Doug Hargrove – Gary Pitts – Jim Rogaski
How many of the drivers sitting out there have received the “Transponder Board” from the Starters or been stopped at Tech and told either that your transponder battery is low or it isn’t working at all? Years ago, we were not so computer dependent and everything was done by hand. Remember using stopwatches? They were standard equipment in Timing and Scoring, along with individuals who taped the cars as they passed S/F. After that everything had to be consolidated.
Doug Hargrove was an active racer when he was approached in the mid-80s by a Steward by the name of Al Brizzard, who asked him if he might be interested in maintaining the timing equipment. What got him interested was the amount of effort and man-hours that it took to time, score and process a session. By the end of the year, he knew there had to be a better way.
That winter he designed a computer interface board and wrote some basic software. Over the following year with the help of Bob Stegall, a previous HOF honoree, a computerized timing system was born. Further development and improvement were added with the help of many others and in 1987 the R&D Engineering Timing System was brought into service in the Region. The system integrated Timing, Scoring, and Entry and reduced the time to produce and release results. It also provided live unofficial results to Announcing which was not a feature available before. The system was soon utilized by other regions as well as by Steve Earle for his Historic Racing Series. Doug’s system was a precursor to the current AMB system to which SFR converted to in the early 2000‘s. Most people thought that R&D stood for Research and Development–but it really stands for Ruby and Doug Engineering Timing System. Ruby, of course, is his wife.
Doug joined SCCA in 1974 and went through Drivers School in his 1966 Chevy Corvair. Walt Moss was his driving instructor. His first race at Sears Point was April 6th that year. The next year he won the Regional Championship in D Production and acquired his national license. He continued Regional racing and ran the national Runoffs twice, finishing 22nd and then 10th in class. By 1992, he retired the Corvair and started racing a F440, which he continued until Aug. 2001 when the car was totaled and he had tire marks and gauges on his helmet–and he had to answer to his wife! That car was rebuilt and he returned to competition in 2006 running the F500 in the solo F modified class. He is still an active autocrosser with the Sacramento Chapter.
1968 to 1973 was an active Corvair drag racer and autocrosser.
1974 joined SCCA San Francisco Region and went through Driver School.
1975 won the regional championship in D production.
1976 campaigned national races in the North Pacific Division and ran in the national runoff at Road Atlanta finishing 22nd.
1979 May 20 received the Shasta’s “Drive of the Weekend” award.
1979 won the regional championship in D production.
1983 campaigned national races in the North Pacific Division and ran in the national runoff at Road Atlanta finishing 10th, the last year for D production.
1986 awarded Worker of the Year
1987 won the regional championship in GT3 in the Corvair.
1992 retired the Corvair and started racing a 1987 Red Devil in F440.
1994 won the regional championship in F440
Continued in the F440 / F500 class until Aug 24, 2001 where his car was totaled at Sears Point, tire marks and gouges on his helmet and he had to answer to his wife.
He rebuilt the F500 and started running solo event in 2006 campaigning in the Sacramento, Fresno and SF area events wining several FM championships.
He purchased his first car in 1965 which was a 1961 Corvair and enjoyed driving it in the Mountains on the curvy roads. In 1968 after serving three tours off the coast of Vietnam the Corvair was turned into his first “fun” car where he drag raced it at Fremont, Vacaville and Kingdom (Stockton) raceways. In 1969 he was helping in the startup of a drag strip where he was designing and building the timing system, staging lights, christmas tree and the finish line judge. This was near Vernalis at an abandoned Naval air station between Tracy and Patterson. he saw some cars driving fast on a large concrete area and went over there to find out what was going on. They had a course setup and explained that it was an autocross and he could participate in it for $1.00. WOW, what a blast and the thought of continuing drag racing never returned. He started running events in the central valley and in the bay area and jointed Equrie AWOL, a local car club in Modesto. Chuck Billington was a current member at the time. He was running events put on in Stockton by the 7-11 Mustang Club and was having a blast winning some event. The club members were so impressed with his Corvair that they made him a honorary member of their Mustang club.
