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The growth of sports car racing in the Mid-Atlantic States of America was not a painless affair. Tragedy, mystery, intrigue
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The growth of sports car racing in the Mid-Atlantic States of America was not a painless affair. Tragedy, mystery, intrigue and conflicting interests between motor clubs all played their part in the 1950s and early 1960s. Add to this the underlying trend of the better drivers towards professionalism and it is evident that progress would come with its problems.
The Mid-Atlantic area of America was, due to its very nature in being business and commerce orientated opposed to having an industrial base, slower to become established than the neighbouring Northeast area.
New York and Jersey had the facilities to take the container ships that unloaded the imported cars and it was of no surprise that the major European motor manufacturers set up importers and car distributors in that area.
The States of Maryland and Virginia were in no position to challenge their northern neighbours, and sports car sales in particular were mainly generated through military personnel of a certain rank coming back to Washington and surrounding area.
Even though the Washington DC Region of the SCCA was growing stronger as the decade progressed, the development of tracks for the sports car enthusiasts was slow, and for certain individuals, very costly. Road racing had never really figured in the Mid-Atlantic area in the early part of the 50’s, and it was only when the SCCA began using the airfields at Cumberland, Hagerstown and Andrews AFB that any momentum gathered pace.
The purpose made tracks at Marlboro and Virginia International Raceway both experienced growing pains in an area where oval-track racing was more a way of life for the general public. Wilmington, Manassas and Richmond all held regular events, and the Marlboro and VIR enterprises spent a great deal of money, trying to attract the public to their tracks.
To add to these problems, the professional organisations, NASCAR and SCODA were also active in the area, and a disruptive intervention into sports car racing by USAC did little to help anyone. USAC promised much to Marlboro and VIR but delivered little, making for a very tense relationship with the SCCA. It also unsettled some of the better drivers who were thinking of joining the professional ranks. It would come to light that some of these individuals would in fact be better off staying as ‘amateur’ drivers.
The complex situation was to be resolved in a most unexpected way as the 60’s arrived…..
Thanks to the help of the Washington DC Region of the SCCA, and many of its individual members and enthusiasts, the author has, over the past three years, managed to uncover an amount of documented and photographic material. It enables the author to relate ten years of Mid-Atlantic motor racing history from 1953 through to the end of 1962 in this book.
|Date de parution||February 2015|
|Nombre de page||392|