John Francis - Motorsports News International As usual, Sunday was a quieter day at Laguna Seca: some of the immense crowd that had packed the racetrack earlier in the weekend spent Sunday afternoon in the quieter surroundings of Pebble Beach...
John Francis - Motorsports News International
As usual, Sunday was a quieter day at Laguna Seca: some of the immense crowd that had packed the racetrack earlier in the weekend spent Sunday afternoon in the quieter surroundings of Pebble Beach at the Concours d'Elegance. But for the dedicated racing fan there was still plenty of on-track action to enjoy. And even though the clouds blew away almost as soon as the first cars rolled out for the morning practice sessions the temperatures stayed well within the comfort range (which came as a welcome change - California has recently been suffering from record-breaking high temperatures).
The paddock was still full of Porsches, even though there were none eligible for the first race (won by one of a clutch of Jaguars), or for the second. But the final five races all had some Porsche (or Porsche-derived) entrants. In group 3B the first couple of laps were led by Larry Menser in his 904, but eventually Gil Nickel (i a Lotus 26R) found his way past, and Porsche had to settle for second place. The next race only had three cars carrying the Porsche badge, but one of them (Mark Leonard's 904 Spyder) took the lead on the seventh lap, and held it until the checkered flag dropped.
But from then on Porsches were evident in every group (as was Hurley Haywood, who drove a Brumos-entered Porsche in each of the last three races). The Can-Am race was dominated by Porsch 917s, which took all three of the podium positions (Hurley Haywood being relegated to second). Then came the Trans-Am race, with the usual crowd of Cobras, GT-350s and Corvettes being shown a good rear view of a Porsche 914/6 (Hurley Haywood again) and a 911ST (in the capable hands of Jurgen Barth).
The final race of the weekend featured a grid of 31 entrants, of which all but four were Porsches (mostly 935s or RSRs). Despite this overwhelming numerical advantage the top spot on the rostrum was claimed by one of the outsiders - the 1971 Chevron B19 of Jamey Mazotta. Hurley Haywood suffered mechanical difficulties and finished a lap down, but the other two podium positions were claimed by John Fitzpatrick and Monte Shelton.
All too soon the final checkered flag of the weekend flew, and a tired (and slightly dusty) crowd began to head for home. There will be another Montery Historic Automobile Race next year, but it may well be another fifty years before such a collection of historic Porsches is seen on track anywhere in the world, let alone North America.