John Brookman; Hal Cope; Gordon Krebs; Bob Missbach; Charles W. “Chuck” Tatum; Pat Phillips; Sandi Graham; Eric Brandt; Pat Barrett; William C. Mitchell
Mr. Bones crossed the start/finish line and got the checkered flag after 80 laps on Tuesday, 12 August 2014.
They were full laps and he was pretty happy with how he placed. Mrs. Bones was with him and cheered him as he finished. At Mr. Bones’ request, there will be no immediate victory party. His wishes were that we all meet for the Gran Prix Victory Party sometime in the future. If you’d like to donate a prize in honor of his race, he asked that you do so to the charity of your choice and keep ’em racing!
I received word this week that my long-time friend, co-worker and fellow steward Hal Cope passed away on October 18, 2014. Hal was a driver, worker and official in the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America.
Hal and I had been friends since the late 1960s. We sort of grew up together as stewards under the tutelage of Roger Eandi and spent quite a few years working for his company, Eandi Metal Works in Oakland.
In SCCA, we worked together as Safety Marshals and Driver Observers and officiated together in Solo One as well as regular SCCA stewarding where Hal soon enjoyed the nickname of “The Teflon Chief Steward.” He also had the dubious honor of being the first SCCA member, along with his passenger Gary Meeker, to require a tow at Thunder Hill when he buried an ATV in a wallow.
Away from the race tracks, Hal and I enjoyed many weekends duck and pheasant hunting as well as clay target shooting. We shared our “retreats” — Hal’s was Red Eye, halfway between You Bet and Camel’s Hump in the Sierra foothills, mine was The Eagles’ Roost in Big Sur. In fact, Hal named our place the Eagles’ Roost and had a redwood sign made up for the wall. He and Geneva replaced it six years ago, too, after fire destroyed our cabin and the original sign.
Hal and Geneva moved to “The Farm” in Southern California in the mid 2000s but he and Geneva never lost touch with my wife and me.
Happy Trails, Hal
Gordon K. Krebs
Gordon K. Krebs passed to heaven Friday the 10th of October in this year 2014.
Family and Friends of Gordon K. Krebs (Gordy)
October 10, 2014 a day that will always be remembered. Gordon K. Krebs left us to deal with his belongings. One thing that each of us will deal with is not having him to share his many stories of racing and the many jobs that he had through his life. From the customers while driving the shuttle at Sacramento International Airport, Greyhound to driving class a motor homes and hauling 5th wheel trailers from the factory with short stories about driving a school bus route in Iowa as a young teen picking up kids on his way to school. Gordon was a remarkable person with many talents that he would often share.
Gordon loved Laverne and always talked of her and the fun they had along with them going to the races. While Laverne fought an illness Gordon stayed the course and never gave up on her coming home. It was very touching to witness his devotion. This was the devotion he gave to life and his family and friends.
In 1959 Gordon relocated in Sacramento where he meet Ray Woodworth, Ray gave Gordon a job at Blue Diamond Almonds and a long career and friendship came of this union. Gordon did accounting and managed the gift shop at Blue Diamond until he retired. Gordon joined the SCCA and a long racing history became a shared adventure for both. Gordon took Ray in as a crew member and with others who befriended him propelled Gordon to a remarkable race history. From going upside down and hanging a split car on his back fence to becoming Chief Course Marshal for SFR-SCCA for a number of years. Gordon once told me of the Dixon track that he and Ray hauled 55 gallon drums to a banked oval that we always looked at and shared the story when going and coming from Sears Point. A driver died on the first race on the oval and that was the end to the oval.
