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Racing excitement at Waterford Hills

A fast race car once owned by Paul Newman has over $1 million invested in it. The car made a special appearance at the Vintage Races last weekend. Photos by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
July 31, 2013 - Visitors from around the country filled Waterford Hills in Independence Township for the 2013 Vintage Races, July 26-28.

Tom Grudovich traveled from Palm Beach, Fla., just to compete in the Vintage Races.

"I've always been racing something throughout my racing career," said Grudovich. "Over the last 10 years I have been racing vintage cars."

Tom Downy started racing in 1974, and although he retired in 1996, a friend got him to get back into the sport. Downy, like many of his friends, travel all over the country to participate in all kinds of races. There were a lot of visitors like Grudovich and Downy who were far from home, but were willing to travel for the excitement.

A car owned by actor and racing legend Paul Newman made a special appearance at the event, though much too fast to participate in the Vintage races.

"That car has well over $1 million into it," said Shant Saroukhanian.

Hervey Wakcabuk visited Waterford Hills from New York, but he said he grew up in Michigan.

"I like to try different historical tracks, and Waterford Hills has a 60s' feel to it," he smiled. He added he enjoys racing because it provides stimulation and excitement.

"It's good to do something that is a little scary and a little exciting at the same time," said Wakcabuk. "When you go on the track you are nervous and when you come off, you're excited."

He said he enjoys making new friends by traveling to different races and it's interesting to see unique cars on which people work so hard.

Waterford Hills, located on the grounds of Oakland County Sportsman's Club in Independence Township, offers visitors a variety of events throughout the year including the Vintage Races.

Racers qualified for the race and attempted to earn the best time before the start of the official race.

Waterford Hills offers racers a 1.5 mile road racing track with turns, hills and straight-aways. According to the club, the fastest cars hit over 120 on the back straight just before heavy braking to make a 90 degree right hand turn.

All cars participating in events at Waterford Hills run in accordance with Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) rules and must pass SCCA technical inspection. Each spring, Waterford Hills also offers an SCCA accredited drivers school so that new adventurers can learn the sport.

Waterford Hills also offers Open Track Days, when the track is open to the public. Valid driver's license, seat belts, and helmets are required to race.

Since 1958, Waterford Hills has been an all volunteer governed and operated racing organization. Waterford Hills is located at 4770 Waterford Road. For more information on upcoming events or Open Track Days visit www.waterfordhills.com.

Staff writer
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