Thursday, December 2, 2010

VRG Turkey Bowl @ Summit Point Raceway

The Crew of ELBRacing again teamed up with Kingstowne Racing for the last track event of the year. The Turkey Bowl (November 26 - 28, 2010) @ Summit Point Motorsports Park was sanctioned by The Vintage Racer Group and featured something for everyone. With a variety of vintage classes and groups for late model and legends cars, there was plenty for every racer & spectator to enjoy. Darin Treakle and his SCCA ITS Acura Integra also joined the gang in the Paddock for a 3 car line-up. All three cars made it through the weekend incident free, even through sessions that featured snow flurries. A variety of photos and in-car video are included for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Inspiration

We've already mentioned that the Classic Cougar racing heritage was a major inspiration for ELBRacing. We started with Open Tracking a couple of classic cougars. Well, here is the car that inspired us to go Open Tracking:

This monster of a '69 Cougar was built and is Open Tracked by “Cougar Bill” Quinlisk. Bill runs a restoration shop in Colorado and custom built the upper control arms on both of the ELBRacing classic cougars.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cougar Engine Refreshes!

Though the race car has been dormant over the last couple of months, the folks at ELBRacing have been busy. Ralph Pagington worked with KTL Restorations on the build of a 331 stroker engine for his '67 Mercury Cougar. Ralph has installed this new monster in his Cougar and the package will be seeing track time at Summit Point Raceway sometime in the Spring of 2011.

Jim Karamanis also pulled the 351C out of his '70 Cougar. The mild 351C received a set of reconditioned heads and an otherwise cosmetic rebuild.

Stay tuned for more as ELBRacing prepares the Ford Pinto vintage race car for the final racing event of the year, the Vintage Racer Group Turkey Bowl @ Summit Point Raceway.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1970 Mercury Cougar Restoration

As mentioned in our very first blog post, ELBRacing was started with a dream of road racing vintage Mercury Cougars. Even though a Cougar race car was not in the long term cards, the ELBRacing crew have been Open Tracking & Autocrossing Mercury Cougars for several years now.

1970 Mercury Cougar owned by Jim Karamanis

1967 Mercury Cougar owned by Ralph Pagington

Both of our ELBRacing Cougars are currently under-going a refresh in the power department, which reminds us of the nostalgic days when our '70 Mercury Cougar first came into Jim's ownership (December 1998). Jim purchased the car as a painted shell. The following slideshow depicts what the car looked like when the previous owner purchased it and performed the restoration of the paint and body work and a final photo which shows what the car looks like today:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

ELBRacing was formed with the goal of participating in vintage racing. This past weekend that dream became reality. Teaming up once again with Kingstowne Racing, The ELBRacing Pinto took to the track for a weekend of racing as part of the Historic Trans-Am Group, during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at the  Beaverun Motorsports Complex.

The weekend started with an advanced drivers school for those new to 'Vintage' Racing, where the emphasis was placed on respect and good judgment. After a half day of class time and a couple of lead and follow sessions the students blended into their regular run groups for the remainder of the weekend.

The ELB Pinto faced a series of mechanical issues that materialized during Friday afternoon practice sessions. The shifter linkage kept jamming making the car undrivable. Team driver Jim Karamanis and crew chief Ralph Pagington pulled the transmission from the car to identify the issue, but were only able to patch it back together. The car was back in one piece for Saturday morning practice with the realization that 2nd gear would be unusable for the remainder of the weekend. With ginger driving, the car was able to be nursed through race time on Saturday and as far as Sunday morning practice. Several times the car was stranded on track, but the BeaveRun workers happily towed the car back to the paddock and encouraged the team to keep band-aiding the car back together and continue on track.

The Kingstowne Racing BMW faired much better. Driver Krisjan Berzins participated as part of the Historic Trans-Am Group and also made an appearance in the Porsche – BMW challenge race. The car was rock solid all weekend and Krisjan ran progressively lower lap times throughout the weekend.

The team also met many wonderful people at this event, including the Schindel's who campaign a BMW 2002, the Wentz's who campaign a 1968 Mustang, McKie Racing with driver Brian McKie's beautifully prepared 1965 MGB, Tripod Racing with their immaculate Datsun 510s, Nial McCabe and his Spridget, as well as many, many others.

Special thanks to the Vintage Racer Group and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix for putting on an extremely well run and unforgettable event.

ELBRacing is now working on correcting the transmission issues encountered during the race weekend in preparation for an appearance later this year at the 'Turkey Bowl' at Summit Point Motorsports Park.

Beaverun 2010 Slideshow:

Beaverun 2010 Race, Part 1

Beaverun 2010 Race, Part2

Monday, June 14, 2010

More Pinto history and a new logo

Thanks to ProPayne Graphics in Mechanicsville, VA, ELBRacing now has a logo. Thanks, ProPayne!

