More than 100 classic race cars representing seven classes and 120 years of racing were on display and on the track last week at M1 Concourse in Pontiac for the inaugural American Speed Festival.
Among the vintage racers participating were four historic Chaparral race cars designed and built by Motorsports Hall of Famer Jim Hall, whose designs changed the sport of auto racing forever.
Based on last week’s success, the American Speed Festival will return to M1 Concourse Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2022. A part of next year’s event will feature a celebration of the Shelby marque in honor of the 60th anniversary of Shelby American.
“We’re very pleased with the success of our inaugural American Speed Festival weekend,” says Tim McGrane, CEO of M1 Concourse. “Although weather hampered us a bit Sunday for the exposition, we had a tremendous three days for our Dine and Drive and two days of on-track time trials on the 1.5-mile Speed Ring of Champion Motor Speedway.
“Fans and competitors alike were extremely enthusiastic about seeing iconic vehicles from seven different classes doing runs on track.”
Awards were bestowed on the best of the participating cars. They were:
- Best Can Am Car, Jim Hall, Chaparral 2E
- Best Indy Car, Chuck Jones, 1972 Parnelli VPJ-1
- Best Endurance Car, Team Stradale, 1959 Maserati Tipo 61
- Best Featured Car, RM Motorsports, 1992 Jordan 192 Formula One
- Best Stock Car, Michael Haislet, Kyle Petty #42 NASCAR Pontiac
- Best Super Car , Bob Hertzberg, 2020 Ferrari 488 Challenge EVO
- Best European Performance Car, Larry Smith, 1967 Maserati Ghibli
- Best American Performance Car, Ken Lingenfelter, 1952 Corvette Duntov Mule
- Best Import, Michael Aumick, 2008 Subaru WRX STI
- Selection Committee Award, Al Shultz, 1952 Fabulous Hudson Hornet
- M1 Concourse Award, The Henry Ford, 1901 Sweepstakes Race Car
Hall, a legendary racing engineer was named the first American Speed Festival Master of Motorsports for his lifetime of achievement in the racing industry. He was unable to attend the Checkered Flag Ball in his honor Saturday night, but joined live via video to accept the award and answer questions from fellow Motorsports Hall of Famer David Hobbs.
“We can’t thank Jim Hall and his family enough for bringing four of his Chaparrals to this first event as our featured cars,” says McGrane. “To see that kind of racing innovation and history on track was such a unique opportunity for the fans that won’t be soon forgotten. Jim was a very worthy recipient of our first Master of Motorsports award, and we were honored to have him and his family involved in our inaugural event.”
Saturday evening’s ball supporting M1 Mobility was sold out in the new M1 Event Center. It brought together community, industry, and political leaders to raise funds to assist with the transportation needs of Pontiac residents.
SpeedSport TV live streamed the event globally on numerous digital platforms, including M1 Concourse, American Speed Festival, SpeedSport TV, and Racer. Host Ralph Sheheen described the action for thousands of race enthusiasts across the country and around the world.
“We can’t thank enough both the competitors who brought and raced vehicles on track, as well as all the enthusiastic fans who came out this weekend,” says McGrane. “As with any first-time event, we will take valued input from our customers and competitors to provide a better event for all. We can’t wait to do it again the first weekend of October 2022, and we can promise it will be bigger and better than ever as we celebrate the sport of auto racing and the anniversary of Shelby American.”