Gordon often talked about a Corvette he owned and was always proud of it but the one car that remained with him to the end was his Rally Cross car, his Datson 240Z. Later I found myself helping him start and run the motor and fueled it for him. He seemed proud to watch me drive away in it and eagerly awaited my return to hear what I felt about driving “Z”. His “Z” will most likely be housed in a museum for a year while a new home is readied for it in Boston by Robert Krebs. A touching tribute to Gordon and a car he loved was instrumental in forming the Northern California 240Z club. Gordon always talked about Solo in SCCA and always wanted me and others to do Solo. He wanted to share his racing be it road course and solo, he was always promoting SCCA to everyone he encountered.
Much, much more could be written about my good Buddy Gordon K. Krebs, such as I was one of a few that got away with calling him Gordy. Our friendship started in 2001 at a NASCAR race after a pot luck work shop at Mike and Geneen Cummings home where the whole crew showed to clean equipment for the NASCAR event at Sears Point. That moment on we became friends and with Gordy and Ray went and did many things together which lasted to the end. His kindness and love of racing was the glue to our bond that remains unbroken to his day.
Knowing that Gordon is high above us all taking his victory flag on a lap, smiling down at us with the love he shared with all close to him. RIP good Buddy, your missed until we meet again.
Bob “Nahi” Missbach passed away on September 21st on his beloved island of Oahu.
Charles W. “Chuck” Tatum
Founder of Crusader Cars, Charles W. “Chuck” Tatum, of Stockton, CA, died on Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 at Dameron Hospital. He was 87. He was born on July 23rd, 1926 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Chuck and his good friend ,Jerry Demele, built the original Crusader Formula Vees in Chuck’s garage in Stockton California. Shortly after starting up, friends wanted to get in on the fun of Formula Vee racing. What started out as a hobby soon turned to a racing enterprise. The first winter they made four cars. The idea of financing the racing through the sale of cars and kits took shape and Crusader Cars was born. The Crusader Formula Vee went through several design iterations with the last one being the model he designed when his son Blake started racing. Always an innovator and the master of simplicity, Chuck took pride in the fact that his cars were very simple yet very competitive.
Many current SCCA racers got their start driving a Crusader Formula Vee. At one point Chuck was asked how many cars he built and he simply answered he did not know. He said if he knew Formula Vee racing was going to be around so long he would have kept better records.
Chuck was involved with the early formation of Sports Car racing. Probably his most famous car was the “Tatum Special” aka “The Beast”. The Beast was a tube-framed GMC six-powered special designed to beat the powerful Allards. With the aluminum body by Hagerman and the lightweight construction, Chuck was able to back up his claim. Chuck was within a lap of winning the very first professional sports car race when a rock kicked up and broke a spark plug off the flat head Ford that was installed when the GMC six engine was stolen out of the car. The car went on to several victories and played a key role in the movie “Johnny Dark” starring Tony Curtis.
He attended Stockton High School before enlisting in the Marines at 17. In 1951, he married the love of his life Evelyn Smith and together they had four children. He wrote the acclaimed novel, Red Blood, Black Sand. He helped produce a PBS documentary based on his book which won him an Emmy Award. His novel was credited as one of the three books in HBO’s mini-series, “The Pacific.” During his service in WWII, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was a past president of the Stockton Marine Corps Club.
A unique soul, Chuck was gregarious and quick witted. He had fantastic memory and was a fantastic story teller. He will be greatly missed.
Pat Phillips, former Chief Pit Marshall for several years in San Francisco Region passed away on June 7, 2014.
Pat had moved to Texas a few years ago and was the current Pit Marshall Chief for Texas Region and the Flag Chief for Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing. Patrick planned and conducted the Fire School training days for SFR for eight years and they were always well-organized and complete.
