AMA

RACE: VIR 2004 season preview

VIR Revs Up for 2004 Season Alton, Va. (Mar. 1) -- VIRginia International Raceway is preparing to drop the green flag on its 2004 schedule of events, featuring some of the best automobile and motorcycle racing in America on one of the world's...

VIR Revs Up for 2004 Season

Alton, Va. (Mar. 1) -- VIRginia International Raceway is preparing to drop the green flag on its 2004 schedule of events, featuring some of the best automobile and motorcycle racing in America on one of the world's most picturesque and challenging circuits.

The season kicks off over the weekend of weekend of May 7-9 with the Fifth Annual Double SARRC/Double MARRS Challenge hosted by the North Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).

This event has grown into the largest SCCA regional east of the Mississippi, featuring more than 400 cars from all over the East Coast. Entrants from the Washington, D.C. area and northward compete in the Mid-Atlantic Road Racing Series (MARRS), while their southern counterparts race in the South Atlantic Road Racing Championship (SARRC).

With such a large entry, packed grids are guaranteed in all races and the competition will be fierce, with the friendly "North vs. South" rivalry adding an extra measure of intensity.

The first big motorcycle racing event of the year will take place over the weekend of May 21-23, as the WERA Cycle Jam Nationals rolls into VIR for three days of knee-dragging, wheel-to-wheel excitement.

WERA, one of America's oldest and largest national sanctioning bodies for motorcycle road racing, is known for showcasing up-and-coming talent as well as close competition. The series' return to VIR is the third round of the WERA Dunlop National Endurance Series, National Challenge Series and Sportsman Series.

The feature race of the weekend will be the four-hour WERA Dunlop Endurance Series event. The race will feature plenty of strategy and pit-stop action, as each team will be required to stop several times for fuel and a rider change.

Over the weekend of June 11-13, VIR's signature vintage racing event, the Gold Cup Historic Races, will a Tribute to Women Racers and the International Triumph Challenge.

It wasn't so long ago that women weren't even allowed in the pit or paddock at racing events. The ladies have come a long way since then, and VIR is proud to recognize their achievements with the Vintage Motorsport Tribute to Women Racers. The event's grand marshal will be renowned racer and journalist Denise McCluggage.

The Moss Motors International Triumph Challenge will be a major gathering of American Triumph racers, who will face off against a group of British Triumph owners traveling to VIR for this very special event.

Off-track activities will include the third annual Moss Motors Gold Cup Car Show, which will take place on Saturday, June 12. Fans will be able to vote for their favorite cars in a number of categories, including American, Foreign and Competition categories. Participants will vote on the top 10 cars in the show. Also returning in 2004 will be the popular G&W Motorsports Pinewood Derby, which will pit kids of all ages against each other with home-built racers constructed from blocks of wood that cannot weigh more than five ounces in a competition format originated by the Boy Scouts in 1953.

The fourth annual Virginia Festival of Speed, featuring Formula USA and the 21st season of the Championship Cup Series, will provide a combination of the best Sportsman and professional motorcycle road racers going handlebar-to-handlebar at 160mph for their share of purse and prizes over the weekend of June 25-27. Friday afternoon is the Virginia 200, Saturday it's Sportsman action and on Sunday the professionals take to the track in Sportbike, Superbike, Thunderbike and the no-holds-barred Unlimited GP classes.

Historic Sportscar Racing, Ltd. (HSR) will visit VIR over the weekend of July 8-11, providing a rolling history lesson in road racing. The highlights of the event will be the American Muscle Car Challenge, BOSS Super Cup Challenge for big-bore open-wheel racers, the World Championship of Makes Series, World Sportscar Series, Historic GT Series and the Historic Stock Car Racing Association, plus the Rolex Endurance Challenge Series Races and Dash Series Races. There will also be a special gathering of Volvo racers that will bring aficionados of the respected Swedish marque from all across America.

Many of the cars that race with HSR raced at VIR in its early days, between 1957-74, and will be right at home on the challenging and beautiful 3.27-mile circuit. With machinery ranging from small-bore production cars through stock cars, prototypes and F1 and Indy cars, there will be something for everyone!

The North Carolina Region of the SCCA will return over the weekend of August 7-8 for the annual Oak Tree National. The national SCCA calendar wraps up in late September with the annual Valvoline Runoffs® at Mid-Ohio, which makes the Oak Tree National a critical event in terms of collecting precious championship points required to obtain a coveted invitation to the Runoffs®.

As a result, drivers from the host region as well as other regions all along the Atlantic seaboard will be headed to VIR in order to collect those valuable, last-minute championship points. This can lead to some very interesting and unusual match-ups on the track and unforgettably intense racing.

