SPEEDVISION Cup For Stock SportsCars Media Information BACKGROUND The series began at Sebring, Fla., in 1985, drawing 71 cars in three classes, the largest field in American road racing history for a debut event. The concept was to race ...
SPEEDVISION Cup For Stock SportsCars Media Information
The series began at Sebring, Fla., in 1985, drawing 71 cars in three classes, the largest field in American road racing history for a debut event.
The concept was to race recognizable high-performance street cars, race them "as delivered" with many safety and a few performance modifications, and race them on DOT-approved radial street tires.
Speedvision became the series sponsor in April, 1997. Speedvision is the first and only 24-hour cable network devoted to the millions of people who love cars, boats, airplanes and motorcycles. Roger Werner, President and CEO of Speedvision, has been a frequent competitor in the series. Toyo Tire USA became the Official Tire Supplier in 1995.
The SPEEDVISION Cup for Stock SportsCars continues to thrive and is now in its 13th year as a racing "teenager." It is Professional SportsCar's oldest and largest series.
The overwhelming majority of the 2,251 men and women who have competed in the series (through 1996) view auto racing as a high-speed alternate to weekend golf. They are, invariably, successful businessmen or professionals; some are true captains of industry and work in the rarified air of socio-economic prominence. They have lives away from the track; this is their fun, their relaxation and a new challenge, not the future of their livelihood.
But equally important to the credibility of the series is its documented record as a stepping-stone to future racing greatness. Parker Johnstone, Tom Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder are just three of today's top road racers who first gained recognition in the Stock SportsCar series. The list is long and will continue to grow because of the series' primary benefit to an up-and-comer: involvement by manufacturers with bigger programs down the road.
Over the years, the starting grids have also been sprinkled with some of the greatest icons in American racing, as well as world-recognized champions from other sports. Include on that list A. J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Al Unser Jr., late America's Cup skipper Tom Blackaller, Olympic Decathalon champion Bruce Jenner, and Unlimited Hydroplane champion Chip Hanauer.
Stock SportsCar grids are full of human interest stories. SportsCar and the series competitors thank you for your interest. If we can help you with anything, you need only to ask.
PROFESSIONAL SPORTSCAR RACING SPEEDVISION CUP FOR STOCK SPORTSCARS
MEDIA CONTACTS Dave Arnold, arnold communications Ed Nicholls, SportsCar, Director of Communications 4156 Sherman Road / Kent, OH 44240 3502 Henderson Blvd./ Tampa, FL 33609 Phone 330/673-4405 Phone 813/877-4672 Fax 330/673-9550 Fax 813/876-4604 e-mail 72747.2702@CompuServe.com e-mail 71220.3211@CompuServe.com or, email@example.com
PROFESSIONAL SPORTSCAR RACING SPEEDVISION CUP FOR STOCK SPORTSCARS RACE DATA
Sears Point 3-Hour 5th of 9 races in the SPEEDVISION Cup for the Stock SportsCar series 13th season; 123rd race weekend in the series' history
Series Sponsor: SPEEDVISION -- the first and only TV network devoted to 24-hour per day broadcasts of things that go fast Air Times: July 18, 9 pm; July 19, 1 am & 2 pm; July 21, 1 pm EST Race Start: Saturday, 3 pm
2,315 drivers have raced 2,502,122.75 miles (100+ laps of the Equator!) since the series began at Sebring in 1985
The 2,315 drivers include 33 Indy car drivers,16 from Winston Cup, 9 from Formula 1, and 47 women
STOCK SPORTSCAR SERIES GRADUATES, or one-off race "visitors", include 1996 champions in most major North American series: *Jimmy Vasser, CART *Wayne Taylor, SportsCar Exxon World SportsCar Championship *Irv Hoerr, and the top 4 drivers in SportsCar Exxon Supreme GTS-1 *Larry Schumacher and the top 7 drivers in SportsCar Exxon Supreme GTS-2 *Tom Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder, 1-2 in SCCA Trans-Am *David Empringham, Indy Lights *Scott Sharp, Indy Racing League *Randy Pobst, Super Touring
