IMSA Co-Founder John Bishop Dies

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John Bishop. (IMSA Photo)
John Bishop. (IMSA Photo)
John Bishop. (IMSA Photo)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — John Bishop, one of he most important men in U.S. road racing history, has died.

Born in 1926, Bishop died Thursday at age 87. The co-founder of the International Motor Sports Ass’n died due to complications from a recent illness.

Bishop also helped create the United States Road Racing Championship for Group 7 sports cars and was instrumental in founding the SCCA Trans-Am and SCCA Can-Am series.

Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with his wife Peggy and Bill France Sr., after a surprise telephone “cold call” from France — also NASCAR’s founder — that resulted in a quick trip from Connecticut to Daytona Beach to discuss assembling a new sports car sanctioning organization in North America.

“Bill said he thought there was a need for a new organization, and that he thought I might be the person to run it,” Bishop said. “So, very quickly, I got down to Daytona. Bill and I met, we talked a lot, drank a lot of Scotch, talked a lot more and planned it out. Peggy and I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.”

That wasn’t exactly true. Bishop already had a solid resume as an experienced sports car official with the Sports Car Club of America. In ‘69, he decided he wanted to leave that organization.

“I offered my resignation and the SCCA surprised me — they accepted it,” Bishop said.

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