CAMERON ARGETSINGER IS RECIPIENT OF 2007 BOB AKIN AWARD WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2007) - Long-time race promoter and race-car driver Cameron Argetsinger was named by the Road Racing Drivers Club as the 2007 recipient of the Bob Akin ...
CAMERON ARGETSINGER IS RECIPIENT OF 2007 BOB AKIN AWARD
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2007) - Long-time race promoter and race-car driver Cameron Argetsinger was named by the Road Racing Drivers Club as the 2007 recipient of the Bob Akin Motorsports Award during a reception at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Sept. 7.
Each recipient of this honor, considered the top award in motorsports for non-professional drivers, is selected by Akin's son Bobby and RRDC members Brian Redman and Archie Urciuoli and approved by RRDC chairman Bobby Rahal.
Cameron Argetsinger's contributions to motor sports in America are virtually unparalleled. He was responsible for the first post-war road race in America, was a racing driver, a promoter and organizer, and a visionary leader in developing professional road racing in America. He was also the first promoter to successfully bring Formula One racing to America, was later Executive Director of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and then Commissioner of the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA). He recently retired as President of the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen (IMRRC).
A native of Youngstown, Ohio (born 1921), and a graduate of Cornell University Law School, Argetsinger served in the U.S. Army in World War II entering as a private and completing his service as a lieutenant. He created and organized the first post-war American road race at Watkins Glen in 1948. Having founded the race and organized the event, he drove his MG-TC to a ninth-place finish in the Grand Prix. Argetsinger remained active as a driver through 1960. He and his wife Jean have nine children, 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Archie Urciuoli presented the award to Jean Argetsinger and sons J.C. Argetsinger and Peter Argetsinger. "I'm here tonight on behalf of the RRDC to present the Bob Akin Motorsports Award, which we do annually," said Urciuoli. "This year the award goes to somebody who is not only an icon in the racing world but a favorite son of Watkins Glen, and that is Cameron Argetsinger.
"Cameron is having some health issues so he couldn't be with us tonight, but his family will accept on his behalf. He was a champion of professional racing in America and open-wheel Grand Prix racing in particular. He was also an executive vice president of Chaparral cars, and besides all of his wonderful background, he had a real devotion to family and community.
"He and his wife Jean have had a real partnership in all the senses of the word, but, despite their community and sporting activities, they apparently still had some spare time because they had nine children, some of whom are here this evening."
Urciuoli went on to read excerpts from a letter written to Argetsginer by RRDC chairman Rahal: "On behalf of the Road Racing Drivers Club, it is my great pleasure to inform you that on the recommendation of our selection committee, you are the recipient of the Bob Akin Motorsports Award for 2007," wrote Rahal.
"This award has been presented annually since 2003 to the person who best exemplifies the characteristics for which Bob Akin was known and respected: a passion for motorsports and a history of successful amateur racing, being well liked and respected by his peers with a reputation for good sportsmanship and fair play and a record of contribution to motorsports and the community.
"Your history of participation, extensive and important contributions to our sport as well as your personal attributes and reputation clearly meet these high standards."
"On behalf of Cameron, I want to thank the Road Racing Drivers Club for this marvelous, wonderful honor," said Jean Argetsinger. "This evening when I left Cameron he asked me to convey to all of you, everyone present, his love and best wishes for your continued support and enthusiasm for the Center. Thank you.
"When he received the letter he was so pleased. Racing has been such a part of our lives, part of his life, for so many years. And we are grateful for all the fun we have had and all the wonderful people we have met."
Peter Argetsinger echoed his mother's sentiments: "It means a tremendous amount to the entire family, especially to my dad," he said. "He was thrilled to hear about it. We have always been part of the racing community. It is a family. It's a small fraternity. It's nice to be recognized and nice to be appreciated. We are very grateful."
J.C. Argetsinger agreed: "I was thrilled. He's a giant in motor racing and I was honored to be able to be here for him. And, it's a wonderful award. Bob Akin was a true sportsman, and the other recipients of this award are also giants in this world. I think what Archie said about the breadth of my father's career was very interesting. Not only was he a promoter, organizer, founder, but he was a driver, and a very good driver. And he particularly would be pleased that this organization has chosen him.
"I was saying to Archie that the RRDC emblem is something that I myself have always coveted, maybe only second to the combat infantryman's badge, neither one of which I'm probably going to get."
Past recipients of the Bob Akin Award have been Sam Posey, Charlie Gibson, John Fitch and Jim Haynes.
The permanent trophy, listing annual winners, is on display at the IMRRC. The recipients receive a smaller, engraved version of the award.
The distinctive trophy was conceived by the RRDC to honor the memory of long-time RRDC member and past president Bob Akin, who lost his life in a racing accident in 2002.
The trophy was designed by Steuben Glass in Corning, N.Y., and is given to an amateur, vintage or semi-professional American road racer who best exemplifies the extraordinary qualities and characteristics that Akin represented, including a passion for motorsports and automobiles, a high level of sportsmanship and fair play, and who has contributed to the sport of motor racing.
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 to promote road racing and driver safety. The RRDC today continues to recognize, promote and mentor road-racing drivers. Along with the Bob Akin Motorsports Award, the RRDC presents the Phil Hill Award (annually to a driver, sponsor or sanctioning official who makes outstanding contributions to road racing), and the Mark Donohue Award (annually to an outstanding driver at the SCCA National Runoffs).