Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival - Racer's Panel

General Racing, May 18 2013 - The second annual racing seminar at the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival was held today, in front of an avid crowd of 120-plus vintage racing drivers, media and Corvette fanatics. Nearly 400 historic and vintage race cars are competing in this weekend's event, the fourth under the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival banner.

Historic & Vintage Race Cars Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

Celebrating the Corvette brand's 60th anniversary, the panel represented the six generations of the iconic Corvette, from its birth and introduction to racing in 1953 to the successes of today's Corvette Racing team. Paul Reinhart, Bill Pollack, Joe Freitas and Dick Guldstrand talked of the early years of competing in Corvettes mainly in California, while Michiganders Tony DeLorenzo and Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan covered the later years of Corvette's rise to popularity. It was moderated by Rick Voegelin, author/journalist and former p.r. manager for Corvette Racing.

Paul Reinhart Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

Fehan, whom many credit for the success of the modern Corvette Racing program that began in 1997, made his first visit to the Sonoma Historics Motorsports Festival this weekend to take part in the seminar. "Not only is it my first time at the Sonoma event, it is my first time at any significant historic racing event," he said. "And, I have to tell you, I am deeply moved over what I've seen here, and I say that not only from a historic perspective in general but on a personal note as well. So many of the programs with which I've been fortunate enough to be associated over the years are well represented by the vehicles I see here. The memories flood back. It just really impresses not only on me but I'm sure on everyone here the importance of keeping historic racing alive and well. This is our history, this is a moving museum, if you will. It's just been a very moving experience for me and I've enjoyed every moment.

Doug Fehan, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

"When we look at particularly this event, which celebrates Corvette's 60th anniversary, we see those drivers (on the panel) who have a deep passion and love for the automobile, an interest in not only the era in which they raced but obviously in the new generation Corvette, specifically the C7. It's heartening to know that once a Corvette fan, always a Corvette fan. To be able to take the brand forward and bring it to the public's eye and for those who may have not known anything about Corvette to learn about it and learn about it first hand from those that started Corvette racing I think makes a huge mark. From a marketing standpoint this is one of the most powerful events you could ever conceive."

Vintage Race Cars Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

DeLorenzo, whose record in the Owens-Corning Corvettes in 1969-70 boasts a streak of 22 straight wins in SCCA A-Production and FIA endurance races, also made his first appearance at the Sonoma Historics. It was also the first time he's been to Sonoma Raceway since 1978. "That would be 35 years," he said. "It's been absolutely wonderful. The weather is spectacular and that's enjoyable, but seeing the guys who care for these cars now is the biggest treat for me. As racers, we were always moving on to the next car, so these cars got short shrift from us, but now they're being well cared for, and we're happy about that. That helps keep the brand of the cars and the sport alive, and that's what we need. We need more young people getting involved, and I think this helps.

Tony Delorenzo Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

We picked up the torch from the guys before us and we carried it for our time, and it's amazing to see the guys that are carrying the torch after us. We started out with hammers and bigger hammers and now the new cars are just an engineering tour de force. It isn't easy, it doesn't come overnight, but we're happy that we're a part of it. Pioneers, if you will. We just wanted to win the next race, that's all we thought about at the time, but it's fun to look back and say, Holy Cow, look what we did. We didn't know it at the time." For more information:

Racing Panelists Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

From left, Rick Voegelin, Bill Pollack, Paul Reinhart, Joe Freitas, Dick Guldstrand, Tony DeLorenzo & Doug Fehan.

Photos by Randy Berg


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