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Author Topic: 1970 Road America Trans-Am photos  (Read 9802 times)
Jon Mello
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« on: October 23, 2011, 09:50:19 PM »

Once again, we have more racing photographs taken by Ron Lathrop. These photos were taken on the July 18th, 1970 at the Road America Trans-Am near Elkhart Lake, WI. As mentioned previously, Ron was a freelance racing photographer dating back to 1963 and did work for Sports Car Graphic, Competition Press, Road & Track, as well as a number of karting magazines and even Rod & Custom. He also was in the U.S Air Force from 1965 - 69 and again from 1972 - 92. Road America was a challenging high speed course with long straights that was new to the Trans-Am schedule that year. Ron lost the negatives to this race in the course of several moves over the last several decades so he has had to flat scan the images from his old proof sheets. Maybe not ideal but still of great benefit to us. Thanks again Ron for sharing these new photos with us!

Here's a map of the 4.0 mile track

Road America Vantage Points

RA Straight - The start and finish line, all the hustle-and-bustle of the pit area, etc.

Station 1 - The first corner after the start.

Station 3 - A downhill curve. producing fast speeds and excitement.

Moraine Sweep - Fastest part of the course at station 4 and 4A.

Station 5 - Difficult because of its extreme angle and downhill grade immediately after the Moraine Sweep speed section.

Hurry Downs - Fascinating because of its downhill, weaving turns from station 6 to 8.

RA Carousel - A sweeping, high speed half circle curve.

Kettle Bottoms - Very fast with gentle but demanding bends from station 11 to 12.

Station 12 - The popular Canada Corner with a tight righthand turn at speed.

Thunder Valley - Up a gentle incline and through a wooded valley between station 12 and 13.

Station 14 - The last chance to out-corner a rival before the RA straight.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 12:13:42 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 09:53:41 PM »

Penske transporter for the AMC Javelin race cars.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Another view of the Penske transporter.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

George Follmer and Parnelli Jones. Drivers of the Bud Moore Mustangs.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

I guess Parnelli's getting his game face on.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 10:34:48 PM »

This is the pace lap and Ron is set up down at Corner 12 (Canada Corner). George Follmer is on the pole (lead car below)
with Parnelli Jones next to him. Ed Leslie in a Camaro and Swede Savage in an AAR Cuda are in row #2.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

The green flag has been waved and here come the leaders. Parnelli is in the lead after Ed Leslie and George Follmer
tangled in turn 1 and both spun off the track. Follmer's car was damaged to the extent that his day was over.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Parnelli in the #15 Mustang followed by Sam Posey in the Challenger, Savage in the Cuda, and Donohue in the Javelin.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Swede Savage in the Cuda followed by Mark Donohue and Peter Revson.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Peter Revson in the #9 Javelin leads Jim Hall and Milt Minter in their Camaros.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 11:05:19 PM »

Milt Minter in car #68 leads his team boss Roy Woods in the second ARA Camaro.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

On lap 2, Sam Posey has gotten by Parnelli and is now in 1st. Savage pitted to pry sheetmetal away from his rear tire.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Here are Peter Revson, Jim Hall and Milt Minter running in 4th, 5th and 6th.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Ed Leslie tries to work his way back into contention but has Tony DeLorenzo's #3 and an unidentified '69 Camaro hindering his progress.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Sam Posey was having a good run and was able to maintain the lead in the early going.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 11:20:27 PM »

Warren Fairbanks' '67 Z-28 leads some other "mid-pack" racers through corner 12.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Swede Savage has been driving hard to make up for lost time in the pits. Here it looks like he's gotten past Jim Hall.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Tony DeLorenzo hangs the tail out a little bit in his Owens-Corning sponsored Camaro.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Sam Posey shows a bit of the same style and now he's got some room between him and second place.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Donohue is pressing Parnelli hard to take over second.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 11:49:32 PM »

Now Savage has gotten by Milt Minter as well.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Peter Revson's Javelin goes by on the inside of somebody's '69 Camaro.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Savage is making up ground and his car appears to be handling in a balanced, neutral manner through Canada Corner.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Here's Tony Delorenzo again showing us some oversteer. What some people would call "dirt tracking it".

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Much to his detriment, Peter Schwartzott's Camaro shows us a classic case of understeer.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Not looking like a good day for Peter. He would end up blowing his engine on lap 22.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 12:12:24 AM »

Parnelli Jones' Mustang comes up through Thunder Valley.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Swede Savage follows suit.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Here comes Peter Revson in the #9 Javelin.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Donohue leads Minter here but is going to come in for a surprise early pit stop on lap 10. Part of a "secret" Penske race strategy.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Jim Hall's Chaparral Camaro.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 04:29:06 AM »

Jon: I just love your captions ... I can hardly wait to find out what happens next ... and I should know. LOL
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 10:58:13 AM »

Thanks, Ron. We both were there so it shouldn't be any mystery to us, but I'll continue on for the sake of our readers. Smiley


Parnelli had to pit on lap 12 due to two punctured tires so Sam Posey is all by his lonesome self in first place.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Donohue's early pit stop for fuel knocked him from third back to sixth place.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

In the meantime, since Mark and PJ pitted, Savage has found himself running second to Posey.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Peter Revson's Javelin comes up on Jerry Lagod's broadsliding Camaro in turn 12. Peter's Javelin broke a driveshaft on lap 13, thus ending his day.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Savage trailed Posey by 25 seconds before both ended up stopping for fuel on lap 18. Their pit stops allowed Donohue
to get by them and lay claim to first place. Race order on lap 20 was Donohue, Posey, Savage, Jones and Minter.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Here comes Jim Hall up through Thunder Valley...

Photo by Ron Lathrop

...followed by Sam Posey and John Elliott.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 01:10:36 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 11:09:47 AM »

CLOSE-UP GALLERY
These must have been taken during pre-race practice because Follmer's day ended on lap 1, corner 1.

George Follmer

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Mark Donohue

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Sam Posey

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Ed Leslie

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Parnelli Jones

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Peter Revson

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Mark Donohue (take 2)

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Jim Hall

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Ed Leslie (take 2). Note the neat telemetry data sensor on the front wheel.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 11:27:48 AM »

CLOSE-UP GALLERY II
These appear to be taken during the race based on the condition of Ed Leslie's body panels.

Ed Leslie

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Sam Posey

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Swede Savage

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Mark Donohue

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Jim Hall

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Parnelli Jones

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Tony DeLorenzo

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Ted Roberts

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Parnelli Jones

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Ed Leslie

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Roy Woods

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Jerry Thompson

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Mark Donohue

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Milt Minter

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2011, 12:25:01 PM »

Here's Jerry Thompson coming through turn 13. That bridge abutment to our viewing left is where Jerry Titus
had his terrible accident on the previous day during practice. Tragically, Jerry died 17 days later on August 5,
1970 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Milwaukee from the injuries he sustained in that accident. He was 41 years old.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Continuing with our narrative, Ed Leslie's Camaro lost its engine on lap 25.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Yep, it smoking Ed. Better pull that thing off the track.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Ted Robert lost his Javelin engine a lap later.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

As a result of oil on the track, Sam Posey spun out, allowing Savage to close in on him. They had a fierce battle
which Savage won, taking command of second place on lap 27.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

A second pit stop for PJ on lap 25 has dropped him from fourth to sixth.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Jim Hall has been quietly having a good run and I believe he is running in fourth at this point.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2011, 02:56:43 PM »

Here's race leader Mark Donohue.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

We see here that Swede Savage did indeed get past Sam Posey for second place.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Moving over to turn 5, we see Savage turning the corner with Sam Posey not too far behind.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Parnelli has closed up on Jim Hall but would end up taking two more pit stops for various maladies.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Here's Mark cutting through turn 5 as well.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Sam Posey gets the signal to come in for gas next time around. This is the RA main straight which you can see has an uphill slope to it.

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2011, 03:48:20 PM »

Here are some pit stop sequence shots for Sam Posey and in the later frames Swede Savage also pits.

Without further ado, heeeeere's Sammy!

Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop

Savage coming in now and Mo Carter going by on the main straight.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

... and away we go!

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Notice the inside wear on one of Savage's tires. The one in the background appears to have no tread left at all.

Photo by Ron Lathrop



Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2011, 04:19:06 PM »

Roger Penske gives Donohue the E-Z sign. Save the equipment, the race is in the bag.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Here's Donohue taking the chequered flag for the win.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Savage takes second. (That's Dan Spiegel's Chevy II behind him, currently owned by Mark Mountanos)

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Posey takes the flag for third.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Hall finishes a solid fourth. This was Jim Hall's last race. He hired Vic Elford to drive his car for the rest of the season
while he concentrated on being the team manager. Probably not a bad plan since Vic won two races later at Watkins Glen.

Photo by Ron Lathrop

Parnelli comes home in fifth place. (That's Warren Fairbanks' car in front of him, currently owned by Ron Tribble)

Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2011, 04:33:09 PM »

Nice to see the 1970-to-today owner lines!
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2011, 06:21:45 PM »

More info on the Historic Trans-Am website.

Jimmy Castle owns the Jim Hall Chaparral Camaro.
Bruce Canepa owns the Penske Javelin.
Andy Boone owns the Swede Savage AAR Cuda.
Ken Epsman owns the Sam Posey Challenger.
Harry Lipetz owns Parnelli's Boss 302.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2011, 10:42:38 PM »





































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Jon Mello
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2011, 10:49:42 PM »

Nice to see those photos Jon, especially of my buddy Peter Schwartzott in his 69 camaro.  I knew Peter quite well. He was from Niagara Falls NY and one time he brought his camaro over to the Harewood Acres track where I raced against him in a Canadian Touring Car race. Peter only did 4 T/A races that year I think, and I believe then sold the camaro.  His car has not appeared in the Vintage race world to my knowledge.  He and his gang called "Dimension Racing" later built a very fast 2.5 Datsun 510.  He later was a strong competitor in the Rabbit Bilstein series and then World Challenge or similar in several Hondas.  Have lost track of him but I believe he has moved elsewhere in NY state.

Robert Barg
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 01:54:44 PM »

Glad you enjoyed those, Robert. A couple of years ago, somebody from Peter's race team had a factory '67 Camaro rear sway bar setup that he was selling. I didn't buy it but maybe somebody else did.

Here are some more Road America photos taken by Ron. These were taken by him in July '69 while attending the Continental (open wheel) race. Those that are familiar with the track can tell which corners are which. I may try and identify some a little later for those that have never been there. This track was full of natural beauty back then. Still a great track but now with concrete and catch fences.

I suddenly have the urge for a bratwurst and some corn-on-the-cob. Grin


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop


Photo by Ron Lathrop
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2011, 03:32:18 PM »

For those of you wondering about Jon's "bratwurst and some corn-on-the-cob" remark: a history lesson and explaination.
Road America was built by the village of Elkhart Lake replacing the street races. First race in 1954; they burned their 30-year mortagage in 1959 (I think ... but you got the idea). Pretty good for a town of maybe 500 people.
I think timing and location had a lot to do with the success. Located little more than a hour north of Chicago in a state with an 18-year-old drinking age and surrounded by states with 21-year-old limits. The major events of the day, the June Sprints and Road America 500 (Labor Day weekend) fit well with college-age party time.
The track is in the Kettle Moraine (a nice low spot craved out by glacers) and fills with smells of wonderful local bratwurst and corn-on-the-cob (roasted in foil over charcoal. Furtunately the smells of the brat, corn and charcoal stay low in the moraine to cover the smell of spectators consuming mass qualnities of brat, corn and beer.
Got the picture.
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2011, 03:13:47 PM »

Really great images, Ron.  It's impressive that even your proof sheets were able to provide such detail.  Thank you so much for sharing these with all of us enthusiasts of the series.

Jon, thanks for your efforts to additional information along with the post.

-Chad
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2011, 10:26:25 AM »

Road America race reports, courtesy of Ron Lathrop. Thank you, Ron!

October 1970 Car & Driver


October 1970 Road & Track


October 1970 Sports Car Graphic






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Jon Mello
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2011, 05:03:32 PM »

Jon, or others, how much did Hall have to do with building his car? After reading Chevrolet Racing? I've often wondered about the Trans Am car. It was not mentioned that I remember in the book.
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Doug  '67 RS/SS 396 auto I know the car since new
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« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2011, 05:24:48 PM »

The quick reply answer ... I'm sure there will be more details from others to follow. When Penske jumped ship to AMC, Chevrolet asked Hall to run the TransAm program... They are his cars, built and developed in Midland.
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« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2011, 08:46:26 PM »

Outstanding photos and articles!

Thanks Jon and Ron!
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2011, 12:58:09 AM »

Thanks, Fred. As for the Chaparral Camaros by Jim Hall, they were definitely built by him and his team in Midland, Texas.
I have searched high and low for my "Chevrolet = Racing?" book and have not been able to find it. As such, I can't currently
look up what was said and unsaid about that particular subject.

Here's some more coverage of this 1970 Road America Trans-Am...























__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________





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Jon Mello
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« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2011, 06:26:05 AM »

Jon, as I recall it only spoke of the Can Am cars and the special relationship with Chevy. I need to read it again, winter is coming here FAST. I was in a T shirt yesterday but we are supposed to get 8-12 of the white stuff tonight! Maybe there will be some extra time. Chevrolet Racing and The World's Fastest Indian by George Begg are my favorite two books. George was a McClaren test  driver, to keep this car related.
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