VIR is introducing a new event over Labor Day Weekend to fill the void left in the racing calendar left by the departure of Darlington's traditional NASCAR Southern 500. The inaugural Stock Car Spectacular will bring all manner of stock-type road racing vehicles to Southside Virginia that are guaranteed to make the earth shake, your ears ring and the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up!

Among the highlights of the September 3-5 weekend will be the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series, the Historic Stock Car Racing Association, in which amateur racers drive cars that formerly competed in NASCAR's top series, the Factory Five Cobra series plus other stock-car groups.

If you love ground-pounding American V8 power, stock-appearing cars and great racing, join us for the inaugural VIR Stock Car Spectacular. Together, we can create a new Labor Day Weekend tradition.

The fastest and most exotic road racing motorcycles in America will return to VIR for a fourth time over the weekend of September 17-19, as AMA Pro Racing's wildly popular Suzuki Lightning Nationals brings the best in the business to do battle in the series' season finale.

The doubleheader format will give fans two feature races for the headlining AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, in which the factory teams and world's best riders compete for corporate bragging rights, utilizing staggering budgets to produce the most technologically advanced bikes to be seen in this country.

Rounding out the program will be AMA's other pro series, the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei, Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Extreme and the Repsol Superstock.

Perhaps the most anticipated weekend of the year will be October 1-3, which will mark the return of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400.

The Rolex Sports Car Series inaugurated a new series of prototype sports racer, the Daytona Prototype, in 2003. Even though their first appearance at VIR provided only four examples of the class, the racing was great, featuring a fierce late-race battle between eventual series champ and race winner Terry Borcheller and legendary endurance racer Hurley Haywood.

Since then, the Daytona Prototype has become the hottest property in road racing. Seventeen cars took the green flag in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, and even more new entries are promised before the series arrives at VIR. Among the new teams are a two-car entry from Chip Ganassi Racing, featuring CART veterans Scott Pruett and Max Papis, and a two-car team of Chevrolet-powered Crawfords, built in North Carolina.

What should be a field of at least 40 cars, comprised of Daytona Prototypes as well as GT and SGS production-based coupes, will all take to the track for a 400km/three-hour race on Sunday afternoon. The weekend's supporting acts will be the popular Grand-Am Cup series for street stock cars, divided into four classes for a 250-mile enduro on Saturday, and the Formula Renault 2000 open-wheelers, plus Porsche Club of America and BMW CCA club racing.

The 2004 season at VIR will come to a close over the weekend of October 15-17 with the season finale for the vintage sports and racing cars of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. The SVRA weekend has become a tradition since VIR reopened in 2000, both for the track staff and the racers. The highlight of the weekend will be the Formula Car Festival, featuring the finest vintage open-wheelers in America, plus the HSR BOSS Super Cup Series and Formula 70 Series and a formula car enduro, as well as the Mike Stott-UBS Enduro Series and Edelbrock Sprint Series.

No matter whether you like your motorsports with two wheels or four, VIR will have all the bases covered in 2004. The beautiful setting, with the rolling hills of Southside Virginia framing an incredibly fast and challenging road racing circuit, combined with world-class amenities and good, old-fashioned southern hospitality, creates the perfect setting for high-speed family fun.

"We can't wait to get the 2004 season underway," said VIR co-owner Connie Nyholm. "This will be our fifth season since we brought this historic facility back to life, and we think it's going to be our best yet. As always, we have a great mix of events, and we're continuing to add improvements and amenities to the facility that make it second to none. We've made thousands of friends over the past five years, and we look forward to seeing them again this year, along with all their families and friends. For those who haven't been here before, we invite them to come and find out what 'fun, fast and world-class' racing is all about!"

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.

For more information, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com or contact VIR toll-free at 888-RACE099. For more information on the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, call toll-free 877-RALLY66 or visit their website at www.vireurorally.com.

VIRginia International Raceway 2004 Season Schedule

Dates and Event

May 7-9 North Carolina Region, Sports Car Club of America
    SARRC/MARRS Challenge

May 21-23 WERA Cycle Jam Nationals

June 11-13 Gold Cup Historic Races

June 25-27 CCS/Formula USA Virginia Festival of Speed

July 9-11 Historic Sportscar Racing, Ltd.

Aug. 7-8 North Carolina Region, Sports Car Club of America
    Oak Tree National

Sept. 3-5 Stock Car Spectacular

Sept. 17-19 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts
    Unlimited Suzuki Lightning Nationals

Oct. 1-3 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series
    VIR 400

Oct. 15-17 Sportscar Vintage Racing Association

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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike , Grand-Am , SCCA , Vintage
Drivers Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Terry Borcheller , Hurley Haywood
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing