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TACH Special: SCCA Florida Region Continues Longest Night

10 January 2001

By David Treffer
Contributing Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
The Florida Region of the Sports Car Club of America held their fifth gathering of "The Longest Night" on December 30-31. Appropriately it was the last motorsport event in North America before the true "millennium" was rung in just hours after the 1:00pm finish on Sunday afternoon.

The Florida Region should be complimented for continuing the "Longest Night" tradition even though the race last year was postponed when a scheduling conflict with the host track (Moroso Motorsports Park) was not able to be resolved. The program cover titled the event "The Fifth Annual." Truth be told the program cover should have had an asterisk. In the years to come, should the event continue, the skipping of one year will probably be forgotten.

The field of 46 cars(Improved Touring, Showroom Stock, Spec Racers, Pro Series and Prototype) for this years event was smaller than previous races. Part of the reason for the smaller turnout was directly related to internal management problems within the Florida Region. This turmoil caused some teams from the northern climes to defer their decision. Their rightful fear was that the race was going to be called off at the last minute. Fortunately, the internal problems were resolved and the race was held.

If you have never been to a " Longest Night" event you should put it on your calendar for next year. The pit lane area resembled a mini Rolex 24 at Daytona or Le Mans. Granted the facility might not have the grandiose garages but the spirit of competitiveness among all the teams was just as spirited. When the sun descended the pit lane lighting revealed various apparatuses for throwing enough illumination on the vital pit crews as they worked feverishly on their respective racecars.

Walking or riding out to observe various turns of the 10-turn facility you will also notice the professionalism of the corner workers. People often forget the "silent heroes" of the race track. Without these spirited volunteers the event would not happen. The corner workers and pit marshals should all be given medals for this years event. The weather was clear but cold. How about 33 degrees at 3:00am with a wind chill effect of 26 degrees. To stand out in the cold and remain vigilant to your post was a true yeomans effort.

So for those of you who have never attended a 24-hour race maybe this one should be on your list. But please bring some warm weather with you.

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot racing photos and art, visit The Racing Photo Museum and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.