A high-speed roll call of top Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) competitors and some of the most famous names in Stock Car racing history come together this weekend for the milestone 45th HSR Mitty at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, April 27 – 30, which celebrates NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary.
Founded in 1948, NASCAR marks its 75th season in 2023, and the HSR Mitty is just one part of the year-long NASCAR 75 celebration. Historic Stock Cars have been a major part the last few years of the HSR events at Michelin Raceway, but this weekend’s 75th NASCAR Anniversary celebration raises the bar. The event has attracted an unprecedented HSR entry of nearly 60 historic and vintage stock cars that will both compete and make exhibition laps on the 2.54-mile road course North of Atlanta.
The Saturday and Sunday NASCAR 75 feature races also serve as the second annual Gene Felton Memorial Challenge, which honors the late road racing star and 2019 HSR Mitty Grand Marshal Gene Felton.
In addition to receiving a special race winner’s trophy, a plaque bearing the winning driver’s name is also placed on the hand-made Lanier Technical College Gene Felton Trophy. The one-of-a-kind award features actual pieces of Road Atlanta asphalt, decorative clear vials of the Georgia red clay that surrounds the circuit and a silver cup replicating one of Felton’s many racing trophies. The perpetual trophy commemorates Felton’s long association with nearby Lanier Technical College, where he helped interns in the Motorsports Vehicle Training program get hands-on racing experience. Donations to the program in Felton’s honor can be made HERE.
“Front Row” Joe Nemechek (pictured above top right) earned the honor to be the first to have his name engraved on the Lanier Tech Trophy when he won last year’s inaugural Gene Felton Memorial Challenge in his NEMCO Motorsports 2006 No. 8 Toyota Camry. NASCAR Hall of Fame and Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) inductee Bill Elliott kept the pressure of Nemechek to the finish and the battle renews this weekend. Nemechek returns in his No. 8 Camry to defend his title while “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” wheels his 2014 No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro.
Nemechek and Elliott are part of a stout entry of more than 40 competing Historic Stock Cars while another 14 – from the 1949 No. 87 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 of Marshall Griffin on up to the 2020 No. 47 Toyota Camry of Chris Andrews – are set for the weekend’s schedule of Stock Car Exhibition sessions.
Appropriately, the iconic Wood Brother Racing family will preside over the weekend’s racing activity as the Grand Marshals of the 45th HSR Mitty at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Launched over 70 years ago by NASCAR Hall of Fame and MSHFA inductees Glen Wood and his younger brother Leonard Wood, Wood Brothers Racing holds the Guinness World Record for the longest active NASCAR racing team. Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest continuously operating NASCAR Cup Series team and has won races in seven decades, including the team’s 99th and most recent victory at Pocono in 2017 with Ryan Blaney.
Glen’s sons Eddie Wood and Len Wood (pictured above) now lead Wood Brothers Racing and the brothers will represent the family as the primary Grand Marshals at the 45th Mitty. Plans also call for their now 88-year-old Uncle Leonard – who built engines and engineered the team’s lightning quick and now legendary pit stops – to make an appearance. Glen Wood passed away in 2019 at the age of 93.
The first NASCAR 75th Anniversary Gene Felton Memorial race formally launches Saturday’s racing schedule with a 1 p.m. EDT green flag. The second and final NASCAR 75/Gene Felton sprint goes off Sunday at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Stock Car Exhibition Laps sessions are scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. EDT and Saturday at Noon and 5:45 p.m. EDT.
In addition to the bumper crop of Stock Cars, the HSR paddock at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will be full of a vast variety of road racing and sports cars from the last 65 years competing in the majority of the 45th HSR Mitty’s non-stop racing schedule. The weekend offers something for everyone with an amazing array of vintage and historic sports cars, stock cars and open-wheel racing machines.
Schedule highlights include a pair of one-hour B.R.M. Endurance Challenge races that each feature a specific and period-matching group of race cars. Saturday’s first B.R.M. race at 4:40 p.m. EDT is home to the GT Modern (GTM), Historic and Prototype divisions. Sunday’s one-hour B.R.M. race puts older machinery in the GT Classic (GTC) and Vintage classes in the spotlight at 8:15 a.m. EDT.
A longtime favorite of HSR competitors, the SascoSports International/American Challenge is a production-car showcase of big-bore American-made iron battling with top sports cars from Europe and beyond. The all-out sprints see competitors race for the overall win in addition to top-three honors for the International, American and all-Porsche divisions.
Another strong entry for at the 45th Mitty will see the SascoSports Challenge races split into two events. Race A, for larger displacement race cars, kicks-off the weekend’s racing schedule Friday at 4 p.m. EDT. Race B, for the small-bore machines of Groups 2 and 3, immediately follows the opening race at 4:30 p.m. EDT.
Stoner Car Care Global GT is home to a variety of contemporary but recently retired GT racing machines going head-to-head in a flat-out sprint. Sunday’s Stoner Car Care race at 3:15 p.m. EDT brings the 45th HSR Mitty to a close as the final race of a blockbuster weekend.
Tickets information and camping options for the 45th HSR Mitty at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta can be found HERE.