Bob Sharp (racing driver)
Bob Sharp was a racing driver and owner of Bob Sharp Racing. Bob is the father of Scott Sharp, an American professional racing driver, best known for his years as a competitor in the Indy Racing League. Between 1967 and 1975, Sharp won the Sports Car Club of America national championships six times, the IMSA GTU title, racing for Datsun, whose cars he sold. One of his main motivations to campaign Datsuns was, he said, "You race cars to sell cars." His success with racing drove his Connecticut dealership to go from selling 200 Datsuns per year to selling 2000. In 1960, after serving in the Army and while attending college, Bob began racing his 1960 Austin-Healey "bug-eye" Sprite, in spite of it being his "daily driver" used to go back and forth to school. While his time at Nichols College was wrapping up, his racing and Datsun owner's club started earning him customers from Boston to Philadelphia, with the dealership becoming known for its racing-inspired attention to detail. Bob, the premier Datsun racer on the East Coast, introduced Paul Newman to competitive driving in 1971.
By the following year, Newman joined Bob Sharp Racing, driving one of Bob's 510 B-sedans, they spent many weekdays at Lime Rock Park discussing racing, while Paul got comfortable with the new Datsun car. The Story of Bob Sharp & Bob Sharp Racing
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is a stock car racing series owned and operated by NASCAR in the Modified Division. The Modified Division is NASCAR's oldest division, is the only open-wheeled division that NASCAR sanctions. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events are held in the northeastern United States, but the 2007 and 2008 tours expanded to the Midwest with the addition of a race in Mansfield, Ohio; the tour races on short oval paved tracks, but the NWMT has made appearances at larger ovals and road courses. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour cars are different from their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series counterparts. Today's cars are based on tubular chassis built by fabricators such as Troyer Engineering, Chassis Dynamics, Spafco and Fury Race Cars / LFR Chassis. Bodies are related to their passenger car counterparts in only two ways. There is a "manufacturers" logo placed on the car, a logo indicating the type of road car it is alleged to be. Neither logo is associated with the actual manufacturer of the race vehicle.
Whelen Modified cars are largely fabricated from sheetmetal, with the front wheels and much of the front suspension exposed. A NASCAR Whelen Modified car is eleven inches shorter in height and over twenty-three inches wider than a Cup car. By rule, tour-type modifieds have a wheelbase of 107 inches, they are powered by small-block V-8 engines of 355 to 368 cubic inches of displacement, although larger or smaller engines can be used. Engine components are similar to those used in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but Whelen Modified Tour engines use a small four-barrel carburetor, which limits their output to 625 to 700 horsepower. On large tracks such as New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the engines must have a restrictor plate between the carburetor and intake manifold, reducing engine power and car speed for safety reasons. Approved "body styles" for 2006 include the Chevrolet Cavalier and Monte Carlo, the Dodge Avenger and Stealth, the Ford Mustang and Escort, the Plymouth Laser and Sundance, the Pontiac Sunbird, J2000, Grand Prix.
The NASCAR Modified Division was formed as part of NASCAR's creation in December 1947. NASCAR held a modified race as its first sanctioned event, on February 15, 1948, on the beach course at Daytona Beach, Florida. Red Byron won the event and 11 more races that year, won the first NASCAR Modified Championship. Post-World War II modifieds were a form of "stock car" which allowed some modification substitution of stronger truck parts. Most cars were pre-WWII coaches; this pattern continued through the 1960s, with aftermarket performance parts and later-model chassis becoming more common. Modifieds became known for technical innovation, both in homebuilt parts and in adapting components from other types of vehicles. By 1970, many modifieds featured big-block engines, fuel injection, eighteen-inch-wide rear tires, radically offset engine locations, other technologies that made them faster on short tracks than any full-bodied race cars including Grand National cars; the predecessor to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was NASCAR's National Modified Championship, determined by total points from weekly NASCAR-sanctioned races as well as a schedule of national championship races.
Parts of the northeastern and southeastern US were hotbeds of modified racing in the 1950s and 1960s. The same car was raced on both dirt and paved tracks, changing only tires and springs and shock absorbers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the technology of dirt and pavement modifieds diverged to make them separate types of race car. NASCAR was no longer sanctioning dirt tracks which held modified races, so the NASCAR modified rules became the standard for asphalt Modifieds. Most unsanctioned tracks used similar modified rules to NASCAR's, or specified the same cars with cost-limiting rules such as smaller engines or narrow tires. In the 1980s, it became prohibitively expensive for modified teams to tow long distances to sixty or more races per year, including Watkins Glen International and Daytona International Speedway, Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, North Wilkesboro Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, with the North Wilkesboro races part of the Cup weekend. Richie Evans ran 66 NASCAR modified features in the final year of the old system.
