TIME MACHINE: 1982 - SIX HOURS TO REBOUND AND WIN FONTANA, Calif. (March 22, 2005) --- The opening lap would shape the outcome of the six-hour Los Angeles Times/TOYOTA Grand Prix Endurance on April 25, 1982 at Riverside International Raceway....
TIME MACHINE: 1982 - SIX HOURS TO REBOUND AND WIN
FONTANA, Calif. (March 22, 2005) --- The opening lap would shape the outcome of the six-hour Los Angeles Times/TOYOTA Grand Prix Endurance on April 25, 1982 at Riverside International Raceway. The 22-year old John Paul Jr, who had nearly won the 1981 event at the Southern California road course, was blazing a trail on the racing circuit, winning five straight Camel GT events.
Paired again with his father, Paul qualified third behind the Lola T-600/Chevy entries of Jim Adams/Chris Cord and Ted Field/Bill Whittington. As the field bellowed past the starting line to take the green flag, Paul plunged under the front-row cars and made an immediate attempt for the lead. His right rear tire seemed to touch the left front corner of Adams' car, sending Adams spinning into the wall. Field took evasive action and snarled through the gravel berm at the edge of the course.
By the second hour, Paul would retire his car with engine trouble. Field immediately pitted to remove gravel that had jammed his throttle linkage, rejoining the race on the third lap, one lap down. His co-driver Whittington took the lead before the 50-lap marker.
A dramatic assault from deep in the field also captured the hearts of the spectators. Al Holbert and Harald Grohs started 46th in the 55-car field and had blitzed past 30-plus cars in the opening two laps. By lap 44, they were in second.
Field and Whittington, relying on pre-race setup advice from Indy car driver Danny Ongais, took the lead for good and secured a two-lap cushion. Grohs and Holbert held on for second, with Terry Wolters finishing third. Fourth was Bob Akin/Craig Siebert/Derek Bell and fifth was Ray Ratcliff/Grady Clay/Bob Garretson.
Stay tuned for more great racing moments as California Speedway looks back at Riverside International Raceway's rich history. Next up, tragedy overshadows the 1983 Los Angeles Times/Datsun Grand Prix of Endurance for Fitzpatrick's third win at Riverside.
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.