A.R.A. Racefacts Bulletin and Model Review (09/14/97)
15 September 1997
AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN Jeff Gordon (DuPont Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won Sunday's CMT 300 NASCAR Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International, scoring his tenth victory in 25 1997 Winston Cup races! Jeff has now scored ten wins in two consecutive "modern era" (1972-97) Winston Cup seasons, a feat achieved before only by Richard Petty (ten wins in 1974, 13 in 1975) and Darrell Waltrip (twelve wins in 1981 and twelve wins in 1982)! How is Jeff doing in his quest to tie or break Richard Petty's Winston Cup "modern era" season record for wins of 13? In Petty's 13-win 1975 season, he took his tenth win in race 22, his eleventh in race 23, his twelfth win in race 25, and his thirteenth 1975 win in race 28 of the 30-race season! Thus, Jeff is two wins short of Richard's 25-race pace. Ted Christopher (LesCare Chevrolet Monte Carlo) won Saturday's New Hampshire International CMT 100 NASCAR Busch Grand National North race; Ted took his first BGN North win September 8, 1996 at NHIS! Ted also won at Watkins Glen this year; his Watkins Glen-NHIS "double" is the second in series history as the feat was first achieved by Joe Bessey in 1995! Reggie Ruggiero (Gulf Pontiac) won Saturday's New Hampshire International CMT 100 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour event; he started 37th on Hoosier tires! Mike Stefanik leads both series' point standings after a fourth-place BGNN finish and a third-place result in the Modified Tour event. Stefanik seeks to achieve a unique NASCAR same-season "double" - championships in two NASCAR touring series in different types of cars! One NASCAR driver, however, has already achieved a same-season "double" by winning the title in two touring series, but with the same type of car! Lee Petty won the 1958 NASCAR Winston Cup (then Grand National) title and also won the 1958 NASCAR Late Model Short Track title, a touring series for the same cars racing on smaller facilities! Entering its next event at Las Vegas, the 1997 SportsCar Exxon World Sports Car series has already had its best season (1994-97) in terms of races with four lead-lap finishers, with three events achieving the feat versus the previous record of two in 1995 and 1996! At Mosport Park, Andrea Montermini set Fast Lap for the MOMO Ferrari team; the Fast Lap was his fifth of 1997 and of Andrea's Exxon WSC career! Montermini is already tied for 19th on the all-time Fast Laps list! Montermini's five Fast Laps in seven 1997 WSC races established a new WSC season record, bettering the old mark of four in a season first set by Wayne Taylor in 1995's eleven-race season and equalled by Massimiliano Papis in 1996's ten-race season! Bill Auberlen's Mosport Park Exxon Supreme GTS-3 pole (PTG BMW M3) was his 18th in GTS-3, tied for first on the all-time GTS-3 Pole list with Dennis Aase's 18! ARA MODEL REVIEW The Penske Racing-Kirk F. White Sunoco Ferrari 512M driven to a third place finish in the 1971 Daytona 24 Hours by Mark Donohue and David Hobbs holds a fond place in the memories of endurance sports car racing fans. The car was fast but unlucky! The Brumm 1:43 model of the Sunoco 512M as driven at Daytona is, appropriately, a beautiful dark blue with yellow wheels, spoiler, engine cover intakes, and airbox. Numerous photographs of the Daytona racer show the model to be accurate in its reproduction of the original. The interior is well-detailed and even at 1:43 scale is clearly visible! The intakes are clearly visible on either side of the cockpit, and the engine is visible under the airbox cover. The airbox, spoiler, and five-spoke wheels are yellow plastic and the taillights red plastic. Clear plastic is used for the glass area and covers the headlight lens units; the wiper unit is black plastic. The body is, as with other Brumm models, metal. Fit and finish quality is excellent. The model is 3.8 inches long, 1.75 inches wide, and about one inch tall. The Penske 512M was actually Ferrari 512S chassis number 1040! Number 1040 made its debut in the July 12, 1970 Watkins Glen SCCA Can-Am driven by Jim Adams for Earle-Cord Racing; Jim finished 20th in the race after starting 18th; he completed 67 of 87 laps. In the July 26, 1970 Edmonton Can-Am, Jim qualified tenth and finished seventh, completing 75 of 80 laps. In