Racing to Court for Sports Car Racing

Brainerd International Sppedway

On short notice I was retained to be the lawyer for a professional sports car driver. The mission was to obtain an injunction to prevent the Sports Car Club of America (the Club) from excluding him from a weekend race at the Brainerd (Minnesota) International Raceway approximately 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

1986 VW Scirocco

The driver was Eddie Wachs, who was racing a Volkswagen Scirocco in a series of races operated by the Club. Because of the alleged illegal modification of his car at a prior race, the Club was threatening to not permit Wachs to race at Brainerd.

I prepared the appropriate papers and met Wachs at the Brainerd airport, as I recall. We then flew in his private airplane to a lake in northern Minnesota where he was going to obtain the necessary certification for flying a float plane. After staying that night at a resort at the lake, we flew the next morning in his plane to Brainerd.

Somehow I served the papers on an official of the Club. I do not remember if we went to court and obtained the injunction or if the Club agreed to let Wachs participate in the race. But participate he did. I do not recall how he did in the race, but I do remember being in the pit for his car. (I did not attempt to do anything to assist the pit crew. I would just get in the way.)

Paul Newman & Eddie Wachs

Long after my brief encounter with Wachs, in 2005 he joined with the famous actor Paul Newman to form Newman Wachs Racing to operate their auto racing team.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

2 thoughts on “Racing to Court for Sports Car Racing”

  1. As is so often the case when searching the web we never know what we will encounter serendipitously. I was working for Eddie that summer and recall this event. I remember you. After the SCCA had been served, our attention turned to obtaining a proper motorsports themed T-shirt for you so that the only guy at the racetrack wearing dress pants, dress shirt, and a tie could feel less conspicuous.

    As I recall, Eddie was penalized after the previous race and that was over and done with. Eddie expressed his opinion about the SCCA’s actions. The SCCA decided to penalize him for his comments by excluding him from the race at Brainerd. I don’t recall the basis for the judge’s decision but in the eyes of a fellow driver of note, Peter Gregg, Eddie was championing freedom of speech. So, I guess you were preserving the American way.

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