Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. 2011

BeaveRun Motorsports Complex, Wampum PA.

By: Rick Norris

We drove up on Thursday, 15 July to be at the BeaveRun track for the Friday test and tune day. It is required if you have not run with the VRG folks plus I wanted the seat time. Since I have an HSR vintage license and an SCCA regional comp permit I did not have to do their school. The school is another way to assure them you know how to vintage race. Mostly it’s about not touching one another and track etiquette.

There were three of us Corvair pilots signed up for the races. Dave Edsinger, Mike Levine and me. Dave and I were there on Friday as we both needed the track time. Mike Levine wasn’t due until late Friday because of work commitments and the long drive from Atlanta.

There was the usual tech inspection and registration paperwork plus, goodie bags but no free event T-shirt! I bought one though. They are just shop rags you can wear!

I ran both the morning and afternoon test sessions except last one. There were seven in all. I felt comfortable where I was and I used one session to scuff in and heat cycle my new Goodyear cantilever slicks. Damn I love racing slicks!

Dave ran the afternoon sessions as he was busy in the morning doing the VRG school as he wanted a VRG license.

Mike arrived at the track sometime after we left but met up with us back at the hotel.

Saturday was another dry low humidity day with some nice overcast in the morning making perfect Corvair racing weather. It was also the day with the largest attendance. Lots of people in the paddock not to mention large grids on the track!

They reported at the drivers meeting this was the largest turn out for this event they have ever had. I'm glad the Corvairs were there to play a part. Speaking of Corvairs, there was two Devin’s running Corvair power. One was a 180 turbo and the other was a stock 140. Both were nice cars.

We had one 10 minute untimed practice session and then a 10 lap qualifier to set the grid for the first of two sprint races. The first one was a 15 lap or 20 minute race and the second one was an 11 lap or 15 minute race.

We had a registered field of 44 entrants in Group 2 but, only 33 made the grid.  The VRG put us in Group 2, with anything from a Z28, V8 Mustangs, Porche 914-6, 911’s, a 930, Corvette’s and Bimmer 2002’s just to name a few.  The speed differential makes for some anxious moments not to mention the skill level! Ya gotta be alert.

I gridded 22nd out of 33 cars for the first 15 lap sprint race and finished in 14th. Not too shabby considering. I have run the 1.530 mile BeaveRun track four times previously in other events but this was my first time actually racing here.

The 11 lap sprinter had a field of 29 cars and I started 26th. Here it was my turn to go off track. A Z28 with no patience wanted around and it was either let him hit me of go off. It was on the back straight at turn 8 with lots of run off room so I ate a bunch of dead grass. I went to the pits as required if you spin or get four wheels off but, I saw the one to go sign and went on the paddock as it was pointless to go back out for one lap.

It was still a great day of fast and furious fun!

Dave ran great and Mike did well until he broke the differential later in the day. Faced with a long trip home he decided to pack it in and cut for the house even though he had a spare with him. I would have done the same.

My wife Janet and I, Dave and his wife Judy attended the dinner at the track for the drivers and crew. Not sure it was worth the price food wise but it was all part of the event and I can’t drink that much beer anymore! Afterward back at the hotel and after a cool shower we sat outside discussing the day’s events while enjoying some more cold adult beverages. It doesn't get any better than this! As my friend and fellow Corvair driver Dave said we looked like a bunch of red necks sitting on the porch watching traffic!

Sunday dawned as another sunny but more humid day for racing. Not good for fat guys in quilted suits!

We have two events on the schedule with a 15 lap sprint race to set the grid for the final 17 lap feature race in Group 2.

After the sprint race for the starting positions, I sat 7th out of 32 starters.

Only 24 showed up on the grid for the 17 lap feature. This was the last race of the week end.

The last race was just as exciting as the first one for me. As it happened there was no one around me to actually race with the last few laps so I backed it down a notch and managed a 12th place finish.

My best lap of the week end:  1:12.23.

Fastest lap, Group 2, 1974 Porch 914-6= 1:03.13

Any way you look at it, we all had a great week end of racing, friends, family and showing off Corvairs. People took notice.  

Rick Norris

#36 Sunoco Corvair

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