SCCA PRO FAX Volume 3, Number 16 July 3, 1996
CHILDREN S GRAND PRIX THIS WEEKEND: The Children s Grand Prix of Minnesota, round nine of the 1996 Trans-Am Championship, is on tap this weekend. All proceeds from the Children s Grand Prix will go to the Cancer KIDS Fund to help children undergoing treatment for cancer and other blood-related diseases. A number of the Cancer KIDS will be honorary members of the Trans-Am teams, and will have the opportunity to meet the drivers, get autographs and have photographs taken in and around the Trans-Am cars. The Children s Grand Prix will be televised on a same-day delayed basis on Sunday, July 7, from 9:00-10:30 p.m. (ET). Speedvision will broadcast the race on Monday, July 8, beginning at 10:00 p.m. (ET).
SCHROEDER MAINTAINS LEAD, KENDALL CLOSING IN: Cleveland winner Tom Kendall (#11 All Sport Body Quencher Ford Mustang Cobra) scored the maximum 35 points (30 for the win, three for being the Raybestos Fastest Qualifier, one for leading a lap and one for leading the most laps) and thus made up a lot of ground (10 points) on series leader Dorsey Schroeder, despite Dorsey s third-place finish in the #12 Raybestos Ford Mustang Cobra. Heading into this weekend s action, Schroeder leads Kendall 213 to 205. Jamie Galles finished a disappointing 27th at Cleveland (engine) in the #2 ICI/Glidden Camaro, which dropped him to third with 171.
PICKETT GETS RECORD: Greg Pickett, driving the #6 Cytomax/Rain-X Camaro, finished second at Cleveland to score his 44th top-three finish, breaking Mark Donohue s record of 43. Pickett has now accomplished a Trans-Am hat trick, as he also holds the all-time lead in top-five finishes (69) and top-10 finishes (94). Mark did it in a lot fewer races, said the modest Pickett. Records are made to be broken, and we did it. Pickett s second podium finish of the season moved the Trans-Am veteran into fourth place in the 1996 Drivers Championship (153 points) and gave Chevrolet seven points towards the Manufacturers Championship. The Bowtie Brigade and Ford are knotted at 62 points apiece with six races to go.
HERO OR ZERO: Paul Gentilozzi (#5 HighwayMaster Camaro) had the pole position for the ATCALL Trans-Am Classic in Cleveland, but mechanical problems put him out of contention early. We broke a rocker arm, said Gentilozzi. It wasn t a fatigued or stressed part, it s just one of those things . . . like the broken spindle deal while we were leading in Long Beach. Gee, it seems like this year, we re a hero or a zero either we re up front and in solid contention or some freaky thing like this happens. Gentilozzi endured a lengthy pit stop to fix the problem, returning to action down but not out. We felt like we had to go back out, even though we were 12 laps down, to try to collect points, added Gentilozzi. We really anticipated more attrition today, but there really wasn t much and those that did go out, bowed out with more laps. But hey, we had to gamble. Gentilozzi s teammate Bill Saunders (#8 HighwayMaster Camaro) finished sixth at Cleveland, tying his career best. I ran out of tire about three-fourths of the way through and was just working to hang on to the position, said Saunders. The car was good most of the race although it developed a push, so I had to back off.
FERGUS JOINS PHELON FOR THREE OF FINAL SIX: Trans-Am team owner/driver Dale Phelon has added road racing veteran John Fergus to his team for three of the final six races (Trois-Rivieres, Watkins Glen and Reno). The team s plan is to run two cars in 1997, and run Fergus for Rookie of the Year honors. Fergus, 44, has enjoyed tremendous success in motorsports, having won three consecutive SCCA Solo II National Championships (A Stock) from 1977-79. He joined the pro ranks in the 1980s, winning two Sports-2000 championships in 1988-89. Fergus, the winner of 16 races in the Sports 2000 ranks from 1985-90, migrated to IMSA GTU competition in 1991, where he won eight of 13 races en route to the GTU Drivers Championship.
KENDALL THE CABLE GUY: Tom Kendall recently joined Paul Page and Jack Arute as a color analyst for the Portland Northwest Tour race telecast. Kendall, despite his limited experience (he provided commentary for ESPN for two World Challenge races in 1990), got rave reviews from one of his fellow broadcasters. He did an excellent job, said Arute. He really did his homework and it showed on the telecast. He knew a lot about the drivers. He did exactly what an analyst should do and that was analyze. He used the same skills on the air he uses in the race car. The great thing is when the chemistry clicks. I hope we get to use him some more.
FORMER WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMP EYES THE IRL: Having pocketed two championships as a road racer over a 15-year career, most recently in the 1995 World Challenge, David Murry is now setting his sights on joining the Indy Racing League. I went to Indy twice in May, which intensified my desire to join the IRL, said Murry. I m confident it will all fall into place. I m quite determined. With any kind of luck, we ll be in Loudon, N.H. (for the August 18 start of the 1996-97 season). In 1995, Murry piloted his Rohr Racing Porsche 911 Turbo to five wins in eight races, as he won the Drivers Championship and helped earn Porsche the manufacturers title. This year, Murry was leading the GT-1 class at the half way point of the 24 Hours of Daytona, but saw his race end with a DNF when his Porsche 911 Turbo developed engine problems. Murry's teammates were Scott Goodyear and Hurley Haywood.
