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CONCOURS JOURNAL

A Concours Journal - periodical dedicated to all things good in life. Automobiles Racing Travel Food Wine


CONCOURS JOURNAL

photography director hal crocker publisher & creative director Nancy Suttles web director Jarrod Taylor

••• Cover Photo: Hal Crocker Porsche Emblem photo: Nancy Suttles www.teamunicorn.com All rights Reserved.

© 2009 Nancy Suttles. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


REAR VIEW MIRROR

DONOHUE RULES... Forty years ago Mark Donohue the father of the 2009 Daytona 24 pole setter and winner David Donohue, who I will focus on for this article, won this race with codriver Chuck Parsons. The senior Donohue started on the out side pole in his Penske Chevy powered Lola T70 Mk3B. Next to him on the pole was Jo Siffert in one of five factory Porsche 908Ls(long-tail). The rest is history...

Story and Photos by Hal Crocker

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MARK DONOHUE

“Rear View Mirror” A glance back in time as we move forward With Hal Crocker Welcome to the first installment of “Rear View Mirror”. Quite a few of you know me from the races; some of you know me from reading my articles. For those of you that do not know me let me do an introduction and tell you a little about myself. My name is Hal Crocker. I was born in 1944. Now that we have that out of the way lets get to the fun… Pass the Merlot please. My objective with this column is to entertain and enlighten you. For some of you old-timers, I will cause brain cells to fire across synapse long dormant and take you back in time to memories long forgotten. For my younger readers, I will keep you in mind and try not to lose you as we make this trip. In this joint adventure I anticipate that we will have fun and laugh a lot, but, I must warn you; I expect we will also encounter all the emotions of life including sadness and anger along the way. At the end, I hope that we are friends and we look back with fondness on this journey. Forty years has a way of giving one a unique perspective. Yes, I have been involved in professional motorsports for forty years. Up until theses last few years it was mostly as a photographer though I did dabble at a few other things along the way. Now in my old age I have taken up writing to help regain my vocabulary after suffering a mild stroke. It also serves to keep me out of the bars and away from my many associates of questionable character, all of whom I love dearly, well most all. With this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona the Gods have both smiled on me and cursed me at the same time. What a race to kick this column off with.


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There is such an abundance of good material that I am going to have to triage…so much so little space. If this was a fiction piece I would be hard pressed to come up with a better scrip. Forty years ago Mark Donohue the father of this year’s pole setter and winner David Donohue, who I will focus on for this article, won this race with co-driver Chuck Parsons. The senior Donohue started on the out side pole in his Penske Chevy powered Lola T70 Mk3B. Next to him on the pole was Jo Siffert in one of five factory Porsche 908Ls(long-tail). With their invading Teutonic army of personnel and machines, Porsche, was with out a doubt the odds on favorite for that year’s win, especially since they dominated this race the year before in 1968 with a one-two-three finish with their triad of factory 907s. Also in the field of 63 starters were five other Lola T70s and a brace of Ford GT40s entered by John Wyer. Since a Chevy engine had never won a major 24-hour race, the Penske Lola was what the odds makers call a long shot. The long shot hit. This was the first time for Mark Donohue, Roger Penske and Chevrolet to win a major international 24 Hour race. This was quite a big deal for General Motors at the time for Ford had already won the 1965 Daytona 12 Hour Continental followed by winning the first Daytona 24 Hour in 1966. If this was not bad enough for GM, Ford had also taken on Ferrari at Le Mans and had won Le Mans three times. They would also go on and win again this year thus making for four Le Mans wins with their GT40 program. Two years later, 1971, Mark Donohue found himself again on the front row of this race but this time he was on the pole with his Group 5 Penske Ferrari 512M and the odds on favorite of any car in the field to win. In the race Mark bettered his pole speed of 133.919 mph

