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The Tuskegee SCCA races, Alabama


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#1 Jerry Entin

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 00:23

The Tuskegee SCCA Regionals seem to have had a rather short existence. Held near the town of Auburn in Alabama, two events took place in 1959. Both were won by E.D. Martin in a Ferrari 315S, with decent media coverage.

The one 1960 [and final] event took place on May 7-8 according to the SCCA calendar. I have never been able to find any race reports, not even in the local papers. The SCCA magazine Sports Car published only two photos in its Regional Roundup, one with overall winner David Lane taking his victory drink with the help of chief starter Jesse Coleman, the other with Smokey Drolet taking the finish under wet circumstances. No mention is made of the winning car.

The late David Lane was a Jacksonville, Florida brain surgeon who ran a number of cars around that timeframe: a Ferrari 250TR, a Porsche RSK [in which Masten Gregory finished 3rd in the 1960 Cuban GP] and a Ferrari 250GT.

Does anybody have any idea what his winning car was at Tuskegee in 1960?

Edited by Jerry Entin, 13 May 2009 - 00:26.


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#2 ERault

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 17:04

Hi Jerry. Fascinating stuff as always. I don't have the answer, but to narrow the field down, it seems Lane had sold the 250 TR at the end of 1959 : "The unhappy Dr Lane persuaded Lucky Casner to buy the car back from him at the end of 1959" (from Finn's Testa Rossa V12).



#3 Jerry Entin

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 20:36

Thanks for the feedback, ERault:
However, it is doubtful that Casner would have bought back the car when he had three Birdcage Maseratis on order in late 1959. Most of the CAMORADI cars used in the Cuban GP in February 1960 were loaners - Rodger Ward in the Lane 250TR, Carrol Shelby in the Hoppen Porsche Special, and Masten Gregory in the Lane RSK and Gurney in the Packo 200SI Maserati. Only the single Birdcage assigned to Moss and the two Corvettes actually belonged to the team.

all Research Willem Oosthoek.

#4 MPea3

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 20:40

Where were the races held?

#5 Jerry Entin

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 21:13

MPea3:
The Auburn races were held at Sharpe's Field, Tuskegee, Alabama. Previously the site was known as the Tuskegee Air Force Base. By 1959 the field had been decommissioned and was in private hands. The airport course was 2.65 miles long.

All research Willem Oosthoek.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 13 May 2009 - 21:15.


#6 HistoricMustang

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 00:01

Posted Image

Henry :wave:

#7 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 15:12

Posted Image
Tuskegee track Layout


Henry: The Tuskegee track lay-out as it was in 1959. Although overgrown in some places, its confines are still the same in the current aerial photo.

all research Willem Oosthoek
Track layout Willem Oosthoek collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 14 May 2009 - 15:18.


#8 RA Historian

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 15:31

Was this the training base for the 'Tuskegee Airmen'?
Tom

#9 URY914

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 18:24

I've passed thru that area a few times and it is NOT a hot bed of sports car activites even now. I can only image what it would have been like in 1960.

#10 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 01:41

Tom:
This was the training base for the Tuskegee airmen.

Compared to the SCCA events in the Northeast, the Tuskegee races were relatively small affairs. The inaugural event in May 1959 was organized by the Alabama Region of the SCCA and attracted a total field of 60, mostly production cars. The main contestants for the feature win were E.D. Martin [Ferrari 315 S], C.K. Thompson [3.4-liter D-type], Ed Rahal [Arnolt/Corvette] and Bill Kimberly [Ferrari 500TR].

Other entries in May were TNF contributors Lonnie Rix [AC Bristol], Nedra Ware [Porsche Carrera] and Richard Macon [Austin-Healey].

In September 1959 the entries went up to 76 cars, including R.D. Martin's 315 S Ferrari, Don Horn [XK-SS], Tommy Friedman [D-type] and Pete Harrison [250TR]. Richard Macon had upgraded to his red Lotus 11. Bud Schuster had a Lotus 11 as well.

As mentioned previously, no information has surfaced so far on the May 1960 event.

all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 15 May 2009 - 01:47.


#11 BobbyStarEyes

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 18:25

I've passed thru that area a few times and it is NOT a hot bed of sports car activites even now. I can only image what it would have been like in 1960.


I just looked through my dad's old programs hoping to find a Tuskegee one from 1960. I only have one from Sept. 5 & 6, 1959. The race program states the title of the race as the "Confederate Grand Prix." The program is 24 pages long and cost 25 cents. It has an entry list, but model numbers are not given. A Lotus is simply a Lotus. D-Jaguars are specifically designated as such. There is a black & white photo of Smokey Drolet driving her Triumph TR3, and a photo of Bob Ellis' TR3 racing beside a A.C. Bristol. There is an article about the SCCA with a photo of a starting grid on an airfield course showing a pair of D-Jags (No. 10 and 77), a Ferrari (or Maserati) No. 41, a Corvette No. 63 and the rest of the field.

I grew up attending the SCCA races at Courtland, Alabama and have several of those programs.

Sorry I couldn't help.

#12 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 20:50

BobbyStarEyes:

Thanks for your response. Yes, it turns out there was a second event in 1960, in September. It was a one hour feature with a mandatory pitstop that was won by Chuck Nervine in a Ferrari Monza, a former E.D. Martin car. Second was Dick Sutherland in a Wainer/Fiat Formula Junior, while Beason Martin took his Daimler [!!!] to third overall. The lack of top quality of the field seems to indicate this may have been the last race at Tuskegee. The newspaper report I have is dated September 5, leading me to believe the race was held the weekend of September 3-4, 1960.

The photo you mention was taken at the start of the August 1958 Confederate Grand Prix, held at Courtland and also hosted by the Alabama Region. Number 41 is E.D. Martin's Ferrari Monza, number 10 is winner Ed Rahal [D-type] and number 77 C.K. Thompson [D-type].

Could you possible scan the entrylist for the 1959 Confederate GP and post it?

all research Willem Oosthoek

#13 Direct Drive

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 20:58

Jerry, thanks for this post, what an interesting topic.
That corner complex leading to the start/finish line must have been something
in the years of skinny, concrete tires.


#14 ERault

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 10:42

Jerry, do you know how many 750 Monza did E.D. Martin raced ? I ask because the famous (ex-Tilp for P. Hill) 0498 is said to have gone to Henry Jackson, and it seems Chuck Nervine raced his Ferrari against Jackson at that time. So was there two ex-Martin Monzas out there, or I am mistaken (again !) ?

Edited by ERault, 16 May 2009 - 10:43.


#15 Jerry Entin

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 14:17

ERault:
Chuck Nervine's car was chassis 0498, previously owned by E.D, Martin, who bought it from A.D. Logan. Recent information has come to light that this was actually E.D.'s second Monza. He briefly owned another one during the beginning of his race career. Nervine converted to Chevy power in 1961.

Harry [not Henry] Jackson did race another Monza against Nervine's car. Jackson won the October 1961 Courtland event, still with its original straight 4 engine.

all research Willem Oosthoek.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 16 May 2009 - 18:51.