IRL: Weekly Notes and Quotes 98-11-03

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE WEEKLY NOTEBOOK INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 3, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Motor Trend celebrates by sponsoring Pep Boys IRL team: Motor Trend magazine will serve as an ...


INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 3, 1998 - Notes and quotes from the Pep Boys Indy Racing League:

Motor Trend celebrates by sponsoring Pep Boys IRL team: Motor Trend magazine will serve as an associate sponsor of the Cobb Brothers Racing entry in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League in 1999, part of the popular automotive magazine's 50th anniversary celebration.

CBR's Infiniti-powered car will carry number 50 to coincide with Motor Trend's 50th anniversary.

The sponsorship will be supported by a 50-stop touring display. The display will stop at all 11 Pep Boys IRL events in 1999 and will appear at Infiniti dealers across the United States. The 53-foot display trailer will include a CBR Racing show car and an exhibit of milestones throughout Motor Trend's 50-year history.

CBR joined the Pep Boys IRL last season for seven of 11 races. Driver Roberto Guerrero recorded the team's best finish, fourth at the Lone Star 500 on Sept. 20 at Texas Motor Speedway. Guerrero led twice for 22 laps in that race, guiding the Infiniti engine to the lead for the first time in Pep Boys IRL history.

        Renowned magazine publisher Robert Petersen created Motor Trend in
1949 as a companion to his Hot Rod magazine.  ***

Groff ready to go in Baja 1000: Pep Boys IRL driver Mike Groff will hit the dirt Nov. 11-14, making his debut in the Baja 1000, the most prestigious off-road race in the world.

Groff will be one of three drivers of an open-wheel car in the SCORE Lites class. Other drivers will be veteran Baja competitor Ted Smith and Infiniti IRL media representative Marty Fiolka, who owns the car.

"I've wanted to race in this event as long as I've known about racing down the Baja peninsula," Groff said. "It's interesting because almost every driver I know wants to experience this race at least once in their career."

The Baja 1000 will be contested on its original, 1,000-mile course that stretches through the desert from Ensenada, Mexico and ends in the resort town of La Paz, Mexico. The Baja 1000 is the longest point-to-point race in North America and is one of the most challenging endurance events in motorsports.

Groff, from Pasadena, Calif., will "pre-run" the course during testing later this week.

Pennzoil will be the primary sponsor of the car driven by Groff, Smith and Fiolka, and a Protruck driven by 1996 Baja 1000 class winner Scott Steinberger and Larry Plank. Both cars' paint schemes will resemble those on the Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear cars driven by Scott Goodyear and Dave Steele in the Pep Boys IRL.

Global Telephone Communications, a telecommunications company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is sponsoring Groff in the event. Global is engaged in Internet and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) sales and became interested in the race due to extensive use of GPS systems in the race by drivers and teams.

"My thanks to Pennzoil, Rennsport Marketing Group and Global Telephone for helping me make my dream come true," Groff said. "No matter what happens, it's going to be a great adventure."


Hamilton enjoys Baja adventure: While Mike Groff is preparing for his big adventure in the Baja, fellow Pep Boys IRL driver Davey Hamilton recently finished a 1,000-mile motorcycle ride down the Baja peninsula with a group that included Nienhouse Motorsports team engineer Jamie Galles. Hamilton, Galles and six other friends rode from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico from Oct. 19-23. Cabo San Lucas is at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula.

"It was a fun trip, for sure," Hamilton said. "A lot of people were nervous that we wouldn't make it to Cabo San Lucas, but we seem to be OK. We camped out every night in sleeping bags and tents and basically lived on fish tacos, peanut butter and jelly, and some other well-known Mexican delicacies.

"It was tough at times because of the terrain, but we were never in danger, at least in my eyes."

Nearly every rider fell at least once, Hamilton said, but no one was hurt. Tim Plate, son-in-law of team manager Rick Galles, collided with Hamilton. Hamilton hit the road but was OK.

"It's funny because most of the time we were riding in the dirt, and I figured if I crashed it wouldn't be on the highway. I guess Tim is lucky, too, because Rick probably would have been a little upset if I would have broken my arm.

"Actually, Tim and all of the guys on the trip did a great job. No one complained for 1,040 miles, so I would say that is a pretty good bunch."

Now that the fun is done, the serious work begins for Nienhouse Motorsports as it prepares for offseason testing. The team also faces an off-track challenge trying to find a new primary sponsor, as Reebok withdrew as sponsor after deciding to cut back its motorsports participation in 1999.

Hamilton finished second this season in the Pep Boys IRL point standings in the Reebok-Nienhouse Motorsports Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. "No one really knew we needed a sponsor until now, but we are definitely working hard to find a sponsor for 1999," Rick Galles said. "This is a good series and a great value for any company. We finish races and we finish well. Davey is great with the media and sponsors, and he is one of the best drivers in motorsports. "Bob and I are committed to seeing this team run in 1999, and I am confident that we will find the proper funding."

Source: IRL/IMS

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Davey Hamilton , Roberto Guerrero , Dave Steele