To enable more than a few teams to contend for the championship, it was decided to reformat the Modified Division's championship to a limited schedule of races not conflicting with one another. This change mirrored similar format changes to the Grand National Division starting in 1972 and the Late Model Sportsman Division starting in 1982. Richie Evans' 1985 death at Martinsville, along with other asphalt modified fatalities such as Charlie Jarzombek, Corky Cookman, Tommy Druar, Don Pratt, Tony Jankowiak, led to questions about car rigidity w
The Canadian-American Challenge Cup, or Can-Am, was an SCCA/CASC sports car racing series from 1966 to 1987. Can-Am started out as a race series for group 7 sports racers with two races in Canada and four races in the United States of America; the series was sponsored by Johnson Wax. The series was governed by rules called out under the FIA group 7 category with unrestricted engine capacity and few other technical restrictions; the group 7 category was a Formula Libre for sports cars. As long as the car had two seats, bodywork enclosing the wheels, met basic safety standards, it was allowed. Group 7 had arisen as a category for non-homologated sports car "specials" in Europe and, for a while in the 1960s, group 7 racing was popular in the United Kingdom as well as a class in hillclimb racing in Europe. Group 7 cars were designed more for short-distance sprints than for endurance racing; some group 7 cars were built in Japan by Nissan and Toyota, but these did not compete outside their homeland.
SCCA sports car racing was becoming more popular with European constructors and drivers, the United States Road Racing Championship for large-capacity sports racers gave rise to the group 7 Can-Am series. There was good appearance money and plenty of trade backing. Similar group 7 cars ran in the European Interserie series, but this was much lower-key than the Can-Am. On-track, the series was dominated by Lola, followed by a period in which it became known as the "Bruce and Denny show", the works McLaren team dominated until the Porsche 917 was perfected and became unbeatable. After Porsche's withdrawal, Shadow dominated the last season before Can-Am faded away to be replaced by Formula 5000. Racing was close—one marque was dominant—but the noise and spectacle of the cars made the series popular; the energy crisis and the increased cost of competing in Can-Am meant that the series folded after the lackluster 1974 season. F5000's reign lasted with a second generation of Can-Am following; this was a fundamentally different series based on converted F5000 cars with closed-wheel bodies.
There was a two-liter class based on Formula Two chassis. The second iteration of Can-Am faded away as IMSA and CART racing became more popular in the early 1980s but remained active until 1987. Can-Am remains a well-remembered form of racing due to its popularity at one time, the spectacular cars and the lineup of talented drivers. Can-Am cars remain popular in historic racing. Notable drivers in the original Can-Am series included every acclaimed driver of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jim Hall, Mark Donohue, Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Oliver, Peter Revson, John Surtees all drove Can-Am cars competitively and were successful, winning races and championship titles. Al Holbert, Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Patrick Tambay, Al Unser Jr. are among the drivers who launched their careers in the revived Can-Am series. Can-Am was the proving ground for what, at the time, was cutting-edge technology. Can-Am cars were among the first race cars to sport wings, effective turbocharging, ground-effect aerodynamics, aerospace materials like titanium.
This led to the eventual downfall of the original series when costs got prohibitive, but during its height Can-Am cars were at the forefront of racing technology and were as fast as or faster around laps of certain circuits than the contemporary Formula One cars. Noted constructors in the Can-Am series include McLaren, Lola, BRM, Shadow and Porsche. McLaren cars were specially designed race cars; the Can-Am cars were developments of the sports cars which were introduced in 1964 for the North American sports car races. The development variants M1A and M1B were raced as factory cars in 1966 with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon as drivers. In 1967 for the Can-Am series, the McLaren team introduced a new model, the M6A; the McLaren M6A introduced what was to become the trademark orange color for the team. The McLaren team was considered "multi national" for the times and consisted of team owner and leader McLaren, fellow New Zealander Amon and another "kiwi", the 1967 Formula One world champion, Denny Hulme, team manager Teddy Mayer, mechanics Tyler Alexander, Gary Knutson, Lee Muir, George Bolthoff, Frank Zimmerman, Tom Anderson, Alan Anderson, David Dunlap, Leo Beattie, Donny Ray Everett, Haig Alltounian, Don Beresford, Alec Greaves, Vince Higgins, Roger Bailey, Tony Attard, Cary Taylor, Jimmy Stone, Chris Charles, Colin Beanland, Alan McCall and Alistair Caldwell.
