Team Woodard Racing Heads To Watkins Glen
Alfa Romeo and Chevron Cars Highlight Glen Vintage Race
Ron Levanduski - July 26, 2015
Turner Woodard, in a 1975 Chevron B31, leads eventual Governor’s Cup race winner Dominick Incantalupo in a 1973 Chevron B23 and Richard Carlino’s 1976 B36 in Turn 11 at Watkins Glen International during Sunday’s Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix. (Photo: RON LEVANDUSKI / Staff Photo)
Demonstrations of a different kind was the theme Sunday in the two featured races of the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International.
Veteran professional driver Tonis Kasemets pushed a 1960s Alfa Romeo prototype to its limits to win the Nuvolari Trophy race, which featured 31 examples of the Italian marque.
“To run a historic car like that, it’s a very good feeling,” Kasemets said. “It was good to put it on the limit.”
Many of the dozen Chevron drivers in the New York Governor’s Cup race exchanged the lead in what turned out to be a demonstration race for the popular British marque, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Dominick Incantalupo, of Oldwick, New Jersey, captured the win in a 1973 Chevron B23 sports racer.
“We decided to make it as a demonstration race to show the cars off and celebrate the marque,” said competitor and event organizer Ed Swart.
More than 240 cars, divided into 11 groups, took part in 30-minute races while using the Glen’s 2.45-mile layout. The 31st running of the traditional September vintage event was moved up to July this year to accommodate a repaving project that gets into full swing after the Aug. 9 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
The NASCAR configuration was used for the first time in the event’s history because paving preparation work has already started on the 3.4-mile layout. Next year’s event will return to its September date on the full Grand Prix course.
Kasemets, an Estonian now living in Chicago, drove a 1968 Alfa Romeo TIPO 333/2, owned by Jay Iliohan of Silver Creek, New York. Mario Andretti and Lucien Bianchi drove the car to a sixth-place overall finish and second in class in the 1968 24 Hours of Daytona. Its also ran twice in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio endurance races.
The past Continental Tire Sports Car Series pole-sitter at Watkins Glen averaged 98.363 mph in the 13-lap race.
“I’m quite privileged to drive the TIPO 33,” Kasemets said. “Alfa Romeo did a fabulous job in 1968 in producing a very well-balanced car … It was a dream to drive.”
Kasemets finished 38.363 seconds ahead of Terry Stahley, of Bloomintgton, Illinois, in a 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000.
“It was an unbelievable treat to be running against a T33,” said Stahley, who was competing here for the first time. “I love this track, and I’ve already made my reservation for next year to try out the long course.”
Derek Bennett founded Chevron Cars Ltd. in 1965, building small-bore open-wheel and sports racers. He was working on a Formula One project when he died in a hang-gliding accident in 1978.
Incantalupo averaged 83.117 mph in the commemorative Chevron event. He finished .873 seconds ahead of the 1975 Chevron B31 of Turner Woodard, of Indianapolis. Swart, of Rolling Hills, California, finished fourth in a 1971 Chevron B19.
“To my big surprise, we had almost 20 cars,” said Swart, who also ran a west coast 50th anniversary race last month at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. “We had a nice variety here... That was really great.”
His wife of 68 years, Sally Swart, also helped organize the Chevron event. The former model, known as Sally Stokes, was the popular girlfriend of two-time Formula One champion Jim Clark from 1963 to 1966. She was invited to this year’s Indianapolis 500 to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of Clark’s 1965 Indy 500 victory.