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Darkness, Darkness

Shake, Rattle and Roll
  An Audi won overall, Liddell helped Field to yet another class win, a Corvette
finally won GTS after failing to do so since the start of the GM program and an Alex
Job Porsche clinched another GT championship. OK, thatís the race results and
as a brief introduction to David Listerís superb images of the goings on, the fact is
that the big story at Laguna Seca was the race in to darkness. A few years ago
such an idea would have been met with considerable resistance but track honcho
Gill Campbell knew that something had to be done to shake up the format and
have the final race of the ALMS mean something other than another long haul for
the teams.

Show biz kids
  It isnít often that dedicated fans and the occasional spectator get to be part of
something significant and historical, however, that is exactly what happened at the
famous Monterey peninsula circuit for the season ending tour featuring the ALMS.
While the pundits argue whether or not the race was a success, the verdict is in
from those in attendance and the chorus is a resounding, ďLetís do this againĒ.
That could be a problem as pressure from those tosspots that live on the hillside
in the multi million dollar domes never cease to complain about unacceptable
levels of noise emanating from the circuit. Keep in mind that there are only a
handful of events that fall under the open exhaust rule so if there is to be a second
running of the night time spectacle, get those letters of support in the mail directly
to Laguna Seca.

If you build it, he will come
  It took some adjusting for the teams and spectators alike with regards to the new
timetable of featuring the major race for late Saturday opposed to the long tradition
of running on Sunday. By mid day it appeared that the numbers of those paying
would be down from previous years but an hour before race time there was a
steady stream of spectators with chairs and coolers in tow. The crowd obviously
had read up on the event and timed their arrival. Official and unofficial estimates
place the paid gate about 20 to 25 % up from last season. This has to be
encouraging to both the management of Laguna Seca and to the ALMS. While
sports cars have a long tradition and a core support group on the Monterey
peninsula, there is no doubt that there have been serious problems. The days
when IMSA and the Can Am packed them in back in the 70ís and 80ís are long
gone. There have been brief blips of life that have burned themselves in to the
memory such as the long awaited return of the FIA GT Series in 1997 but overall it
has been a long dry spell. Thee introduction of the night format has a special
appeal and could do for Laguna Seca what Petit Le Mans has done for Road
Atlanta. For the sake of continued fan support and that of the manufacturers, letís
hope so.

                                                                                    Kerry Morse
 Pacific Grove
October 2004

They say the times are changing but I just don't know....1
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