Field of more than 100 race cars makes American Speed Festival a success

Photo: American Speed Festival

The celebration of speed past, present and future at M1 Concourse’s inaugural American Speed Festival was a resounding success for competitors and fans this weekend.

More than 100 race cars representing seven classes and 120 years of racing were on site for the three-day event (Oct. 1-3). Highlighting the weekend were the appearance of four historic Chaparral race cars designed and built by Motorsports Hall of Famer Jim Hall, whose revolutionary designs changed the sport of auto racing forever.

Photo: American Speed Festival

“We’re very pleased with the success of our inaugural American Speed Festival weekend,” said Tim McGrane, CEO of M1 Concourse. “Although weather hampered us a bit Sunday for the Exposition, we had a tremendous three days for our Dine and Drive and two days of on-track time trials on the 1.5-mile Speed Ring of Champion Motor Speedway. Fans and competitors alike were extremely enthusiastic about seeing iconic vehicles from seven different classes doing runs on track.”

Saturday evening’s Checkered Flag Ball supporting M1 Mobility was sold out in the new M1 Event Center, bringing together community, industry and political leaders to raise funds to assist with the transportation needs of Pontiac residents.

Hall was honored as the first “Master of Motorsports” for his ground-breaking design innovations in the racing world. Hall was unable to attend the dinner, but joined live via video to accept the award and answer questions from fellow Motorsports Hall of Famer David Hobbs.

Photo: American Speed Festival

“We can’t thank Jim Hall and his family enough for bringing four of his Chaparrals to this first event as our featured cars. To see that kind of racing innovation and history on track was such a unique opportunity for the fans that won’t be soon forgotten,” said McGrane. “Jim was a very worthy recipient of our first Master of Motorsports award, and we were honored to have him and his family involved in our inaugural event.”

Television producer SPEEDSPORT TV live streamed the event globally on numerous digital platforms, including M1 Concourse, American Speed Festival, SPEEDSPORT TV and RACER. Host Ralph Sheheen described the action for thousands of race enthusiasts across the country.

Photo: American Speed Festival

In addition, at the ASF Exposition today, special awards were presented to 11 vehicles as voted upon by ASF patrons and officials:

Best Can Am Car – Jim Hall – Chaparral 2E

Best Indy Car – Chuck Jones – 1972 Parnelli VPJ-1

Best Endurance Car – Team Stradale – 1959 Maserati Tipo 61

Best Featured Car – RM Motorsports – 1992 Jordan 192 Formula 1

Best Stock Car – Michael Haislet – Kyle Petty #42 NASCAR Pontiac

Best Super Car – Bob Hertzberg – 2020 Ferrari 488 Challenge EVO

Best European Performance Car – Larry Smith – 1967 Maserati Ghibli

Best American Performance Car – Ken Lingenfelter – 1952 Corvette Duntov Mule

Best Import – Michael Aumick – 2008 Subaru WRX STI

Selection Committee Award – Al Shultz – 1952 Fabulous Hudson Hornet

M1 Concourse Award – The Henry Ford – 1901 Sweepstakes Race Car

The American Speed Festival will return to M1 Concourse on Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2022. A part of the event will feature a celebration of the Shelby marque in honor of the 60th anniversary of Shelby American.

“We can’t thank enough both the competitors who brought and raced vehicles on track, as well as all the enthusiastic fans who came out this weekend,” said McGrane. “As with any first-time event, we will take valued input from our customers and competitors to provide a better event for all. We can’t wait to do it again the first weekend of October 2022, and we can promise it will be bigger and better than ever as we celebrate the sport of auto racing and the anniversary of Shelby American.”

Photo: American Speed Festival