NOVEMBER 21, 1997
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE KENDALL, BORKOWSKI NOMINATED FOR AARWBA ALL-AMERICA TEAM BALLOT
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.‹Trans-Am drivers Tom Kendall and Mike Borkowski have been nominated as Road Racing candidates for the 1997 Auto Racing All-America Team by the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). The 31-year-old Kendall earned his record third-straight and fourth career Trans-Am Drivers' Championship with a Trans-Am, SCCA Pro Racing and world record 11 consecutive victories. Borkowski, Bobby Rahal's 24-year-old protégé, was the only driver other than Kendall to score victories in the 1997 Trans-Am, snapping Kendall's streak after a fierce toe-to-toe battle with the Champ at Pikes Peak International Raceway and starting his own streak with his second career win at the Reno finale. Although he was dominant, Kendall's wins did not come easily‹only three of his victories were captured with flag-to-flag drives. Nine of his triumphs had less than a two second margin of victory and four were less than one second, including two new narrowest margin of victory circuit records (St. Petersburg and Cleveland). While the battles were often close, Kendall's mastery through the first 11 races was nearly total, only twice (Cleveland and Road America) did Dorsey Schroeder knock Kendall off the Raybestos Fastest Qualifier pedestal, and just three times (four total on the season) did any other driver post the fastest race lap. Statistically, Kendall's season was dominant in every category, with a total 411 Drivers' Championship points setting a new mark (eclipsing his own 1990 record of 393 points, set in his first Championship-winning season) and his $332,100 in earnings topped his 1996 record ($253,700) by more than $75,000. Kendall's single-season earnings record brought his career total to $1,188,980, making him the Trans-Am's first "million-dollar" man. In addition to his wins (St. Petersburg, Phoenix International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Detroit, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Trois-Rivieres, Watkins Glen International, Road America and Mosport Park), Kendall posted one second-place finish (PPIR) and completed 691 (of 701 total) laps to claim the TotalTel Long Distance Leader Award for completing the most laps throughout the season. Kendall also had the most miles led (927.157/1283.10) and most laps led (468/701), setting a new laps-led percentage record (66.67 percent) to break Scott Sharp's mark (55.68 percent) set in 1994. Kendall qualified in the Goodyear Fast Five at every race, tying with Schroeder and Gentilozzi; earned the DynoMax Turn On The Power Award for the best drive of the race as determined by a members of the media six times (St. Petersburg, Phoenix, Lime Rock Park, Trois-Rivieres, Watkins Glen and Mosport Park); and was awarded the CIPA Mirrors Pass Of the Race at Road America for his stunning lap one, Turn 10 (carrousel) outside-line in-the-rain pass on Schroeder. Kendall has also posted impressive career Trans-Am stats, as he leads or is close to the top in most statistical categories. With 26 Trans-Am wins, he is second only to Mark Donohue, and his 31.3 race-winning percentage (26 wins in 83 starts) is first among active Trans-Am. Kendall has 63 top-five finishes, which is second among all drivers, and 39 fastest qualifier marks, first among all drivers. Kendall's eight fastest race laps during the 1997 season bring his career total to 22, topping all other drivers, and he has also won a Trans-Am race in five seasons, tied for eighth-ranking all-time. With wins at 17 venues, he also ranks second all-time behind Mark Donohue's 20. While Kendall's star shone brightest, 1997 Trans-Am Rookie Of the Year Borkowski also made his presence felt, turning in solid performances and showing steady improvement from his Trans-Am debut at the St. Petersburg opener, twice finishing fifth (Phoenix International Raceway and Lime Rock Park) before breaking through with his first podium finish at Detroit (third). From there on, Borkowski was a constant threat at the front, posting top-five efforts at Mid-Ohio (fourth), Cleveland (fourth), Trois-Rivieres (fifth) and Mosport (fifth). At PPIR, Borkowski demonstrated his full potential as he pounced for his breakthrough victory to become the 116th driver to score a Trans-Am victory and the 83rd overall winner (not including class wins). Borkowski also earned the Raybestos Rising Star Of the Year award after earning the Raybestos Rising Star Of the Race award six times (Lime Rock Park, Detroit, Mid-Ohio, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Mosport Park), racking up a 37 to 27 tally over Raybestos Rising Star Of the Year runner-up Michael Lewis. On the year, Borkowski scored 275 points, finishing a single point back of 1997 Trans-Am runner-up Brian Simo. Most notable of Borkowski's year-end tally was his jump from sixth to third in the final two races. Borkowski also earned the DynoMax Turn On the Power award at PPIR and put in the CIPA Mirrors Pass Of the Race at Mosport Park. Borkowski also completed 672 of 701 laps to become the TotalTel Long Distance Leader award runner-up. He also led 76 laps (third) for 101.63 miles (third), and posted five Goodyear Fast Five appearances y(fifth). The AARWBA All-America Team annually recognizes the top-12 drivers from the motorsports year. Votes are collected from the AARWBA membership in six categories--road racing, stock car racing, open wheel racing, drag racing, short track and at large. In addition to the All-America Team, the balloting will also determine a second team, drivers placing third and fourth in each category, and honorable mentions to all drivers receiving at least five percent of the vote. AARWBA All-America Team honorees and the All-America Team's driver of the year‹who receives the Jerry Titus Award‹will be announced and recognized at the All-America Team Banquet at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach, Calif., on Jan. 10, 1998. The banquet is open to the public. Ticket information is available from AARWBA, 922 N. Pass Ave., Burbank, Calif. 91505, or call (818) 842-7005. Kendall's has been selected to the AARWBA All-America Team five times and he has made the second team three times. This season is the first year Borkowski has been nominated for the AARWBA All-America Team. Two previous SCCA Pro Racing drivers have been honored with the Jerry Titus award‹Mark Donohue, 1971 (Trans-Am) and Œ73 (Can-Am); George Follmer, 1972 (Trans-Am and Can-Am)‹with Kendall being the Trans-Am's strongest candidate in recent years.
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