Pocono Sports Car Grand Prix Set For August 14-16

Date: 8/7/2009 9:29:18 PM

Pocono Sports Car Grand Prix Set For August 14-16
By DINO OBERTO … “Keeping Track”

Less than two weeks after NASCAR and ARCA were the main attractions at Pocono Raceway, the renowned Long Pond speed plant is ready to host yet another of the country’s top sanctioning bodies, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).

The 39th Annual SCCA Pocono Sports Car Grand Prix presented by the Tri-Region Race Group takes place August 14-16.

             Sports car racing has played a key role at the track. It has a history of motoring around the various infield courses dating back to 1971. Just as the tri-oval has played host to the best in both NASCAR and Indy Car, likewise a slew of the world’s most famous road racers have tackled Pocono’s road course twists and turns.

             One of the best parts of a road race at Pocono is the visibility to see the entire track with no obstructions, something that is a common trait at most other venues.

The racing action will take place on the 2.5-mile road course and runs clockwise. A portion of the front straight and the Long Pond straight will be utilized. The Long Pond straight will have the addition of a chicane.

Races begin mid morning and features seven events each day with 45-mile runs adding up to 315 miles of highly competitive competition.

There will be over 200 cars and drivers all running for national points and a place in the year-end SCCA National Championship Runoffs held at Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI) in late September.

             Of the many drivers from across the country and Canada, there will be a number of locals as well led by popular White Haven road racing ace Sam Ryan who will be competing in the Formula Mazda class.

             His car is owned by former Hazleton area resident Sam Lockwood who operates Raceworks in the Atlanta area. Lockwood’s father, Bill Lockwood, was for years a regular with the NEPA-SCCA.

             Ryan will have Freeland’s Hugh Maloney as acting crew chief. Maloney, like Ryan, is one of this area’s most seasoned road racers, however, with this being a national event he has opted to bypass this show as he concentrates more on regional races.

             Matt Kujat, another fine racer out of Freeland, will also be on the crew.

             Ryan’s wife, Susan, will be competing in the Group 5 class which is a street stock style class of cars designed for compacts such as Honda’s, Toyota’s, Mazda’s and the like.

             Also in the line-up will be Hazleton’s Steve Fox, a very versatile driver who just recently competed in the Pocono ARCA race and also does a fair amount of SCCA Formula Ford racing, the class he will drive in for the Pocono Grand Prix.

             This year Fox is donating one dollar for every lap he races to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation which helps raise money for childhood cancer research.

             The top class will be GT-1 and GT-2 which features such makes as Vipers, Corvettes, Mustangs, BMW’s and Camaro’s. The class can be compared to Trans Am type cars.

             Admission will allow you both grandstand and paddock access. Ticket price is $15 per day or $25 for the weekend.

A portion of each ticket sold will be contributed to Laps to Conquer MS, a charity founded in 1989 by two members of Tri-Region to increase Multiple Sclerosis awareness through motor sports, while raising funds for the National MS Society.

In this area road racing remains one of the best kept secrets in racing. For anyone who has been to an event on the tri-oval then you owe it to yourself to see a road race at Pocono. The facility takes on a whole different atmosphere and perspective and it’s a great opportunity to see the some very skillful road racers that take on a very challenging course.

There is a special discount coupon available online at www.triregionracing.org.

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