From the Apex Driving Academy web page
Rest in Peace, Corner Worker
Patrick Phillips (1949-2014), corner worker for MSR and ECR and a host of other venues, passed away this month in his sleep after a brief but painful battle with bone cancer. We had the opportunity to visit Patrick recently and he duly reminded us about his feistiness and ability to see not only the humor, but the irony and the desperation of his condition. He insisted that he might be able to regain enough strength to get to the track one more time, and yet he was most likely aware that this would not happen. His hope was to have his ashes scattered at his favorite corner, Turn 7 at Eagles Canyon Raceway. We are waiting to hear if this last wish will be able to be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, for each of you out there who knew Patrick, remember what we tell you, “No wave, no save,” and to honor your corner workers. All the hours and days and years they spend out there on the track, flags in hand, radio chatting, and keen eyes on watch to keep you safe…well, just remember Patrick, and others like him, as they dedicate their energy, and sometimes their lives, toward the satisfaction of an exciting track day, a safer experience, a better place.
Rest in Peace, Patrick Phillips. We are waving to you now.
Sandi Graham, long time member of the Safety crew, passed away February 22, 2014 from surgery complications. Sandi was the wife of John Graham (long time steward), and mother of Barbara Rascoe and Lucky Graham (deceased). She will be greatly missed.
Her obituary is in the April 2014 edition of the Pine Mountain Lake News. It can be found on page 38 at: http://www.pinemountainlake.com/ResourceCenter/Download/21389?doc_id=1340521&view=1
Eric Brandt, longtime member of the Emergency Crew, passed away on January 16, 2014 from Influenza.
Pat Barrett passed away January 26, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona. Pat worked on several crews in the San Francisco Region.
Pat started her SCCA volunteer racing career working in the San Francisco region in the early 1970s on the communications crew. After communicating for a number of years, Pat decided she wanted to get even closer to the track and joined the Flag crew. After flagging for a number of years, she decided she couldn’t jump over the Armco barriers anymore and decided she would seek another crew that was not as physical.
At that point, she joined the Race Central crew. While working at Race Central, Pat was offered the job of worker awards. That was Pat’s last SFR team. Pat had a few different trademarks, but one in particular was this huge sun bonnet she wore. There was no doubting who was under the brim of that hat.
Pat was also involved in many types of sewing and craft projects, and was highly skilled in art of needlepoint. Pat always managed to have discussions with other crafters at the track to share project ideas.
Pat moved to Mesa Arizona while working for the government. She continued working as an SCCA volunteer in the Arizona Region for a few years before retiring from racing.
by Claire Kelly
William C. Mitchell
On January 17, 2014, William C. Mitchell passed away suddenly at his home in Mooresville, NC.
His interest in auto racing began while watching a Can-Am race in Edmonton, Alberta in 1969. In 1972 he began serving as a SCCA flagman in the San Francisco region. He was soon working at 20 – 30 races a year up and down the west coast as well as the SCCA Runoffs at Road Atlanta. In the 80’s, he began covering races for the San Francisco Region publication, “The Wheel”. The race reporting soon expanded to the magazines, “Autoweek” and “Formula”. He began following the Trans-Am series when Ford returned to professional motorsports in the mid-80’s where he met the engineers and team managers. Tom Gloy was driving Mustangs, Jack Roush was running a Mercury Capri for Greg Pickett, John Dick was leading the DeAtley Motorsports team of Chevrolet Camaros driven by David Hobbs and Willy T. Ribbs with Dennis Fischer building the motors.
He graduated from CalTech in 1967 with a degree in Mathematics specializing in numerical analysis, or how to perform difficult calculations. This was followed with a Masters from Stanford University in 1969.
When IBM released a personal computer, complete with 5.25” floppy disks holding 360kb of data, he needed a project where he could learn to program on the new computers. He had heard of “camber curves” so decided to write a program about suspension. With the advent of affordable and portable computers, data acquisition began to be used by the motorsports industry. It was at this time that Bill began working on the Debrief series of data acquisition analysis programs. Bill is generally considered to be the first programmer to begin the development of serious data acquisition software designed specifically for the motorsports industry. In fact, many of the screen graphics and methods of analyzing data originally developed by Bill are still being used by virtually all of the current data acquisition software developers. This includes the basic algorithms used to construct an accurate track map. This led to spending the 1991 and 1992 seasons with Chip Ganassi’s CART team. The drivers were Eddie Cheever and Arie Luyendyk. The 1993 season was spent with the Roush Racing GTS effort where Tom Kendall returned to racing and won the Driver’s championship. In 1994 Roush and Kendall switched to the Trans-Am series and won three driver’s championships and several manufacturer titles from 1994 to 1997. In 1997 the Roush team won eleven consecutive Trans-Am races, marking the end of factory involvement.
