971 Shadow MkII
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Can-Am race start
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Can-Am race start
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# 6 Carl Moore, 1968 McLaren M6A
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Mazda race cars demo laps
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# 38 Bruce Miller, 1958 Lotus Eleven Le Mans
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# 14 Jim Lawrence, 1958 Lotus 15
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Group 3B pace lap
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# 25 Erickson Shirley, 1959 Lister Costin
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# 78 David Pinkman, 1962 Kellison-Corvette Special Closed Wheel
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# 11 Howard E. Turner, 1959 Lister Jaguar
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Group 4B Formula 1 cars race start, # 18 Chris Bender, 1982 March 821
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Half spin for # 2 Bud Moeller, 1980 Ferrari 312 T5
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# 2 Bud Moeller, 1980 Ferrari 312 T5
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# 1 Tom Minnich, 1977 McLaren M26
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# 5 Chris MacAllister, 1967 Lotus 49
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# 3 Chuck McConnell, 1979 McLaren M29
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# 55 Wade Carter, 1972 McLaren M8-FP
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# 101 Dennis Losher, 1971 Shadow MkII
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# 5 Chris MacAllister, 1971 McLaren M8F
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# 31 Daniel Lipetz, 1969 Lola T-163
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# 101 Rudy Junco, 1974 Shadow DN4
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# 55 Wade Carter, 1972 McLaren M8-FP
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# 10 Don Bell, 1969 Lola T-163
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# 101 Rudy Junco, 1974 Shadow DN4
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Trouble for # 55 Wade Carter, 1972 McLaren M8-FP
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# 101 Dennis Losher, 1971 Shadow MkII
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# 26 Steven J. Hilton, 1968 Lola T-70 Mk 3
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# 25 Norm Cowdrey, 1967 McKee CanAm
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# 29 Tom Gardner, 1971 McLaren M8E
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# 55 Wade Carter, 1972 McLaren M8-FP
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# 31 Daniel Lipetz, 1969 Lola T-163
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# 10 Don Bell, 1969 Lola T-163
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# 9 Bob Lee, 1968 McLaren M6B
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# 5 Chris MacAllister, 1971 McLaren M8F
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# 5 Chris MacAllister, 1971 McLaren M8F
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# 101 Dennis Losher, 1971 Shadow MkII
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"# 29 Tom Gardner, 1971 McLaren M8E
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"# 29 Tom Gardner, 1971 McLaren M8E
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# 5 Chris MacAllister, 1971 McLaren M8F
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# 57 Tony Garmey, 1970 McLaren M8C
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# 101 Rudy Junco, 1974 Shadow DN4
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# 55 Wade Carter, 1972 McLaren M8-FP
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# 44 Adam Carolla, 1968 Datsun 2000
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# 906 Peter Inshaw, 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600
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# 23 Steve Link, 1967 Datsun 2000
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# 66 Steven Smith, 1965 VW Type 1
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# 88 Terry Forland, 1966 BMW 2000CS
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# 18 Robert Davis, 1991 Mazda 787
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# 25 David Andrews, 1983 March 83G
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# 67 Ralph Borelli, 1984 Lola T-616
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# 44 Rick Knoop, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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# 67 Ralph Borelli, 1984 Lola T-616
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# 100 Rusty French, 1991 Porsche 962
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# 77 Weldon Munsey, 1992 Mazda RX7-92P
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# 68 John Davis, 1984 Lola T-616
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# 67 Ralph Borelli, 1984 Lola T-616
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# 44 Rick Knoop, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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# 18 Robert Davis, 1991 Mazda 787
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# 77 Weldon Munsey, 1992 Mazda RX7-92P
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# 44 Doug Smith, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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# 18 Robert Davis, 1991 Mazda 787
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# 44 Doug Smith, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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# 68 John Davis, 1984 Lola T-616
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# 18 Robert Davis, 1991 Mazda 787
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# 77 Weldon Munsey, 1992 Mazda RX7-92P
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# 25 David Andrews, 1983 March 83G
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# 44 Doug Smith, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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Group 6B race start
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Corner worker watching the race action
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# 8 Jim Buell, 1949 MG TC
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# 86 Bernard Juchli, 1955 Hagemann Jaguar Special, owned by Jay Leno
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# 3 Craig Bennett, 1983 Tyrrell 12
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# 29 Rudy Junco, 1981 Arrows A3
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Half spin for # 5 Chris Locke, 1976 Lotus 77
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Half spin for # 5 Chris Locke, 1976 Lotus 77
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# 3 Craig Bennett, 1983 Tyrrell 12
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# 3 Chuck McConnell, 1979 McLaren M29
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# 29 Rudy Junco, 1981 Arrows A3
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# 1 Erich Joiner, 1983 Williams FW-08C
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# 17 Keith Frieser, 1973 Shadow DN1
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# 28 Douglas Mockett, 1976 Penske PC4
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# 2 Bud Moeller, 1980 Ferrari 312 T5
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# 18 Chris Bender, 1982 March 821
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# 1 Stephen Thein, 1970 March 701
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# 17 Keith Frieser, 1973 Shadow DN1
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Group 4B Formula 1 cars pace lap
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Group 3B pace lap
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Mazda race cars demo laps
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# 6 Carl Moore, 1968 McLaren M6A
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# 101 Dennis Losher, 1971 Shadow MkII
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# 10 Alberto Francioni, 1968 Lola T-70 Mk 3B
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View over a Can-Am car
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# 66 Steven Smith, 1965 VW Type 1
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# 44 Adam Carolla, 1968 Datsun 2000
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# 3 Robert Forbes, 1964 Ginetta G4R
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Group 6B FIA IMSA Race start
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# 44 Doug Smith, 1984 Jaguar XJR-5
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Ferrari 512
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# 12 Bruce McCaw, 1961 Ferrari 250GT Sperimentale
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Big crowds at the Corkscrew viewing areas
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# 25 David Andrews, 1983 March 83G, "Red Lobster"
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American Muscle cars race
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# 61 Robert Hoemke, 1965 Austin Mini Cooper
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# 31 Rudy Junco, 1988 Porsche 962
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#12 Jeff Lewis, 1980 Lotus 81B

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