Finally, the day arrived. My brother and nephew got to my house the night before to join me on this epic weekend. I had my car cleaned out except for a few die cast Z cars that would be on display on my dash, and we loaded up my brother’s truck. We started out for Road Atlanta early in the morning, stopping for ice and breakfast. About one third of the way to our destination I realized I forgot my ticket. But wait! I had a crew pass wristband. All was good.
After getting through the gate, I drove over to Vendor Village to park my car at the BF Goodrich display. As soon as I had the car situated, I hoofed it over to my brother’s truck to grab my camera. If I was lucky, I would get a few photos of the Datsuns’ first qualifying session, except I heard the bad news. John Morton was off the track, and the safety crew was cleaning up a mess. I got over to turn 10 in time to see the BRE 240Z on a strap. I took that as a much better sign than being hauled on a flatbed.
Before we made it over to the paddock to find out what happened to the BRE 240Z, my phone started ringing. Randy was looking for help in tracking down a loaner motor for the weekend. I placed a couple of calls to friends, but I didn’t have much hope I could source an engine. There was a beehive of activity around the BRE trailer. Rob and his Z Car Garage crew were attacking the 240Z, preparing to rip out the deceased motor. Fans were buzzing around John Morton and all of the eye candy parked nearby. After all, how often does an early Datsun/Nissan fan get to see a Datsun/Nissan driving legend and a C10 Skyline in the same place. It didn’t hurt that Adam Carolla was around with his BSR livery 610 coupe.
I started on my usual Friday routine of walking around the paddock and photographing anything that interested me. There are always some interesting cars in the paddock like this Cortina with a V8 swap.
With all of the cars in classic liveries, I thought this 510 had a simple elegance.
Now is it still scary to hit the back of a Pinto when it has a fuel cell? It is definitely missing the 70s era 5 MPH bumpers.
And there were lots of nice looking Z cars scattered throughout the paddock.
Les Cannaday, owner of Classic Datsun Motorsports, made the trip from California and brought a roadster to race.
Meanwhile, Rob Fuller and the Z Car Garage crew were busy ripping out the deceased engine from the BRE 240Z…
And Adam Carolla was busy talking to fans and signing autographs.
Not to mention plenty of action on the track.
After enjoying the track action for a while, it was back to the infield to Vendor Village. I got to see the full BFGoodrich display with the three Zs from the Georgia Z Club sporting new BFGoodrich G-Force Sport Comp-2 tires. I had been running them for several months and was more than happy to mount a new set for the vendor display.
We ate lunch, and then I wandered over to the Nissan Heritage collection display. It wasn’t fully populated, yet, but the original BRE 510 was on display. This was the car that won 2 SCCA Trans Am 2.5L championships for Brock Racing Enterprises.
Still I hadn’t made it over to the Support Paddock to see the cars there.
It wasn’t just Z cars and 510s representing the Datsun faithful, either.
And I ALWAYS love seeing an E-type ready to race.
And the old BMWs aren’t bad, either.
Before I knew it, the first sprint race of the weekend started. Larry Cooper led the first few laps, but Chet Wittel was right on his heels. In the end, it was Chet Wittel winning in the first time on the track since 2003 in a car he prepared in about 3 weeks.
The podium looked good.
And the team was happy.