Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Another long forgotten Racing Name Cactuses' thou Attenzione...



Ah, what's that 'lil Ditty 'bout Hearing It On the Grapevine, in thou Raisin State...

Interesting, ironic, Karmically, or as I tend to pound away upon here on Thy Isle 'O Nofendersville... Thou Seas of Synchronicity are constantly frothing away...

Have just begun listening via my NFB Newsline for The Blind telephone service to the Los Angeles Times Metro section, to keep abreast of that NASTY Thomas Fire!

Hence, upon Dec 24th I heard the name of Pasadena, California's John Hotchkis mentioned for his Obituary, for which I immediately heard Claxon Alarms blaring; Hmm? Why do I recognize that name?


And although the obituary was for John Finley Hotchkis, presumably I recognized the name due to his son Mark Hotchkis having raced in the Indy Lights series between 1995-98.

Alas, although I was just beginning the "Second lap" of my frenetic Motor Racing phase when the elder Hotchkis was contesting his final 24 Heurs du Mans, I'll admit that I doubt I knew his name Wayback then.

John Hotchkis Sr. made his 24 Heurs du Mans debut in 1979, as part of Dick Barber Racing's stable 'O Porsche's, with the ubiquitous 935 Group 5 Sports Car model being the car to beat.

John, Richard Kirby and John Harmon finished ninth overall aboard the No. 73 entry, while their Seester' car, the No. 70 piloted by some Dude sporting the nom de plume PL Newman, Rolf Stommelen and Dick Barber himself finished runner-up to that year's winners, featuring the controversial Whittington brothers Don & Bill, with Porsche Panzerwagon Meister Klaus Ludwig as co-driver...

Hotchkis Sr. made four starts at Circuit de la Sarthe between 1979 and 1986, whilst tending to his "Day Job" of being a Pension Fund Investment Manager at his firm Ramajal LLC.

At his son's request, John Jr. and father raced at Le Mans in '89, with the "Junior" John being 30, meaning by my ryth-Muh-tickin' he was born in 1969, the same year as Mark Hotchkis, ARSE-Sumedly his younger brother? As John Jr. was possibly born in late '68? As Thar were four siblings total split 50-50, i.e.; two boys and two girls.

As the elder Hotchkis was making his fifth and final Le Mans start in the 1989 race at the robust age of 57. With it being his son's maiden outing in France aboard the Hugh Chamberlain owned racecar they "rented" for the weekend!

As the Chamberlain Engineering Spice SE86C/Hart 418T, as in Brian Hart of Formula 1 fame, was contesting the "Junior" C2 Prototype class with one of Hart's F1 inline 4-cylinder turbo lumps' propelling them down the Mulsanne straight, the final time before chicanery was added.


Yet the car Did Not Finish, (DNF) being co-driven by British racer Richard Jones, and classified 40th Overall.

As Hotchkis Racing's mainstay was a Porsche 962 they contested IMSA's GTP category in, beginning in '86; with father & son running the '89 season's Rolex 24 and Sebring 12 Hours aboard with faithful co-driver Jim Adams. Thus giving the "Two John's" the pleasure of completing the B-I-G 3' of Endurance racing that year.

Fast forwarding to the third Hotchkis to G-O racing, albeit to Cornfuse' matters further, Thars' a John-boy Hotchkis enshrined in the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame, who was a pre-eminent Sprint Car driver; Oh Brother!

After attending the Bob Bondurant School of  High Performance Driving and Elf Winfield, Mark progressed from Karting to regional Formula Dodge series, en route to two Rookie Of the Year (ROY) series honours.

Next, in '94 Mark moved up to Barber Saab Pro Racing where he reportedly beat some Cat named Montoya for second place Overall! Hmm, that Juan Pablo guy was pretty good, Eh!

Mark then graduated to Indy Lights in '95, where he raced for three full seasons and partially during '98 before leaving Open wheel Racing.

Mark scored two Lights victories, first from Pole on the famed Milwaukee Mile n 1996, which was also his best Lights season, finishing fifth overall. Before capping his Open Wheel Racing career by winning the '98 season finale on "Home" turf at California Speedway.

Apparently John Jnr. and Mark are now both involved in their family Namesake's Hotchkis Sport Suspension company. While that 'Ol Porsche 962, one of the four prototypes built by the late Al Hulbert, now makes selected appearances in Vintage Racing with the brothers at the wheel...

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