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AMERICAN SPEED FESTIVAL | M1 CONCOURSE

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AMERICAN SPEED FESTIVAL | M1 CONCOURSE
Sept 30-Oct 3, 2021

Vandagriff Brings Racing Legacy to ASF

 

Chris VandagriffAs President of the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA), Cris Vandagriff and his family have been “extremely involved” with motorsports for generations. His great grandfather, Harry Buchanan Grey, began as a riding mechanic at the Indy 500. His father, Chic Vandagriff, ran his Hollywood Sport Cars racing team from 1968 – ’72.

Like a glimpse into the future, Cris recalls spending three months a year in Pontiac with his dad’s Can-Am team 69-71. Recently M1 Concourse CEO Tim McGrane recruited Vandagriff to curate vintage cars for the inaugural American Speed Festival in Pontiac, which will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

Cris began driving after attending the Johnny Kasner driving school at Willow Springs and his first race was in 1973. He believed his purpose in life was to drive race cars. He dropped out of racing after Peter Revson, a good friend, lost his life. Cris stayed out until 1980 when a friend bought a vintage race car and asked Cris to teach him to drive. “I got on the track and I was hooked again.”

After growing Hollywood Sport Cars into the largest Ferrari dealership in North America, Cris became a driving instructor for vintage cars. He also became involved with HMSA, which he now leads, to help preserve the legacy of the world’s greatest drivers and automobiles, a tradition he will help foster at the new M1 Concourse American Speed Festival.

“The response has been really positive because, while new, it has the workings of a great event. Everyone wants to see Jim Hall and the Chaparrals. If you weren’t at the races in ‘60’s and ‘70s you have never seen these cars. They rarely participate in shows. They are one of a kind and extremely special.”

The appreciation in value of the vintage cars is such that many owners hesitate to take them to shows. ASF does not have wheel to wheel racing which makes it much more appealing to many owners.

Cris says vintage car owners love to share their cars and they love to go to new places. “The cars we are securing from across the country from California to New York to DC to Texas – have not been seen at any car show in Michigan.”

So much thought and planning has gone into ASF, says Cris. “The cars you see aren’t ones you see in a museum. They are in private collections and you will get to meet the owners and hear their stories and maybe get in the cars. Because every car has a story, and their owners like to share them.”

Among the Cars at ASF – MCLAREN M8B CAN AM

 

Lineup of orange McLaren M8B Can Am Cars

 

Perhaps the most successful race car of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the memorable “papaya” orange McLarens from Colnbrook ruled the Can-Am series in their heyday between 1967 and 1972, notching up 43 victories between the factory cars and privateers.

McLaren himself won the Can-Am title in 1967 and 1969, while teammate Denny Hulme won it in 1968 and took his second title in 1970, after Bruce McLaren’s fatal testing crash. Hulme’s 1971 teammate was the suave American Peter Revson, who took the title in the M8F only to lose his life in South Africa driving a F1 Shadow in 1974.

Designed by McLaren’s Gordon Coppuck, the M8 series of Can Am racers included a longer wheelbase and inboard rear brakes to reduce unsprung weight. Power was provided by an aluminum block Mark IV Chevy big block, which evolved to 490 cubic inches thanks to fat bores and the longest stroke they could fit in. “We had the big stroke crankshafts, something like four and a quarter inch stroke, similar to the one in the 454, and we had big-block castings,” GM engine man Fred Frincke told Alex Gabbard. Power would eventually reach 740 bhp.

Read more about it and the other featured vehicles online.

 

American Speed Festival Schedule Highlights

 

Two racecars going around a curve in a racetrack

 

Thursday, Sept. 30

Dine and Drive
Dine and Drive is an all-day grand touring excursion to enjoy some of Detroit’s most iconic venues that helped make and are making us the ‘Motor City.’ After a continental breakfast at M1, guests will drive through historic neighborhoods and then on to three sites of great interest:

  • The Ken Lingenfelter Collection
  • The Automotive Hall of Fame
  • The Henry Ford

*Special event limited tickets available.


Motor Grille
Spend a wonderful evening getting revved up for American Speed Festival in the all-new state-of-the-art 28,000 square foot Event Center & Restaurant facility, located along Pit Lane.
 
*Special event w/limited tickets available.

 

Friday Oct. 1 

Speed Ring
At the inaugural American Speed Festival M1 Concourse Speed Ring you will see 100 race cars compete on the M1 Champion Motor Speedway. Cars selected are the most iconic performance cars. The runs will be a non-stop succession of sound, color, and skill. Enjoy Motorsports Hall of Fame Celebrity Meet and Greets, vehicles on display, R/C off-road trucks, sponsor displays and a driving instruction presentation.

ASF Garage Reveal
This reveal is a unique opportunity to peek inside some of the most extraordinary built-out garages and meet the enthusiasts who own these beautiful cars. The evening includes a trip along our “Bourbon Trail” with tastings, pairings of food, wine, and spirits.

*Special event w/limited tickets available.

 

Waiter holding a tray of alcoholic beverages in glasses

 

Saturday Oct. 2

Speed Ring 
Day 2 of Speed Ring continues M1 performance track and on this day, cars are going in the opposite direction. Competitors are organized into past, present, and future decades.

The Checkered Flag Ball 
The inaugural event of the Checkered Flag Challenge Foundation, M1’s philanthropic arm, the Ball honors Master of Motorsport Jim Hall. The exclusive evening features a sit-down dinner, drinks, live music, and special guest appearances. Held at the all-new Event Center at M1 Concourse, the 2021 Checkered Flag Ball will benefit the Checkered Flag Challenge, a 501(c)(3) supporting charitable organizations changing lives in the City of Pontiac.

*Special event w/limited tickets available.

 

Sunday Oct. 3

American Speed Festival Exposition Day
A rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the most iconic machines ever made.  There will be hundreds of race and performance cars on display, R/C off-road trucks, and a Motorsports Hall of Fame celebrity meet and greet.

 

 

 

Festival Passes are All Inclusive 

American Speed Festival Show passes are all inclusive for daytime events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Food, wine, and spirits are included with the festival pass.
 
DAILY FESTIVAL PASS: $100- $250.  
Starting at $100 for 12 and under, $160 for 12-21 and $250 for 21 and over. Pass includes parking shuttles, entertainment, all day food and beverages and track access. 
There are also 3-day VIP Passes for $270- $675.

For more information visit www.americanspeedfestival.com

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