TWO SUCCESSFUL EVENTS SHOWCASE RRDC'S EFFORTS AT TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH HILLIARD, Ohio (April 26, 2010) - The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) held its second annual West Coast dinner at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the ...
TWO SUCCESSFUL EVENTS SHOWCASE RRDC'S EFFORTS AT TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
HILLIARD, Ohio (April 26, 2010) - The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) held its second annual West Coast dinner at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the highly-successful "Evening with Parnelli Jones," then followed with its second, well-received RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium.
Approximately 240 racing drivers, personalities, industry heavyweights and RRDC members joined in a celebration of the life of Parnelli Jones on Thursday, April 15, led by RRDC president and emcee Bobby Rahal and Honorary Chairman Dario Franchitti.
Seated on stage at a desk a la "Late Show with David Letterman," Rahal conducted the "inquisition" of Rufus Parnelli Jones, which elicited numerous humorous stories and memories from the racing icon who has competed for decades in every form of automobile racing, including Sprint Cars, Indy Cars, Trans-Am, Can-Am and Off-Road.
As an event sponsor, Firestone Racing's executive director Al Speyer welcomed the throng, while last year's RRDC dinner honoree Dan Gurney also stepped in to "roast" his racing antagonist and friend. The evening also was supported by Bernardus Winery and the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Program.
"It was a great event," said Rahal. "The name Parnelli Jones is synonymous with the rough and rugged racing that took place in the '60s and '70s. His fame and stories of his antics during those years endure even today. There is no one else like him who has followed in his footsteps in modern racing, and we at the RRDC are privileged to have honored him."
Added event organizer Jeremy Shaw, "I believe the dinner provided another example of how the RRDC has progressed in recent years, from relative obscurity to a prominent position at the cutting edge of the sport in the United States. The dinner was undoubtedly one of the highlights of another tremendously successful Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. We managed to raise a significant sum for the Team USA Scholarship program, which has been helping young American drivers for 20 years now."
The second RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium held on Saturday, April 17, was also a triumph, as nearly 100 participants including young drivers from a wide variety of motorsports disciplines, such as Star Mazda, F2000, Skip Barber, SCCA Solo and off-road, benefited from the expertise of panelists including Rahal, Dr. Jacques Dallaire (mental preparation), Jim Leo (physical fitness), Dr. Steve Olvey (safety), Michael Zimicki (data acquisition/driver coaching) and Townsend Bell (sponsorship coaching).
"Exceeded expectations," said Nigel Falls-Hand, from Riverside, Calif.
"Awesome for aspiring race car drivers," said Shannon Gald, from Fresno, Calif.
"Great program," said Tom Grisham, from Glendora, Calif.
"Outstanding, thank you," said (driver coach) Ken March, from Orange, Calif.
"I learned so much about marketing myself from Townsend Bell's presentation," said 16-year-old kart racer Corey Neveau, from San Clemente, Calif.
A third RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium is scheduled for later in the siummer at New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana.
About the RRDC:
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club now has more than 150 active members, including leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.
President Bobby Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner, with David Letterman, of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winning Rahal Letterman Racing team. Six-time SCCA National champion John Fergus is the Club's Vice President/Treasurer, and five-time SCCA National champion Tom Davey is the Secretary.
In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the Club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for rendering outstanding service to road racing; the Mark Donohue Award for personal spirit and performance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs; and the Bob Akin Award for speed with style, passion, sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.
The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.
Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at www.rrdc.org .