with a speed of 135.467mph. This was an increase in speed of over 13 mph in just two years. Even though the Penske Ferrari was the fastest car in the race it finished second to the Gulf Wyer Porsche 917K of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver. The Penske loss was due to an extended pit stop for repairs after Donohue got into someone else’s wreck on the banking in NASCAR 4. The Wyer Porsche covered 2621.28 miles thus setting a new distance record for the race. See When Giants Raced part 5 for complete story. It is this magic early period that we will look back on and contrast to this year’s race. One thing that we can count on in life is change and there has been a lot related to Daytona and this race in the past forty years. I am reminded of this fact as I exit I95 onto Florida state highway 92. Just off this exit in the old days was “The Bottom of the Barrel”, a bar located in the Howard Johnson’s that was the hang out of the high up pubas of the media better know to us peons as, “The Smug Bastards Club”. I could do a book around this bar but it would be xxx rated and not reflect well on this group other wise it would be good reading. What use to be a two-lane highway splitting dense Florida undergrowth is now eight lanes with solid commerce along both sides and is now better known as International Speedway Boulevard. Long gone is Club 92 across from the track and the great all you can eat lobster deal. Club 92 was the backdrop for the Bill Neely “Let Me Stir Your Drink Madam” story. Neely, a good friend was the real Stroker Ace. We exchanged emails on a daily bases until his death last year. At the time we were working together on resurrecting Stroker Ace. Damn, just damn, I miss my friend. We no longer turn right at the light just outside of the tunnel into the track but instead we turn left on Mason Avenue for


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credentials have been moved from the little yellow cinderblock building located right outside of the tunnel to a location about two miles off site where Donna Freismuth, long time media director, has her own command center complete with a big parking lot. What use to take an hour plus now takes about five minutes. There is a part of me that misses that credential queue for it was like a party to kick of the race season. It was a social thing where everybody reconnected and a lot of good banter took place. That said, credentialing wins the award and is the high mark for what I consider positive change, not that there are not other changes in the positive column and I will mention some of these as we go but to have everything go right and to have your credential in hand is a stress reducer and counts for bonus points. Today as you come out of the old tunnel into the infield of the track I am again reminded of change. Gone are all the old yellow cinderblock buildings of the early years. Relating to the road course, turn one and pit out have been modified. Turn 2, “the bus stop�, has been moved closer to turn one thus shortening the straight behind the pits. About the only thing that looks the same is the NASCAR oval and even that has been altered with a chicane added at the end of the back straight for the road races. But this place still brings a feeling of awe. To a young driver it must be liking to a gladiator entering the Coliseum. For that matter, I suspect even the old veterans feel shades of this or they should for I am reminded of Dale Earnhardt as I look back over my shoulder at the exit of NASCAR 4. NASCAR 4 has been the nemesis of a good number of drivers, newbees and veterans. Back in the old days there was no chicane to slow the cars before


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• • • Looking at my photo of the finish, I smile because I know the force is with me. As David Donohue took his victory lap I thought about Mark Donohue, Bob Snodgrass and Bob Carlson, all of who are no longer with us in the flesh but all connected spiritually to the Brumos team. I don’t know if somehow they had a hand in this victory but if they are watching they have to be smiling.


The Amelia Q

2010 marks the 15th Anniversary of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Honoree: Sir Stirling Moss, OBE Featured Marque: Porsche 917

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Sterling Moss in a 1957 Aston Martin DBR2

