Welcome to the IMSA History unofficial website

This site is aimed at bringing you memories from the glory days of sportscar racing in the US.



"I had been a ski racer during the 50's and 60's and in 1965 opened a specialty ski shop outside of Los Angeles. In 1969 bought a Maserati Ghiblia (spelling) and when the water pump went out I traded it in for a new 1969 Porsche 911S (the first Porsche with the fuel injection system) from Bob Smith Porsche in Hollywood, CA. In 1970 I heard about a slalom event at a new business park being built in Orange County, California called the City. Thinking this might be fun, I went to the event, not knowing anybody and entered. Low and behold I had the fastest time of the day with my stock 911S. In 1971 I went to Riverside Raceway for a drivers school put on by the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America), got my license and entered some of the POC and PCA time trials, etc. etc. The head instructor at the school was Danny McKeever who now runs the "Fast Lane" drivers school at Willow Springs Raceway and teaches the celebrities who drive in the Long Beach Grandprix every year. In 1972 I heard about a Porsche 904 that was for sale, not knowing anything about these cars but liking the looks of it I sold the 911 and bought the 904 (#106). I won the "A" production category in the division of the SCCA in 1972 , and also the first professional IMSA race on the West Coast in Las Vegas .

I really liked the way that IMSA ran their race but found out that I could not enter the 904 in the future in IMSA. I sold the car and bought a 911E and converted it into a 2 litre car which I planned on running in the 1973 24hrs of Daytona in Florida. I had met Dieter Inzenhoffer at Vasek Polak Porsche dealership and he had helped me with the 904 and was interested in "going racing". He along with two other people from Vasek Polaks developed Andial which later became the official Porsche racing development arm in the United States. Milt Minter trailored the car from California to Florida for the 24 hrs and he ended up coming in second in the 73 24 hrs race driving a Ferrari. We won the under 2 litre category and came in 10th overall. I was hooked ! We won 5 IMSA races and finished in the top 6 in all 11 of them during the 73 season and easily won the GT under category for IMSA that season which was the first full season for IMSA's professional series. We ran every race and never had an engine or mechanical failure of any kind. But, I wanted to move up into the over GT category. I sold the GTU Porsche to Dave Hamren for $12,000. This car was later driven by Danny Ongais at Daytona in his first race in anything but a dragster.

During this successful run in 1973, most of the race tracks had little or no garages, and at places like Lime Rock for instance if you needed to work on your car at night you would have to find a place in town to do it. Many times we would be in a mini-mall parking lot or out in some field doing work on the car. Perfect spots were Post Offices because they would generally have big loading docks with overhanging roofs to get ot of the rain. There were no garages or cover in Sebring, Portland, Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta, Road America, Lime Rock, Laguna Seca, etc. and nobody had big trailors at that time so you had to find your own "garage". That was also the year 1973) that the IROC series was developed and for the IROC Roger Penske had worked with the Porsche factory to develop 15 identical cars that he would use for the races. They were delivered in different colors and each color would be driven by a famous driver out of the different professional racing series. Mark Donohue, Gordon Johncock, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Al Unser, etc. etc. After the last race at Riverside I bought the Strawberry car driven by David Pearson. I bought this car because it had a blown transmission and the car was not driven at the last race so it had the lowest miles on it. I bought the car plus another transmission for a total of $47,000. We did some coloration detailing on the car and took it to Daytona for the final race of the 1973 season. Peter Gregg protested our car since it had a plastic rear window and the big whaletail rear wing which became standard on the RSR's the following season but was not approved in 1973. We had to change the rear wing to the ducktail design and also carry an extra 100 lbs. We came in 4th overall in the race out of about 70 cars (the fields were all very big at that time) 4th place overall at that time paid $500. This IMSA Finale at Daytona in 1973 was the first race for a Porsche RSR.

