RACE: VIRginia Int'l Raceway pre August National notes

Amateur Sports Car Racers Head to VIR for Final Chance at National Points DANVILLE, VA. - Several hundred of America's best amateur (and a few pros on holiday) sports car racers will be crowding the paddock at VIRginia International Raceway's...

Amateur Sports Car Racers Head to VIR for Final Chance at National Points

DANVILLE, VA. - Several hundred of America's best amateur (and a few pros on holiday) sports car racers will be crowding the paddock at VIRginia International Raceway's Oak Tree Nationals the weekend of August 11-12 in a last gasp effort to earn Sports Car Club of America national points.

The points are vital to qualifying for an invitation to the SCCA's RunoffsR presented by AT&T, where nearly 700 racers vie for 25 gold medals at Heartland Park Topeka. The VIR race is the final race on the National calendar for SouthEast Division racers in search of points to ensure an invitation to compete for their class championship. Each class races by itself, ensuring a race free from worries about other cars.

Local drivers compete at VIR, bringing plenty of local interest, including Pittsboro, N.C.'s Don Knowles, reigning Showroom Stock B champion, who has plans to compete both at VIR and in the RunoffsR. Knowles began racing in the 1970s and has numerous national championships and wins in 24-hour races. Knowles also instructs for the VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club. Spectators are invited to attend the event, with admission only $20 for the entire weekend.

"VIR is a great track for this race," said Knowles. It's where I got started and I was thrilled to see it come back in 2000," he added, referring to the track's return after Harvey Siegel and Connie Nyholm partnered to revive the track after it closed at the end of 1974.

VIR hosts a variety of events year-round, with more to attract interest than just the race track. The Oak Tree Tavern, in the 1840s-era farmhouse on the property, anchors the motorsport country club aspect of the track, "America's Motorsport Resort" with a full-service restaurant and Connie's Pub, an Irish-style pub located at the Tavern.

"SCCA Club Racing is the cornerstone of American road racing," commented VIR General Manager Josh Lief. "It was the reason the track was built in 1957 and is still one of our biggest events. SCCA races several times a year at VIR, from the Al Fairer SARRC/MARRS Challenge in the Spring to the 'Charge of the Headlight Brigade thirteen-hour enduro in November."

Many famous drivers began their racing careers in SCCA racing, among them Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Bobby Rahal and even famed actor and National Championship race winner Paul Newman, who has commented "if there's a Heaven on Earth, it's VIR."

VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Virginia. Reopened in 2000, VIR hosts a wide range of professional and amateur auto and motorcycle racing and track events, and is well established as America's Motorsport Resort. In addition to its historic 3.27 mile natural-terrain road racing circuit, VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park and Motorsports Technology Park, which includes the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research ("VIPER"); the Plantation Valley Kart Track, a 5/8 mile paved natural terrain karting circuit; an expanding variety of on-site lodging (including 45 hotel rooms and the Villas which are for sale); Camp Motorsport for enthusiasts of all ages; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse.

VIR's next major event is the August 17-19 Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals AMA Superbike races. The racing is only a small part of the weekend's planned festivities, so make arrangements now to attend. Tickets are available online at the promoter's web site, www.moto1usa.com or www.virclub.com, or by calling the promoter's ticket sales at 770-965-4565 or 770-965-4566.

-credit: vir

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Dan Gurney , Paul Newman , Don Knowles