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SF SCCA RENO RACES

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  SCCA

SF SCCA RENO RACES

Joe Scalzo, TMS West Coast Editor
Today's Motor Sports, January 1962


1961 SCCA Reno Races 1961 SCCA Reno Races 1961 SCCA Reno Races 1961 SCCA Reno Races
Chuck Parsons snapped his stop watch as the Formula Junior he was clocking went by. He nodded and said, "Pretty good time—2:16. Maybe the Juniors will be faster than the modifieds here."

Someone laughed. "Chuck, you'll be lapping under 2:10 before the weekend's over." Parsons looked up. "Don't know . . ."

With the Reno races now in the record books, Parsons knows two things. One, Juniors will not lap as fast as the modifieds on the 3.1 mile Stead AFB track. Two, he could lap under 2:10. Without much urging he lapped at 2:08.1. What he could do when pushed no one found out. No one pushed Parsons and his Birdcage Maserati at Reno.

Parsons, Ridenour, Miles

Parsons easily won the 40 minute main race for modifieds. Dave Ridenour (Lister-Jag) and Ken Miles (RSK Porsche) were second and third.

There were a lot of hot machines and drivers at Reno; the San Francisco SCCA, Reno's Lions Club and in a big way, Harrah's Club, made sure they collected a top-notch group. They not only succeeded in this regard, they also succeeded in putting on a well-run weekend of races.

Various mechanical failures unfortunately saw the modified field wither in size. Particularly disappointment was one car which, as Sports Car Views said, ". . . exhibited an exhaust note in practice that was enough to scare the opposition scampering back to the dice tables"; The 4023cc Ferrari just bought by Harrah's Club.

Lady Luck Frowned

With Skip Hudson the chauffeur, the car lasted only two laps in practice when engine trouble stopped it for good. For Hudson, a tough break, one that keeps his hard luck string intact. A class winner in a Ferrari this year Sebring and probably one of the best drivers in the country, he still is unable to shake free of a seemingly ever-present jinx.

Parsons won the Saturday feature and Ridenour, who led with his Lister-Jag, retired on the fourth lap with a broken axle and a broken half-shaft. Bill Krause could not be any more competitive than second place; his D Jaguar was running the near-stock Corvette engine that had been in the car at Pike's Peak.

Sunday Not a Shocker

Sunday, there weren't many surprises. Turn one momentarily became a hairy place to be for the leading cars, as Parsons, Krause, Miles and Ak Miller all tried to get through it the same way—in first. The strain was too much. Miller's Devin-Olds knifed up the escape road with a broken gear box.

Krause, wearing a sprint car-type face mask to protect himself from small stones lining the course, rode the Birdcage's tail in second place all around the course. But as the first lap ended, Bill was already a little bit back. It was to be expected; the Corvette engine had a plug wire snap off at the start.

There were other changes after the first lap. Miles' RSK was passed by a swirling group that included Bob Yeakle (RSK Porsche), John Brophy (Devin Corvette), and Ridenour, who came from last to fifth in one lap.

Hot Rear

Ridenour turned out to be the one to watch. Although he once hit the hay bales at turn one, he still smacked into second on the 10th lap of the 40 minute affair, with about 20 minutes remaining. For a time he picked up on the leading Birdcage, but he forgot about first place and just began to stroke in the late laps when the differential began overheating.

Miles moved the K to third when it began running better—or Krause's D began running worse–but was still 51 seconds behind first place. Krause took fourth, and Brophy's Devin, completely out of brakes, was fifth, a lap behind.

Yeakle's RSK, an early front-runner, retired with engine trouble, and Bill Sherwood in Red Faris' Ferrari-Corvette, after working up to fifth place from far back, was stopped late in the race with a broken axle.

Parsons' winning average was 85.7 mph.

McAfee in Lotus XX

In Formula Junior, Jack McAfee won everything in sight with a Lotus 20, and Stro Jones and Tom Milana gave Lotus a 1-2-3 punch, finishing in that order, Jones in a 20, Milana an 18.

Pat Pigott (Lotus 20), Ray Altman and Jack Dalton (rear-engined BMCs), Ray Seher (Lotus 20), and Ed Leslie (Lotus 18) all retired, so McAfee's competition was slim. He still averaged 80 mph for the 40 minutes, though.

The San Francisco SCCA's new "claiming" classes for Juniors, put together so that everyone has a chance for a cup, and also so that the Juniors won't date themselves so quickly, gave the following winners: class 1 cars (cars over $4000) McAfee; class 2 ($2,500-$4000) Ron Hanford, BMC; and class 3 (under $2500) Larry Ratner (Stanguellini).

Production Victors

Paul Reinhart (Corvette) and Frank Crane (Morgan) won the day's two production races. Reinhart won uncontested, again showing off his ever-improving style. Crane had to fight off first Dick Trejloar (Elva), who later retired, then Doug Noll in a Triumph, who finished second.

Gratified officials found that 10,000 spectators attended Sunday's events. Harrah's "gamble" paid off!



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