All of the IMSA cars were sold and many of the 15 IROC cars were raced in the following years. There is a picture of a race at Laguna Seca in California, where the first 6 rows of cars are all Porsche RSR, except for a Ford Escort (I think) driven by Horst Kwech This season was almost like a "formula" series where everybody had the same equipment - However, the original IROC car was delivered with a high butterfly system and the 1974 factory RSR's came with a fuel injection system. We could not afford that so we raced with the high butterfly system. I could get the fuel injection system if I bought a complete new engine - Porsche would not sell it by itself. We raced the entire 1974 season with some success in 11 races. Never had an engine or transmission failure and ended up, as I recall 5th in the GT season standings. As far as I know, the car we had was the only original IROC car that had not been torn up to move the transmission upside down and lower the C.G. I heard about three years ago that the car had been bought by a guy in Florida for almost $800,000 ! ! ! ! I sold it the end of 1974 to John Bond for $27.500 and thought that I was out of racing since it was starting to get expensive (at the time !)

1975 I only drove pace cars at various races 1976 I drove a Honda Civic at Daytona and Sebring which was a publicity deal for Honda since they had done some market research and found out that some people did not want to buy a Honda since they did not think that they could drive them on the freeway. At Daytona it was a marketing success. The car was the fastest car on the track during a heavy rainstorm due to its street tires and front wheel drive. We never changed a tire during the entire race !!. It was the introduction of the Goodyear street radials. We blew the clutch around the 6 hr mark and drove the entire race without a clutch with no problem !! During the race I came up behind David Pearson in his famous Purolater Mercury which was a handful being on slicks in the rain. I called into the pits and told them that I would pass him in front of the grandstands - they got a picture of the Honda passing the big bellowing Mercury and that picture went around the world to the Honda dealers - - The racing bug never leaves one - - I bought a 1975 Porsche and built it up to run in the GTU category in 1977. We entered 10 IMSA races and came in 5th in the IMSA GTU category for the season. 1978 I drove with Tom Frank in his Executive Industries RSR and Jeffrey Stephens in his RSR in a few races with limited success. 1979 Mazda had just brought the RX7 into the country and we approached them with the idea of racing the car. They bought the idea so we developed the first American RX7 race car which was featured on the cover of Road and Track magazine in November 1979. It was a lot of fun, but with many difficulties since nobody had much experience with the rotary engines or the car, so at first we had quite a few DNF's, but the car was fast and near the end of the season we had worked out most of the bugs We came in 2nd in the GTU category in 1979, and entered a total of 27 races in IMSA during 79 and 80. NOTE - The next years there were a lot more RX7's on the grid since they were relative economical to race. The RX 7 became the winningest marque in IMSA up through the late 80's. The car we built (#79) won the GTU championship the following season.

1981 Tom Winters a former Olympic Swimmer and old skier friend asked me if I would like to co-drive a Porsche 924 Turbo that he was building In 1982 up through part of 85 we campaigned the 924 Turbo. This car was very fast but due to the horsepower advantage of the turbo we had a weight penalty of as I recall around 300 lbs or so. On the big tracks we were very competitive and ended up with a lot of pole positions and fast laps etc. etc. Elliot Forbes Robinson was also driving a similar car and between the two of us I would guess we had over 75% of the pole positions. The 924 was heavily modified in the engine compartment with the turbo being re-located much closer to the intake manifords to avoid that dreaded "Turbo lag". As you increased the manifold pressure you could watch two gauges go up - the pressure gauge and the temperature gauge. This was a lot of fun, but a trying experience due to many small nagging problems which caused a lot of DNF's In 1986 Tom Winters gave up on the 924 Turbo and joined forces with Paul Gentilozzi Rocketsports. Paul came from a drag racing background and later won the Trans Am championship. I co-drove some races with them in their GTO Oldmobile (shell only, NASCAR body) which was a beautifully crafted car and competitive in the GT Category. With over 700 horsepower it was quite a change and a lot of fun."

Bob Bergstrom ran this Porsche 924GTR at Riverside 1984