Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Glen



                                            Welcome To Watkins Glen International


A perfect weekend, a perfect race! That's the summary of my experience June 28-30 at Watkins Glen. The weather for the most part cooperated and the race result was historic in that the Mazda's finished one, two.
But I'm getting ahead of myself as there was really great racing in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, GT3 Cup and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo.  I have a special interest in the Michelin Pilot Challenge because Alfa Romeo is running two Giuliettas in that series and I drive an Alfa Romeo Giulia. On another blog post I will tell the story of the Alfa Romeo Team's moments of success and their challenges over the weekend.  The end result was the #5 Alfa placed 6th and the #3 placed 11th. This is not representative of both cars speed on the track. They certainly had the pace to keep up and even lead the field.  But luck was not with them.

To start the weekend off, I drove the 75 miles to the track from Mendon, NY on a beautiful June morning arriving at 7:30 AM in time to take my usual walk through the paddock and midway area.  I was impressed with the new paved roads in the infield and the new turn 10 viewing area. WGI is continually upgrading the facility and it is a world class track from a fan perspective, comparing it to Daytona, the gold standard of tracks.

After my brief walk around, the roar of Michelin Pilot Challenge cars filled the air as I headed out with the camera. I had to get pictures of the Alfa Romeo boys to share with  Florida Alfa Club members back home.


                                                   No, This is not the way it is today

Watkins Glen is no longer the rowdy, dusty and muddy venue where rag tag race fans came in the '70's to outdo each other's antics in the 'Bog', but I had to snap one shot shown above representing that past at my first stop at turn 9.  (Turn 9 is an iconic photo spot, about as good as you will find anywhere on a road course)  You will see in the pictures here the beautiful backgrounds a photographer can achieve by moving a short distance along the fence line, capturing wooded backdrops to large elevation changes.  So here's a taste:


Alfa Romeo leading the way.

And from Grand Sport class - BMW and Mercedes


Scrapping little Honda Civics were fast.

Alfa Romeo being chased by Audi


Mercedes, Mercedes


Lifting the hind leg? Alfa Romeo glued to the track.


Honda and Audi again.

So you can see from the above- Turn 9 is the place for photos.


Next came qualifying for Porsche GT3 and here's a taste:







And next came practice for the IMSA Weather Tech Championship including DPi, LMP2 and GTLM followed by the GTD class.

Both Mazdas were quick, #77 here finishing 2nd overall and #55 finishing first.










So to conclude, Friday was a busy day with perfect weather- however Saturday brought rain and some dramatic photos. Here's a  sample:







Konica Minolta Cadillac chasing the Team Joest Mazda



And Sunday, race day brought overcast, cool weather mixed with sun for a comfortable setting for the race. And an exciting race it was with the Penske team #6 car and Juan Pablo Montoya leading the #55 and #77 Mazdas with an hour left to go. In the end it was finally the two Mazdas winning with a one, two finish.  The #55 first and the #77 second. An historic win for Mazda Team Joest! 


Here's a few pictures from the race:







The race winner, Mazda #55!






Mazdas finished first and second after overtaking the Penske Acura shown above driven by Juan Pablo Montoya


Trying to get by Montoya, the #55 and the #77 Mazda eventually pass the #6 Montoya driving the Penske Acura for the dramatic first win by Mazda Team Joest.

Hope you liked the pictures. There's more to come in future posts. I know I enjoyed the entire weekend  at such a beautiful and historic race track.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher 
www.carcamerastory.com and author of "Echoes From The Glen"
Follow on Instagram @wownowpics 





















Friday, June 7, 2019

A Tribute To Greatness - Niki Lauda


Niki with his mechanic, Ermanno Cuoghi at Watkins Glen 1976



I was recently traveling in New York to visit Watkins Glen and the International Motor Racing Research Center located there when I learned the news of Niki Lauda's passing. I was shocked at first as I thought Niki was invincible. After all, he lived through his crash at the Nürburgring in 1976, and he was there in front of my camera in Watkins Glen a little over two months later battling for the world championship. Nothing would take Niki down. He was a tough guy. Tough guys don't die!

But it happened and now the racing world is experiencing a huge loss of this larger than life personality. I've been thinking how can I pay tribute to my hero?, so I've published this post to honor him with an excellent video attached.  My last post before going to New York was about Niki and James Hunt, never expecting that shortly thereafter Niki would be lost to all of us that were fortunate enough to have seen him race.

