Bill Pollack Presides as Grand Marshal at Sonoma

More than 340 historic cars ran in 15 racing groups at the 3rd annual Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Infineon Raceway on the first weekend of June. This year’s theme was “Moments in Time: a Celebration of the History of Motorsports”. Bill Pollack, winner of the 1952 Golden Gate Park Road Races driving a Cadillac-Allard J2, was honored as Grand Marshal.

Bill’s Grand Marshal duties included signing copies of his book, Red Wheels and White Sidewalls: Confessions of an Allard Racer, riding in a historic-car parade from the track to the Sonoma Plaza, and waving the checkered flag for Sunday’s Group 9 Race (1946-1955 Sports Racing & Production Cars). The grid for that race included the 1949 Jaguar Parkinson Special and 1949 Baldwin Special – cars that Bill competed against in the Golden Gate Park Road Races. Our friend Cordell Bahn of Tacoma represented the Allard marque in Group 9 with his immaculate Cad-powered Allard J2.

On Saturday Bill, together with four other legendary California race drivers, led a racing seminar discussing the early days of racing in California. This turned out to be an enthusiast standing-room only crowd. Bill shared his experiences of racing a wide array of cars, but emphasized how Tom Carstens’ and Dave Fogg’s high level of preparation played a key role in his and the Allard’s racing success.

Bill also enjoyed the opportunity to ride ‘shotgun’ with Steve Earle around Infineon Raceway in Bruce McCaw’s 1952 Mercedes-Benz W194 (Bruce MaCaw also owns a number of Allards – including a JR, a J2X LM, and the Steyr). This unique and priceless icon was the only Mercedes-Benz to score an overall win in the 24 Hours of LeMans.

"We had great weather, safe conditions and everyone had a good time, and that is always our goal,” said Steve Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd., who has organized premier historic car events for four decades. “We are adding new elements to the event each year, as we get familiar with our new home here at the Raceway in Sonoma. This is such an ideal area for car enthusiasts.”

-Chuck Warnes

Special thanks to Dennis Grey and General Racing for sharing the photos!