The M6 series were a full aluminum monocoque design with no uncommon features but, for the times, there was an uncommon attention to detail in preparation by the team members. The M6 series of cars were powered by Chevy "mouse-motor" small-block V8s built by Al Bartz Engines in Van
P. J. Jones
Parnell Velko "P. J." Jones is an American professional racing driver. He has contested in multiple disciplines, including NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA GT Championship, the American Le Mans Series, USAC, the Chili Bowl, the Stadium Super Trucks. Jones was runner-up at the GTP class of the IMSA GT Championship in 1993 and fourth in 1992, he finished fourth at the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, second at the 1999 CART race at Nazareth. His father is Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones and his brother Page Jones is a former racing driver. Jones' preliminary efforts in racing were, in a fashion not atypical for young drivers, focused on go-karting. Upon graduation from his introductory-level competitions, Jones began to enter the oval races at Ascot Park, much as his father did decades prior. Accumulating experience and accolades, Jones would progress vertically to United States Auto Club-sanctioned events. From numerous choices within the USAC governing body's expansive portfolio of open-wheel divisions, Jones opted to participate in the West Coast Midget category.
1986's racing season saw Jones earn the rookie of the year title in that class as the then-young driver began a quest to surpass his father in auto racing accomplishments. As Jones continued to craft a reputation as the future of motorsport in USAC, he began to dabble in IMSA GT, foreshadowing the dawn of his career's peak, which would take place, at least in part, in the GTP classification within the series. At this stage, Jones was participating in the GTO and GTU classes with Clayton-Cunningham Racing and their stable of Mazda RX-7 vehicles. A partial season in both GTO and GTU left Jones just fourteenth and twenty-seventh in the respective standings. Low rankings, would not overshadow Jones' ability in the rotary-engined racing car. In 1988, Jones scored victory in a world championship sprint car race which transpired in Auckland, proving that his talents transcended both the scope of pavement racing and the borders of the United States of America; the decade would not close without another racing reconnaissance from P.
J. Jones; this series encompassed elements from both midget racing and sports car racing, serving as a fusion of lessons Jones had learned in his prior experience. Masterful in applying the skills he had developed as a youth, Jones triumphed on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as he scored a victory to crown a season's efforts which would culminate in a sixth-place final classification. In the same year, Jones was suspended for thirty days from USAC competition after deliberately colliding with a competitor's vehicle. Jones returned to the American Racing Series in 1990. Though with the same team, utilizing the same March/Buick package, Jones failed to score a single race victory. An unsuccessful foray into what is now NASCAR's K&N Pro Series West and a handful of forgettable trials at the wheel of a Ford Ranger in SCCA's Racetruck Challenge rendered this year difficult from a Jonesian perspective; the promise of the 1980s had now faded into an oppressive doubt that could have jeopardized a blossoming career.
Jones was not the kind of prospect to be discouraged by slow development and rose from the quiet 1990 to reestablish his potential as an auto racing champion in 1991. His season began in GTP, running the 24 Hours of Daytona for Dan Gurney and his All American Racers squad, which fielded a Toyota-powered Eagle HF90 in a race that would not see the loftiest of successes. Still, for Jones to be considered by a man as keen in motoring matters as Gurney provided a much-needed elevation in confidence level that would propel Jones through the coming year, where his focus remained on the American Racing Series. Racing down an avenue which would take him to the season's vice-runner-up position, Jones scored two victories in twelve races, exhibiting excellence on the narrow confines of treacherous street circuits in Toronto and Denver. Having now proven that his talents were beyond the challenges the American Racing Series could offer, Jones would never return to the championship subsequent to 1991's conclusion.
Prior to the year's end, Jones participated in an ice race, much as fellow North American racing drivers Paul Menard and Greg Moore have at various stages in their own careers. In 1992, Jones became a full-fledged professional racing driver, now joining Gurney's team for a full season's run in IMSA GTP piloting the brand-new Eagle MkIII. Jones was outclassed by his teammate, Juan Manuel Fangio II, who had taken the series title, but such results must be qualified with recognizance of the fact that Jones was a rookie in prototype competitions and had to adapt to the powerful cars which featured astronomical amounts of downforce. Fourth in points with two wins, as Jones was by the year's end, had far exceeded any reasonable expectations one could have for a young driver in such refined machinery. Outside of Jones' two wins on the IMSA circuit, the second-generation driver dominated the 1992 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach. All American Racers retained Jones for 1993 and swept the championship and vice-championship positions in IMSA's GTP category with P.
