|Mr. Russell May and the lovely FJ car he built in the early 1960s
The Miller gets "dinged" at Thunderhill
Now this event turned out to have outstanding highs and lows. First the
When we entered this event about a month ago, the CSRG website noted a charity raffle that they were conducting.
So, Team Terrific purchased a $20 raffle ticket. What the heck, right? The Grand Prize was a one-off vintage Formula Junior
race car built in the early 60s. Believe it or not, WE WON THE RAFFLE and were able to pickup up the car during the week between
race weekends. Simply amazing!
When picking up the car we were privileged to spend time with the generous donor (and
owner for the past 20 years) of the car, Mr. Terry Buffum, as well as the restorer and caretaker of the car John Buddenbaum
and John Streets. They were most gracious in sharing extensive history and information on the neat little car.
even put us in touch with the builder of the car, Mr. Russell May, who, as it turns out, lives about 20 miles from the Thunderhill
race park. Mr. May, now about 79 years old and still very active (building and flying airplanes!), was kind enough to come
out to the track where we had the car and to share considerable other history on the car he built some 40+ years ago. He and
his wife were a delight. It was yet another privilege and high point of this trip to be able to meet the man who built this
unique race car.
But -- and this is where the story gets wild—it turned out that there were some folks that
had really wanted to win the May-DKW Formula Junior. So much so that they immediately approached us to buy the car. After
much deliberation on my part, it was decided to sell the car to them. While I’d love to have this unique car in our
race stable, the reality is that it will have a better home in California where it will get to race with a lot of other FJ
cars. The buyer of the car, father and son Terry and Morgan Grimm (of Sonoma), already own several other Juniors and were
determined, rightfully, that the car remain in California. I’m sure they will give it a good home. So, a deal was struck
and on our way back to Denver they met us in Sacramento to take delivery of the car.
So, we owned it for a mere week.
But it was great fun learning about it and we look forward to reading about Morgan racing the car out West.
back to the race weekend. The weather was cooler, but DRY, and both Diane and I had great fun. For my final race on Sunday
I had a wonderful back-and-forth battle (for 7th) with a fellow. We passed and re-passed each other probably six or eight
times, but he had the lead on the final lap. Best race I’ve had in years.
Also, there was a one-hour Enduro
race on Saturday morning where Diane and I shared her car. Great fun. We finish about 10th out of 20+ cars, most all of them
faster (class) cars.
During Friday and Saturday Diane was running very well, but unfortunately, during her Saturday
afternoon race there was a big problem at the very start of her race. One of the lead cars broke a transmission which caused
the cars behind it to take massive avoidance actions. And, as bad luck would have it, there was contact between two cars near
Diane and one of them was pitched back right in front of her and she tagged him, ending her race and weekend early.
than some fiberglass damage (Hello, Vic Cooper!) and a radiator, her car is fine and very fixable over the winter. She wasn’t
hurt at all and was, in fact, more mad than anything else. It really was just one of those racin’ thangs where she was
just in the wrong place at the wrong time. No fault of anyone, but a bummer.
But, considering all out other good,
nay GREAT, luck we had during this two-week season finale, who can complain?
To cap of the trip, on the way home we
met up with Jimmy Steinmetz in Park City, Utah where he lives and went out for a great meal and more than a few giggles.