Marshal of 2012 Sonoma Historics|0
SONOMA, Calif. (May 14, 2012) - Bill Pollack, who drove an Allard J2 in 1952 to a victory at the first Golden Gate Park Road Races in San Francisco, has been named Grand Marshal of the third annual Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Infineon Raceway June 2-3, 2012. Pollack, an influential pioneer of the California sports-car racing scene in the 1950s, headlines this year's event, "Moments in Time: a Celebration of the History of Motorsports."
The program for the 26th annual historic-car event organized by General Racing Ltd. in Sonoma will focus on highlights of the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s - the eras in which auto racing began to cement its international status as a world-class spectator sport.
Pollack began his career in the late 1940s and early '50s racing an MG, then won the Pebble Beach Road Race twice in Tom Carstens' famous red-wheeled, Cadillac-powered Allard J2, as well as the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned 1952 Golden Gate Park Road Races. Driving a variety of other cars, such as Alfa Romeos, Porsches and Maseratis, he won in Stockton, Willow Springs, Torrey Pines, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, among other venues, competing in over 60 races.
The 87-year-old, who now resides in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is also credited with designing the race course at Willow Springs, Calif.
The Golden Gate Park Road Races were held in San Francisco from 1952 until 1954, at a time when the San Francisco Bay Area began its infatuation with all things automotive, especially sports-car racing.
"It's very exciting for me to be the Grand Marshal at the Sonoma Historics," said Pollack, "because I was fortunate enough to be one of maybe a half a dozen people or so who were involved in sports-car racing as amateurs in the late '40s. Most of my colleagues are gone, like Phil Hill who became a world champion. We were all just kids then and it was the beginning of a sport that none of us realized would grow to be so popular so quickly. What was especially important was the fact that it was amateur racing, so there was a certain camaraderie that existed that I don't think would have been the same if it were professional.
"It was a marvelous time and a wonderful period. The cars were beautiful, there were lots of different kinds of cars, so there was an esprit that