By Terry O'Neil
Book background:The growth of sports car racing in the Mid-Atlantic States
of America was not a painless affair. Tragedy, mystery, intrigue and
conflicting interests between motor clubs all played their part in the 1950s
and early 1960s. Add to this the underlying trend of the better drivers towards
professionalism and it is evident that progress would come with its problems.
The Mid-Atlantic area of America was, due to its very nature
in being business and commerce orientated opposed to having an industrial base,
slower to become established than the neighbouring Northeast area.
New York and Jersey had the facilities to take the container
ships that unloaded the imported cars and it was of no surprise that the major
European motor manufacturers set up importers and car distributors in that
The States of Maryland and Virginia were in no position to
challenge their northern neighbours, and sports car sales in particular were
mainly generated through military personnel of a certain rank coming back to
Washington and surrounding area.
Even though the Washington DC Region of the SCCA was growing
stronger as the decade progressed, the development of tracks for the sports car
enthusiasts was slow, and for certain individuals, very costly. Road
racing had never really figured in the Mid-Atlantic area in the early part of
the 50’s, and it was only when the SCCA began using the airfields at
Cumberland, Hagerstown and Andrews AFB that any momentum gathered pace.
The purpose made tracks at Marlboro and Virginia
International Raceway both experienced growing pains in an area where
oval-track racing was more a way of life for the general public. Wilmington,
Manassas and Richmond all held regular events, and the Marlboro and VIR
enterprises spent a great deal of money, trying to attract the public to their
To add to these problems, the professional organisations,
NASCAR and SCODA were also active in the area, and a disruptive intervention
into sports car racing by USAC did little to help anyone. USAC promised much to
Marlboro and VIR but delivered little, making for a very tense relationship
with the SCCA. It also unsettled some of the better drivers who were thinking
of joining the professional ranks. It would come to light that some of these
individuals would in fact be better off staying as ‘amateur’ drivers.
The complex situation was to be resolved in a most
unexpected way as the 60’s arrived…..
Thanks to the help of the Washington DC Region of the SCCA,
and many of its individual members and enthusiasts, the author has, over the
past three years, managed to uncover an amount of documented and photographic
material. It enables the author to relate ten years of Mid-Atlantic motor
racing history from 1953 through to the end of 1962 in this book.
Signed, numbered Edition of 600 copies
- 392 pages
- 569 images
- Page size 240mm x 330mm
- ISBN: 978-1-85443-263-6
Click here to view sample pages.