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South West Division SCCA Formula B 1976

Sandy Shepard only picked up a single victory in his Lola, so the title was won by Warren Pauge, still living in Texas instead of his native California, and taking 12 points. Pauge was tied by Charlie Derbes in his Brabham BT29, while Gary Nunn was only just behind with nine points in a Lotus.

The season opened with a National at Chennault Field in early February but the F/SCCA field was almost entirely made up of Formula Fords, the only Formula Bs being Barry Findley from Midwest Division in his Merlyn Mk 21, and John Bernadine, a Texas Region member, who retired his March 742. Pauge then picked up six points at Texas Region's Polar Prix at Greater Southwest Raceway later in February after Shepard was unable to start. Houston Region's National at Aloe Field in April attracted no single-seater bigger than a Formula Ford.

The National at GSWR in early May saw the FB points mopped up by raiders from Midwest Division, with Findley winning, now in a March 74B, from David Pence in a Merlyn MK 21, and Jackie Cooper in another March 74B. Nunn's chance for points came at Roswell, New Mexico, where he brought his Lotus home in 12th place behind the massed Formula Fords to win the class. It was again Formula Fords only at Sowela's Cajun Grand Prix at Chennault Field at the end of May. At Ponca City in July, Pauge took a fine second place behind Bob Young but ahead of Findley, and his six points propelled him into the lead of the SWDiv title race. Derbes then scored points as far away as Brainerd, finishing third in class in the Uncola National on 11 July, the same day as SWDiv's National at Texas World Speedway, which only attracted Jackie Cooper and his 74B, the Wichita Region member taking the full nine points despite finishing behind 13 Formula Fords. Pauge also picked up a third in class at the new Pueblo Motorsports Park in Colorado a week later, despite finishing 26th and last!

Shepard's nine points came from a win in the Labor Day Classic National at Texas World Speedway in September, a joint promotion by Alamo, Houston, Lone Star and Texas Regions. He was nearly eight seconds a lap faster than anyone else, and over 18 seconds faster than the only other FB runner, James Michelet in a Zink Z10. Derbes had finished second to Shepard at the previous day's Regional, but did not appear for the National.

Final standings

1. Warren "Bud" PaugeBrabham [BT38]Texas12 pts
2. Charlie Derbes IIIBrabham [BT29]Delta12 pts
3. Gary NunnLotusWest Texas9 pts
4. Sandy ShepardLola [T460]Texas9 pts

Southwest Division sources

Coverage of SWDiv was much slimmer in Competition Press & Autoweek than for other Divisions. To make the historian's life even more difficult, a couple of the Regions that organised National events do not appear to have had their own newsletters for much of this period: Alamo Region in Texas and Central Louisiana Region in Louisiana. The known Regional publications are:

  • Deltagram (Delta Region)
  • Journal (San Jacinto Region)
  • Lone Star Draft (Lone Star Region) - from 1979
  • Roundup (Texas Region)
  • Spinout (Southwest Louisiana Region) - from 1978
  • Border Bulletin (South Texas Border Region)

For much of the 1960s, the most important publication for this area was Southwest Racing News, published from 1963 onwards by Bill Gay from Dallas and running on until at least 1974. We are exceedingly keen to acquire copies of any of these.

We are also keen to get scans of entry lists from all SCCA Nationals and Regionals in this Division.