Report and photos by Dennis Gray
I have a secret to share with Sports Car Digest readers. For years the best-kept secret about the Monterey Historics was the weekend before. Known as the Pre-Historics, only drivers, owners and very few of us press types attended, allowing unfettered access to the cars, drivers, owners and team members. Well the best-kept secret about the new Sonoma Historics is Set-Up Day on Thursday.
I arrived Thursday around 9am and found many of the cars already out of their trailers and being prepped. Low key best describes the attitude for the day. Drivers and owners wanted to talk about their cars; mechanics told stories on how they worked all night to prep the car for this weekend. Two owners told me about “new” vintage F1 cars they were in the process of acquiring. At lunch I sat at a table with two teams and listened to wild innuendos, exaggerations and out right lies about themselves and fellow competitors. It was great.
In the pits I talked to Tony Hart about his Cooper Monaco T49 Mk.1 Prototype. The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival was the first event for this car after an extensive restoration. With its two liter Coventry Climax, this should be a real screamer.
Twenty feet down the pits was the Cooper Monaco T49 Mk.1 of Sandra McNeil, the first Cooper Monaco T49 Mk.1 built after Tony Hart’s prototype. With a 2750cc Coventry Climax, this T49 may be just a bit faster then Tony’s.
I was able to walk around and photograph an amazingly bountiful Maserati 250F without one spectator or other nummy stepping between lens and the car. The car’s mechanic just waved and remained relaxed as opposed to race weekend when he is on guard to stop these same nummys from leaving their finger prints in the soft aluminum body panels.
From Turn Two, I was able to get images of the few vintage and historic cars taking advantage of “open practice” before I had to leave the track and head back to San Francisco. Just as I was leaving the track Steve and Lynn Park were pulling into the gate with their 289ci Cobras.
Tomorrow all the cars hit the track at Infineon Raceway Sears Point and it should be a good show.
The inaugural Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival will feature 13 historic race car groups and 375 cars on the 2.52 mile road course at Infineon Raceway over the weekend of June 5-6, 2010. For more information, visit sonomahistorics.com.
Set-Up Day at Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival 2010 – Photo Gallery
[Source: Dennis Gray]