And to prove the power of blogging, the second owner of the ELBRacing Pinto found us via this blog. Allen Petrie campaigned the car for most of the races it appeared in during the 80s. Mr. Petrie was kind enough to send us the following photographs of the ELBRacing Pinto, and some of it's competition, from back in the day:

Allen Petrie in the ELBRacing Pinto @ Second Creek Raceway, June 1986 

Allen Petrie in the ELBRacing Pinto @ Second Creek Raceway, July 1986

Dick Elliott ITB Pinto, 1987. Mr. Elliott is the original constructor / owner / driver of the ELBRacing Pinto and also campaigned a Boss Mustang in the original Trans-American Series

JR McKnight ITB Pinto, 1986

Allen Petrie ITB Pinto, 1989

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Open Practice Update & Spring Drivers School Videos

Friday Open Practice went fairly well, though technical issues with our in-car camera mount made for unusable (ie. very shaky!) video. Fortunately, fellow SCCA Spring Drivers School attendee Darin Treakle presented the ELB team with very usable video from the Spring Drivers School. These videos were taken from the dash of Darin's Treakle Insurance Agency ITS Acura Integra. There is a lot of footage of the ELBRacing Pinto as well as the Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape BMW:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

End of an Era

Unfortunately, it is the end of the road for the Mercury Brand. Not a surprise to Mercury car buffs, as Ford has been exercising 'badge engineering' with Mercury for a number of years, which has absolutely killed the brand. But, fortunately for us, the Classic Mercury Cougar and other great Mercury cars of the past will live on forever in our hearts.

Here at ELBRacing we have been deeply involved in the Classic Cougar car scene for a number of years. We have open tracked and autocrossed these cars, and have been charter members of the Delmarva Cougar Club ( Check out Delmarva Cougar Club member Phillip Payne on camera explaining the demise of the brand:  

In racing news, ELBRacing will be making an appearance @ Summit Point Raceway, Friday June 4th for a day of Open Practice. Stay tuned for photos and video of that upcoming event.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tentative Track Calendar

ELBRacing and Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape are tentatively set to team up for the following 2010 events:

  • June 25th, Open Practice Day @ Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point WV
  • July 16 – 18th, VRG Historics @ Beaverun, Wampum, PA
  • November 26-28th, VRG Turkey Bowl @ Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point WV
Stay tuned as other track dates could possibly be announced. 

Speaking of the Vintage Racer Group (VRG), they have just launched a re-design of their website. Check it out
Also, for a bit of east coast road racing history, take a look at the following video from the Library of Congress of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup race.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rainy Weather Preparation

As mentioned in previous posts, operating a race car under an extremely low budget leads to some interesting challenges. Our open trailer is just large enough for our vintage race car, small enough to fit in our residential driveway, but doesn't provide any protection from the elements. Not that this is a problem during regular storage as the race car sits in a garage. But, towing in less than desirable weather conditions can lead to a soaken wet race car interior.

A little water doesn't bother us too much. But, the chance of the cars electronics being victim to the elements is something we would rather not deal with during a race weekend. To that end, we purchased some Plexiglass and decided to make removable windows.

At $53 a sheet, the Plexiglass isn't particularly cheap. But, it is fairly easy to work with. We were able to get fairly decent cuts with a jig saw. These windows aren't exactly pretty, but should do the job just fine.

The rear lexan window has holes drilled through it to allow air to escape the interior. A piece of plexiglass was fabricated to sit across this as well to keep as much water out as possible.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Competition Driving School

The Washington D.C. Region of the SCCA held a three day Double‐School for Club Racing competition licenses March 19‐21, 2010 at Summit Point MotorSports Park in Summit Point West Virginia. ELBRacing once again teamed up with Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape for this event. Jim Karamanis drove the ELBRacing 1972 Ford Pinto B-Sedan Vintage Racer while Krisjan Berzins burned up the school in the Kingstowne 1987 BMW 325is race car. Ralph Pagington again took on the duties of ELBRacing crew chief and Bruce Shelton of Automotive Enterprises again helped out the team as crew chief on the BMW. Various members of Bruce's regular pit crew (Bruce campaigns a GT Pinto in the SCCA Mid-Atlantic Road Racing Series) pitched in for the over-all team throughout the weekend.

The first school began Thursday evening with an orientation and flag test and continued through mid-day Saturday ending with the students first race.

Video courtsey of Convenience Car Care

The second school begin mid-day Saturday ending with a race Sunday evening.
Video courtsey of Convenience Car Care

School participants received received three race weekends of track time condensed into three working days. Class time began at approximately 7:30am each day with activities continuing until around 6pm each evening with the SCCA hosting on-site dinner both Friday and Saturday. Students were either in the classroom, riding in an instructors car or driving their race cars continuously throughout the weekend. The SCCA instructors received high-praise from students. All of the instructors were MARRS series participants and instruction was clear, articulate and thorough. Some of the instructors had taught at the school for over thirty years. Instructors manned corners throughout the track during the school weekend, analyzing the line and race craft of the students. Feedback was immediate as each track session was followed by a debrief session. Students worked closely with individual instructors and were treated to laps around Summit Point Raceway in the instructors street cars where they were able to gain insight about the nuances of the track.

