Historic race cars battle weather at Infineon
ART HEBERT of Larkspur drives his 1963 Lola to victory among 1955-64 Formula cars.
Rain and fierce winds dampened much of the on-track activity on Saturday at the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Infineon Raceway, and the popular parade and Plaza showing of many of the cars, scheduled for Saturday, had to be canceled.
That didn't stop vintage racers from around the country from descending on the Sonoma track with close to 400 classic cars, including a number of almost priceless McLarens, many of which competed in one of North America's premier race series, the Can-Am Challenge, which ran from 1966 into the 1980s.
Can-Am cars pioneered many racing innovations, including wings, ground-effect aerodynamics, lightweight materials like titanium and turbocharging.
Despite the weather, practice/qualifying sessions were held for all 13 race groups, although many drivers elected not to take their one-of-a-kind race cars onto the track in the wet conditions.
The full race schedule on Sunday saw Bay Area drivers post four victories, with Larkspur's Art Hebert claiming his second consecutive class victory in Sonoma, at the wheel of his 1963 Lola. Hebert started from the pole in Group 5A and led flag to flag in the 10-lap main event for 1955-64 Formula Cars.
Other Bay Area winners on Sunday included Alamo's Jeff Abramson, San Francisco's Danny Baker (1977 McLaren, Group 6A, 1966-74 Historic Formula One Cars) and San Jose's Chad Raynal (1969 Camaro, Group 7A).
Chris MacAllister, who splits time between Sonoma and Indianapolis, went wire-to-wire for the win in the 11-lap Group 5B feature for 1966-74 Historic Can-Am Cars. MacAllister, in a 1971 McLaren, battled with Yountville's Steve Cook, in a 1968 McLaren, before claiming the lead for good on lap 5. McLaren was the featured marque of the event.