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Author Topic: Tracks of the '66-'72 SCCA Trans-Am series  (Read 6571 times)
Jon Mello
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« on: June 20, 2011, 07:01:22 PM »

Road America  in Elkhart Lake, WI began hosting Trans-Am events beginning with the 1970 season. I was in attendance at all the Trans-Am races at this track from 1970-1974 and it was one of the premier tracks in that series. Very picturesque setting and very challenging high-speed 4-mile track.









« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 08:49:45 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 10:13:25 PM »

Riverside Raceway  in Riverside, CA was a challenging course that was a home track for some of the most competitive drivers that raced in the Trans-Am series. Those names would include Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Jerry Titus and George Follmer. There was a Riverside Trans-Am every year until 1972 when it was cancelled due to George Follmer wrapping up the championship (for himself and for the AMC Javelin) just after midway through the year.









Riverside's turn 1
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 01:33:05 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2011, 10:28:17 PM »

Laguna Seca  near Monterey, CA has been famous for many years and especially for the Historic Race Festival that takes place there every August. Only two Trans-Am races were run there for the big-bore Pony cars in the '66-'72 timeframe. That would be the August 24, 1969 race won by Mark Donohue and the April 19, 1970 race won by Parnelli Jones. Interestingly, both drivers who won at Laguna Seca also won the championship for their manufacturer that year. This track is world famous for its challenging "corkscrew" turn 6 and 6A and it also has some interesting elevation changes. The layout of the track has been changed nowadays and this was done to lure the World Superbikes there. I think the original layout was not long enough to fit World Superbike criteria.



Here's a map showing the current layout of the track.



A fast lap around Laguna Seca with Mark Donohue (1970)






« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 01:55:19 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 01:25:11 AM »

Thanks Jon, for posting these layouts.  Unfortunately I never got to race at RA in those early T/A days - the track was just too far away for us to get back in time for work on Mon. AM and our budget was usually depleted by the time the race was held.  I have spectated there many times starting in the early sixties.  The town of Elkhart Lake is a neat resort town close to the track.  I was last there in 05 I think when they had the big group 6 crash on Sunday during the Kohler vintage wknd.

I did get to Laguna but not until the 80 T/A race in the first ex Dick Hoffman 71T/A camaro.  It was that original layout that Jon has posted.  I remember some transmission shifting problems in practise and only got a few practise laps in. As a result qualified way back and got involved in a big crash that ended our day. I remember a very challenging and very fast layout. The crash also meant we couldn't race at Riverside the next wknd so I missed out there, although Dick Hoffman drove the 67 camaro at the 69 T/A race.  He was the "camera car" that you have seen a photo of.

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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 10:59:40 AM »

You're welcome, Robert. I'll post many more and hope to get them all on here eventually. Thanks for some additional backstory to your driving career. I haven't been to RA since 1979 and it's different now with much more cement and catch fencing but it sure would have been nice to go back there this year since the Historic Trans-Am cars will be there in July. Just doesn't fit into this years plans unfortunately.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2011, 12:36:55 PM »

Meadowdale  was a very interesting track that the Trans-Am cars only raced on one time. That year was 1968. The track itself had some dangerous sections and there were not many safe runoff areas if a car got off the track. Also, the track surface was not always in the best shape. Neat course from a spectators standpoint but I think there were a lot of nervous drivers. The track was closed in 1969 and in the past few years has been turned into a nature preserve.



« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 02:31:56 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2011, 03:53:21 PM »

Bryar  had a Trans-Am race every year during the '66-'72 timeframe. This is a track that did not favor the V-8 ponycars because of the numerous turns and the short straights. In the earlier years when over-2-liter (O-2) and under-2-liter (U-2) cars ran together during the same race, the U-2 cars were extremely competitive with the big iron at Bryar.



This aerial photograph of Bryar is flipped 180 degrees from how it is shown above.



« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 09:59:59 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2011, 08:26:49 PM »

Jon, have you posted the current layout photo? I don't believe it is the old circuit that we used to race on. I sort of remember using part of the paved oval.  The paddock had little pavement - was full of rocks.

Except for 70 when our 67 camaro was overheated in the paddock and I didn't get to start, I had good luck there in 71 & 72 - 11th and then 12th as I remember. I do remember that a 3:73 final drive was not ideal - needed a 4:56.

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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2011, 11:08:06 PM »

Robert, this is what became of the original Bryar Motorsport Park.
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2011, 02:08:47 PM »

Edmonton International Speedway  was kind of a bit part player in the Trans-Am series. A road race track was not incorporated into the facility until 1968 and Trans-Am cars only ran there in 1971 and 1973. Kind of off the beaten path, the place was closed in 1982 to make way for a housing development.





"A Quick Lap at Edmonton International Speedway"




« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 04:29:32 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2011, 11:01:43 AM »

Mid-Ohio  was a great track that had a Trans-Am race every year during the 1967-1972 timeframe. Here's a nice
write-up by Jerry Titus from the 1968 Mid-Ohio program describing the challenges of the course.






Here's a track map with the turn numbers shown in red ink.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2011, 12:04:13 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2011, 05:12:38 PM »

Lime Rock Park  in Lime Rock, Connecticut is another of the shorter tracks on the Trans-Am circuit back then. This was
considered the home track for driver Sam Posey and he lived nearby in Sharon, CT. I believe he still does. Skip Barber
was another Lime Rock local. Skip raced a red Z-28 Camaro in '68.

The track runs clockwise in the aerial photo below.


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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2011, 12:27:06 AM »

Watkins Glen  is a great track with a lot of wonderful history. Besides being the home to the U.S Formula 1 Grand Prix
for a number of years it also hosted the Trans-Am cars beginning in 1968. They had tried to get an official Trans-Am
race for the '67 season but it didn't get officially sanctioned by the SCCA so they ran their own "Trans-Am type" event
which did not count toward the official Trans-Am championship. Nowadays, a research center/racing archive  has been
established in Watkins Glen that is a great resource for the racing historian.





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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2011, 02:58:22 PM »

Crow's Landing  (about 20 miles SSW of Modesto, CA) was the site for the one-time-only "Modesto" Trans-Am on Sept, 10, 1967. It was a 250 mile event held on a Naval Air Station runway and the concrete airstrip was really abrasive on the tires. I'm not sure this event would have happened without Gallo Wine putting up some sponsorship money. With tracks like Watkins Glen and Mt. Tremblant trying to get on the '67 Trans-Am schedule but tracks like Crow's Landing and Green Valley, TX (a drag strip with a return road) being on the schedule instead, it makes you wonder what was going on in the minds of the people in charge of SCCA that year.





Article from 1967 issue of Competition Press & Autoweek
(Courtesy of Ron Lathrop)


« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 02:51:54 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 12:29:22 PM »

Donnybrooke (now known as Brainerd International Raceway) is a track in Minnesota which was fairly new when it was added to the Trans-Am race schedule beginning with the 1969 season.










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