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- The Historics
This August the scenic Monterey Peninsula once again becomes a paradise for sports car enthusiasts. The centerpiece of these activities will be the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, which will occur August 15-17. This annual world class vintage racing event was founded in 1974 by Steve Earl to help bolster the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance, has evolved as the centerpiece of an exciting week of car enthusiast activities. The week at the track begins with a little known vintage racing event called the "Pre-Historics". This event draws few spectators but many of the entrants (and entrant wannabes) for the Monterey Historic Automobile Races the following weekend. It's very low-key, and usually action-packed. Many racers 'audition' here for several years before being chosen to run in the main event. Others who are running in the full-on Historics enter the weekend before to get in some much-needed practice. Over the course of the week car enthusiasts from all over the globe start making their way to the Monterey Peninsula. As the event weekend nears there are events all over the Peninsula including the Concours Italiano in Carmel Valley, the Pebble Beach Concours vintage car parade, several major automobile auctions, the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance, and the centerpiece of the weekend, the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races.
Every year an automaker is selected as the Featured Marque for the event. This year the featured marque is Ford, in commemoration of their 100 years of racing heritage. An outstanding presentation of offerings from corporate and private sponsors is guaranteed to pay proper homage to the Ford racing heritage. Included in this eclectic group will be five Ford-powered Sunbeam Tigers, including three notable Rootes competition Tigers: ADU 180B Le Mans fastback race car; AHP 483B Targa Florio rally car, which finished second in the over 3 liter class in the Targa Florio driven by Peter Harper and Rev. Rupert Jones; and the Alan Fraser Monster Tiger, which finished first in the Gran Premio de Teneriffe, again with Tiger racing veteran Peter Harper driving.
- Laguna Seca Race Track
The vision for Laguna Seca developed out of the fabled Pebble Beach Road Races. During the 1950's, some of the world's best sports car drivers tested their skills on the roads winding through the Del Monte Forest. The races brought prestige, fans and money to the Monterey Peninsula. But, within a few years, the event had grown too big, and the cars too fast for the open road. The races needed a new home. Rather than see the event, and its fans and financial impact, go elsewhere, a group of local businesspeople came up with an idea - build a permanent, world-class racetrack.
They founded the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) on November 1, 1956. The charter for the non-profit group explained its mission, to "benefit local charitable and non-profit organizations and to promote the economic vitality of Monterey through the encouragement, solicitation, organization, sponsorship and perpetuation of motorsports events in the vicinity of the Monterey Peninsula." SCRAMP went right to work. The group leased Fort Ord land from the United States Army, and within a year the track was finished. On November 9, 1957, Pete Lovely won the first race at Laguna Seca.
In 1974, the Army transferred ownership of the 500-plus acre parcel containing the race track to Monterey County. At that point, the facility became a public recreation area under the jurisdiction of the Monterey County Parks Department. Despite its unusual arrangements, the race track has always been managed by one proprietor, SCRAMP.
SCRAMP has progressed from producing a single sports car race to promoting five major world-class motorsports events each year featuring national and international motorcycle racing, the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, NASCAR stock cars, Le Mans sports cars and the CART FedEx Championship Series.
(Information Courtesy of Laguna Seca Raceway)
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