Five legendary California race-car drivers will be part of a seminar discussing the birth of the popularity of sports-car racing in California and the United States during the third annual Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sonoma Raceway, June 2-3, 2012. This is the 26th annual historic-car event organized by General Racing Ltd. in Sonoma.
The seminar will follow the event’s theme, “Moments in Time: a Celebration of the History of Motorsports,” and will feature Grand Marshal Bill Pollack, winner of the main event at the 1952 Golden Gate Park Road Races in San Francisco; Don Dickey and Mick Marston, who competed at Golden Gate Park in the ‘50s; Dick Guldstrand, renowned Corvette driver and engineer; and British driver Peter Giddings, who moved to California following a successful European racing career.
Other racing legends, such as Don Blumenfeld of San Mateo, Bruce Marhenke of Alamo and Alan Selby of Santa Rosa, who competed in the Golden Gate Park Road Races in the ‘50s, will be introduced during the seminar by Gary Horstkorta, co-author of the book, “Golden Gate Remembered,” published in 2007.
Following the seminar, Pollack will be available at the trackside bookstore to sign his newly reprinted book, “Red Wheels and White Sidewalls: Confessions of an Allard Racer,” originally published in 2004.
Open to event ticket holders and participants, the free seminar will begin at 10 a.m., on Saturday, June 2, in the Driver’s Lounge, located in Infineon Raceway’s paddock area. Event ticket information may be found at infineonraceway.com/historics http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1129796 or by phone at 800-870-RACE (7223).
“It’s a privilege and an honor to have at the seminar not only Bill Pollack, who won the Guardsman’s Cup Race at Golden Gate Park in 1952, but Don Dickey and Mick Marston, who raced in later events at San Francisco’s famous park,” said Steve Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd., who has organized premier historic car events for four decades.
“Dick Guldstrand is a California boy whose driving and engineering abilities helped bring the Chevrolet Corvette into prominence in the ‘60s. He brings his expertise and outgoing personality to the seminar. Expect great stories.
“Peter Giddings is the ultimate gentleman racer, who found his way to California from England after competing in numerous races and hill climbs overseas in some of the world’s significant race cars. He’ll provide his perspective on how American and European sports-car racing influenced each other in the early years.”
Here are short backgrounds of each seminar participant:
Bill Pollack – event Grand Marshal – Sherman Oaks
Pollack began his racing career in the late 1940s and early ‘50s racing an MG, then won the Pebble Beach Road Race twice in Tom Carstens’ famous red-wheeled, Cadillac-powered Allard J2, as well as The Guardsman’s Cup Race, the main event of the SCCA-sanctioned 1952 Golden Gate Park Road Races. Driving a variety of other cars, such as Alfa Romeos, Porsches and Maseratis, he won in Stockton, Willow Springs, Torrey Pines, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, among other venues, competing in over 60 races. He is also credited with designing the race course at Willow Springs, Calif. He is the author of “Red Wheels and White Sidewalls: Confessions of an Allard Racer,” originally published in 2004.
Don Dickey – Grass Valley
Dickey’s nearly decade-long racing career began in 1952 when he took third place in the novice race at Stockton Airport in his Jaguar XK120. He became a regular and successful participant in West Coast races and hill climbs, including events at Golden Gate Park, Pebble Beach, Reno, Laguna Seca, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Arcata, Cobb Mountain and Sacramento. Entering six events in 1956, he finished first four times, third once and fourth once, and won his class at the Cobb Mountain Hill Climb. At the end of the season, he was ranked 7th in national points in SCCA’s F-Production Class in a Porsche Carrera GT. In 1957, he was asked by the Porsche Factory to co-drive in an endurance race at the Nurburgring and the famous Mille Miglia in Italy. After practice at the Mille Miglia, he decided open-road racing through populated towns was not to his liking. He returned to the United States and continued racing until retiring in 1960. During his career he raced an Allard J2X, Jaguar XK120, Porsche Speedster and Porsche Carrera GT.
Mick Marston – Petaluma
Marston was attracted to road racing early on, racing a modified MG with a V8-60 engine made popular by Southern California racer Bill Stroppe. He raced at Cobb Mountain Hill Climb, Golden Gate Park and Santa Rosa. In 1953, he struck up a relationship with young hot-rodder Joe Huffaker and the two built an Austin-Healey-based special for road racing. This was Huffaker’s first sports car that would lead to a long career as a car builder. His son, Joe Jr., is carrying on that legacy today. Known as the Huffaker/Marston Healey, it was raced by Marston at Stockton, Buchanan Field, Salinas and Pebble Beach. He retired in 1957 but the Healey Special has been restored and can be seen at current vintage racing events.
Dick Guldstrand – Burbank
The name Dick Guldstrand has been synonymous with California and Corvettes for more than 40 years. As a California native, he won the Pacific Coast Championship three years straight (1963-65), and the Southern Pacific Championship in 1964, when he was named the regional SCCA Driver of the Year. In 1966 he won the GT class at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and drove the legendary Corvette Grand Sport for Roger Penske at the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring. He also won three SCCA Trans-Am races. In 1968 he opened his own race-car design and fabrication business specializing in Corvettes and continues today to operate the shop located in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.
Peter Giddings – Danville
Giddings was born in Eastbourne, England, then moved to the United States in 1971. He became interested in sports and competition cars in the late ‘50s, when his first car was a 1932 BSA air-cooled three-wheeler which he qualified as a “motorcycle combination,” as he was not old enough to have a driver’s license. He then moved on to a Brooklands Riley 9 and owned a succession of chain-driven 1920s Frazer Nashes, one of which he restored in his living room. Since then he has competed in and restored a variety of race cars, from a 1924 Lyons GP Bugatti and a Talbot Lago GP car, to Maseratis, Ferraris and Alfa Romeos of all types. In 1985, after successfully racing his Alfa Romeo Monza and Scuderia Ferrari Tipo B P3 at the Monterey Historics, he was presented the “Phil Hill Trophy” by the great Juan Manuel Fangio. He’s won several championships in the North America Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge, and will race a 1931 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 at the Sonoma Historics.
Fifteen unique race groups will compete on Saturday and Sunday, while the weekend will also feature the popular Wine Country Pavilion with samplings of fine foods and wines from the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The paddock will be open to spectators, allowing everyone an opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal look at the race cars and enjoy the various car corrals dotted throughout the raceway.
The weekend’s festivities will also include the Historic Race Car Festival in the Sonoma Plaza Saturday evening benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities.
Additional information may be found at www.sonomahistoric.com. Companies interested in supporting special events during the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival should contact General Racing Ltd. at 805-686-9292.
Ticket information may be found at http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1129796 or by phone at 800-870-RACE (7223).
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