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Latest News and Commentary

Bob Dorricott remembered

April 30,  2002

LOS ALTOS HILLS, Calif. (April 29, 2002) - Bob Dorricott, one of most respected names in North American formula-style, open-wheel racing and two-time Dayton Indy Lights Championship team owner, passed away Friday, April 26, at his family home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., of cancer. He was 65.

Born in Los Angeles in 1937, Dorricott first developed his motorsport skills during the 1950's as a drag racer in Altered class. He later gained national recognition as a consistent front-runner in SCCA Pro Sports 2000 competition that included five National titles between 1989 and 1995.

Dorricott Racing's roots extend back over 13 years when Dorricott and son, Bob Dorricott Jr., increased their racing interests from a Championship-winning Sports 2000 program to running partial Firestone Indy Lights Championship schedules from 1990 through 1993 with the younger Dorricott behind the wheel. Their initial entry was the 1990 season finale at their home track of Laguna Seca where Bob Jr. qualified 15th and finished 10th.

Dorricott Racing ran its first full season in 1994. The year was highlighted with the team's first pole for both team and driver at Nazareth. It expanded into a two-car effort in 1995 and won its first race at Detroit's Belle Isle with Robbie Buhl, of Cleveland. Buhl, who finished second in that year's championship, also won three poles at Milwaukee, Detroit, and New Hampshire while Dorricott Jr. earned his second consecutive pole at Nazareth.

In 1996, Dorricott Jr. took the year off. Jeff Ward and Shigeaki Hattori completed the two-car program and earned 12 top-10 finishes in 22 race starts. This included a pair of poles for Ward at Toronto and Vancouver. Dorricott Jr. resumed racing for the team in 1997 and was joined by Luis Garcia Jr. The team's best showing was a fourth-place in Savannah with Garcia.

Dorricott Jr. retired from racing at the end of the 1997 season, but Dorricott Racing maintained a multi-car program with Austrian driver Philipp Peter and Catalonian Oriol Servia. Bob Dorricott then orchestrated the framework for a three-car team when he added young sprint car ace Bud Kaeding to the mix for four Indy Lights races.

A combined four second-place finishes in 1998 prefaced a visible rise into the motorsports elite in 1999 when Dorricott ran a his first full-season with three drivers including Servia, Peter, and Casey Mears. The result was multi-record breaking that included 35 finishes in 36 starts and first, second, and third place in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with Servia winning the title.

A second place finish for Dorricott Racing in the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship and Indy Lights rookie Townsend Bell was accentuated by a third place finish for Mears, sixth place for Australian Jason Bright, and a combined four victories.

Dorricott Racing concluded an outstanding Indy Lights tenure by winning the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship behind Bell, and Damien Faulkner, of Ireland, finishing in third place. It was the third consecutive year that Dorricott Racing placed at least two drivers in the top-three final driver standings.

Dorricott changed his team's direction for 2002 with its entry into the Toyota Atlantic Championship. The success of the venture was never more evident than when he watched his team and second-year Dorricott Racing driver Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., win its first Atlantic race in its very first attempt at Monterrey, Mexico, this past March.

Dorricott made all decisions on his choice of drivers throughout his career. His last selections reaffirmed his unrivaled ability to see talent just as it is beginning to blossom. His appointment of Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, was overwhelmingly validated when Diaz won the pole position outright at Monterrey. The introduction of Alex Gurney, of Newport Beach, Calif., to the Dorricott Racing moniker not only brought one of America's greatest racing names back to the forefront, it also showed how Dorricott could see a young driver's major-league ability before it happened.

A leader on and off the track, Dorricott was also acknowledged in national and international business circles for his success as a high-profile business executive in the "high tech" Silicon Valley. Dorricott retired from his non-racing business pursuits in the spring of 2001 after a career-long tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunnyvale Valve and Fitting Co., Inc., a northern California-based distributor of high quality fluid control components. He was also a member of the American Racing Series, Inc. (ARS) Board of Directors, the former corporate operating body of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship.

Dorricott and his wife, Phyllis, devoted much of their off-track energy to the advancement of medical research, development, and care of children afflicted with life threatening and disabling illnesses. They remain actively engaged in the promotion and missions of the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, in Palo Alto, Calif.

Bob Dorricott is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughter Pam, of Los Altos, Calif.; sons Bob Jr., of San Mateo, Calif., and Jeff, of Grants Pass, Ore.; and six grandchildren.

Services will be held on Wednesday, May 1, at Spangler's Mortuary, in Los Altos, Calif., beginning at 1:00 p.m. (PT).

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the El Camino Hospital Foundation, 2500 Grant Road, WIL 210, Mountain View, Calif., 94040-4378, or to the Mid-Peninsula Hospice, 201 San Antonio Circle, Suite 135, Mountain View, Calif., 94040.

Dorricott Racing

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