I am proud to have a picture of Niki on the starting grid at Watkins Glen October 10,1976 on the cover of my new book "Echoes From The Glen" and equally proud to have the IMRRC offering the book for sale in Watkins Glen.  (I'm giving $5.00 donation for each book sold there so click on the link below to get yours)

But first, here's a wonderful interview with Niki that will give you a sense of the man.  He was a one of a kind.


Graham Bensinger Interview With Niki Lauda


And here's a tribute by the Mercedes F1 team and staff that is very well done:

Mercedes Team Tribute To Niki


And here's "The Logbook" newsletter from the International Motor Racing Research Center.  Scroll down to the Race Shop to see my new book!

The Logbook- IMRRC


Next Up - I'll be at Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen for the IMSA race. Stay tuned for pictures.


Hope you enjoyed this tribute to an incredible man. I was one of the lucky fans to see him race.

Paul Ziegler, Publisher   and author of "Echoes From The Glen"

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Why You Should Learn About Niki Lauda and James Hunt

I suppose the title to this post got your attention, but I mean it in the most sincere way. If you are any kind of fan of motorsports racing, the story of the friendship and rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt will stand out for all of time.  The story will take you back over forty years to a time when Formula 1, or Grand prix racing as it was originally named, was much simpler.  Drivers were more at risk of losing their life than if they went into combat in WWII and fans could actually get close to their heroes at any given race.

I was so impressed with Niki Lauda as a young fan, I had to get his picture when he came racing at Watkins Glen in 1976.  And get his picture, I did.  That photo safari to the Glen lead me to write a book about that some 40+ years later. And to top it off, in 2015 I sent the three time world champion my photos with a request to autograph them. Never expecting such a busy and important figure to pay much attention to me, I was pleasantly surprised to get a package three months later with the 8 photos I send neatly wrapped and signed by the master!  Now that is class!

One of the photos adorns the cover of my new book,  "Echoes From The Glen", Reflections of Race Fans After Forty Years. For anyone interested, this is now available by clicking on the button to the right, and if you are within the continental, US I'm paying the shipping fees at this time to celebrate the start of the 2019 F1 racing season.

So here's the video "When Niki Lauda Meets Freddie Hunt.   (Freddie is late James Hunt's son), his dad having passed away at the young age of 45 of a heart attack.  This is a wonderful tribute to James.

Click Here For Video

And here's a cool commercial highlighting the NRING (Nürburgring) editions of the Alfa Rome Giulia and Stelvio.  You will love this.

Click Here For Alfa Romeo Action


"Echoes From The Glen" Available Now







The story of Niki Lauda's comeback from a crash that nearly killed him at the Nürburgring "Green Hell" circuit in August 1976 is one of the most inspiring stories, ranking along Tiger Wood's comeback to win the 2019 Masters.  ( Lauda won the World Championship in 1977 and missed winning the 1976 championship by 1 point).

I even gave a copy of the book to Indycar star, Robert Wickens who is on his journey of recovery since last year's crash nearly took his life. I told Robert his remarkable progress is an inspiration to all of todays young race fans, just as Niki Lauda's comeback was an inspiration to me as a young race fan. It has been an example for me throughout my life when things got tough- I always remembered how Niki overcame obstacles.  Robert is setting that example for a whole new generation of fans.

Robert Wickens receiving a copy of my book.



I hope you learn something from this post and gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of our sport.

                             This post brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Author and Publisher
                             of "Echoes From The Glen" and Carcamerastory.com




Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Sebring Spring Fling HSR Races

Here's a quick visual summary of my trip to HSR's Sebring Spring Fling March 30th.  I was not able to stay the entire weekend, but I did get some nice shots on Saturday.  I was sure to get pictures of my friend Don Ondrejcak's Porsche GT3.

Here's only a sample of the cars. It was a perfect day and a great ticket value- 20 bucks for Saturday only. You gotta go next year for that price. A lot of good racing and an air show going on next door as you will see in my final photos at the bottom of this post.
























And there were war birds flying overhead all day!  Quite a show.



We'll fly back for next year's race.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Author of "Echoes From The Glen"
Publisher of Carcamerastory.com