Laguna Seca Sports Car Invitational preview

The History and Future of Motorsports on Track at Road & Track U.S. Sports Car Invitational, April 30 - May 2 Stock Car Legend Bobby Allison Named Grand Marshal for 2004 Season Opener MONTEREY, Calif. (March 1, 2004) -- One of the oldest forms...

The History and Future of Motorsports on Track at Road & Track U.S. Sports Car Invitational, April 30 - May 2
Stock Car Legend Bobby Allison Named Grand Marshal for 2004 Season Opener

MONTEREY, Calif. (March 1, 2004) -- One of the oldest forms of racing - Stock Cars - meets what's been called the next big thing - Drifting - when the 2004 Road & Track U.S. Sports Car Invitational opens the 2004 racing season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, April 30 - May 2.

While the event marks the Monterey Peninsula debut of Drifting - a new form of motorsport featuring drivers intentionally sliding their cars around corners - the Historic Stock Cars put on a crowd-pleasing show in their debut at last year's Road & Track magazine-sponsored event. This year, fans can expect another large field of NASCAR Winston Cup-era stock cars such as the Richard Petty No. 43 STP Pontiac, Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Dupont Chevy and the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevy made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt.

Last year's race was won by Ron Huber, of Scottsdale, who drove the ex-Davey Allison No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford Thunderbird to a slim .304-second victory over San Jose's Tom Klauer, who was driving the No. 2 Miller Pontiac Grand Prix, previously piloted by Rusty Wallace.

Stock car legend Bobby Allison, who competed in the 1980 NASCAR Winston West race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, is serving as the Grand Marshal for this year's event.

"We're delighted to be bringing the popular U.S. Sports Car Invitational to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a second year," said Ed Abramson, vice president and publisher, Road & Track. "This venue is an ideal fit for passionate automotive enthusiasts to enjoy racing traditions from past and present."

Fans can visit Road & Track's Web site - http://www.roadandtrack.com/zoom - for information on special race weekend activities and promotions. The magazine is also offering the second-annual Ultimate Zoom-Zoom Giveaway sweepstakes with Mazda. A new MAZDASPEED MX-5 Miata and a trip to the Road & Track U.S. Sports Car Invitational, as well as other prizes will be given away.

"I'm looking forward to a weekend including two of my favorite things: the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and stock car racing," said Allison. "It's been almost 24 years since I raced there, but I have fond memories of the event."

If Historic Stock Cars represent racing's past, Drifting has been tipped as the next big thing. Part of the sport-compact car boom, it involves a driver intentionally putting his car into a controlled slide (or drift) at high speed through a marked course. Drivers are judged on execution and style, as well as on speed through the course.

Twelve top drivers from North America and Japan have been invited to a $10,000 winner-take-all International Drifting Shoot-Out. They'll "drift" through Turn 2 (Andretti Hairpin) and Turn 3.

"The Invitational concept has really caught on with our fans," said Gill Campbell, general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "The day after last year's event the phones were lit up with fans wanting the Historic Stock Car guys back for an encore. But we'd also been hearing from Drifting fans and competitors who are anxious to see their sport invited. We think we've got a great double feature; one honors the past and another represents the future."

On-track activities for the weekend also include races featuring the MAZDASPEED Miata Cup, Formula Ford Zetec Championship, Porsche Club of America and the World SuperKarts, featuring former Grand Prix motorcycle champion and Monterey resident Wayne Rainey.

Off-track activities include a Vintage car display, the return of the popular Brats & Brews area and the Monterey Experience, featuring Monterey Peninsula area attractions.

Tickets are on sale now for all five events comprising the 2004 race season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (800) 327-SECA or (831) 648-5100, or by logging onto www.laguna-seca.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

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About this article
Series Stock car , Vintage
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Rusty Wallace , Richard Petty , Wayne Rainey , Bobby Allison