VIR Gold Cup Historic Races preview

VIR Gold Cup Historic Races Spotlight Women Racers Alton, Va. (May 19) - The 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races at VIRginia International Raceway, scheduled for the weekend of June 11-13, will highlight Women in Racing, and a number of pioneering...

VIR Gold Cup Historic Races Spotlight Women Racers

Alton, Va. (May 19) - The 2004 Gold Cup Historic Races at VIRginia International Raceway, scheduled for the weekend of June 11-13, will highlight Women in Racing, and a number of pioneering women racers will be present for the occasion.

The event's grand marshal will be the renowned female racer and automotive journalist Denise McCluggage. McCluggage was one of America's first female sportswriters, and her ground-breaking coverage of auto racing for the New York Herald Tribune in the 1950s got her interested in the sport. She competed in various forms of the sport, including sports car races and rallying, competing against and beating the best in the business. In 1961 she co-drove a Ferrari 250GT to a GT-class win in the 1961 12 Hours of Sebring, and she captured a class win in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in a Ford Falcon.

In the late '50s McCluggage founded Competition Press, a racing periodical that gradually grew into what we know today as AutoWeek, the largest weekly automotive magazine in the world. She continues to grace its masthead as Senior Contributing Editor, as well as writing books and syndicated newspaper columns. She was recently honored with an induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit.

"I'm delighted to be returning to VIR," McCluggage said about coming back to the track for the first time since 1958. "Many intervening years have dimmed my recollection of what I drove or how I did, but I do remember this lovely race course is on everyone's list of favorite places. I really look forward to June."

Another special guest during the Gold Cup Historic Races will be Donna Mae Mims. Mims, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., holds the distinction of being the first woman to win an SCCA National Championship, taking the 1963 H Production title. She started racing in 1961 and competed through the mid-1970s. Although she won her national championship in an Austin-Healey Sprite and also raced an MGB, she started her racing career in a Corvette and has always been associated with Corvettes.

She worked for many years at the Yenko Chevrolet in Canonsburg, Pa., as "Hi-Performance Manager," and was an integral part of the legendary dealership that produced some of the most special high-performance Chevrolets ever built.

Mims was quite a character in her own right, wearing a pink racing suit and helmet, and racing cars that had "Think Pink" emblazoned on their sides. Her racing MGB was even painted pink. She raced at VIR numerous times between 1962 and 1967, driving her Sprite, MGB and a Yenko Stinger Corvair.

"I think it's great that VIR is honoring women racers in the Gold Cup Historic Races, and I can't wait to revisit the track," she said.

The Tribute to Women Racers will be sponsored by Vintage Motorsport magazine, and will include an all-women's race. Other highlights of the Gold Cup Historic Races will be a large gathering of Triumphs, which will be the featured marque, as well as the third annual Moss Motors Gold Cup Car Show and the G&W Motorsports Pinewood Derby

The Triumph marque played a significant role in the growth of the sports car enthusiast market in the United States following World War II. The TR series of sports cars began in 1952, and the TR2, TR3, TR4, TR6, TR7 and TR8 models were all very popular in this country. Triumphs were a common site on the highways and byways of America from the 1950s through the '70s, as well as on its racetracks.

The Gold Cup Historic Races, VIR's signature vintage racing event, is independently sanctioned with competition groups and eligibility being overseen by race chair Peter Krause, a longtime racing instructor and vintage racer. The event has drawn rave reviews in its first four years for its close but friendly competition and laid-back atmosphere, with the emphasis on "reviving the vintage spirit."

Advance tickets for the Gold Cup Historic Races will be available through June 3 through a number of VIR ticket outlets. Advance ticket prices range from $30 for a three-day Super Ticket and program to $15 for single-day tickets for Saturday and Sunday. Visit the track's website at www.virclub.com for ticket outlet information. At the gate, prices will be $40 for the three-day Super Ticket with program, $20 for single-day Saturday and Sunday tickets and $10 for single-day Friday tickets. VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available.

For more information, visit the track's website at www.virclub.com or contact VIR toll-free at 888-RACE099.

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Series Vintage