REPRESENTATIVE CARS...RACING IN 4 CLASSES...INCLUDE... GRAND SPORTS: 7 manufacturers -- the twin-turbocharged Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZXT and Mazda RX-7-- against the normally-aspirated Pontiac Firebird Formula, Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R, Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 SS, BMW M3 Lightweight and the debut of the 1997 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SPORTS: The 1997 Honda Prelude SH versus the Acura Integra GS-R, BMW 328is and Toyota Supra TOURING: 7 manufacturers -- the 1997 Audi A4 Turbo against the Nissan 240SX, Honda Prelude Si and Accord EX, Toyota MR2, Oldsmobile Achieva SC, Mazda MX6 and Volkswagen Golf III COMPACT: The 1997 BMW Z3 Roadster versus the Honda Civic del Sol Si, Nissan 200SX SE- R and Sentra SE-R, and Mazda Miata
148 models of cars by 28 manufacturers have raced in the Stock SportsCar series. No production car series in the world is as large, has accumulated the series' participatory statistics or has been as successful. WHAT GETS THE STOCK SPORTSCARS AROUND THE TRACK? All cars race on ultra-high performance, DOT-approved Toyo Proxes RA-1 tires with treads shaved to racing depth for a dry track, or full depth for heavy rain. ... and ... all are fueled by 93-octane Exxon Supreme gasoline
Defending Series Champions Points Leaders Qualifying Records How to Tell the Cars Apart
1996 SEASON DRIVER CHAMPIONS GRAND SPORTS John Heinricy, Phoenix American Motorsports Pontiac Firebird Formula SPORTS Eric Van Cleef, Toyota Motorsports Toyota Supra TOURING Terry Earwood, T-I Racing Honda Prelude Si COMPACT Peter Tonelli/Jason Engel, D.R.S. Nissan 240SX
1997 SEASON POINTS LEADERS (After 4 of 9 races) GRAND SPORTS John Heinricy/Stu Hayner, Phoenix Motorsports Pontiac Firebird Formula SPORTS Taz Harvey, Performance Motorsports Honda Prelude VTEC TOURING Gary Blackman/Greg Loebel, T-I Racing Honda Prelude Si COMPACT Joe Danaher, Schwartzott Motorsports Honda Civic del Sol VTEC
QUALIFYING RECORDS: SEARS POINT (All set in 1996) GRAND SPORTS 1:50.298 (82.249mph) Kelly Collins, Royal Purple BMW M3 SPORTS 1:54.965 (78.910mph) Kris Wilson, T-I Racing Honda Prelude VTEC TOURING 1:56.470 (77.891mph) John Green, T-I Racing Honda Prelude Si COMPACT 1:58.850 (76.331mph) David Daughtery, D.R.S. Nissan 240 SX
HOW TO TELL THE CAR CLASSES APART!! -- Look for the SPEEDVISION windshield tint color GRAND SPORTS RED on white background SPORTS WHITE on re d background TOURING BLACK on white background COMPACT WHITE on black background
Sears Point Stock SportsCars Feature Story/Note Column Ideas
Maybe Forrest Gump wasn't that much of a Hollywood myth. Consider the life of the late James J. Dineen (1882-1962), grandfather of Mark Mitchell, driver of the #61 Kent Racing Pontiac Firebird, and co-winner of the Compact class at Sears Point last year: During his 80 years, Mr. Dineen ...
Raced Bugattis with Barney Oldfield in 1920s cross-country races;
Drove an Essex with Ralph DePalma in the 1905 Chicago-to-Detroit race;
1912 World Record Holder in 120-yard low hurdles;
Coached Babe Didrickson Zaharias in the 1932 Olympics 60-yard dash;
As a young Army Captain in 1916, chased Pancho Villa out of Texas and back to Mexico, along with his football chum, Dwight Eisenhower, a fresh-out-of-West Point Army Lieutenant;
Was Eisenhower's commanding officer in World War I;
Field-promoted to Major by Gen. "Black Jack" Pershing;
Returned home to Chicago after WWI, re-joined the Chicago Police Department and formed the country's first police motorcycle squad. Numerous awards for valor as a Chicago Police detective;
One of the first to test the Thompson Sub-Machine gun, and organized a shipment of Thompsons from the East Coast which were smuggled into Ireland for the Irish Republican Army;
Hand-picked by Michael Collins to serve in the Irish Republican Army, promoted to Brigadier General by Eamon Devalera, president of the I.R.A., in 1922;
Rescued passengers from a capsized pleasure boat in Lake Michigan.
His son, James J. Dineen II, (Mark's uncle) raced in the Chicago indoor midget series in the 1930's against Duke Nalon and Harry McGuinn, and Bob Harsgrave, who later became the crew chief on the B-17 which Dineen flew in Europe during 1941-45.
