Famous race cars to thunder around Pontiac track at 1st Speed fest

Famous race cars that set records and pioneered new technologies will take to the track at the first American Speed Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at M1 Concourse in Pontiac.

The inaugural event will also feature two days of live racing by classic cars on M1’s 1.5-mile track, famous drivers, a tour of local automotive events and a charity dinner.

 The centerpiece of the weekend is a tribute to the legendary 1960s and ’70s Can-Am race cars, which became famous for unlimited engine power and technical innovation.

Watkins Glen Can-Am 1970. Jackie Stewart debuts the Chaparral 2J Ground Effect Vehicle, aka "the Sweeper," with its 2nd motor that drove two fans to extract air from the interior, thus creating downforce independent of the vehicle speed. This climbing section of the circuit used to be known as "Graham Hill." Photo by Pete Lyons 1970 ©2020 Pete Lyons

Driver and car designer Jim Hall will receive the ASF’s first Master of Motorsports award. Several cars from Hall’s museum in his native Texas will be present, demonstrating the design innovations and performance that made Can-Am one of the most entertaining and influential racing series.

Master innovator bringing cars

“As we honor Jim Hall, we are also showcasing racing innovation.” M1 Concourse CEO Tim McGrane said.  “Jim Hall’s advancements in terms of aerodynamics and engineering advancements have far reaching implications for the automotive world.”

Hall is bringing some of his personal race cars, which are coming from his museum. The cars will be on display and run on the track, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see vehicles that changed the face of racing.

Jim Hall's Chapparral 2E, one of the vehicles that changed race car design,  will be at American Speed Festival at M1 Concourse.

“I don’t know that there is anyone who, by himself, changed the sport of auto racing globally as much as Jim Hall,” said George Levy, president of the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America and the author of an upcoming biography of Hall.  “To car crazy kids like me in the 1960s, Jim Hall was the Neil Armstrong of motorsports.”

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Other racing greats at ASF will include driver and favorite motor sports analyst David Hobbs and three-time CART champion, Indy 500 winner and team owner Bobby Rahal. Rahal is bringing his newly restored 1966 Eagle-Ford V8 Indy car.

Historic cars, luxurious garages

This 1952 Hudson Hornet is the sole-surviving, authenticated Fabulous Hornet race car that dominated NASCAR from 1951 to 1954 when Hornets won 78 of the 139 races.

Here are some of the cars that will be featured at the speed fest:

1952 Hudson Hornet

This is the sole-surviving, authenticated Fabulous Hornet race car that dominated NASCAR from 1951 to 1954 when Hornets won 78 of the 139 races. The car inspired the beloved Doc Hornet character in the animated movie “Cars.”

1969 Ford Mustang R-Code Cobra Jet

This vehicle  was the original prototype used as the color pallet car for the development of the original Boss 302 program. This car raced in the 1975 24 Hours of Daytona, where it finished 20th overall with driver-owners David and Richard Mroz.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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