the August 23, 1970 Mid-Ohio Can-Am, Adams qualified sixth; he was relieved by Bob Bondurant in the race. The car ran out of fuel after 72 of 80 laps but still placed eighth. Its five-liter (305 cubic inches) engine was at a great handicap to the 430 and 465-cubic inch Chevrolet V8s common in the Can-Am; Denis Hulme won all three of the 1970 Can-Am races the Ferrari competed in driving Chevrolet-powered McLaren M8D entries. In Directory of Classic Prototypes and Grand Touring Cars, Anthony Pritchard notes: "This, undoubtedly the most potent of all the 512 series Ferraris, had started life as a 512S run in a few 1970 Can-Am races. It was bought by Kirk White of Philadelphia, who had it prepared for sports car racing by Roger Penske. The car was completely rebuilt, from the chassis up, with many of the suspension components replaced and major changes made to the steering geometry. The riveted aluminum panelling was replaced and the car was fitted with a new 512M-type body, complete with a full-width rear aerofoil. Penske sent two of the 5-litre Ferrari engines to Traco, the Chevrolet development specialists, who rebuilt them completely and introduced a number of minor modifications so that the power output comfortably exceeded 600 bhp. The turn-out of this car was magnificent, in blue, with yellow wheels with polished rims. Unfortunately it had started as something of a short-term project, and one year was not sufficient for a small team to turn this car into a racewinner." In his book, Ferrari: Sport Racing and Prototypes, Antoine Prunet writes: "Three 512Ms were lined up for the 1971 Daytona 24-hour race, but the most striking of all was, without question, the blue and yellow berlinetta entered and prepared by Kirk F. White and Roger Penske. A spin-off from the 512S spider of Earle-Cord Racing, and transformed into an "M," the 512 Sunoco Penske-White had been constructed with the utmost care. The cylinder heads, modified by the California company, Traco, had provided extra horsepower; the suspension had been revamped, but by far the most striking feature was the impeccable fiish-down to the minutest detail, such as the Indianapolis-style fuel-filler. It was not long before this fast and safe method of refuelling became obligatory in racing, together with a vacuum system permitting brake pads to be changed in one minute. With the best time in practice (by Donohue), the 512M Sunoco, well-driven by the Anglo-American team of David Hobbs/Mark Donohue, only missed a victory at Daytona because of a fuel-pump failure." Nevertheless, the car finished third, completing 674 of 688 laps in a race won by the Porsche 917 of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver. Another Fast Qualification honor was achieved by Donohue for the March 21, 1971 Sebring 12 Hours; the race, however, used a LeMans start. Donohue and Hobbs finished sixth in the race, completing 243 of 260 laps. The car led the first 20 laps! Prunet writes: "At Sebring the 512M Sunoco put on a star performance again by outclassing the official 917s in practice. It would have won the actual race, had Pedro Rodriguez' slower Porsche not collided with it." The car next appeared for the June 10-11, 1971 LeMans 24 Hours; it wore #11 at LeMans. Donohue qualified fourth fastest. As Prunet relates: "Hobbs and Donohue kept it in the lead group for the first four hours of the race but the Traco engine gave out, unfortunately, in the fifth hour when they were in second place. Apparently, before the start, the works had offered Roger Penske an engine specially "tuned" for LeMans but he had preferred to put his trust in the engine prepared by Traco, with which he had had more experience." The Sunoco 512M made two final appearances, on July 24, 1971 in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, and on July 25 in the Watkins Glen Can-Am. Donohue won the pole for the 6 Hours but, as Prunet notes: "the blue Ferrari immediately took the lead and shot out of reach until it was forced to retire due to a broken suspension arm." In fact, the car led laps 1 through 50 and lap 53 and retired with 53 of 279 laps completed. Donohue qualified the car sixth for the Can-Am, just one spot behind Mario Andretti in the works Ferrari 712 (with a 427 cubic inch Ferrari engine!) but retired after 57 of 82 laps with engine failure, placing 21st. Peter Revson won the race in a Chevrolet-powered McLaren M8F.