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Vintage Racing Service Vintage Racing Service
VSCCA Spring Sprints 2005
at Pocono Raceway
2005 Pocono

With late June–type weather making a very refreshing appearance at Pocono April 16–17, perhaps VSCCA (Vintage Sports Car Club of America) should think about changing its event’s name to the “Summer Sprints.” Well maybe not, as this is “April” after all where fog and bone–chilling rain has routinely been in attendance in the past. Obviously, the summer–like conditions didn’t foster any complaints either as the several dozen entries just enjoyed the second VSCCA outing of the year with shorts, sunglasses, sun block and the usual abundance of seat time racing around Pocono’s north course.

Following previous performances, the very low key gatherings, even for VSCCA standards, had the current edition of battling friendly foes split into three racing groups: fast, slow, and student drivers (rookies). This loose classification for the non-rookie warriors was based on their Lime Rock Park lap times with the understanding, as co–race director, Andrew Pearlman, was quick to point out during Saturday’s morning driver’s meeting, “that if you feel uncomfortable in where you have been placed, just move yourself into the other group.” Of course, the neophytes were initially instructed to remain in their purposeful placement, and needed to wear two “big” yellow rookie stripes on their chosen rides.

As with the season opener at Lime Rock several weeks prior, the Pocono venue afforded another opportunity to get either the pilots and/or their old iron (and fiberglass) into competitive shape. The highly anticipated Moss Motor’s International Healey Challenges which will take place throughout the year and the MG Vintage Racers’ “Focus Event” meeting at Road Atlanta (HSR’s Walter Mitty Challenge) in a couple of weeks, might have explained the healthy Healey/MG presence dotting the paddock, too.

There’s no dispute, while the Pocono venue historically doesn’t field the mega number of entrants associated with many other vintage racing organizations, they do grid an unparalleled variety of breeds, as exemplified by the three Aston Martin DB4s (racing just last year), Bill Vaccaro’s ERA, Sam Mann’s Talbot GP and Gary Ford’s front–engine Indy roaster. This year was no different with Dan Leonard’s nimble 1959 Speedwell GT, Pete McManus wheeling the 1949 Watkins Glen GP winning entry, the Ardent Alligator, and Jim Donick’s exquisite ’51 Allard J2 joining the chorus of songs bellowing from the regular cast of Turners, Elvas, Lotuses, Porsches, Alfas and others.

Fresh from an extensive six–year restoration/build and former life in boxes, Donick’s thundering Caddy powered J2 finally ingested some good ol’ O2 (only its second outing) and provided a ground–shaking foot massage lap after lap. “It was surprising to more than a few folks how well it was getting through the infield twisties (obviously, it was expected to do well on the banking – – and it did)”, reported Jim.

Saturday morning was set aside for a round–robin of practices, while the afternoon exploded with the formal races. Sunday’s plan was simple, another round of group practices, followed by an All-Comers One–Hour Enduro. Thirty plus took the green for an hour adrenalin rush as many apparent mismatches on paper were quick to equalize their position either on the high banking or infield road circuit for a neat battle of various vintage machinery dancing around the track for nearly an hour.

Noteworthy, the sliding antics of Mark Palmer and Bob Klingenberg didn’t let any weather rust or tire wear curtail their sliding performances. In fact, Mark was stating how he probably would stay out for only 10–15 minutes, but was having too much fun to stop. Treeless, bland, and cold and miserable at times, but Pocono has unexplainable charm, and always plenty of good racing and “tiring” seat time.

Serving as event chairman for the past 20 years, it was announced at Saturday night’s VSCCA dinner that Don Nattrass has stepped down. “It’s been fun and I’ll miss it, but it’s time to step aside and let new younger blood take over”, reflected Nattrass. Andrew Perlman (Alfa #154) will take on the challenge. Good Luck!Walter Pietrowicz