Bob Dorricott, 1937-2002
DORRICOTT RACING MOURNS THE PASSING OF ITS FOUNDER
LOS ALTOS HILLS, Calif. (April 29, 2002) - Bob Dorricott, one of
most respected names in North American formula-style, open-wheel racing and
two-time Dayton Indy Lights Championship team owner, passed away Friday,
April 26, at his family home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., of cancer. He was
Born in Los Angeles in 1937, Dorricott first developed his
motorsport skills during the 1950's as a drag racer in Altered class. He
later gained national recognition as a consistent front-runner in SCCA Pro
Sports 2000 competition that included five National titles between 1989 and
Dorricott Racing's roots extend back over 13 years when Dorricott
and son, Bob Dorricott Jr., increased their racing interests from a
Championship-winning Sports 2000 program to running partial Firestone Indy
Lights Championship schedules from 1990 through 1993 with the younger
Dorricott behind the wheel. Their initial entry was the 1990 season finale
at their home track of Laguna Seca where Bob Jr. qualified 15th and
Dorricott Racing ran its first full season in 1994. The year was
highlighted with the team's first pole for both team and driver at
Nazareth. It expanded into a two-car effort in 1995 and won its first race
at Detroit's Belle Isle with Robbie Buhl, of Cleveland. Buhl, who finished
second in that year's championship, also won three poles at Milwaukee,
Detroit, and New Hampshire while Dorricott Jr. earned his second
consecutive pole at Nazareth.
In 1996, Dorricott Jr. took the year off. Jeff Ward and Shigeaki
Hattori completed the two-car program and earned 12 top-10 finishes in 22
race starts. This included a pair of poles for Ward at Toronto and
Vancouver. Dorricott Jr. resumed racing for the team in 1997 and was joined
by Luis Garcia Jr. The team's best showing was a fourth-place in Savannah
Dorricott Jr. retired from racing at the end of the 1997 season,
but Dorricott Racing maintained a multi-car program with Austrian driver
Philipp Peter and Catalonian Oriol Servia. Bob Dorricott then orchestrated
the framework for a three-car team when he added young sprint car ace Bud
Kaeding to the mix for four Indy Lights races.
A combined four second-place finishes in 1998 prefaced a visible
rise into the motorsports elite in 1999 when Dorricott ran a his first
full-season with three drivers including Servia, Peter, and Casey Mears.
The result was multi-record breaking that included 35 finishes in 36 starts
and first, second, and third place in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship
with Servia winning the title.
A second place finish for Dorricott Racing in the 2000 Dayton Indy
Lights Championship and Indy Lights rookie Townsend Bell was accentuated by
a third place finish for Mears, sixth place for Australian Jason Bright,
and a combined four victories.
Dorricott Racing concluded an outstanding Indy Lights tenure by
winning the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship behind Bell, and Damien
Faulkner, of Ireland, finishing in third place. It was the third
consecutive year that Dorricott Racing placed at least two drivers in the
top-three final driver standings.
Dorricott changed his team's direction for 2002 with its entry into
the Toyota Atlantic Championship. The success of the venture was never more
evident than when he watched his team and second-year Dorricott Racing
driver Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., win its first Atlantic race
in its very first attempt at Monterrey, Mexico, this past March.
Dorricott made all decisions on his choice of drivers throughout
his career. His last selections reaffirmed his unrivaled ability to see
talent just as it is beginning to blossom. His appointment of Luis Diaz, of
Mexico City, was overwhelmingly validated when Diaz won the pole position
outright at Monterrey. The introduction of Alex Gurney, of Newport Beach,
Calif., to the Dorricott Racing moniker not only brought one of America's
greatest racing names back to the forefront, it also showed how Dorricott
could see a young driver's major-league ability before it happened.
A leader on and off the track, Dorricott was also acknowledged in
national and international business circles for his success as a
high-profile business executive in the "high tech" Silicon Valley.
Dorricott retired from his non-racing business pursuits in the spring of
2001 after a career-long tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer of
Sunnyvale Valve and Fitting Co., Inc., a northern California-based
distributor of high quality fluid control components. He was also a member
of the American Racing Series, Inc. (ARS) Board of Directors, the former
corporate operating body of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship.
Dorricott and his wife, Phyllis, devoted much of their off-track
energy to the advancement of medical research, development, and care of
children afflicted with life threatening and disabling illnesses. They
remain actively engaged in the promotion and missions of the Lucille
Packard Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Bob Dorricott is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughter Pam, of
Los Altos, Calif.; sons Bob Jr., of San Mateo, Calif., and Jeff, of Grants
Pass, Ore.; and six grandchildren.
Services will be held on Wednesday, May 1, at Spangler's Mortuary,
in Los Altos, Calif., beginning at 1:00 p.m. (PT).
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the El
Camino Hospital Foundation, 2500 Grant Road, WIL 210, Mountain View,
Calif., 94040-4378, or to the Mid-Peninsula Hospice, 201 San Antonio
Circle, Suite 135, Mountain View, Calif., 94040.