Breaking: HMSA out at Rolex Monterey Reunion historic racing

Florida-based group takes over the reins of the acclaimed event

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Practice/Qualifying Group 3B, 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc 36, 3B (1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500cc), 1965 Porsche 911, Matthew Goetzinger, Milwaukee, WI USA

The County of Monterey, California, has cancelled its contract with the Historic Motorsports Association to operate the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, according to announcements by Laguna Seca and HMSA president Cris Vandagriff.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion celebrated 60 years of racing at Laguna Seca, with a spotlight on the Formula Junior Diamond Jubilee World Tour

The HMSA is being replaced by Historic Sportscar Racing, a Florida-based sanctioning body, according to an announcement by Laguna Seca.

“In the new multi-year partnership, HSR will provide expertise in vetting entries for authenticity, competitor and participant registration and full technical scrutineering for both the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Monterey Pre-Reunion,” the raceway said.

HMSA has operated the Monterey Motorsports Reunion for the past 46 years, helping to develop it into a world-renowned staple of the historic racing community. 

“Since 1974, HMSA has been the sanctioning body for the Monterey Pre-Reunion and Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, helping to shape, define and create the world’s premier historic race car event in North America,” Vanagriff said in his announcement. 

“HMSA was notified yesterday that the County of Monterey was cancelling our 5-year contract. The County and Laguna Seca management has decided to go with another sanctioning body. To say the least, it’s disappointing to not have any reason for the change. This year has been an incredible challenge for so many on so many levels and while this wasn’t our choice, HMSA and its staff will continue moving forward.

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“We will continue to stand by our founding principle to preserve authentic and historic racing cars to be shared by the world. HMSA will always maintain the principles that honor the past and foster safe racing events. We are focused on the future and will keep you, our members, partners and friends, updated.”

Speculation has already spread like wildfire as the management change from SCRAMP to A&D Narigi Consulting has created a load of controversy. Politics have become even thicker at the County Park and racetrack than a weekend in the Formula One paddock.

A BMW leads the way through the Corkscrew at the 2015 Monterey Reunion | Laguna Seca photo

HMSA has been the sanction for the famed Monterey event since 1974. Vandagriff himself has been a fixture in the world of historic racing. His family legacy of Hollywood Motors in Los Angeles had him involved in the sport from a very young age.

The change is just one of many that has raised eyebrows in the motorsports community. Recently, Bruce Canepa, who has been on the Reunion’s selection committee, and was the prime mover in the “Friends of Laguna Seca” group that bid for the track management four years ago, was unceremoniously removed.

HSR, through David Hinton, owner/president, introduced the instantly successful HSR Classic Daytona 24 Hour presented by IMSA in 2014 and followed with the HSR Classic Sebring 12 Hour two years later. 

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A 1933 Maserati 4CM is vigorously exercised at Laguna Seca

“It is a true honor for HSR to be chosen as the new sanctioning body for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Monterey Pre-Reunion,” said Hinton, who is also a regular participant in both events. “The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has always been one of the most prestigious events on the worldwide motorsport calendar, and HSR looks forward to continuing the very high standards of race cars and driving we have all come to expect at this event.”

“Our intent is to continue evolving the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion to new levels of excitement by continuing to attract and present the very finest historic and authentic race cars that owners want to drive and fans want to see,” explained John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “In partnership with HSR, we will continue this journey.”

Updates to this story will be made as more information becomes available.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Only in the Continuum in California. Anything with a “G ” for government involvement is a sure Cluster of Horse poop… Here we go again….mgs

  2. Management change forces other types of change. I know Hinton, but am friends with Vandegriff. I will be looking further into this and reporting what I find out.

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