Boca racer joins other champs to help raise $30,000 for Cancer SocietyPublished Monday, November 20, 2006
by Dale M. King
It was 29 degrees Fahrenheit when Buzz Marcus of Boca Raton stepped behind the wheel of the Mazda MX-5 roadster – the one he would be climbing in and out of for the next 13 hours.
“The adrenaline was pumping – and the driving suit keeps you warm,” said Marcus, a championship racer, pilot and motorcycle enthusiast.
He’s also a cancer survivor. And that was the point of this endurance race – to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
In the end, Marcus and a team of elder race champs came from behind to take fifth place in the division – and 17th place overall -- in the Seniors for Survivors race at Virginia International Raceway on Nov. 4.
“The Seniors for Survivors race team proved that age, experience and a well-prepared car can overcome an early setback in the most heated of contests,” Marcus said.
More important than placement, the race raised more than $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.
After an early fuel problem caused the team to lose 30 minutes on the track and in the pits, the group of all-star drivers – the youngest of whom is 65 years old – came back strong, fighting a field of 81 cars and freezing temperatures.
Marcus, the team founder, said the race “saw much drama as the day turned to night and the cold set in again. The mighty little Mazda MX-5 roadster fought on without a problem against stiff opposition, which included cars made by BMW, Porsche, Pontiac, Honda and Acura.’
“Both the fans and the team were amazed at how this car could keep up with and pass so many faster cars,” he added.
The fundraising total topped $30,000 for breast cancer and lymphoma research when the Seniors for Survivors raised $5,066 at the track through lap pledges and Mazda North America Operations donated $2,500.
Buzz Marcus, 66, has won more than 50 races in his 45-year career. He won the first IMSA 6-hour Enduro at Mid Ohio and the Vineland 4-hour in a Lola T-70. He also competed at the Daytona 24-hour and the Sebring 12-hour. Marcus is currently an instructor for Justin Bell Blue Planets Events.
Other drivers on the team were:
Derek Bell, 65, a five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, a two-time World Sports Car champion, a well-known TV sports personality and world spokesperson for Bentley Automobiles.
Gene Felton, 70, a decorated IMSA and SCCA driver with 45 IMSA wins, four IMSA championships and five SCCA Pro wins. Felton has also won the Daytona 24-hour, Sebring 12-hour and Manufacture Championships for Buick and Chevrolet.
Tony Adamowicz, 65, has competed in all forms of sports car racing, including driving for Ferrari at Le Mans, competing in the Can-Am and Trans-Am series and driving in the Indy 500.
Marcus said he plans to drive in the Turkey Trot race at Sebring and will take the holidays off, returning to the track in February.
Dale M. King can be reached at 561-549-0832 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.