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Historic Stock Car Racing believes cars matter

Posted in Newsworthy by Terry Parkhurst | August 9th, 2008 | Leave a Reply |

#43 was Richard Petty\’s number; but HSCRS wants you to remember the marque, too. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)

Do you remember when the fleet of cars lapping Daytona or Talladega looked vaguely akin to the cars you’d see on the street? Well then, the Historic Stock Car Racing (HSCRS) series is for you. It was founded in 1994 and its purpose as an organization is the restoration, preservation and continued competition of former NASCAR stock cars.

You’re not going to find that rolling doorstop, the Car of Tomorrow here. Instead, you’re going to find a rainbow collection of multi-hued variants of the best the General, Ford and Chrysler had to offer before stock cars began to loose their soul. Think pre-millennium machines.

NASCAR these days are really more about the drivers, than the cars.

“We’re driver dependent,” admitted Steve Peterson, technical director for the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, a few years back to the New York Times. “They’re the heroes. We’re not talking about a Peugeot engine versus a Renault engine. In NASCAR, it’s about Jeff Gordon versus Tony Stewart.”

But in HSCRS, it’s all about the racecars themselves and the series’ members believed in the continuing competition of those racecars. These are owners and drivers who believe that historic thoroughbreds belong on a racetrack and not in a museum. Call it living history.

There are just two categories for all cars: Vintage for cars aged 1948 through 1980; Historic for cars aged 1981 through 1994. Cars are not accepted for competition without a documented racing history. One cannot make a “new old race car,” if you will, and expect to be a part of HSCRS.

The HSCRS is big on giving back to the community; as a result, it focuses on fundraising activities for children’s charities.

HSCRS brought what was literally a colorful selection of vintage NASCAR racecars to Pacific Raceways, just outside of Kent, Washington on the July fourth weekend, as part of the Northwest Historics. The Historics are a vintage automobile race, for all sorts of cars, staged to benefit Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. It generally features vintage sports cars, sports sedan, open wheel racecars (such as Formula Vee or Formula Ford) and even some vintage CanAm cars.

Nine cars came to Pacific Raceways: a 1968 Ford Torino (blue/gold) driven by Jimmy Castle; a 1980 Oldsmobile 442 silver/black) driven by John Davis; a 1987 Chevrolet driven by Gary Sousa; a 1991 Chevrolet Lumina (yellow) driven by Vic Edelbrock Jr.; a 1992 Ford Thunderbird (green/white) driven by John Scherer; a 1993 Chevrolet Lumina (rainbow) driven by Steve Schoellhorn; a 1993 Chevrolet (NACAR) driven by Dan Verstuyft; a 1994 Ford Thunderbird (blue) driven by Garland Self; and a 1995 Ford Thunderbird (blue) driven by George Fraser.

Ernie Irvan originally drove the 1991 Chevrolet Lumina, in NASCAR competition, driven by Vic Edelbrock Jr. this year.

Pacific Raceways is 2.25 miles long, with 9 turns and a straightaway that measures about a quarter mile. The straightaway dumps right into the first turn, which is a tight twist and turn-around into turn three and then down a hill at about a 35-degree angle and into two more turns. The result was the big NASCAR cars couldn’t ever achieve the speeds you’d see at Talladega or Daytona. It was reminiscent of the days when stock cars raced at the great, now defunct, track down in Riverside, California.

Steve Schoellhorn in his 1993 Chevrolet Lumina got around the course with a best time of 1:36.351 minutes, in a 7 lap race on Saturday, to take the checked flag for first. Dan Verstuyft did the best time around the track, with a lap time of 1:35.124 minutes and achieved the best overall speed with just 85.152 miles-per-hour. Of course, on the straightaway, the cars could hit 130 to 140 mph, before they’d have to get on the brakes, in a big way, to make it through the turns.

Sunday’s race started with a ground pounding, full throttle pounce by Garland Self in the 1994 Ford Thunderbird. His first lap around the track was done in a scant 1:34 minutes (timed by reporter’s watch). But by the second go-‘round, Steve Schoellhorn had taken the lead and John Davis’ 1980 Oldsmobile 442 had to coast into the pits, apparently with engine problems.

On the third lap Self passed Schellhorn going out onto the straightaway. By the fifth lap, going onto the straightaway, John Scherer had managed to position his 1992 Ford Thunderbird into the lead, with Schoellhorn hot on his tail, followed by Garland and then George Fraser in a 1995 Ford Thunderbird; and on the final lap, Garland Self was in the lead with his ’94 Thunderbird, followed closely by John Scherer in his ’92 Thunderbird.

The following weekend, HSCRS brought its show to the Portland Historics races. There are two more races, later this year, where they will appear: the SCCA Historic at Infineon Raceway on September 19-21, and the Thunderhill Shelby Club Event on October 18 and 19. Further information can be gleaned at the series website: www.hscrs.com – Terry Parkhurst

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