Monterey Historics – Day 3 – Guest Post by Mike Graf

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Kid in a Candy Store


You’re never too old to act like a Kid in a Candy Store, so says John, the 60-some year old as we walk into Laguna Seca. If you have never had the pleasure to come to the Historics just image ALL of those guys you have ever met, or heard of, that have been around cars for 30+ years and tell stories about every car they have seen, driven or worked on – they are all here!


John was a great docent as we went around the Paddock, telling us about the time he and his dad would go to the races and see the big names chase after each other in cars that one would consider to be deathtraps. You know the kind where the drivers torso is the highest point in the car, and the tires are 5 inches wide…yeah, those drivers were the modern equivalent of X-Game athletes.


Okay, some education on the types of cars that are allowed to participate in the Monterey Historics. For the most part, every car must have racing lineage and be pre 1975, the only exception to the years are really the IMSA type cars, which holy hell are fast cars. With this, one gets to see cars for the 20s, yet watch some of the top IMSA and Grand Am cars in the same day. They run 20 minute heats for each era or engine displacement, it’s a great way to see the evolution of the race in the same afternoon. And let me tell you, watching a race car, that looks more like a tractor, rip down the Corkscrew is an amazing site. There were even cars that required a Brake-Man be on board to, yes you guessed it, he brakes for the driver…now that is the definition of TRUST.


The Paddock is completely open to the public, you can walk through each row, take pictures, touch and even talk to the owners and drivers. It’s truly a family feeling and everyone is there to have fun and share stories. Maserati was this year’s featured mark, so they had lots of their cars there, including a Le Mans Prototype.


Boy has carbon fiber changed the racing world – looking at the old cars made of thick steel, weighing as much as a truck, to now where the modern car is made of carbon fiber and weighs under 2000 lbs. But looking at all of the work that went into those old race cars makes you appreciate their efforts, to think that one needed to be a mechanic, not an art major, to come up with the design that would win races.


Well, we had a great time, hopefully you will have a chance in your life to make the trip to Monterey. Like John, this should be on your Bucket List too. I want to thank Paul, The Groosh, for letting me post our trip, and to the guys, Dan and John, for hanging out with me for the weekend… the stories and laughs were worth every penny spent. Next time we will get Paul to come with!!

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