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The Amelia 2010 Honoree

Sir Stirling Moss If ever there was a man born to race it was Stirling Moss. Both his parents raced and they made motorsports a family thing. With their parents support both Stirling and his sister Pat started racing. While Pat split her interest between horses and car, Stirling focused on cars. Young Moss soon developed a reputation for driving anything and going fast. There is a saying in racing, “There is no substitute for seat time” and Moss was getting a lot. The combination of raw talent plus seat time soon developed Moss into a driver to be reckoned with and one that drew factory interest. Once Moss entered the world of factory supported race teams he soon took to the business of being a professional driver in a time when this was not a profession but an avocation of the well-to-do. Much to the chagrin of many in this elite clique, Moss blazed a trail where none had ventured before becoming the model for what is today the professional driver. Moss’s rise to the top of his driving career was cut short by an accident at Goodwood in 1962. Unable to regain his level of driving acuity he moved from the role of professional driver into a motosport entrepreneur. Much like cars he tried and did a good number of things. From personal endorsements, authoring books, TV commentator, voice over for movie cartoon characters, to you name it, Moss has probably found a way to have fun and make money at it. Moss’s reputation as a businessman is exceeded by his reputation as a true sportsman with an appreciation for fair play, fun and danger. Let me close this with a quote from Moss given in an interview about current safety in racing. “I certainly had an appreciation of the danger which to me was part of the pleasure of racing. To me now racing is - the dangers are taken away: if it’s difficult, they put in a chicane. So really now the danger is minimal - which is good, because people aren’t hurt. But for me the fact that I had danger on my shoulder made it much more exciting. It’s rather like if you flirt with a girl, it’s more exciting than paying for a prostitute, because while you know you’re gonna get it, the other one you don’t. And I think with driving a motor car, the danger is a very necessary ingredient. Like if you’re cooking, you need salt. You can cook without salt, but it doesn’t have the flavour. It’s the same with motor racing without danger. For me.” Stirling and wife Susie, that is Sir Stirling Moss, OBE and Lady Moss to us common colonists, bring an atmosphere of fun to any event that they attend. This in itself would be incentive enough for me to once again return to my now annual pilgrimage. •

Much to the chagrin of many in this elite clique, Moss blazed a trail where none had ventured before becoming the model for what is today the professional driver.

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The Amelia

Hood ornaments are literally miniature pieces of sculpture. Popular from the 1920’s - 1950’s, hood ornaments have bcome collectible pieces of art.


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The Amelia

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The Amelia

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Vic Elford in No. 4 Martini & Rossi Porsche 917 leads into Turn I of the 1971 Daytona 24 Hour.

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The Amelia 2010 Featured Marquee

Porsche 917 Many motor racing enthusiasts believe the Porsche 917 to be the greatest racing car of all time. This can be debated, but there is no argument that this is the car that made Porsche a major player in the world of motorsports. The 917 was the car that won Le Mans the first time for Porsche in 1970. Introduced at the 1969 Geneva Auto Show and outlawed by the FIA for the 1972 season, this Group 5 Super Car enjoyed a short life as a champion, but its reputation is legend. The Porsche 917 has been acclaimed as “The Greatest Racing Car of All Time” in an expert poll conducted by Motor Sport magazine. The 917 is certainly one of the most iconic sports racing cars of all time, largely for its high speed and huge power output, and was documented in the US by Hal Crocker in the early 1970s. This was also the beginning of a career that spans five decades as one of the most notable motorsports photojournalists in the world. 2009 marks the 40th Anniversary of the introduction of the 917 and in commemoration “The Amelia” will feaute this daunting marque at the 2010 event. I was there when the 917 took to the track in anger


A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO THE PORSCHE 917 A 2010 Collectible Calendar

WHEN GIANTS RACED > PORSCHE 917 TEAM UNICORN • HAL CROCKER PHOTOGRAPHY


> FROM CROCKER’S LOCKER <

The Bell Still Rings WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HAL CROCKER

• • •

Derek Reginald Bell, MBE is a former racing driver from England who was extremely successful in sportscar racing , winning 5 times at Le Mans. He also raced in Formula One for the Ferrari, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno teams. He has been described by fellow racer Hans-Joachim Stuck as one of the most liked drivers of his generation. So, what act of chivalry did Bell perform to earn an MBE? Bell received this award in 1986 for services to motorsports. Yes, motorsports. This hardworking farm boy that worked a tractor on Church Farm within earshot of Goodwood did it the hard way: He earned it...

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