ALTON, VIRGINIA — An old road racing course just across the North Carolina-Virginia line has a new life.
The Virginia International Raceway is just north of Roxboro, near Danville, and the raceway is set for a big weekend full of famous drivers, historic cars and racing action.
Friday was practice day at the track and preparation for Gold Cup Historic Races and VIR's second reunion. The course re-opened last year after closing down in the mid-70s. Bob Bondurant won LeMans in 1964 and drove Formula One cars for Ferrari, BRM, and Dan Gurney.
"Vintage car racing I think today is like road racing used to be 20 years ago, 30 years ago," Bondurant says.
Special races for Shelby Cobras are set, as is an appearance by Carroll Shelby himself, builder and racer of the legendary cars. Shelby won the first race at VIR in 1957.
When the cars fire up on the grid this weekend, quite unlike the old days, there will be women drivers.
Writer Susann Miller drives a historic Porsche.
"I wanted to see what it would be like and when I got in the car and felt that, then that made me want to compete and to race. There might be six women and 400 men, that's another reason why I like this," she laughs.
Spectators will fill the grassy infield watching more than 200 historic cars competing hard, but racing for fun.
"If you talk to anyone around here at VIR, that's racing this weekend, they're not talking about how much money they're going to spend. They're not going to win any money. You didn't in the old days, but they had a lot of fun."