Nothing fictional about these ‘Mitty’ heroics

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Close competition: A Porsche pursues a Shelby Mustang during The Mitty vintage races at Michelin Raceway Road America | Andy Reid photos

One of the great things about vintage racing is how these events provide the opportunity to see classic sports cars driven in the way they were meant to be driven. 

Yes, you can get up close to them when they’re in the paddock. But when they’re on the track, you see them in their full dynamic glory.

And it’s not only the cars, but often the drivers as well. 

Bill Elliott leads a field of vintage NASCAR racing cars. The former champion won every race for the cars during The Mitty 2019

Take, for example, the recent and 42nd The Mitty, presented by Historic Sportscar Racing at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. Among those taking to the track were John Morton, of BRE fame, appropriately driving a No. 46 Datsun 260Z; Ray Evernham, NASCAR champion crew chief racing his 1965 Chevrolet Corvette roadster; and 1988 Winston Cup champion Bill Elliott, who swept the vintage stock car field, winning every race in a 2006 No. 9 Dodge Charger.

The Mitty, named after author James Thurber’s fictional hero of his own daydreams character, Walter Mitty, is the first really big vintage event of the season, and this year the event celebrated two classes of cars — Alfa Romeo race cars and historic stock-car racers. 

Each category featured a huge mix of race cars from multiple eras. Favorites for me included an Alfa Romeo TZ2 and the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Chevrolet Monte Carlo originally driven by two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte.

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Car-club corrals and camping also are part of The Mitty weekend

But the action on the track is only part of the attraction of such events. The Mitty has become a huge spring-is-here gathering for car club members who go in part to show off their own classic sports cars in the many club corral areas while they watch the action on track.

They can park with their fans and fellow marque enthusiasts and spend the weekend immersed in classic sports cars.

If you really want to experience a vintage racing event like The Mitty in a completely immersive way, the camping route seems like the way to go, and it is much less expensive than securing a hotel room for the late-April weekend.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

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