CHAMPCAR/CART: Bobby Rahal Sets Pace, Retires Early at Sears Point

SONOMA, Calif. (March 20, 2000) - Bobby Rahal, a three-time CART champion and co-owner of Team Rahal in the CART series, burned up the road course at Sears Point Raceway last weekend in qualifying, but he had his troubles in the 11-lap feature for...

SONOMA, Calif. (March 20, 2000) - Bobby Rahal, a three-time CART champion and co-owner of Team Rahal in the CART series, burned up the road course at Sears Point Raceway last weekend in qualifying, but he had his troubles in the 11-lap feature for the Classic Sports Racing Group.

Rahal, piloting a black 1978 Lola T-298 roadster, turned the quickest lap in qualifying on Saturday for the vintage sports car event, covering the 12-turn 2.52-mile road course in 1 minute, 37.275 seconds. He bettered that further in the main event, motoring his Lola to a 1:36.342 (94.27 mph) on the third of 11 laps. However, mechanical problems forced Rahal to the pits on the fourth lap, ending his day.

Rahal, who led the first four laps of the feature before retiring, wound up 14th out of 15 drivers. Ed Swart emerged with the victory.

"These cars are grass roots for me," Rahal said. "I started my racing career in these types of cars and this is a good way for me to recycle my youth. I enjoyed these cars as a child and it's a way to keep that active and within me."

It was also nice for Rahal to return to Sears Point Raceway, a circuit he competed on many times during his younger years.

"I've always thought this was a great track because it was so challenging," Rahal said. "It attracts great crowds and I know the racers have always felt it was a track that tested all of their skills. It's a tough circuit."

The CSRG, which featured vintage sports cars ranging from 1932-1968, will return to Sears Point Raceway October 28-29.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Vintage
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Ed Swart