In 1971 he purchased a 1965 Corvair just for autocrossing, but kept it licensed for the street. In 1972 and 73 he won the NORCAL IP class championship. NORCAL autocross group had plans to raise the 1974 entry fee 50 cents. To rebel against this increase, he with some friends decided to go road racing.
You probably know Gary Pitts as our current Regional Executive, but he’s been and done so much more in SCCA. He was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama. By the time he was 15, he was reading Hot Rod, Road &Track, Competition Press, Sports Car Graphic and Car and Driver. He got his driver’s license at age 16 and a whole new world opened up to him.
His first introduction into mechanical work came when he overheated and seized the engine in his father’s 1949 Chevy. His father was head of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University and thought it was time for Gary to learn about mechanics, so he showed him where his tools were (and admonished him not to lose any of them), bought a factory shop manual and introduced him to “Junior” at the local Napa Auto Parts store and told him to have at it. When he got the camshaft out and saw that machined metal, he fell in love with all things automotive, and still is.
After high school graduation, Gary wrote SCCA when he saw their ad in the back of a car magazine and joined the local Central Alabama Region (now defunct). Since he wasn’t yet 21, they wouldn’t let him race, so he worked as a tech inspector and chief scrutineer while he autocrossed and raced his 1955 Chevy on a ½ mile paved, banked oval with another sanctioning body. He bought, restored and ran solo’s in an Abarth Zagato Coup. If you have a chance, ask Gary to tell you the story of the Abarth and the coincidences that occurred later.
As soon as he was 21, Gary started racing with SCCA and helped his Region build a track in Montgomery, AL. He stayed active in the Region and helped build another track at Tuskegee, AL using Agent Orange that he got in grad school on the weeds. (Can you imagine that happening now?)
The next few years were spent in getting multiple degrees. He has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Auburn University. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from LSU. He found time to attend a few SCCA meetings, but no racing.
He finally left Alabama for New Jersey and accepted a job offer as a Scientist at Warner-Lambert Pharmaceuticals and joined the Northern New Jersey Region (NNJR). He worked with members of other NEDIV regions at Lime Rock, Pocono, Bridgehampton, Bryar Raceway Park, and Watkins Glen. He was the business manager for the region and his main job was getting sponsorship for the socials. No sponsor, no beer. Once at The Bridge, he had to bring 5 gallons of 95% ethanol from his lab for Irish Coffee. They’ll never forget that party!
After moving to California in 1986, he phoned Roger Eandi and told him he had a Steward’s License and started working for the SF Region where he is still active today.
He ran for and was elected to the SFR Board in 1993. He’s served as Regional Executive from 1996 to 1998. He was appointed to the Thunderhill Properties Board in 1996, and he is still a member.
He was elected to the SCCA National Board of Directors and served from 2000 to 2007. He was Chairman of the Board in 2005 and 2006 when the difficult decision had to be made to divest Pro Rally or risk permanent damage to the club.
He ran for re-election as the Region’s Regional Executive in 2014 and he currently holds that position.
Gary’s non-SCCA activities are unique and varied. In the late 80’s Gary was assigned to be an SCCA Steward at the Monterey Historics and enjoyed it immensely. He got along well with Steve Earle and was more or less given the job permanently. In about 2006 he was recruited by CSRG (Classic Sports Racing Group) and today he’s their Chief Steward.
Gary has received several awards for his contributions over the years. In 1994 he received the Race Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Leadership at the Vintage Races and in 2009 he received a Thunderhill Worker Award for being one of their Directors.
On the business side, he’s been owner of Half Moon Bay Technologies, a General Partner of Castle Beach Company, Vice-president of Research, Development and Engineering for Johnson and Johnson, and Vice-president of Oral-B/Gillette (where he invented and developed the ‘blue’ wear indicator on your toothbrush).
Gary and his wife, Leslie have two sons, Geoffrey who is in business for himself and started the Drifting Program at Thunderhill and Graeme who is a world-class Mountain Bike Racer.
Gary says he doesn’t know what the future will bring, but he’s sure it will involve race cars. When he retires (ha!) he wants to build something really special. He has sketches and the drive train, but that’s all he’s saying.
