Southern Pacific SCCA Formula B 1968
As in the North East and in North Pacific, Brabhams were now the cars to beat and Ray France swept to the title in his Brabham BT21A. Dave Webster had been the man to beat in the latter part of the 1967 season, after taking delivery of a BT21A, but had swapped it for a LeGrand Mk 6 for 1968. When this proved uncompetitive, he acquired a new Brabham BT23 and finished second in the category, winning the SCCA's "Rookie of the Year Award" for his performance . Third in the division was Robert Winkelmann who was marketing Palliser's Formula B cars under his own name. His success led to a number being sold in SoPac and Southwest Div for 1969.
La Jolla architect Henry Hester scored 27 pts in his ex-Chuck Dietrich McLaren M4A and also made a couple of appearances in the Pro series in the Hogan Motors Lotus 41C. Lou Sell had been the quickest driver in FB in SPDiv in 1967 but had ignored the Divisional title. He moved up to Formula A for 1968 and would go on to win the national Pro title but found time to bring out the Smothers Bros Brabham BT21A, Sell's 1967 car, for a comfortable win at Willow Springs in March. Dick Smothers also used this car during 1968. Other Brabhams appeared in the hands of Joe Alves (BT21A), Jay Jamison (a new BT21C), ex-F1 driver Tony Settember (Terry Petmecky's BT21A) and Boyd Groberg, whose car remains a mystery.
|1.||Ray France||Brabham (BT21A)||CSCC||43 pts *|
|2.||Dave Webster||LeGrand (Mk 6) (/Brabham BT23)||CSCC||36 pts|
|3.||Robert Winkelmann||Winkelmann (WDB1)||CSCC||34 pts *|
|4.||Joe Alves||Brabham (BT21A)||CSCC||30 pts|
|5.||Henry Hester||McLaren (M4B)||CSCC||27 pts|
|6.||Ron Hogan||LeGrand (MK 3B)||Ariz||20 pts|
|7.||Gerard Klose||LeGrand Mk 3||CSCC||15 pts|
|8.||Lou Sell||Brabham (BT21A)||CSCC||9 pts|
|9.||Dick Smothers||Brabham (BT21A)||CSCC||6 pts|
|10.||Tony Settember||Brabham (BT21A)||CSCC||6 pts|
|11.||Boyd Groberg||Brabham||Utah||2 pts|
|12.||Jim Brooks||Lotus 51||CSCC||2 pts|
|13.||Jay Jamison||Brabham (BT21C)||CSCC||1 pt|
|14.||Bruce Powers||Lotus (51)||CSCC||1 pt|
|15.||Cliff Wells||Lotus||CSCC||1 pt|
* Indicates total includes points earned out of home divisions.
|25 Feb 1968||Stardust International||Cal Club Region|
|10 Mar 1968||Willow Springs||Cal Club Region|
|31 Mar 1968||Tucson Airfield||Arizona Border Region|
|07 Jul 1968||Riverside||Cal Club Region|
|21 Jul 1968||San Diego Stadium||San Diego Region|
|04 Aug 1968||Riverside||Cal Club Region|
|25 Aug 1968||Bonneville Raceway Park||Utah Region|
|13 Oct 1968||Phoenix International Raceway||Arizona Region|
Tuscon was the 12th Annual Tucson National Pacific Coast Championship Sports Car Races at Tucson Airport on 30-31 Mar 1968; the first Riverside was on 7 Jul 1968, replacing at the last moment a race scheduled for Orange County Raceway; and Salt Lake City was the Great Salt Lake Road Races which were scheduled to be held at Midvale Airport, West Jordan, on 25 Aug but were moved to the new Bonneville Raceway Park instead. There was also a National held at Phoenix on 13 Oct; why it was missing from Sports Car's list is unclear.
The San Diego National is quite a curiosity. With Del Mar Fairgrounds no longer available, San Diego Region were using the parking lot of the new San Diego Stadium, the home of local football team the San Diego Chargers. This temporary track was given the remarkably grand name of the San Diego Stadium International Raceway and hosted a SCCA event on 21-22 Oct 1967, just nine weeks after the stadium had opened. It was used again for a National on 20-21 Jul 1968 but it attracted just 2,300 paying spectators and the combination of the cost and complaints about noise ensured it wasn't repeated. With Carlsbad Raceway, completed in 1965, not of National calibre, San Diego Region would in future have to hold events in the baking heat of the desert at Holtville Airfield, some two hours to the east.
Southern Pacific Division sources
Although Los Angeles was one of the homes of American motor racing, we have few sources of information for southern Californian FB racing in this period. Competition Press & Autoweek had some regional coverage up to 1973 and Formula magazine then took over for a period in the mid-1970s. However, we are keen to acquire or borrow 1960s, 1970s and 1980s copies of SCCA regional publications from this Division. The key ones are:
- California Sportscar [1960s] (California Sports Car Club)
- Post Grid [1969-1970] (California Sports Car Club Region)
- Finish Line [from 1971] (California Sports Car Club Region)
- Gridlines (San Diego Region)
We are also keen to get scans of entry lists from SCCA Nationals for this division.