J. trailing Fangio. Now acclimated to the Eagle MkIII Toyota, Jones capitalized on his year's GTP experience in the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona, which he won; the victory was shared with co-drivers Mark Dismore and Rocky Moran, father of one of Jones' future sports car teammates. As an individual, Jones excelled, erasing any doubts that he relied too on his partners for
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a sports car racing series based in the United States and Canada and organized by the International Motor Sports Association. It is a result of a merger between two existing North American sports car racing series, the American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. At its inception, the name was United SportsCar Championship, which subsequently changed to the Tudor United SportsCar Championship when Rolex SA signed their Tudor brand to a title sponsorship deal. WeatherTech signed a deal to take over title sponsorship of the series starting in 2016, rebranding the series; the season begins with its premier race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the last weekend of January and ends with the Petit Le Mans, another North American Endurance Cup race, in early October. On September 5, 2012 it was announced that the Grand-Am Road Racing sanctioning body would merge with the Braselton-based International Motor Sports Association, as such, both bodies would merge their premiere sports car series, the Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series with plans to debut in 2014.
On November 20, 2012 the merger committee announced that SME Branding were selected to develop the name and identity of the new series. On January 8, 2013, the two series' announced a preliminary class structure for the new merged series. Grand-Am's Daytona Prototype category and IMSA's P2 would combine into a single-prototype class, with allowances for the unique DeltaWing to compete in the new class; the Le Mans Prototype Challenge class of single spec cars from the American Le Mans Series would continue as is, although the cars will switch to Grand-Am's Continental Tires. The GT class of the American Le Mans Series would remain unchanged, while Grand-Am's GT class will form another GT class, be combined with the American Le Mans GTC category; the only category of cars not represented in the new series is the American Le Mans Series' P1 category. The reveal date for the new series was March 14, 2013 at the Chateau Élan Hotel and Conference Center at Sebring International Raceway, two days before the 12 Hours of Sebring.
American Le Mans CEO Scott Atherton announced the new sanctioning body would remain IMSA while Ed Bennett revealed the new titles for the series' five classes. SME Branding Senior Partner Ed O'Hara announced the new United SportsCar Racing title and logo, a name submitted through a contest won by Louis Satterlee of Florida, a racer in the Florida Karting Championship Series. On August 9, 2013, Fox Sports 1 announced it had signed a TV contract with IMSA to televise the entire USCC season between 2014 and 2018. On September 12, 2013, Tudor was announced as the title sponsor for the series, named the United SportsCar Championship. On August 8, 2015, WeatherTech was announced as the new title sponsor for the series, renaming the series to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, starting with the 2016 season. Beginning with the 2019 season the series is covered by NBC Sports in the United States; the NBC broadcast network will air nine hours of coverage annually, with the majority of the coverage airing on NBCSN.
CNBC and the NBC Sports app will provide supplemental coverage. Based on a Canadian series before being acquired by Grand-Am, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is a production-based touring car series; the series is split into two classes known as Grand Sport, intended for large capacity GT-style cars, Street Tuner, consisting of smaller sedans and coupes, some of which are front-wheel drive. The IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge until 2013 supported some Rolex Series races but headlined some of its own dates; this series continued with the United SportsCar Championship after the merger and is somewhat comparable to the old Trans Am Series. There are four classes in the SportsCar Championship series, featuring two sports prototype category and two grand tourer classes: Sports prototypes: Daytona Prototype International: The flagship class, it combined Grand-Am's Daytona Prototype with the American Le Mans Series class 2 prototypes and the DeltaWing, all built to 2014 specifications.
Starting in 2019 the LMP2 cars were split to a separate class. Le Mans Prototype 2: A new class for 2019, it features pro-am driver lineups. Cars will be built to the specifications of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from which the class's name derives. GT Le Mans: A continuation of the ALMS GT class, it consists of cars matching the ACO's GTE specification. GT Daytona: a class that combined the Grand-Am GT & GX classes with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from the ALMS GTC class. Starting in the 2016 season the class adopted full FIA GT3 specifications; some races may only use selected classes of cars, for example: Any class car may be permitted entry into the Rolex 24, while at the Grand Prix of Long Beach only the Daytona Prototype International and GT Le Mans are entered. LMP2 and GTLM classes are compatible with regulations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Note: From 2014-2018 this championship was known as Patrón North American Endurance Cup IMSA official site United SportsCar Championship official site
John Fitch (racing driver)
John Cooper Fitch was an American racing driver and inventor. He was the first American to race automobiles in Europe in the post-war era. In the course of a driving career which spanned 18 years, Fitch won such notable sports car races as the Gran Premio de Eva Duarte Perón – Sport, 1953 12 Hours of Sebring, 1955 Mille Miglia, the 1955 RAC Tourist Trophy, as well as numerous SCCA National Sports Car Championship races, he involved in Briggs Cunningham’s ambitious Le Mans projects in the early 1950s, was a member of the Mercedes-Benz sport car team. He competed in two World Championship Grands Prix. After retirement in 1964, Fitch was the manager of Lime Rock circuit, a former team boss of Chevrolet's Corvette racing team, his biggest legacy is motor sport safety, as well as pioneering work to improve road car safety, this has helped save countless lives. He had worked on advanced driver safety capsule systems, he was a track design consultant, as well as inventing many other automotive devices.
