Friday, April 19, 2013

Road Racing in the American South - Early 1970s

George Follmer -Porsche 917-10 (Photo R. Cunningham)
The American road racing scene has a well-documented history with most of it being centered in the northeast and west coast regions. While road racing had its fans in the south, there were markedly fewer venues in the area (save for two rather famous facilities in Florida). 

The Group 44 Equipe (Photo R. Cunningham)
The opening of Road Atlanta in 1970 brought a number of high profile racing series to the deep south, including Can-Am, Formula 5000, Trans-Am as well as numerous SCCA club events. One young fan in Mobile, Alabama was thrilled that world-class racing was near and made several trips to the course not long after its opening. 

Friend and fellow British car enthusiast Richard Cunningham shot literally hundreds of photos during his time there and he has posted a number of them on his Picasa page. Using a press credential obtained from a local news organization, Richard was able to get access to areas that are normally off-limits to fans. This access gave him a just-inside-the-armco vantage point to snap action photos of the competitors on the track.
The Original Road Atlanta Bridge (Photo R. Cunningham)

In the paddock, Richard shot photos of the greats - Mark Donohue, Peter Revson and Jody Scheckter. There are photos of the support rigs, the teams and the spectators. One jarring photo shows a Can-Am Chevrolet engine with a picture window in the block, courtesy of a wayward connecting rod. 
The collection can be found here.

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