1998 was spent with Huffaker Engineering in the Trans-Am. Bruce Qvale competed for Rookie-of-the-Year. In 1999 Bill worked with Bruce Barkelew’s RaceWerx team where Brian Simo finished second in the Driver’s Championship and GJ Mennen was second in Rookie-of-the-Year points. In 2000 he worked with Ruman Motorsports in the Trans-Am and DSTP in the Formula Atlantic series. The DSTP effort was limited to testing, but Buddy Rice won the Driver’s Championship with five wins in twelve races.
Bill presented SAE papers at the Motorsports Engineering Conferences in 1998 and 2000. The 1998 papers were “Asymmetric Roll Centers” and “A Method for Data Alignment”. The 2000 paper is “Training Test Drivers with Data Acquisition”. This describes a training project with the Transportation Research Center in Ohio. He was still writing technical articles for Racer Magazine in their Tech Trek series. For over a decade, he was also a sponsor and judge for the Formula SAE competition.
Bill’s greatest contribution to the motorsports and automotive industry was the development of his kinematics (geometry analysis) software packages known as WinGeo3. Bill pioneered this type of software which allowed the user to study how a suspension system would move under dynamic conditions. Bill’s Premier/Data WinGeo3 version allows the race engineer to download track data directly into the program, allowing the engineer to look at step-by-step suspension motion throughout each portion of the track. Bill was a visionary in that the development of this type of software was years ahead of any other kinematics software system. Aside from giving the race engineer intimate knowledge of how the suspension was moving, (camber, castor, bump steer, scrub, changes, etc.), it also allows the engineer to view and record side and rear view instant center motions, which, in turn, can be used to determine the proportion of forces moving through the suspension components versus the springy bits.
Bill’s software and his personal genius were never fully recognized because Bill was primarily interested in one thing — the mathematics of motion. As the eccentric that he was, he had little time for promoting himself or his software; however, those designers who took the time to learn and use his software were rewarded with a one-of-a kind program that still outperforms all other kinematics software today. Many companies tried to copy Bill’s software but none, to date, have come close to duplicating what his WinGeo3 programs can do.
Once a user showed that they had put the time in to learn and use his software, Bill was always happy to tailor new software to their particular suspension system needs. As an example, a UK based race team running several BMW M3 touring cars wanted to analyze that car’s suspension kinematics but the factory race team indicated there wasn’t any software that could do that type of analysis. Within a week, Bill had provided the team with a M3 WinGeo3 model.
Bill never stopped working at improving WinGeo3 and had just recently developed a series of equations that would automatically change the length of the upper control arm so that the suspension system would maintain a constant moment arm length underneath the center of gravity throughout any realistic combination of ride and roll. This, in turn, produced very stable camber, caster, scrub motion, etc. throughout the suspension’s operational range.
Bill was a mathematical genius who was able to retain very complex and lengthy algorithms in his head. He once rattled off 47 pages of hand-written vehicle dynamics algorithms completely from memory that he and two other people had developed over a series of weeks.
Sadly, at the time of his death, Bill no longer had any living relatives. However, through the years, he built his own close-knit family of friends. He was dearly thought of and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He will be remembered for his brilliance, gentleness and generosity.
RIP Bill. You were one of the great striped jacket TM’s during the 70’s when I started flagging. Your legacy of vehicle software will live on for years. Sorry to read that you have no surviving relatives, but you have an SCCA family that will miss you.