A Sad Weekend in the Desert Closes the 1999 CART Season November 2, 1999 Santa Ana, California The CART family is in mourning at the loss of one of its brightest and most liked stars. Talented, brave and popular Greg Moore died in a crash in...
A Sad Weekend in the Desert Closes the 1999 CART Season
November 2, 1999 Santa Ana, California
The CART family is in mourning at the loss of one of its brightest and most liked stars. Talented, brave and popular Greg Moore died in a crash in the early part of the Marlboro 500 in Fontana last weekend. All of us at AAR considered him a wonderful friend a great ambassador of our sport. We are sending our heartfelt condolences to his family. Almost at the same time another member of the CART community passed away. Walter Payton, all-time football great, CART team owner and all around wonderful man and personality, succumbed to a devastating illness. We are sending his family our deepest feelings of sympathy.
The weekend meant another sad farewell of a different kind for AAR and Dan Gurney. Our 16-year relationship with Toyota came to an end. It started in 1982 with Dan doing TV commercials for the introduction of the Toyota Supra in the United States, which led to a long and successful racing association. During that time we won 3 constructor's and three, driver's championships together, 51 victories in all in the GTO and IMSA GTP sports car series, including the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring (twice). At the height of our success, we went into the Toyota Champ car engine development program and fielded a 2-car team beginning in 1996. Some very difficult but rewarding years in this highly competitive arena followed.
Our contract with Toyota ran out at Fontana. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Toyota for their generous support in the past and say a fond farewell to our friends in the Toyota family. Our thanks and appreciation also go to our sponsors, Castrol, Denso, Jockey, Degree and Goodyear, to our fans who had faith in us and supported our effort through thick and thin, and the press who treated us fairly throughout.
Ironically the same weekend also saw the end of our Goodyear relationship which started in 1964 and has continued ever since. Goodyear has withdrawn from open wheel racing for the time being.
We would like to pay tribute to our drivers who helped in the engine development program with dedication and grace: Juan Manuel Fangio II, PJ Jones, and in more recent times Alex Barron, Vincenzo Sospiri, Gualter Salles, Raul Boesel and Andrea Montermini, all of them talented drivers and great gentlemen who performed with courage in difficult circumstances. We are indebted to Robby Gordon, who not only was the highest finishing Toyota-powered car in Fontana, scoring in the points (11th) but became a great friend and champion of the Eagle chassis. What a fitting ending. His gesture of presenting his "feathered" helmet to Dan after the race as a goodbye present will always be remembered.
AAR intends to stay in the racing business and will announce its future plans within the next 4 weeks.