The First Sunray DX Sports Car Festival

Category: Sports Car Festivals and Other Events
Published on Thursday, 03 May 2012 13:47
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The First Sunray DX Sports Car Festival

by GEORGE ENGLAND

Twenty years ago this month our Oklahoma Region were still on Cloud Nine’, having not quite recovered from the very first SUNRAY DX SPORTS CAR FESTIVAL held at the then new Penn Square Mall.

This was the initial venture by Sunray DX into Sports Car activities and culminated a strenuous series of negotiations with our Board of Officers headed by R.E. George England (your author) . The DX people wanted to get their name associated with sports/performance autos and we saw a golden opportunity for getting public exposure and more members for the Region. All of these objectives and more, were achieved.

The contract with DX was simple. They would furnish dash placques and trophies and would publicize the event through the newspaper, radio, and television outlets. We organized and operated the event furnishing all workers. The entry fees, after deducting expenses, were donated to the Oklahoma Council for Mentally Retarded Children. The festival featured three main events; a Concours De’Elegance, a TSD Rally and Economy Run and a Gymkhana (Solo II in today’s lingo). A Saturday nite beer party for all participants was hosted by our genial sponsor.

Registration opened Friday night at the DeVille Motel (remember ?) with Registrar David Miles in charge and entrants started coming – and coming – and coming.Registration reopened an 7 A.M. Saturday with a line of entrants waiting. By 9 A.M. Saturday the Concours with Dan Craig in charge placed forty (that’s 40 !) beautifully prepared automobiles in four classes on the mall at Penn Square for show and judging.

Immediately after the Concours, Rallymaster David Wood and Streeter Flynn started the combined TSD Rally and Economy Run (DX furnished the gas) with seventy four (74) entries. The route took the rallyists on a four hour trek to Roman Nose Park and return over a devious route. All found their way back in time for the DX “Happy Hour”.

Sunday morning dawned bright and early- entrants were still coming ! ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY TWO cars (many with more than one driver) startled officials and pleased the crowd, estimated at over 2000. After a summit meeting between Gymkhana Master David Dooley and R.E. England, practice was stopped after car number 64 on the basis that timed runs would be impossible to conclude before darkness if practice was to continue. This decision was gracefully received by nearly all contestants and the last timed run was concluded as dusk was setting in.

To everyone the Festival was successful beyond all expectations, It started DX in the motorsport business; they extended the Festival to five other major cities in their market area and soon were sponsoring a team of racing Corvettes with Don Yenko and Dave Dooley driving, Our own Region started the year with only 104 members and we soon broke the 200 member mark. The Festival became a traditional event and after Sunray DX was gobbled up by Sun Oil and disbanded their motorsports crew, we continued the event calling it the Octoberfest. We later expanded it to include the Spring Games series. Perhaps the best bonus of the event-a check for $452.00 was given to the Council for the Mentally Retarded Children. It was indeed a memorable weekend!

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of historical articles written by George under the heading “Nostalgia” from the September, 1985 Gazette. Nostalgia articles which apply to certain activities, such as Rallyes, will be posted under those headings. Non-specific or general articles will appear under the Nostalgia bullet.