IROC to auction off assets One of the most exciting stock car slugfests your vintage racing correspondent has ever witnessed was the International Race of Champions event at Watkins Glen in 1986 — the final race of that year’s IROC series. After engaging in a good-natured trash talking session over the track’s public address system, Cale Yarborough and Al Unser Sr., starting first and second respectively, proceeded to pound their equally matched IROC Camaros into equally matched heaps of sheetmetal and chassis tubing.
Lap after lap, the wily old veterans slipped and slithered nose to tail and fender to door around the storied 2.45-mile road course until Yarborough’s car was too crippled to compete and Unser was out of the race altogether — though he’d led the first 15 laps, driving on the ragged edge while keeping Yarborough in his mirrors.
A 23-year-old Al Unser Jr. went on to take the checkered, earning enough points to capture the IROC title and $164,100 in winnings for the year.
Back then, the IROC series was white hot, thanks in no small part to some heavy promotion gained by Chevrolet’s introduction of the IROC-Z Camaro in 1985. Some 22 years later, IROC is no more, a reality that was foreshadowed last year when liquor maker Crown Royal pulled out as the title sponsor and no races were run.
All of the organization's assets are being liquidated at an auction on March 7 at the IROC shop in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Tools, shop equipment, parts, 15 race cars and a smattering of IROC memorabilia will cross the block starting at 10 a.m. A pre-auction inspection is scheduled for 8 a.m.
Though it’s sad to see the series end this way, at least the sale will be a good opportunity for enthusiasts to bid on a piece of racing history. For some retrospective photos and information, check out www.irocracing.com, or for photos and lists of items to be auctioned, go to www.auctionlistservices.com.