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON: Three sons of former F1 drivers started the latest round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race held at Watkins Glen. Jeff Bucknum, son of Ronnie, started seventh and finished 19th; Derek Hill, son of Phil, started 17th and finished sixth; and Philippe Siffert, son of Jo, started 22nd and finished 9th in his first U.S. race. Taking the victory was Geoff Boss, who had a picture-perfect run in rainy conditions. The victory was Boss first of the season and will perhaps be the spark he needs to turn his season around (he had scored just 13 points through the first five races). Fredrik Larsson continues to lead the Drivers standings, despite spinning off course and into a wall, thus ending his day.
NEAL WINS/CREMER INJURED: Leon Neal held off a strong challenge by Eric Heuschele to win the Neon Challenge race that was run as part of the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland. Celebrity winner Alphonso Ribiero (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) chased down and passed Perry King (Melrose Place) and held on to take Celebrity class honors. Neon Challenge driver Richard Cremer, of Kerrville, Texas, is home and resting comfortably following a serious crash during Saturday s qualifying session. A series of tests and X-rays revealed that the 68-year-old former Runoffs competitor suffered two small cracks in his C-2 vertebrae. Also injured in the single-car incident was IndyCar observer (and SCCA member) Don Perry, of Levittown, N.Y. He suffered a punctured lung and a broken collarbone when he was struck by the barrier that Cremer s car impacted.
ATLANTIC ROOKIE MAKING HIS MARK: Toyota/Player s Atlantic rookie Paul Jasper has been making quite the splash this year. He leads the rookie point standings, ranks fourth overall and is coming off an exceptional fourth-place finish at Montreal s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve to match the fourth he gained earlier in the season at Long Beach. The Lake Forest, Ill. driver has certainly held his own and looks forward to the upcoming July 13 Atlantic race in the streets of Toronto. I love racing in Canada, said Jasper, who drives for the factory BDJS/Ralt American team. The enthusiasm and encouragement from the Canadian racing fans is phenomenal. While street courses are very difficult for the drivers, Toronto always provides a great show for the fans. The Toronto race is a homecoming of sorts as team owner Brian Robertson is a native of nearby Chatham, Ontario. The team has enjoyed success at Toronto, as former BDJS driver David Empringham, a Toronto native, took the BDJS Ralt to victory in the 1994 race. While I would be delighted to repeat the 1994 Toronto victory for the team, our goal is to qualify and place in the top five, said Jasper. There s so much talent in the Atlantic series this year that at any given race there s at least 10 drivers capable of winning. Hopefully, my turn will come at Toronto!
SHULTZ SCORES WINS FOR INDIANA, PURDUE UNIVERSITIES: Chris Shultz, of Indianapolis, piloted his Electric Formula Classic racer to first place in Saturday s 13-lap race at Burke Lakefront Airport. Driving the University of Indiana/Purdue entry, Shultz averaged 62.750 miles-per-hour to beat second-place Richard Harrison (University of Oklahoma) by 40.09 seconds. The Cleveland race was a part of the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) Series, which is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and organized by Electric Vehicle Technology Competition (EVTC), Ltd., a joint venture of Centerior Energy, Electric Transportation Applications of Phoenix (Ariz.) and Arizona Public Service.
CAN-AM 30-YEAR CELEBRATION ATTRACTS RECORD FIELD: Thirty years ago, they ruled the world of speed. The powerful, unlimited Group 7 machines of the SCCA-sanctioned Can-Am Challenge, driven by stars like Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Mark Donohue, David Hobbs, Brian Redman and George Follmer, who for nine thundering seasons shattered track records from coast to coast. This year, they re back in force. A record field of 80 awesome Can-Am machines are expected to participate in the special 10-lap Can-Am 30-Year Celebration event as part of the Merrill Lynch/Brian Redman International Challenge at Road America, slated for July 19-21. By any measure, this is an awesome event, said Redman, who drove in the original Can-Am series three decades ago. Even in its heyday, the Can-Am never fielded such a large, and impressive, array of cars. In addition to Redman, other original Can-Am drivers like Follmer, Hobbs and Vic Elford will be on hand to compete. Included in the Can-Am 30-Year Celebration field are examples of every championship-winning marque in the Can-Am s legendary existence, including numerous variations of the McLaren M8s and Porsche 917s that dominated the series, as well as the Lola T70 in which John Surtees won the first Can-Am championship in 1966, and the Shadow DN4 in which Jackie Oliver captured the 1974 title.
PORSCHE, CALLAWAY AND NGK OFFER WORLD CHALLENGE CONTINGENCIES: Porsche Motorsport North America, Inc., Callaway Cars and NGK Spark Plugs have joined the ranks of World Challenge contingency sponsors. Porsche, the winner of two manufacturers championships the past two seasons in World Challenge competition, has posted contingency awards for independents racing the Porsche 911 in this season s S2 class. A win in a Porsche 911 will earn a $1,500 bonus, while a runner-up finish earns $750. Callaway Cars has posted awards in T1 for competitors driving the Callaway SuperNatural Camaro C8, equipped with Callaway s SuperNatural 383 engine and the Callaway CamAerobody package. Callaway s payout includes $1,000 for a win, $500 for second and $250 for third. NGK Spark Plugs has posted awards in all three World Challenge classes, including $300 for a win, $200 for a runner-up finish and $100 for a third.
SPEEDVISION TO BROADCAST NINE HOURS OF LIVE TV AT THE VALVOLINE RUNOFFS: The Speedvision Network will offer viewers the first-ever live TV coverage of the SCCA Valvoline Runoffs , when the 33rd edition of the National Championships is conducted October 11-13, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Speedvision s coverage plans include nine hours of live coverage over the final two days of the week-long event.