By: Norman E. Nelson- Redwood Empire Mini Enthusiasts Club
On May 31-Jun 1, 2008 the 22nd Annual Wine Country Classic races were held at Infineon Raceway in the Sonoma Valley. It was a beautiful weekend with over 350 vintage racing machines competing over the famous 12 turn – 2.52 mile course. The automobiles ranged in age from 1915 to the mid 1970’s and in horse power from about 38 hp to over 600. Nevertheless they were all beautiful historic race cars with pedigrees a mile long. They were grouped into 9 races of 10 laps each.
Redwood Empire Mini Enthusiasts teamed with Mini Mania to arrange a Mini Cooper corral for this event. The officials of Infineon Raceway were very obliging and set us up with our corral right smack-dab in the middle of the paddock. On Saturday 26 Minis came out to enjoy the day and Sunday brought out 32. We were treated like royalty with guards assigned to help & guard our Minis, and positioned right in front of the wine & food pavilion.
The schedule of nine 10 lap races provided some very spirited and competitive racing. Don Racine of Mini Mania had a spectacular drive. Coming from last place starting position in the 40 car field, due to mechanical problems on Saturday, Don carved his way through the field passing one car after another working his way up to a 7th place finish. The only thing that kept him from challenging for the lead was the race was only 10 laps long, otherwise who knows.
Joe Huffaker, of Huffaker Engineering, brought our his famous number 77 National Champion Mini and parked it in with the rest of us in the corral. We had to give him a towel at the end of the weekend so he could wipe off all the drool marks. Tim Brecht compaigned his number 14 Mini Cooper until engine “bugs” sidelined him. Gary Anderson was also driving his #5 MGA in group 4.
All in all it was an exciting weekend. Our Mini Coopers were the center of attention as we were placed right at the entrance from the parking lots. Hundreds of race fans stopped by our corral for a look at all the colorful smiling Minis.