Mark's late father was a Paramount Studios screenwriter, psychologist for the L. A. City Schools, and an authority on American Indian culture.
Mark has worked as a print model and Hollywood stunt driver. He also studied moviemaking in college, but now owns Brent-Air Towing in Los Angeles, rated L.A.'s #1 towing service by L. A. Magazine. Among his customers has been Robert Shapiro -- who, Mark reports, tips well. Mark, one of these days, would like to make the definitive racing movie.
John Green, of Roseville, is the only undefeated driver in Sears Point's four Stock SportsCar series starts; the 1985 race was his first pro win. He has won 26 races and two Touring Class Driver Championships. John and T-I Racing team owner Mark Hein will share the #38 T-I Racing Honda Prelude Si.
Green's 1985 Sears Point win was the first of 97 wins in the series for American Honda. The closest to Honda's success is Porsche with 37 wins, then Pontiac with 36. Honda's Touring class Prelude Si is the most successful single model with 34 wins. Honda drivers have won 13 Manufacturer Championships and five Car of the Year awards, and Honda has a mathematical chance to score its 100th win this weekend.
The 1985 win by John Green and employer/co-driver Norris Rancourt, was also the race which brought their third driver, Parker Johnstone to Honda's attention. Johnstone won each of his first five starts in the series -- a yet-unmatched record.
Mark Hein, has re-assumed preparation responsibilities for the two-car team; Blake Pridgen's B-P Racing handled preparation for the first four races. T-I Racing's Hondas have won 21 races since 1993, the 1993-95 Touring class championships for John Green, 1996's driving title with Terry Earwood, the 1996 SPEEDVISION Cup Technician of the Year award for crew chief Fred Huettig, and helped American Honda win the 1993-94-95 Touring class Manufacturer Championships. Greg Loebel and Gary Blackman currently lead the Touring class points for the team, Hein and John Green fell from the lead in the last race at Watkins Glen when Green rolled the car while leading with ten minutes to go.
Sears Point is the slowest active road course on the Stock SportsCar circuit. Kelly Collins' 82.249mph Grand Sports qualifying record is 9.5 mph slower than the next slowest circuit -- Sebring, Fla.
Andy Pilgrim, the 1995 Grand Sports class champion, partners Beverly Hills 90210 actor Jason Priestley in the Triple Caution Racing Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R. Pilgrim will try to extend his all-time Professional SportsCar record of 96 consecutive race finishes in six series. The major portion of that record is 44 consecutive finishes in Stock SportsCar races. Pilgrim's streak began July 19, 1992 at Laguna Seca with a third place in the Supercar race. It includes 17 race wins in 47 podium finishes and only five finishes out of the points. Twenty-two co-drivers have been involved.
Pilgrim also shares the Exxon Supreme GTS-1 points lead with Jochen Rohr, owner of the Rohr Motorsport Porsche 911 Turbo.
Pilgrim's 1986 win in the Sears Point Stock SportsCar race was the first of 33 wins in his professional career.
Jason Priestley talked about his SPEEDVISION Cup racing in a July 1 appearance on the CBS-TV David Letterman Show.
Eddie O'Brien has been named the new Crew Chief for Jason Priestley's Triple Caution Racing Ford Mustang Cobra. O'Brien was the SPEEDVISION Cup's 1993 Technician of the Year for his work with Joe Aquilante's Phoenix-American Motorsports Pontiac Firebird team, and this year crewed the Pontiac driven by Terry MacDonald-Cadieux until she was injured in a Road Atlanta crash. O'Brien replaces brothers Ron & Ray Weaver who had headed the Triple Caution operation since its inception in 1996.
Marc Jones, driver of one of the Nissan 240SX's owned by Mark Webber and John Norris, is the younger brother of Max Jones, now Roush Racing's Trans-Am series crew chief for Tom Kendall. Kendall and Max Jones made their debut as teammates in the Stock SportsCar series at Sears Point in 1985 when Tom was 18 years old. Marc now runs his brother's old Nissan repair business, Datsun Alley, in Signal Hill, Calif.
How far have Stock SportsCars cars and tires advanced since the series first appeared at Sears Point in 1985? David Daughtery won the Compact class pole at 76.331mph last year in a Nissan 240SX. To compare, in 1985, Jon Milledge, of Campbell, won the Grand Sports pole at 74.268mph in a Porsche 944.
