TIME MACHINE: 1985 - HOLBERT NIPPED FROM WIN AT RIVERSIDE
FONTANA, Calif. (March 28, 2005) --- In a shortened event, three and one half hours as opposed to the traditional six, as well as a shortened course from 3.3-miles to 3.25, Al Holbert was hoping the 1985 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix of Endurance would give him a win at Riverside International Raceway.
Undoubtedly the steadiest driver in the Camel GT series at Riverside, Holbert had finished second for three years running. He looked to better that average finishing position when he and co-driver Al Unser Jr. set out for qualifying and captured the front starting spot.
Also trying to break into victory lane not only at Riverside, but also in the series, was the BF Goodrich teams sporting radial tires that had never won a race on the circuit.
Holbert/Unser built a comfortable lead and appeared as though the shortened race might finally be the insurance for a Holbert victory at Riverside. At the halfway mark, their car suddenly slowed and was diagnosed with a broken turbo charger sending them into the pits. The duo would recover only to finish 11th in the event.
The BF Goodrich cars, driven by Pete Halsmer/John Morton and Jim Busby/Rick Knoop, were in prime position for the lead. Challenged minimally by the Jaguars of Brian Redman/Hurley Haywood and Bob Tullius/Chip Robinson who eventually were taken out of contention for contact with other cars in separate instances.
At the finish, the radial tire would have its day in victory lane, and not Holbert. Halsmer/Morton finished first, just half a car length (0.138 of a second) ahead of teammates Busby/Knoop. BF Goodrich claimed a 1-2 victory. Tullis/Robinson recovered to finish third followed by Bob Akin/Jim Mullen, five laps back. Fifth was Jim Adams and John Hotchkiss, six laps off the pace.
Holbert left Riverside filled with frustration despite leaving with the series point lead. He'd ultimately dominate the final standings for the championship after claiming nine victories in 1985.
Stay tuned for more great racing moments as California Speedway looks back at Riverside International Raceway's rich history. Next up, Rob Dyson and Price Cobb clinch the 1986 Los Angeles Times/Nissan Grand Prix of Endurance with freshly built machine.
Great road racing continues to thrive in Southern California at the home of California Speedway. Join Grand American for the Rolex Sports Car Series 400 and Grand-Am Cup Series 200 on April 1-3, 2005. Tickets are available as both weekend packages and individual tickets. For ticket and event information, call 800-944-RACE  or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.