Runways and Racers focuses on sports car races held at military installations throughout America in the early 1950s. It was a marriage of convenience for the Sports Car Club of America and the Strategic Air Command, with both parties gaining advantages from the arrangement. The thorn in the side turned out to be a Congressman whose own aspirations exceeded his standing, but who found himself in a position to be able to influence the outcome of events.
Runways and Racers concentrates on the short transitional period, 1952-1954, for sports car racing in America following the ban on public road racing in many of the States. The ban left the rapidly expanding Sports Car Club of America with a problem: where to hold races. At precisely the same time, Curtis LeMay, head of Strategic Air Command, was having problems obtaining funds from Congress to improve conditions on the many air bases located around the country. The solution was a marriage of convenience, whereby the SCCA was allowed access to active SAC air bases to hold its race programmes. In return, the SAC base would receive the net profits from the event, which would be put into the Airmen’s Living Improvement Fund. As a result of some initial financial success for the SAC bases, the scheme was also adopted by non-SAC bases together with regional clubs, with the same agreement in place.
Complaints from airmen alerted Congressman Errett Scrivner to potential irregularities, and he ordered an audit to be conducted to ascertain precisely what it was costing the air bases to host the races. His findings led to the cessation of the races, ordered by Congress.
The product of a long period of extensive research by the author, this book gives a fascinating insight into this two-year period, complemented by over 150 period pictures, many previously unpublished.
- Collection of scarce images exemplifies the airfield races of the era
- Many previously unpublished photos with informative captions
- Detailed year-by-year account of the races, their inception and demise
- Covers the background to decisions made by the SCCA and politicians
- Collection of race programme covers and entry blanks included
- Near complete results for each race
- Supplementary material used to illustrate the book
- Transcript of Congressman Scrivner’s speech leading to the demise of the events
- Diligent research leading to expansion and correction of recorded data