Denise McCluggage Named Grand Marshal for VIR Gold Cup Historic Races
Alton, Va. (Dec. 1) -- Denise McCluggage, the renowned automotive journalist and pioneer female auto racer, has been named Grand Marshal for the 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races at VIRginia International Raceway, scheduled for the weekend of June 11-13.
The 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races will feature Women In Racing, and female racers are encouraged to participate. In addition to the regular racing classes, there will be a special "All-Women's Race" added to the schedule at no additional charge to entrants.
McCluggage is a very significant figure in the history of American motorsport. As one of America's first female sportswriters, she covered auto racing and skiing for the New York Herald Tribune in the 1950s. Although presented with many obstacles, such as being denied access to the pit and paddock area at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and many other racing venues, she excelled in her profession. Along the way she was bitten by the "racing bug," and began to participate in various forms of the sport, again being forced to overcome resentment and exclusion at almost every turn.
She not only competed in both road and rally races, but won her fair share and gradually won the respect of her competitors on both sides of the Atlantic. She was friends with, and competed against, all the historic icons of the '50s and '60s such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney and Briggs Cunningham.
In the late '50s McCluggage founded Competition Press, a racing periodical that gradually grew into what we know today as AutoWeek, the largest weekly automotive magazine in the world. She continues to grace its masthead as Senior Contributing Editor, as well as writing books and syndicated newspaper columns. She was recently honored with an induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit.
"I'm delighted to be returning to VIR," McCluggage said. "Many intervening years have dimmed my recollection of what I drove or how I did, but I do remember this lovely race course is on everyone's list of favorite places. I really look forward to June."
Records indicate that it has been 45 years since McCluggage last visited VIR, having competed in a Porsche RS in an SCCA National race in May 1958, and the 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races will be her first time at the track since then.
"We are absolutely thrilled that Denise McCluggage has accepted our invitation to serve as Grand Marshal for the 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races," said event director Julie Allen, a racer in her own right. "She serves as a stellar example and inspiration for women in all areas of endeavor, not just auto racing, and we can't wait to welcome her back to VIR."
Allen added that a number of special features are being planned for the Gold Cup weekend, in addition to the previously announced 2004 International Triumph Challenge, the third annual Moss Motors Gold Cup Car Show and the G&W Motorsports Pinewood Derby.
The Gold Cup Historic Races, VIR's signature vintage racing event, is independently sanctioned with competition groups and eligibility being overseen by race chair Peter Krause, a longtime racing instructor and vintage racer. The event has drawn rave reviews in its first four years for its close but friendly competition and laid-back atmosphere, with the emphasis on "reviving the vintage spirit."
VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston , Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club, the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park and the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which features four rally stages plus a kart track, motocross track, ATV and SUV training grounds and a Tuff Terrain" course. Future plans include the VIR Gallery, a showroom for high-end collector and racing cars, and resort lodging.
VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.