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Brian Redman's Jefferson 500 2006
at Summit Point Motosports Park
2006 Jefferson 500

For the majority of racing enthusiasts who either came to participate or just watch the asphalt dances, the 15th Annual Jefferson 500 (J500) contested at Summit Point Motorsports Park, West Virginia, was one of the more outstanding J500 outings in recent memory. And while these visitors were understandably focused on keeping their competitors in the rearview or exacting the perfect viewing spot, commonsense dictates that both parties wouldn’t underrate the insurmountable organizational logistics required to keep past and especially the present J500 firing on all cylinders either.

On the surface, the bean counters may interpret the near record 200 entries in attendance as simply just another very successful vintage race weekend. While true, it doesn’t tell the whole story, as this year’s installment was more a testimony to Brian and James Redman, and their Intercontinental Events (IE) staff’s fortitude to pull together what only a month ago, was an event going nowhere when Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) and Brian mutually parted ways and IE regained full control.

Part of IE’s regrouping was enlisting former Porsche and Chevrolet Monza pilot, and marketing aficionado, Michael Keyser, to produce the event poster, program and more. Recognized as an accomplished IMSA competitor throughout the 70s, Michael earned many podiums, including a first in the 1976 12 Hours of Sebring teamed with the late, Al Holbert. He successfully parlayed his racing enthusiasm into producing a book and feature length documentary film, both entitled, “The Speed Merchant,” and penned another volume, “The French Kiss with Death,” recounting the making of the late, Steve McQueen’s “Le Mans” epic.

Another Le Mans film alumnus, former F3 competitor, Jonathan Williams (teamed with the late Piers Courage in the 60s), drove Ferrari 512s, Ford GT40s, a mixture of Porsches, and managed camera–car duties for the Le Mans classic, joined Heinz Bade (Stirling Moss’ mechanic), and Redman’s good friend and event special guest, Vic Elford, to help celebrate the venue’s new beginning.

Noteworthy, Brian and Vic, were instrumental in Porsche finally gaining dominance in the sports car arena by taming the company’s new weapon, the monster 12–cyclinder 917. It has been written many times that the 917s initial instability problems and Redman’s strict circuit background made his foray into the 917 “frightening,” while Elford was quoted as welcoming the racecar’s massive power since his very own driving expertise was formed from the unstable seats of world–class rallying racecars. Naturally, both Brits conquered the 917’s attributes for numerous wins at Spa, Sebring, Targa Florio and Daytona between 1970 and ’71.

The weekend’s program contained some changes but generally retained its traditional abundance of tiring practice and qualifying sessions, and hoards of long distance races contested over the three–day gathering. The formal schedule consisted of the following: two Phil Hill Cup races, an All Porsche Eifel Trophy, Marlboro/Lola Cup, and separate Lola Cars Cup races, a duce of Charlie Gibson Cup contests, a double header of two–hour shootouts, the John Wyer Cup and Briggs Cunningham Cup enduros, and pair of ARK (Always Remember to Klick It) Project Trophy blacktop battles featuring S2000 Sports Racers. Additionally, padding the field was the entry–level F2000 Series open wheel gang competing in two Bill Scott Invitational races.

Good weather, Saturday night’s traditional lobster feast, a vintage karting exhibition, and numerous other activities were icing on the cake complimenting three days of thrilling and hard–fought asphalt skirmishes highlighted by the man to beat, Joe Blacker (Brabham BT29) taking the two Phil Hill contests, and Kyle Kaulback (Lotus 69 F2) proving it’s quality, not quantity that makes a great race, winning the attrition–plagued Charlie Gibson Cup Race #2.

Always a top contender, Larry Neviaser’s ex–hillclimb Ginetta G16 took the Cunningham Cup, while Bob Kullas’ Chevron B16 outran the family affair of Jim and Jason Scott’s 911 IROC for the prolonged Wyer Cup win. And with Peter Callaghan breaking up the family sweep for the Scotts (dad, Jim taking top honors), Kent Bain’s 914 captured Marlboro Cup top honors (dueling in the Marlboro/Lola Combo race) in an exciting race fending off another father/son team, Jim and Paul Netterstrom. Remarkably, both Netterstroms were former Marlboro winners, while “Mini” Cindy Shaffer garnished the Lola class top prize. Many other winners abounded, grabbing the venue’s trademark “awesome” trophies presented by Brian.

Most weren’t privy to the J500’s gloomy outlook with approximately only a month to go before the green flag dropped, but witnessed first hand the results of hard work, a dedicated staff, and an abundance of good friends who have proven their respect for the Redmans and their IE organization by their words and actions. This past May 19–21, the 15th Annual Jefferson 500 established a new benchmark and was once again in good hands!......Walter Pietrowicz