Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BOB SNODGRASS: 1942-2007; Fellow 'Car Guy' Was Genuine Friend

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

BOB SNODGRASS: 1942-2007; Fellow 'Car Guy' Was Genuine Friend

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

There was only one thing I knew about Jacksonville when I moved here in the early 1980s - Brumos Racing, with its famous red, white and blue No. 59 Porsche race cars, was here.

As a car guy from way back, I had watched the late Peter Gregg beat all comers at Lime Rock Park at numerous races in the team's 911 variants. But it took a few years before this reporter headed to the Brumos dealerships for a story. That's when I met Bob Snodgrass, CEO of the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz dealerships and head of a race team with so much heritage.

From the start, Bob treated me like a car guy, and he was one, too. I first did a story on their driving school, and watched him tackle Roebling Road in a Porsche 944, keeping pace with legendary racer Hurley Haywood, but kicking up gravel in the apexes as he did. As I explored the vintage racing scene at Daytona and Road Atlanta, there he was in the big silver Brumos race transporter as Bob presented its historic racers to a whole new audience. He raced, and they all won more often than not. Plus, the invite to hang out was made, and I got to know Bob.

I was munching some of Brumos' famous transporter popcorn once when actor/racer Paul Newman came over to talk to Bob and Hurley. Bob introduced me to racing champions like Brian Redman, who ran a classic car dealership for Brumos in the 1980s as he remolded his career as writer, driving teacher and mentor. Bob invited me onto the truck's observation platform at races, so I saw the late Dale Earnhart drive in a Rolex 24 weeks before his death. When Brumos returned to modern racing with the Supercar Challenge, Bob asked me to "become" a pit crew member. I never turned a wrench, but hung out with the team and wrote about it. Then Bob took me for five hard laps of Daytona Speedway in Peter Gregg's 1979 IMSA Championship-winning 935, leaving my knees shaking from adrenaline before I did my best to describe it in a story. …

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