Overall, the SCCA put on one incredible school. Instructors, event organizers, stewards, workers and emergency personnel were extremely organized, professional and knowledgeable. The fact that an all-volunteer organization is able to put on an exceptional road race school is a testament to the SCCA and specifically the WDCR. At $550, this school is undoubtedly the best deal going for a professional racing school in the Mid-Atlantic region. Anyone considering getting into any type of club road racing should consider this school. It is absolutely a must for those who plan to campaign their car with SCCA as those who successfully graduate the double-school walk-away with an SCCA novice permit.

ELBRacing wishes to formally thank the unbelievable crew that kept the vintage Pinto on track all-weekend. There was a tremendous amount of track time and their diligence kept one of the oldest cars in the field running throughout the school, allowing both drivers to graduate from the school and receive their SCCA Novice Permits. In the early part of the school, the Pinto kept blowing the sound limit. The skilled crew was able to modify the exhaust system by adding an additional muffler and side-pipe which allowed the Pinto to drop underneath the minimum threshold for exhaust noise. ELB would also like to thank the incredible folks at WDCR for an unbelievable school. You have given us the skills needed to begin our vintage racing campaign.

Monday, February 8, 2010

ELB racing not so elb?

ELB racing has replaced the vintage 1992 Ford F-150 tow vehicle with a 2008 of the same make and model. The new tow vehicle is an XLT 4x4 and more importantly, features the 5.4 liter engine with gobs of torque. The old truck struggled to pull the race car and trailer over the mountains near Summit Point WV. The ELB crew will have no problem pulling their rig anywhere on the east coast with the newest addition to the ELB stable. And, given the new tow vehicles crew cab, they’ll have no problem bringing a full crew along.
 Speaking of vintage, check out this photo of the original ELB race car. Kermit Burroughs dug this drag racer photo out during the latest Mid-Atlantic blizzard.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

History of a Race Car

Given the recent purchase of the Pinto Race car, we are trying to learn about its past racing history. We know for sure that the car was originally built for the Trans-Am 2.5 series. However, the car was not completed in time (Alfa Romeo and BMW quit the series after getting thrashed by the BRE Datsuns, ending the 2.5 series after 1972) and thus ran in alternate events, such as regional SCCA. According to the log books that we have, the car was raced at many SCCA events, and perhaps even an IMSA event, though it is hard to tell. Many of the Trans-Am 2.5 series cars ended up in IMSA, so this would make good sense. The SCCA log book that we currently have goes back to 1979 and the actual history of the car from 1972 - 1979 is currently unknown. The following pictures of the car are attached to the log book:

The car was mostly raced in Texas and Colorado, but apparently was also raced in solo racing by a previous owner and won an SCCA championship. The races we have in the SCCA log book, showing three different drivers, are as follows:

1.Adios to Summer 8/18/79
2.Greater Southwest National Championship Road Races 9/15/79
3.Indian Summer IV 10/5/80
4.Whopper School + Regional 11/16/80
5.COV(best guess, hard to read) 9/4/82
6.Lake Afton GP 8/11/83
7.La Junta DSR 4/1/86
8.1st Chance At 2nd Creek 6/28/86
9.Hayatt Riot 7/19/86
10.DS/R 8/2/86
11.La Junta School Regional 10/1/88
12.Enduro 12/23/88
13.La Junta, Co 6/4/89
14.Double National (Colorado Region) 7/8/89
15.Double National (Colorado Region) 8/19/89
16.SCR School Region 4/4/92
17.Double Regional 9/19/92
18.Mead S/R 10/11/92
19.MARRS 6 (Washington DC Region) 8/10/96

The car was then purchased by the most recent owners in 1996. At this point, it was a worn out old race car, but the body (and even the original paint) were still in good shape. So they restored and updated the drive-train in order to take the car vintage racing. Here is what the car looked like when they purchased it:


They ran the following events with SVRA (including some IMSA reunion events):

1.Pocono 7/97
2.All Grahan (best guess, hard to read) 8/15/97
3.Summit Point Blue Gray 97
4.AVGP 10/16/97
5.Pocono 7/30/98
6.Summit Point Blue Gray 10/1/98
7.Roebling Road Easter In Savannah 4/1/99
8.Mid-Ohio 6/25/99
9.Pocono 7/29/99
10.Watkins Glen Zippo US GP 9/8/99
11.Summit Point Blue Gray 9/30/99
12.Moroso Spookfest 10/28/99
13.Summit Point Blue Gray 9/29/2000
14.VIR Inaugural 10/12/2000
15.Summit Point Blue Gray 10/9/2001
16.Mid Ohio SVRA 2002
17.Pittsburgh Vintage GP 07/2006

We will continue to share more about the history of this race car as we learn it. But for now, we're thrilled to own a race car with great history and patina!