Into his 90s, Fitch was still a consultant, appeared at historic events. John Fitch was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1917, he was a descendent of the inventor of John Fitch. Fitch's stepfather was an executive with the Stutz Motor Company, which introduced him to cars and racing at an early age. In the late thirties, Fitch attended Kentucky Military Institute studied civil engineering at Lehigh University. While in 1939, he travelled to Europe and saw the last car race at Brooklands before the outbreak of World War II, he returned to the United States, sailed around the Gulf of Mexico in a 32-foot schooner from Sarasota to New Orleans. His first passion was not cars, it was airplanes, so it was not surprising that when war broke out, he volunteered to become a pilot, whilst in England on an extended trip around the world. In spring of 1941, he volunteered for the United States Army Air Corps, his service took him to North Africa, where he flew the A-20 Havoc and on to England. By 1944, Captain Fitch was a P-51 Mustang pilot with the Fourth Fighter Group on bomber escort missions, became one of the Americans to shoot down a German Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.
Just two months before the end of the war, he was shot down himself while making an ill-advised third strafing pass on an Axis train and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war. When Fitch returned to the U. S. he was among many young pilots. Fitch opened an MG car dealership and began racing an MG-TC at tracks like Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Fitch was good. So good in fact, he caught the attention of the wealthy racing enthusiast, Briggs Cunningham, who encouraged Fitch to start the 1951 season racing in Argentina. In 1950, Fitch raced his Ford Flathead engined Fiat 1100, which he soon modified into the "Fitch Model B", ended the year by driving a Jaguar XK120 in the Sebring Grand Prix of Endurance Six Hours. In 1951, in addition to campaigning in his Fitch-Whitmore, he boosted his early reputation by winning the Gran Premio de Eva Duarte Perón – Sport in his Allard-Cadillac J2; as a result of that win, Juan Perón generously awarded him membership in the Justicialist Party, whilst the trophy and a kiss were given by Eva Perón.
He clinched the support of Cunningham, whose financial clout allowed Fitch to race. He was drove a Cunningham C-2 for the Cunningham team at several races, including the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans, scoring a number of impressive victories in the early ‘50s at then-fledgling road courses like Elkhart Lake and Watkins Glen, was crowned the first SCCA National Sports Car Champion. In 1951, John raced an Effyh Formula Three car, winning at Bridgehampton and a class win at Giants Despair. In 1952, Fitch continued to race the Fitch-Whitmore as well as a Chrysler-engined Cunningham C4-R for the Cunningham team at several races, a works Sunbeam at the Alpine Rally. Seven years after shooting at Germans, he was racing their cars - a Porsche 356 at a race at the legendary Nürburgring, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL prototype in the Carrera Panamericana, it was at Le Mans that Fitch came close to making Cunningham’s dream of an all-American Le Mans victory come true, after setting the fastest lap in his C4-R, he was forced to retire late in the race as a result of ‘bad fuel’.
During the race, Fitch was impressed by the new Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs, while Mercedes’ team chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, impressed by Fitch’s performance, offered Fitch the opportunity to test the car at Nürburgring. Advised by Mercedes’s team manager, Alfred Neubauer, to take it easy, Fitch’s agenda was more aggressive as he saw this as an audition to join the Daimler outfit, he drove his allotted two laps as. Neubauer's response was to have Fitch do one more lap to prove. Fitch shaved a few seconds off his previous lap and the session ended with the proverbial, "We’ll be in touch if something comes up." He decided to make "something" happen, persuaded Neubauer to send a team of 300 SLs to Mexico for the Carrera Panamaricana, a race that the German team weren’t going to enter. Fitch’s persistence won, he was invited to Mexico City to pilot one of the team’s trio of cars and drivers Hermann Lang and Karl Kling, two coupes of the Germans and a new, but untried, roadster for Fitch. Fitch’s car kept throwing the treads off its tyres and he experienced a high-speed blowout that took out one of the shock absorber mounts, which affected the front suspension.
With Kling and Lang finishing first and second, putting Mercedes-Benz back on the ma