There have been no repeat winners in each of the first four Grand Sports and Sports class races.
Will Nonnamaker, driver of the #41 Planet Earth Mazda, has invited members of the Mountain Lion Foundation to be the team's Sears Point guests.The Foundation will receive 10% of the race winnings by Will and co-driver Paul Dubinsky, using the money to help buy land on or near Mountain Lion habitats, thus extending their range. The Planet Earth team is sponsored by Dubinsky's DMP Corp., an environmental technology company which has designed contaminated water-cleaning equipment in use around the world; and by JWI, the world's largest pressure liquid/solid separation equipment manufacturer.
Zippo Motorsports Ford Mustang Cobra teammates John Kohler and Gary Smith, have two of the oldest crewmen in the paddock. Gary's father, Paul Smith, is the team's refueling rig safety valve operator. He's 81 years old. John's dad, Ray Kohler, handles the fire extinguisher during pit stops and is the team's sheet metal fabricator. He's 70. "We're proud to have our dads with us on race weekends," Smith says, "it's not every sport where fathers and sons can work side-by-side."
Tech Bulletin: Despite performance modifications allowed the Stock SportsCars, if all had stock exhaust systems re-installed, they would pass exhaust emission tests in all 50 states. Ford SVO engineer Brad Buenting says the limited-production Mustang Cobra R would even pass California's 1998 emissions laws -- remarkable in cars capable of top speeds approaching 170 mph at certain tracks, and can corner at 1.7Gs.
John Heinricy, who shares with Stu Hayner the #32 Phoenix-American Motorsports Pontiac Firebird Formula from Joe Aquilante's stable, leads all drivers with 3,827 overall race miles led since 1985. Heinricy is assistant chief engineer for the 1997 Chevrolet Corvette. He and Hayner are defending Sears Point race Grand Sports champions.
If David Daughtery gets the Compact class pole Friday, it will be his seventh consecutive pole, tying him with Joe Varde for second place on the list of consecutive poles. Peter Farrell leads with ten, set in 1993-94.
12 of the 27 drivers who have won in this year's SPEEDVISION Cup are first-time winners in the series. Alphabetically, they are: Mike Doolin, Mike Fitzgerald, Chuck Goldsborough, Taz Harvey, Marc Lawrence, Anthony Lazzaro, Greg Loebel, Jeff McMillin, Steve Nowicki, Scott Peeler, Chuck Snipes and Rob Vining.
With the SPEEDVISION Cup showing much diversity this year, no driver has yet scored a "clean sweep" -- pole, race win and fastest race lap. The record is only one driver to do so in a year -- Parker Johnstone in 1986.
SPEEDVISION Cup starting fields are up by 15% compared to the first four races of 1996. The Sears Point race last year had a 52-car field.
The 2.5 millionth competition mile in the SPEEDVISION Cup series was passed during the most recent race, held at Watkins Glen, N.Y. The 1 millionth mile was recorded by Ray Korman at the Tampa Fairgrounds race on Nov. 26, 1988. The 2 millionth was turned in at Laguna Seca by Ted Anderson on July 25, 1993.
The Grand Sports class championship battle is the tightest of any Professional SportsCar Racing series -- the top eight drivers are separated by only 12 points after four races.
Terry Borcheller, of Phoenix, and teammate Scooter Gabel have switched to a BMW M-3 for the Sears Point race. Their best finish is a second place here last year driving a Ford Mustang Cobra for Dominic Massari's team, and the same at the Daytona 1997 season opener. Massari continues to enter one of his Mustangs for Craig Conway and Bo Lemler. The BMW M3 is the same car which Kelly Collins last year drove to the Grand Sports class pole and set the Sears Point qualifying record.
If Compact class points leader Joe Danaher wins the season championship, he will do so only two days shy of his 55th birthday, making him the oldest driver to win a SPEEDVISION Cup driving title. The guy he could beat? -- his car owner/co-driver, Peter Schwartzott, who won the Sports class title in 1993 at age 54 years and three months. Schwartzott has missed two races because of a broken arm suffered in an SCCA race crash at Lime Rock on Memorial Day. Their Honda Civic Del sol Si is crewed by Schwartzott's 21-year old son, Peter Jr. A title would be sweet revenge for Danaher who went into the final races of the 1993 and 1994 seasons with a chance to win the championship, but didn't.