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Tom Brennan Pages

Tom Brennan

National SCCA Champion - D Production, 1978

Tom Brennan, from Danville, Illinois, is probably best known for his exploits at the wheel of the Herman+Miller purpose built Porsche DP924 Kit Car, which he  campaigned to the 1981 D Production National Championship. He later went on to win  the GT-3 National Championship in 1985 in a similar car which he converted himself from DP spec. 

Tom's 1981 victory
Click for larger image

Before Tom's move to Porsche, he enjoyed a short spell with the Datsun 2000. In 1977 he qualified for the Runoffs and finished an excellent 5th. One year later, to everyone's surprise, he put away the favourites to win his first D Production Championship.

The 1978 Runoffs - D Production

Following the reclassification of the Triumph TR6 to D Production (from CP), and with the introduction of the Triumph TR7 and the Jensen-Healey, the vintage Datsun 2000 had been struggling to perform against the  British contenders in D Production.

Racing the 'Barton Special', with support from Danville Auto Parts, together with the welcome purse money from Nissan/Datsun, Brennan faced the factory teams, including Lee Mueller's Huffaker TR7, and the Jensen Healey of Bruce Qvale (son of Jensen owner Kjell Qvale, and later the President of Huffaker-Qvale Motorsports). Fastest qualifier for the race was 1975 F Production Champion Ken Slagle (Triumph TR7), and the grid was made up of some further impressive machinery, including Porsche 911s & 914s, Alfa Spiders and Lotuses. Although it was more than eight years since roadster production ceased, Datsun 2000s comprised no less than 10 of the 26 starters. These included  cars driven by Jim Fitzgerald, Linda Sharp and Bob Studdard.

The race delivered some of the closest racing of the CSPRRC weekend, and Tom came under great pressure from Ken Slagle, Wayne Baker (914) Lee Mueller (J-H), Tom Robertson and Peter LoBianco (both driving Lotus Super 7s). A charging Fitzy went out brandishing his gearshift on lap 4 and by lap 9 Brennan, who had led for most of the race,  was edged out to third by both Baker and Robertson.  On that lap, however, Robertson tried too hard and on turn 9 he tangled with Baker forcing both to retire. Brennan was now out front although lap by lap Bruce Qvale in his J-H was pulling closer. Qvale traded 2nd place with LoBianco and on lap 16, in some incredibly close racing, he passed Brennan on Turn 1. Just one lap later, on Turn 2, Brennan pulled it back.

The crowd were already in shock by the time the two reached the esses between 4 & 5. Here Qvale and Brennan were side by side, neither giving the other an inch. They both came out of 5 unscathed, with Brennan a nose in front by 6. The two were banging doors again on 7 where they stayed until the bridge, Brennan just inches inches in front. The last turn saw Brennan hang on to the narrowest of margins, the race went to the wire, and in the closest final lap of the weekend, Tom edged out Qvale's Jensen-Healey by less than half a second. Indeed Qvale's last lap was the fastest of the race.

Tom was to campaign the roadster for a further season, managing 12th place at the Runoffs. At the end of the 1979 season he moved over to the Porsche 924, which he also named the 'Barton Special'.

Tom's D Production crown was the last of five DP titles to be won by the Datsun 2000, which was later to be reclassified in GT3 and then E Production, following the demise of DP in 1983. One further National title was to be won by a Datsun roadster, courtesy of Bob Studdard in E Production, as late as 1987.

Rob Beddington  

1978 DP Results



 Tom Brennan Datsun Roadster Gallery

Tom Brennan - 1977

1977 - shot of Tom in the 'Barton Special'

1977 Runoffs - start

1977 CSPRRC Runoffs, Road Atlanta - the start

1978 Runoffs - Victory Lap

1978 CSPRRC Runoffs - victory lap

Tom Brennan's 2000

A shot of Tom Brennan at Road Atlanta, 1979

The 'Barton Special'
The Barton Special The Barton Special during Paris Cross's ownership

Tom's 'Barton Special' was still in existence in the year 2000. Owned by Todd Green, she's most recently been campaigned in Solo II competition. Todd purchased the car from Paris Cross, who raced the Special in SCCA for a number of years, with some success. The car was maintained by Paul Trapp during Paris's ownership, and featured a narrow frame and trick suspension.


(Datsun Roadster results only) 











My thanks go to Joe Hauser for information and the results sheet included on these pages. Tom's Runoff placings are courtesy of Pete Hylton at the SCCA. The images are courtesy of Alan Poindexter and Dave McDowell.

If you have any further information/images that you think would benefit these pages please E-Mail me or sign the Guestbook.

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These pages and images, unless otherwise stated, are copyright ©1999 & 2000, Rob Beddington & The Classic Fairlady Roadster Register. Do not redistribute in any form without the prior permission of the owners.