Jim was bitten by the racing bug early. At 16 he would sneak onto autocross courses at night and try to stay between the chalk lines with only the light from his Cortina’s headlights. Back then you had to be 18 to autocross. He began autocrossing in 1972 driving a Fiat at the local Sacramento Auto-X club’s events. In the late 70’s Jim went into a partnership to purchase Foreign Auto Parts (FAP) in downtown Sacramento. A regular customer at the store was fellow auto crosser and road racer, Clint DeWitt who thought Jim would be a good fit in helping revive the Sacramento Chapter of SCCA. Jim was elected as Chapter Executive in 1982 and served until 1989.
At that time the SF Region had a very successful Solo II program going in the Bay Area and their competitors helped with the Sacramento chapter’s re-emergence. Working with a local dedicated team of SCCA members, the Chapter developed a series that saw entries over 300 cars at times. While Jim was Chapter Exec he orchestrated the Coors Foresthill Divide Rallye in 1983. It seemed like a good idea but the event offered Jim new challenges he never expected. Unbeknownst to Jim, an errant rallye designer at the last minute added roads not included in the original federal use permits. The District Ranger halted the event until Jim assured him that the rest of the course was as permitted.
Jim also helped to organize the inaugural Vallejo Grand Prix in 1983, a through the streets auto-x. He was the Solo Safety Steward for the event as well as a competitor. If you want to get a feel for the event go to Youtube.com and search for Vallejo Grand Prix. It was a real wild event.
Jim ran for and was elected to the SFR Board of Directors in 1989 & 1990, and served as a Director at Large and Competition Director. Prior to being elected to the SFR Board, Jim was the Director of the PCRRC during the height of the events successful run, thanks to being mentored by Clint DeWitt. During the 1980’s and up until the mid-1990’s Jim’s business evolved into a race parts and prep shop. He helped a lot of local club racers as well as some Pro Racing teams.
In the early 1990’s Jim went through driver’s school at Sears Point and got his competition license. But running the business, actively volunteering at SCCA events and trying to race were too much for Jim. He gave up his own competition in order to keep volunteering for the club. Jim has recently bought a vintage S2000 and hopes to get back into the driver’s seat soon.
In the mid- 1990’s HOF member Don Seike encouraged Jim into becoming a steward and this is where we know all of his efforts have be focused since then.
In 1998 & 1999 Jim served as chairman of the Showroom Stock & Touring Advisory Committee. He was actively involved in creating the “Trunk Kit” concept for SS cars in order to balance their competitiveness. He’s served on the Competition Board from 1999 to 2003. In 1999 Jim became Deputy Executive Steward of NORPAC, a position he still holds. He’s served as Chief Steward of the SCCA Mazda MX-5 series from 2007 until 2009. He’s been an operating steward at the Runoffs for 5 straight years, and he was Chief Steward for the SCCA National Runoffs from 2011 until 2013. He will be the Assistant Chief Steward for the 2014 Runoffs when it returns to the West Coast for the first time in 46 years at Laguna Seca.
Jim was asked by the National Office to participate on a team that rewrote and restructured the GCR in 2009. Jim also currently chairs the GCR Advisory Committee which reviews and comments on suggestions to the CRB for additions, editions or deletions from the GCR.
Jim has received two awards from SCCA. In 2006 he received the John McGill Award for significant contributions to the Club Racing program and in 2010 he received the David Morrell Award that encourages continued participation in the stewards program. He has also received awards from SFR. In 1987 he received the Race Chairman’s Award for being the PCRRC (Pacific Coast Road Racing Championship) Director and in 2002 he received the SFR’s highest award, the Premier Award of Merit.
Away from the race track Jim is a Facilities Specialist with the Chancellors Office of the California Community Colleges working with local Community Colleges as they apply for and receive state funds to build local college buildings.
February 09, 2017 at 7:37 am, Bruce Brunner said:
At the 2017 SCCA Convention, Jim Rogaski received the Woolf Barnato Award, SCCA’s highest award, presented to the member who has made the most outstanding long-term contribution. Winners are nominated by the last three recipients and approved by the Board of Directors.