Monday, March 20, 2017

RETRO: Sebring's Notorious Cement-mixer Tarmac plays Second Fiddle to No One...

Defending Sebring 12 Hours winner Bayside Disposal Racing's #86 Porsche 935 rolled off third with Hurley Haywood, Al Holbert & Bruce Leven in 1982. (Photo source: Images)
This Fillings rattlin' Ash-fault woulda' been a good place for Shake 'N Bake; Err Shake 'N Steak to give the MSR Boyz 'N Girls some extra LUV', as know they'll need the protein and the milkshakes would probably sooth their sore teeth!

Although I wouldn't be watching; Err listening to this year's running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 65th annual running of this epic event, which for Mwah will always be the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring. And Yeah, I know it's got a different name...

Although the Rolex 24 gets A-L-L Duh Prestige! Presumably since it's the season kickoff, and I do enjoy listening to I-T via Zed Internetz, specifically since it's what I consider the first racing action of the year. Nevertheless, Sebring holds my Attenzione due to its Cement Mixer pavement which reputedly makes it harder to win than Daytona, even if only half as long.

As I highly doubt it'll make I-T into Kona's notoriously thin local Fish-wrap', the West Hawaii Today's Sports section, A-L-L 2-pages of its mesmerizing weekend wrap-up Monday...

Nonetheless, as typical here in Nofendersville, another typical, short racin' tome just kept on growing 'N growing, and hence, I needed to end my Peter Gregg retrospective somehow, which I regaled Y'all previously this January. (Whale', I-T feels like it was January...)

Whilst leave I-T to Grizzled Journo' Joe Saward to School Us upon some history upon the former Hendricks; NOT Jimi Hendrix; Hooah! Airfield in Florida.

As it's hard to believe that Sam Posey scored his biggest success over four decades ago, when he co-drove the winning BMW 3.0 CSL after his primary #24 mount with co-driver Hans Stuck retired. With the sidelined drivers forming a quartet aboard Brian Redman and Alan Moffett's #25 winning Bimmer'

Yet continuing on with this forty years Throwback theme, IMSA was slowly relenting against their banning of the evocative European Group 5 machinery, by opening the rules book door slightly, after fierce pressure by Porsche, who naturally wished to have its latest products showcased Stateside to tap into this vast market.

Thus reluctantly, IMSA compromised by allowing Brumos and Interscope Racing to compete in brand new Porsche 934's, allegedly so new that they arrived at Sebring still in the packing crates shipped directly from Stuttgart Ja Volt!

As both entries simply ran in their white factory hue and basically made the rest of the field look obsolete, as the two brand new factory 934/5 Panzerwagons ran away 'N hid before Sebring's bone jaring Ash-fault got the best of them, hitting both Porsche's with mechanical woes.

Hence, one of the "slower" Porsche 911 RSR "Tortoise's" with Brad Friselle and car owner George Dyer aboard his #30 entry won the race. As Brad, who drove for Gregg's Brumos Racing amongst others, was touted as a rising star during the late 1970's before hanging up his helmet. And ARSE-SUMEDLY' that's Papa Friselle, right?

As Brad Friselle indeed is the father of Sports Car racing brothers Bert & Brian, who just a few years ago were co-driving one of the top flight Corvette DP's for Action Express Racing...

Meanwhile the aforementioned Gregg and his Brumos customer Jim Busby finished third overall in the No. 61 Brumos Porsche, followed by the #09 Belcher Racing Porsche driven by car owner Gary Belcher and the relatively unheralded John Gunn.

Nipping at the leaders heels after starting on the front row was someone  named On Gas', his boss Ted Field & Hurley Haywood, finishing P5 aboard their Vasek Polak/Interscope Racing #00 entry - the second of the brand new Porsche 934/5 factory fresh models that weekend.

Yeah, if you're not familiar with his lesser known nickname, then perhaps you've heard of his Flyin' Hawaiian moniker? Formally known as Danny Ongais, who's not only from Hawaii, but the genesis of my far reachin' trivia Questione.

Besides Ongais, what other drivers have raced in Formula 1, the Indy 500 and the 12 Hours of Sebring?

Interestingly, the Belcher Racing (#09) chassis is listed as a Porsche 934/5 in race results and hence, I can only speculate that this was the ex-Interscope Racing Porsche that Ted Field wanted for that year's Daytona 24 Hours event,.
As  Weissach hastily built-up the first of these North American chassis late 1976 per Field's request., in which became the 934/5 Prototype, which Danny Ongais drove the "Double Ought Buckshot" #00 Porsche GTP briefly at Daytona's '77 event, before suffering a blown piston. As a total of ten of these 934 1/2 or 934/5 variants were produced...

Ironically, the late Peter Gregg, his Brumos Racing and subsequently the late Al Holbert both have connections to a past Pacific Northwest racing team. As Peter conducted business with its "Gentleman's Racer," reportedly as far back as 1978 when Gregg sold him his past year's winning Porsche 934/5 Trans Am model.

For 1980, Gregg forged a customer relationship with Seattle refuge hauler Bruce Leven and his Bayside Disposal Racing effort, seeing Hurley Haywood reuniting with Gregg as the two "Hired Guns" alongside Leven aboard his #86 entry.

Leven's customer Brumos run No. 86 Porsche 935/77A was the lone "Works" entry for Sebring, forgoing the en vogue Kremer K3 Le Mans bodywork style which was A-L-L the rage after the unheard of Wittington brothers aided by Klaus Ludwig won the '79 24 Heurs du Mans, for which I've seen this car on display at the IMS Museum.

As the podium's steps were filled by Porsche 935 (Kremer) K3 variants, with Dick Barber & John Fitzpatrick in the winning entry. Whilst Ted Field & Danny Ongais finished runner-up ahead of the Whittington Brothers.

As once again, mechanical maladies waylaid the Brumos; Err now Bayside Disposal Racing Porsche, retiring with a blown turbo and classified as finishing tenth overall - in what would be Gregg's last race at Sebring.

Following his unfortunate death, Bayside Disposal Racing took over as the Porsche Factory squad, and Leven, Haywood and Al Holbert romped to victory at the '81 Sebring 12hrs aboard the No. 86 Porsche 935/80.

As Bayside Disposal Racing's zenith would come in 1988 when they scored their highest finish, P4 at that year's 24 hours of Daytona and won their second consecutive 12 Hours of Sebring, giving the team a total of three 12 Hours of Sebring victories.

Subsequently, a second Pacific Northwest racing team, Scandia Racing would amass two further Sebring 12hrs W's', utilizing those exquisite Ferrari 333SP's, giving Seattle team's a total of five 12 Hours of Sebring Overall victories.

With NO Disrespect towards Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing's multiple GTD (Daytona) class victories intended. As I was simply focusing upon Overall wins, which is what the majority of the press cares about...