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						Elkhart 20
It's Always a Good Day at the Track

Elkhart Lake Vintage Weekend 2020 recap

By Dean Larson

With tracks closed and events canceled all over the country due to the current global health situation, we weren't sure what to expect while loading up for the three-hour hike south to Road America near historic Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. But looking back now at our eventful four-day weekend there, it’s clear that Elkhart Lake never disappoints, and even an off weekend at the track is better than a good one elsewhere.

Road America’s WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman has always been a can’t-miss event for us, even before we started this publication. Hundreds of vintage race cars make the trip as well for four days of racing on the historic 4.048-mile paved circuit situated on 640 acres of beautiful land near the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. America’s National Park of Speed it’s called, and you’ll understand why before you even get through the entry gates. They’ve been racing here since 1955, only after the government voted to outlaw racing events on streets in 1952, as the streets of Elkhart Lake formed the race circuit from 1950 to 1952.

You can feel those 70 years of racing history all over the area, especially true during the WeatherTech Challenge, which also hosts a race car concours event on Friday and a street car concours on Saturday. This year was a little different, as the local government instead gave the go-ahead for the concours events at Road America, instead of the streets of Elkhart Lake, likely over social distancing concerns. Either way, the concours events were still packed with attendees, braving 90-degree temps to get an up-close look at vintage race cars and rare street machines.

We also attended a smaller event at the 104-year-old Siebkens Resort in Elkhart, which featured a small number of cars both nights. There, we ran into a few old friends, including John Mathys with his wide-body Beck 904 GTS (Winter 2019 issue), in addition to getting an uninterrupted view of a new Ford GT, a stunning Ferrari F40LM and a concours-condition Ducati Mille Mike Hailwood Replica bike. Also on display was an intriguing pair of Cobra roadsters (more on these later), a Ferrari 812 Superfast and the raw-aluminum Troy Indy Special from 7fifteen Motorworks.

It was initially strange to see the streets of Elkhart so bare, as it’s normally packed shoulder-to-shoulder during the events. But it’s clear that everyone had a good time regardless of location, however we hope to see the concours events return to Elkhart next year.

Despite the searing heat, racing went on from morning into the evening all weekend, featuring everything from Trans-Am to Cam-Am and more. Most notable about the event, for more than one reason, was the presence of the sensational UOP Shadow cars. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Shadow team, several Shadow Can-Am and Formula One cars were on site and were featured in their own ceremonial races at the track. It was in one of these performances on Saturday where driver Jim Pace’s DN4 Can-Am race car flipped upside down on the main straight. Check out the full rundown on the incident here, but rest easy knowing Pace was able to walk away without injury.

Overall, it was clearly an off year for the event in terms of racer entries and fans at the track, but like others, we were just happy to be able to enjoy some racing and car camaraderie. Even with the heat and small insolvencies, it was nice to get back to having some fun, because a even an off day at the track is better than a perfect day elsewhere, right?

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Events Road America