2007

Larry Albedi – Joe Huffaker, Sr. – Frank Schultheis – Al Brizard

larryalbedi

Larry Albedi

[1932-2017] When describing Larry Albedi’s association with the San Francisco Region, the word decade comes up frequently.  He first became a member of the San Francisco Region in 1956.  He joined the SCCA so he could race and in those early days you were required to be an SCCA member to drive, but not for any other positions. He became an active racer of production and formula racecars beginning with a Corvette and later driving a Huffaker built Formula Jr, which was later converted to a Formula B car and a Bourgeault Formula B Ford-Cosworth in SCCA’s first pro formula car series, the SCCA Grand Prix in 1967.

Although many people know Larry by sight, others may only know him by the sound of his voice.  He is known as “the voice of the Sears Point and Petaluma Speedway”, having started announcing in 1952, and has been a race track announcer for more than five decades. His secret as an announcer is to make everyone sound like a hero.

In 1958, Larry became a steward with the Racing Drivers Club at their driving schools and served in this capacity until 1964 when the Region took over the schools.  He also served as President of the RDC. He has continued as a race steward, a total of five decades of service to the club. Now entering his sixth decade with the San Francisco Region, Larry continues as a race steward and track announcer.

albrizard

Al Brizard

[1930-2016]  A member of the SCCA since 1958, Al drove production and formula cars in his racing days.  He was the class champion six straight years in the 1960’s, and in 1965 he drove a Cooper-Alfa Formula Junior (which he purchased from Steve McQueen) to the West Coast Formula B National Championship, a precursor to Formula Atlantic Series. Al also drove an Alfa-Romeo GTA in 1966 in the first Trans-Am races. His is last race was at Laguna Seca in 1973. After that, his contributions to the club were mainly as a steward and board member.

Al was a NORPAC Divisional Steward, Chief Steward of WCAR and Toyota Atlantic pro series. In the late 1970’s he organized and was the Chief Steward for the NOR-AM Formula Ford Series (which featured standing starts).

In 1992 Al was Chairman of the Bylaws Revision Committee and in 1998 he received the Premier Award of Merit for Outstanding Service to SCCA.

Al Brizard (on left)

huffaker4

Joe Huffaker Sr.

Joe Huffaker was one of the most successful constructors of racecars in the 1960’s and continued building and preparing winning cars for the next 30 years.  His career started after World War II when he built dirt track cars which were driven by rising stars such as Bob Veith and Bob Sweikert.  In 1954, he was contracted by Mick Marston to build an Austin-Healey Special. Another famous early special Joe built in 1957 was the Knoop-Chevy which Fred Knoop successfully raced and is still running in vintage events.

In 1959, Joe was asked by Kjell Qvale to join British Motor Cars Ltd in San Francisco to open a competition department.  Known as BMC Competition Department, this partnership would spawn a very successful string of cars including the BMC Formula Juniors and Genie Sports Racers.

From 1964 to 1966, Joe and Kjell Qvale also turned their attention to the Indianapolis 500 and built the famous MG Liquid Suspension Specials for which Joe received and engineering award for design and development. In 1967, Joe left BMC and formed Huffaker Engineering where preparation of winning cars continued.  These included MG Midgets, MGBs, Triumphs and Jensen-Healeys.
In 1992, Joe retired, ending a nearly forty year career of developing a winning tradition in racecar manufacturing and preparation and turned Huffaker Engineering over to the capable hands of his son, Joe Jr.
franks1

Frank Schultheis

Frank was a former competitor for several years in a Triumph TR-3 and raced at all of the classic circuits in Northern California, including Vacaville and Cotati.  As a racer, he understood the competitive juices that flow during a race weekend and this no doubt helped him when he stopped racing and volunteer.  Frank became one of the most respected technical inspectors the SCCA has produced.   He was known for his professional demeanor and the high esteem in which he was held by most, if not all of the drivers and crews.  He was the first recipient of the SFR Premier Award of Merit in 1969.

Frank was very knowledgeable and could discuss technical issues with crew chiefs or drivers with tact.  He was also an innovator and always looking for ways to improve the technical inspection process for both the inspectors and the competitors.

 

Frank worked with an attitude of mutual respect and professionalism and passed on these standards to the rest of his crew, some of whom went on to become technical inspectors for pro series.  He always took the time to teach and whenever he saw something new he thought would be of value to others, he would share the new knowledge with the team.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *