Chrysler Wine Country Classic Report

Sunday dawned clear and bright at Sears Point, much to the relief of the organisers of the Chrysler Wine Country Classic. An unseasonably cold and damp California winter had lingered well into May; there had even been the possibility of...

Sunday dawned clear and bright at Sears Point, much to the relief of the organisers of the Chrysler Wine Country Classic. An unseasonably cold and damp California winter had lingered well into May; there had even been the possibility of showers on Saturday, although fortunately nothing worse than dark clouds and cold winds materialized.

But by Sunday all that was past, and a larger-than-usual crowd were spread across the hills. For not only would there be the regular attraction of old race cars doing what they were built to do; there was also the NASCAR 50th Anniversary celebration, with a parade of historic NASCAR cars and drivers, and special guest Richard Petty. It was obvious that many of the attendees were there to catch a glimpse of King Richard; NASCAR T-shirts were everywhere, and the line for the early afternoon autograph session stretched around all four sides of the big Chrysler exhibit tent.

After a morning of practice, and the NASCAR parade, the feature events got under way with a special race for recent NASCAR cars. Unfortunately the #43 ex-Petty car only lasted three laps. Then it was time for the regular vintage racing events. The nine different races featured cars from as early as 1915 all the way up to a 1983 Formula One Williams.

Almost all the cars made it through the afternoon unscathed, with just one or two exceptions. One that came back slightly the worse for wear was a 1968 Camaro. And not just any 1968 Camaro - this was one of Smokey Yannuck's acid-dipped, trimmed and lightened trick cars. Maybe it should have raced under something other than #13. Fortunately the damage was confined to the left rear quarter, so it shouldn't be too hard to repair. Another casualty was a jack-rabbit, who decided to find out what all the fuss was about. After scooting across the track at the start/finish line, and taking a run down pit lane, he headed off behind the grandstands. Unfortunately he then failed to succesfully negotiate the track at turn eight, which probably explained the broken fiberglass on the nose of one of the cars on the track at the time.

John Francis - Motorsport News International

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Series VINTAGE