Col. Joe Hauser
National SCCA Champion - G Production
1976, 1981 and 1982
Joseph A. Hauser, a retired USAF Colonel from Odenton, Maryland, achieved a feat the envy of many SCCA race drivers. In 1982, following National success in 1974, 1976 and 1981, Joe collected his fourth National SCCA Championship. His first National victory was won in a Sprite, whilst the remaining three Championships were won driving Datsun 1600s, against competition which included Midgets, Spitfires, Sprites, Alfas and X1/9s. All four National Championships were collected in the SCCA's G Production class.
Joe's first sports car was a rhd MG TD bought from a USAF friend in Wiesbaden in 1953. As part of the deal he got a Rootes blower which he fitted to the TD. The MG would outrun all the local Porsches up to around 90mph (when the MG valves started floating!). Joe then moved on to a TR2, a Porsche Speedster and then on to the Sprite.
His first race was at the wheel of a Sprite at Marlboro in 1964. Joe ran the Sprite in the Regionals until late 1969, when he decided to move up to the Nationals. With only four Nationals to go until the end of the season, Joe's results were good enough to earn him a place at the ARRC in G Production, that year held at Daytona. In the 1969 Runoffs (Joe's first Runoffs) he placed a creditable fourth.
Joe, who classes his 1974 National Championship in a Sprite as 'lucky', continued to race Sprites until the 1976 season, when he switched to a Datsun 1600. The 1600 had earlier been reclassified by the SCCA, from F Production to G Production, and Joe decided that to compete with the Spitfires and X1/9s of the time, he needed something more reliable. Almost immediately, the results started coming, and Joe qualified his 1600 for the Road Atlanta runoffs that year, which he went on to win.
Since that time Joe continued to race Datsun 1600s, enjoying two further National successes, until his retirement in 1997. His amazing Nationals career over the 28 years from 1969 to 1997 is summarised as follows:-
Joe's ratio of victories to races was therefore 63%, an incredible achievement. As well as the National Championships, Joe won no less than 22 Divisional Championships, in the SCCA's North East Region, 5 in a Sprite, 16 in a Datsun and one (in 1976) driving both.
Joe also has the distinction of qualifying for 28 consecutive National Runoffs in G Production, from 1969 to 1986.
During his Datsun Roadster race career, driving in the SCCA's DC Region, Joe campaigned both high windshield and low windshield 1600s, in varied colour schemes and with some interesting modifications. The green car you see on these pages belonged to a real friend of Joe's, Roberto Lorenzutti, who also campaigned this 1600 Roadster in G Production. Joe had unintentionally modified his bodywork in one National meet, and in return for Joe building Roberto an engine, Roberto lent Joe a car and straightened and painted Joe's 1600.
Joe carried out all the engine and chassis work on his cars himself. However, he could not have achieved his success without the assistance of a number of dedicated people, who all volunteered large amounts of time and effort. Joe's wife, Lois, followed him to almost every race, timing his qualifying and completing the paperwork. Lois was herself a several time Autocross Champion. On the occasions that she was Joe's only pit crew, Lois also helped out with the maintenance. At one event, when Joe had to pull the engine to replace the transmission, Joe remembers that Lois helped out, "using wrenches like a real pro".
Joe and Lois after a National win at
Joe was also supported at around 90% of his races by Bob and Gail Ward, who both played a major part in keeping Joe's car on the track. Bob, a radio ham, even provided Joe with a car to pit radio system. This was invaluable in qualifying, as Joe knew instantly whether he had to push harder to chase a faster lap time.
Bill and Elanoe Thompson also helped out at many of Joe's races. Joe recalls, "one race, Bob, Bill and I changed the engine in an hour and thirty minutes to make the race. I don't remember where we finished but that just goes to show what friends do for fun!"
Other helpers included Dave Tubbs, who also made a number of races until he suffered heart problems, and Chas Kerschner who made a few races in the early 1980s.
"I'M THE TYPE
OF GUY WHO NEEDS A HOBBY"
Col. Joe was still very competitive right the way through to his retirement from racing, finishing as high as 4th in the Runoffs in 1994 and 1995.
Joe retired from racing in 1997, following a serious road accident . Both Joe and Lois spent a while recuperating in hospital, a place neither of them ever wished to visit again. Still competitive up until the accident with some impressive podiums, Joe and Lois were treated like royalty at that years runoffs, Joe replacing his Datsun with a golf cart.
Joe eventually sold his car, along with a garage full of parts, to Bill Wessel. Joe's memories live on, some of which are shared on these pages. These memories, together with some wonderful images help to shed some light on Joe's long and illustrious career in SCCA racing.
Thank you Col. Joe.
The Joe Hauser Pages
My thanks go to Joe Hauser himself for allowing me to share images from his collection, and his memories from his race days, together with his unstinting support for this project. The remaining images are sourced from Alan Poindexter and Nissan Motorsports, and the final image on the second gallery page is courtesy of Joe's last Roadster's new owner, Bill Wessel.
These pages and images, unless otherwise stated, are copyright ©1999 & 2000, Joe Hauser, Rob Beddington & The Classic Fairlady Roadster Register. Do not redistribute in any form without the prior permission of the owners.