Put-in-Bay Sports Car Races Readies for Event’s 10th Anniversary Sept. 24-27

Put-in-Bay, OH — Modern-day vintage racing at Ohio’s historic Put-in-Bay will celebrate its 10th event this year.

Photo: Daniel Mainzer

And what began with a small reunion in 2009 is now several days of sports car enjoyment in one of the most nostalgic settings in vintage racing — where small-bore sports cars raced through the streets of the island enclave from 1952 to 1959 and once more in 1963.

For this year’s Sept. 24-27 event (with racing on Sept. 25-26), race organizers reached out to invite drivers of vintage “tin top” sedans of nearly all stripes to share the fun on the event’s challenging 1.2-mile, hay bale-lined airport circuit. Race Director Jack Woehrle tells us the response has been excellent. See the overall entry list.

When postwar sports car racing was in its infancy in the United States, lowly sedans were not considered “sports cars,” so they usually weren’t eligible to compete.

“But Put-in-Bay was pretty much a low-key event put on by unwashed Midwesterners, so sedans were permitted to fill in the classes,” explained Woehrle. “When you look through the old entry lists and period photos on the website, you will see all sorts of small-bore sedans competing at a time when they were rarely allowed to race anywhere else until SCCA finally initiated a sedan category in 1965.”

At this point, some 20 “tin tops” — Mini Cooper, Pinto, Corvair, Datsun, Alfa Romeo, Saab, VW, Fiat, Fiat-Abarth, Morris Minor, a Barracuda and even a couple of Dodge Darts — are signed up for the race with many more expected before online registration closes Sept. 17 at 7:59 a.m. That’s in addition to the usual complement of entrants racing in multiple classes in four groups plus exhibition.

Beyond the on-track race entries, there are also non-racing participant categories for Heritage Street Cars (qualified pre-1964 cars) and Guest Street Cars (generally post-1963 to 1973).

The event is the third leg of the 2019 Great Lakes Vintage Challenge where entrants in D thru H production and in Formula Vee have already accumulated points at the July 27-28 Waterford Hills Vintage Races and at VSCDA’s Aug. 16-18 Grattan.