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Friday, November 18, 2016

VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival-Volvo Nationals, Sept. 2016

How does one summarize the "event of the century" if you are a Volvo fan? Not easily. I think maybe I have finally recovered enough to do this.

This all started 16 months earlier when Ray Freiwald and I got together with Volvo trucks president and fellow 1800 racer, Goran Nyberg, at The Hawk. Goran was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea of getting together all the Volvo racers we could find. It turns out there are about 90 of us on this continent, so convincing more than a third to be part of an event is downright respectable. The convincing factor was, without a doubt, coming up with $20,000+ to help with transportation.Thanks to Volvo Car USA, Volvo Trucks, ipd, and Volvo Penta for contributing to that fund.

We had 33 race teams in the North Paddock at Road America, which turned it into Volvo City. Volvo Club of America was there with us for their 2016 National Meet. Corporate Volvo, now known as Volvo Car USA, had an enormous tent with their displays – new cars, Heritage Cars (our ’73 ES was one of them) and enough to keep anyone busy. The Volvo Executive Team was there as well.
Lex Kerssemakers, President of Volvo Car USA was part of the action in the paddock and  got the feel of a vintage 1800 race car, (David Farrington photo)

Mike Dudek, owner of iRoll Motors and P and B Motorsports sponsor, flew in from California to help
with the VCOA National Meet (David Irvine photo)

Most of this will be a pictorial post, but I will say a word about the all-Volvo race that took place on Saturday. There were Volvos ranging from nearly bone stock 544’s from the ‘50s to current SCCA-running 1800s. The latter are much lightened with fiberglass panels. Bruce Ackerman brought what I would call a tube frame GT3 car that is about as trick as I have ever seen.
Bruce Ackerman (California) SCCA prep (top, David Irvine photo)

 The consequence was that we knew lap times were going to be wildly different, so we created 6 trophy classes for the race.

I was in the “Vintage 1800” class. Josh Rodenbush and I had a great race. His car was classified for the weekend as 2A, slightly faster than my 2B. Turns out VSCDA was right. While I led a bit more than half of the race, Josh jumped ahead in Turn 1 on Lap X. I had one opportunity to regain the lead, but it was risky, and I have drummed in my head “If you are not sure it will be a safe pass, don’t do it.” Josh and I raced to the finish line together, with the timer saying that he beat me by 0.05 seconds.

Volvo Race Results 
1st Overall:   Rob Keller, Algonquin, IL. 1968 1800S (2032cc, Group 8-Class G70)

1st Vintage 1800 Class: Josh Rodenbush, San Francisco, CA, 1966 1800S
(2000cc, Group 2-Class A)

1st 122 Class: Rich Kushner, Marietta, PA, 1963 Amazon (1998cc, Class S1)

1st 142 Class: Jim Stem, Bethesda, MD, 1971 142E (1986cc, Group 8-Class BS)

1st 444/544 Class: Ron Polimeni, Capon Bridge, WV 1959 PV 544 (1800cc, Group 2-Class S2)

Here’s some video of that race ... (Disclaimer: I'm learning a new video editing program and there are some spelling errors that crept in. I do know how to spell "Ackerman" and "something.")

And on to the pictorial essay…

Orvar Litsgo (Washington) in his GT3 Amazon (David Irvine photo)
Dave Perry (Alabama) in his '57 444 (David Irvine photo)
Dan Reynolds (Ontario) brought his beautifully prepared Holman-Moody 1800, but suffered an engine failure in practice (David Farrington photo)

Without doubt, the 'furthest traveled" was Luis Barona from Mexico City, who raced the car that he took to the LaCarerra Panamerica 8 times! Luis came up to P and B Motorsports a couple of days early. We have a new friend in Mexico.
 (Phil Koller photos)

Ron Polimeni (West Virginia compares notes with Eldon Hammond (Illinois) on their 544s (Phil Koller photo)
Rick Hayden brought his Art Riley recreation from Harbor City, CA. This car is as close to stock as it gets.

The Special, a 1959 of Fraser Earle and Don Davy, driven by Brian Hunter (Ontario)  (David Irvine photo)
Brian Hunter (L) and Fraser Earle (R) (David Farrington photo)

(David Irvine photo)
(David Farrington photo)

Thus car did not race, but is another "Volvo Special" - the Hoyt Special of Bob Wildoner (David Irvine photo)

 Jan and Jim Blett spent time working on Alex Christopher's (Reno, NV) 1800 (David Irvine photo)

This young lady was all the rage in being stylish (David Farrington photo)
Dave Buettner does some adjustments (Doug Senk photo)

Ken Rodenbush,  Sherman Oaks, CA. '64 1800S (David Irvine photo)
Bob Criss, Bethyl Park, PA. '67 122S (David Farrington photo)
Nick Polimeni, Torrington, CT. '72 142E (David Farrington photo)

Peter Lambrinos, Pickering, Ontario, '71 142E (David Irvine photo)

Gerald Allen, Grenada Hills, CA. '71 142 (David Irvine photo)
Irv Stein, Blue Bell, PA. '66 1800S (David Farrington photo)
Leon Lok, Whitby, Ontario. '69 142S (David Farrington photo)

Jim Ghilardi,  Pleasanton, CA.'72 142E (David Irvine photo)

Sam Moore, Kannapolis, NC. '70 142 (David Farrington photo)

Can't forget the rest of the Midwest Boys (Even though Alex lives in Reno, he's still one of us.)

So this has been mostly (?) about the "Volvo Nationals: Swedish Speed and Style." But there was a full weekend of VSCDA racing going on too, including three Cup Races.  I saw this car there, so there must have been something else going on ...

Early in the race, that's Cana Comer in her Bugeye Sprite from River Hills, WI

And a little later in the race :-) 

David Irvine photos)

Special note needs to be made of the Kimberly Cup win by none other than our own Todd Jongen!

The Jongen Family in a celebratory mood. (Phil Koller and Doug Senk photos)

Thanks to the photographers who provided me with 2000 pictures to choose from ...

David Irvine, Shelbyville, MI
Doug Senk, Iron River, WI

David Farrington, Ooltewah, TN
Phil Koller, Appleton, WI

And finally, a special thank you to two people without whom this would never have happened. 

Goran Nyberg, Oak Ridge, NC
Goran's car could be yours! It's for sale. (David Farrington photo)

Ray's '61. Over 40 years and still going.
Ray Freiwald, Uncivilly, WI
See ya next year! (Phil Koller photo)