THE 10th ANNUAL RACERS REUNION
The 10th Annual Racers Reunion Banquet was a hugh success with a full house. We covered the amazing story of Carroll Shelby, the rough and tumble world of AMA Grand National motorcycle racing and studied the Evolution of the Sprint Car.
Carroll Shelby the man, was an entrepreneur, an excellent race car driver, an outstanding automotive designer, and a real showman. Carroll Shelby the icon, was a visionary, talented, persevering individual who used every resource available and did not accept no for an answer.
At the 2019 Racers Reunion Banquet, we featured the Texas racing legend. In the late 1950s, Shelby was a force to be reckoned with on the international sports car scene. He not only competed against but often won when raced drivers such as Stirling Moss, Masten Gregory, Ken Miles, Dan Gurney, Briggs Cunningham, Jack McAfee and many, many more.
In the 1960s after retiring from driving he became a leader in the automaker design industry creating street cars that were performance based and served a need for the growing sports car market. The legacy of Carroll Shelby lives on today through the many channels he established such as Shelby America, The Carroll Shelby Foundation and Shelby Performance Parts. Carroll’s grandson, Aaron Shelby, joined us to share stories about the East Texas farmer, turned racer, turned icon.
AMA GRAND NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE RACING
Motorcycle racing is one of the most traditional forms of competition in the United States. It blossomed when riders would compete on dirt county fair horse race tracks. This dare-devil extreme sport became known as Flat Track racing. The riders would shoulder through the flat turns at high speeds leaning a great deal to the inside of the turns and becoming vulnerable to high danger.
As public road compositions changed to hard surfaces the leisurely drive down twisting country roads grew into road racing. Once again the motorcycle riders, always searching for the quickest path, developed techniques and driving styles that only the fearless would attempt.
Groups such as the American Motorcycle Association, which was formed in 1924, help organize, regulate and sanction all types of motorcycle racing still today. Akin to the four wheel dare-devils, there are many levels of competition ranging from the hobbyist to professional riders. The Racers Reunion Banquet delivered stories of triumph to tragedies as we featured motorcycle racing.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE SPRINT CAR
All forms of motor racing have evolved. They had to change with the times: technology, safety, design, and horsepower are the main factors. Some forms of racing have stayed as true to their roots as possible and one of those is Sprint Car racing. Sprint Cars have evolved but the basics have remained consistent.
Sprint Cars as we know them came into existing about 100 years ago, right after World War I, most based on the Ford Model T engine and frame rails. They were a single seat, open cockpit, fenderless light weight machines. That same descriptions still fits today but the technology, safety, design, and horsepower have evolved.
From the “rail frame” to the “tube frame” to the “caged” to the 900 horse powered “winged” Sprint Cars of today, historian Josh Shaw covered the transformation of the type of race car with the greatest power to weight ratio in existence, the Sprint Car.
The Racers Reunion Banquet, which is held annually in Irving, Texas, includes an afternoon guest speaker, autograph session, dinner and special feature presentations, along with an afternoon of bench racing with old and new friends amongst a display of vintage race cars and memorabilia!