I wasn’t planning to attend, but last weekend I found myself vacationing about 20 minutes away from Pocono Raceway. As luck would have it, the SVRA Pocono Vintage Festival was going on and I was able to convince two of my good friends to go with me.

The Vintage Festival is a supporting event for the IndyCar ABC Supply 400. On the day I was there, the pits were open and you could see the teams working on their cars, but there wasn’t any IndyCar action scheduled. Instead, vintage racers tore up the infield track while other cars did demonstration laps around the tri-oval.

For me, the star of the show was this 1966 Gerhardt/Ford Indy Car. Borrowing a few ideas from the Lotuses that raced at Indianapolis, the Gerhardt chassis had an independently sprung suspension and the engine in the back of the monocoque chassis. This particular model was built with a Ford V-8, not the 4-cylinder Offernhauser that was the mainstay of Indy 500 cars for decades. Out on the track, it was in a league of it’s own compared with the other cars that went out for demonstration laps at the same time.

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I also really enjoyed seeing the Sheraton Thompson Special out on track, which I believe was the last front-engined car to win the Indy 500 when it took the trophy in 1964, After that, you needed to put the engine in the back if you wanted to win.

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Yup. That’s the transmission and drive shaft right next to the driver’s left leg.

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Many other cars did demonstration laps on the tri-oval. There was a heavy Ford presence, including Shelby Cobras and a lot of Mustangs...

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... and this Fiesta sedan (not even an ST). I need to figure out how he got out there because if a Fiesta could go out on the tri-oval, I should have been able to go out in my Focus.

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This guy in the 1980-something Mustang 5.0 was so excited to be on track he was pumping his fist out the window. Then again, he may have just been excited that the engine started.

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Some vintage sprint cars also did demonstration laps. They were pretty slow, but I imagine the gearing isn’t long enough for a track as big as Pocono Speedway.

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Some other garage shots. I’m always impressed by how friendly drivers and crews are. They are so willing to talk to you about their cars if you approach them in the pit area.

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It looks like someone took a bite out of the front vent on the right side of this Opal GT. I did not see how that happened, but the radiator behind the opening looked undamaged.

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And, lastly, two generations of Ford GT waiting to go out for a parade lap.

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The actual racing took place on one of the infield courses (we parked on the other). From a spectating point of view, it was not that impressive. The best tracks either have grandstands on key turns or at least a hill you can stand on so you can look down onto the track. The Pocono infield is completely flat, so you really can’t get a good feel for what the track looks like or how you might approach racing on it.

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But what it lacks in perspective it makes up for in intimacy. When the cars come down the straight in front of the spectators, you can almost reach out and touch them. And while they do that, the next grid is lining up literally ten feet behind you.

The field was mostly Ford Mustangs, with a few Corvettes, a Shelby Daytona, a lone Chevrolet Camaro. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long enough to see the open-wheel cars hit the infield track. Presumably, the vintage Formula cars that I saw in the garage would be out later.

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And here’s the triple-zero Corvette getting a talking-to from a race marshal. I don’t know what he did, but he go black-flagged for something.