Florida Regions SCCA Goes to Indy
By: Bob Lee
The awesome Florida Region SCCA has had no less than seven drivers that went on to race in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. This race is better known as; The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
One of those seven was Lyn St. James. Lyn was the second woman to compete in the illustrious race. She began her racing career in the Florida Region SCCA driving a Ford Pinto in the Showroom Stock C Class. She went on to race at Cosworth Vegas in the Showroom Stock A Class, with much success. She also drove with her husband John Caruso in The 24 Hours Daytona and won in their class.
After numerous road racing rides, Lyn finally was allowed to drive at the Indy. She was named Rookie of the Year in 1992, and had finished eleventh over all. It was an excellent finish for her first time at the Brickyard! Lyn continued to race at Indy until the year 2000. In 2016, she was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame.
Don, Bill and Dale Wittington attended driver’s school at PBIR. Don and Bill went on and raced at the 12 Hours of Sebring, again at The 24 Hours of Daytona, then proceeded to win the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1979. All three brothers; Don, Bill and Dale qualified for Indy in 1982. This was the only time three brothers qualified for the illustrious race.
Dennis Vitolo raced Formula Ford with the Florida Region before going on to Indy. In a1994 and 1997, Dennis qualified for Indy after joining the Dick Simon Racing Team. He also competed in the Tamiami Indy Car Race.
Randy Lanier raced with Florida Region driving a 356 Porsche in the E Production Class. In 1984, Randy became the IMSA GT champion. He then proceeded to Indy in 1986 where he was Rookie of the Year.
John Paul Jr. was one of the best at both, road racing and Indy car racing. He had multiple fine finishes. John was an extremely talented driver and a wonderful man who taught driving at PBIR (Palm Beach International Raceway).
To Bobby Johns goes an honorable mention. In 1965, he and teammate Jimmy Clark finished 7th at the Indianapolis 500. One of Smokey Yunicks’ advertisements, sponsored by Hurst Shifters, shows Bobby sitting in Smokey’s side-car at the Indy. Bobby was also a NASCAE driver who won the Atlanta Journal 500. As our Firestone Tire representative, he gave away one free tire for every four wins.
These seven drivers of the Florida Region SCCA, that drove in the Indianapolis 500 Race, are a proud part of our team here at the SCCA.