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Morton Crashes...


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Just got this email……and we were just talking to him a couple of weeks ago in Nashville !

SCARY CRASH: Morton wrecks his dream car, but he should be OK


Herald Correspondent


Updated: 8/16/2010

Emergency crews clean up the remains of a 1958 Scarab Sports Racer after driver John Morton rolled the vehicle between Turns 2 & 3. Morton was taken away by ambulance.


Popular American race car driver John Morton was involved in a scary crash on the opening lap of Group 3A for 1955/61 Sports Cars over 2000cc that silenced a large & sun-baked crowd at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

But Morton was able to climb out of his car & wave to the crowd as he entered an ambulance to be transported to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

Morton, of El Segundo (CA), was driving his dream car, a 1958 Scarab Sports Racer, when he wound up sideways in the entrance to Turn 2 & was broadsided on the driver's side, sending the car rolling & landing in the dirt on the side of the track wheels up.

Morton, who was competing in his 3rd race of the day as the Reunion got down to the serious business of competition Saturday afternoon, was apparently only shaken up & taken to CHOMP for observation. He had already run in Group 7L (the 1st of 10 races on the day), finishing 6th in a 1970 Datsun 510, & Group 1A where he brought home a 1961 Porsche RS 61 in 4th.

He's also entered in 2 Group B races, as the weekend extravaganza that includes more than 600 cars winds up w/9 more races this afternoon (after qualifying races in the morning).

Press Snoop (Lynne Hunting) reported that the Trans-Am Datsun Morton competed in to open the afternoon has been in a museum & is the car w/which Morton won the 1971 & 1972 Trans-Am Under 2.0L Championship in its final years of racing. She also noted, "Morton made that car w/Peter Brock & it is still original, w/no updates."

In Group 1A, the 2nd race of the day, Morton was supposed to be running against Sir Stirling Moss, who just acquired a 1961 Porsche RS 61. Drippy fog to start the day Friday morning put a damper on early practice (1A was 1st on the course) & Moss (w/the combination of wet track & cold tires) spun out on the 1st lap & was hit be another car, which had also spun. "It was sad for both Moss & Morton, who had always dreamed of racing Moss (an icon in the sport)."

Most years of the vintage competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the race for 1966/72 Trans-Am Cars (the big boys w/the throaty V8s) is one of the most thrilling & Saturday was no different.

Bruce Canepa of Scotts Valley, Tomy Drissi of Los Angeles & Ken Epsman of Saratoga put on a heck of a show, trading positions on virtually every lap. Canepa was in a 1969 Ford Mustang & pulled away from the other 2 exiting Turn 11 on the final lap to win by a scant 0.871 seconds.

Drissi, a veteran of professional Trans-Am competition, out-dragged Epsman to the finish line to just nose him out for 2nd. Drissi was in a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro & Epsman was piloting his 1970 Dodge Challenger.

Qualifying races begin at 8AM this morning w/9 more races, after a lunch break, this afternoon. Tickets still remain available & can be purchased at the gate for what promises to be another thriller of a day w/some incredible cars well-matched in their respective groups.

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From John Harris:

John drove us home today from monterey. he is fine. the only injuries are a bitten tongue, a swollen hand and knee and a few sore spots on his head. he didn't even have a headache the day after the accident.

His cat scan was negative...no broken bones. his helmet hit the ground, the car, the roll bar, etc. and held up beautifully. he was ok'd to drive on sunday but decided that might be embarrassing because everyone would think he was trying to look like superman and besides, his helmet has to be replaced, ( his nice new helmet that he got in april). He was at the track most of the day Sunday, repeating his story that was totally WRONG in the monterey paper.

A brief summary, 3 fast cars were at the back (one of them was john in the scarab) two of them spun in the qualifying race (bowman in the lister and old yeller, the later model) and john dropped out to have his brakes fixed. at the start of the race old yeller and bowman took off and john held back, making sure his brakes were ok. old yellow came up behind a very slow car that moved over into his path..old yeller locked up his left rear and spun. bowman spun to miss old yeller and hit the guard rail. john went wide to the right since the accident was happening on the left and thought he was clear but bowman bounced off the wall across the track and hit john in the left side, lifting him up and sending him into multiple side rolls. john never even saw him coming because bowman hit the side when john was going straight..john landed upside down with the roll bar bent inward so they had to pull the door off to get him out. they pulled him out on his back onto a gurney and strapped him down (no standing and waving to the crowd as reported in the monterey paper) and took him to the hospital. there was no fire but liquids, probably coolant were coming into the cockpit where he was trapped. he never let go of the wheel so his hands did not go outside (though one hit something) - when the roll bar folded inward into the cockpit, he was in the turtle position so it jabbed the back of his helmet.

the car...john's all time favorite...was scheduled for a total rebuild starting this weekend anyway (believe it or not) from the chassis up. Joey Cavaglieri is going to put the original chassis in the car, take the surviving pieces that he needs and make it into a museum piece. so the restoration plans have not changed.

thanks for all your kind thoughts. he is ok

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