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Cars 'n' Stars: Ivan Stewart Announces Truck Race Series, Robby Gordon to Race Cal 500, Bernie Visits U.S. and May Have Indy F1 Plans

23 September 1997

Ivan Stewart, 15 year off road racing standout dubbed the "Iron Man" for his go-it-alone driving prowess in 500 kilometer races, has announced plans for a new stadium/major market pickup truck race series starting in February, 1998 at the Los Angeles Coliseum--a venue made popular with truck racing fans by the late/great Mickey Thompson. There will be trucks in the dirt/mud and on an oval track, and maybe even a truck drag race. TV celebs will race, and the series will perform in Vegas, Portland, Phoenix and two additional cities. Stewart builds off road racing trucks and gets 84 grand for a race ready (sans motor) rolling chassis. He's sold 15 copies and has orders for 10 more.

Felix Sabates, owner of the Sabco Winston Cup stock car team, has given Robby Gordon the OK to go to California this coming weekend and compete in the California 500 CART race at the California Speedway. Gordon will drive a Hogan Racing Reynard/Mercedes.

Bernie Eccelstone, Czar of Formula One racing 'round the world is also going to be at the Fontana, Calif track. The rumor going around is that he and Tony George are hatching a plan to build a road course in the infield at the Indy Motor Speedway and stage an F-1 race there.

Also in town plugging his SPEEDWAY I-Max film is Mario Andretti, who will make an appearance Thursday, Sept 25 at the Speedway Restaurant in Newport Beach, CA.

Generous Motors is coming out with a new sport ute called the Denali. It will compete with the big SUVs such as the Lincoln Navigator, Range Rover and the Lexus LS450.

At Norwalk, OH last weekend Paul Romaine won Top Fuel in the IHRA National drags with an IHRA record 4.784 et run in the quarter mile, beating Bruce Litton.

Porsche is thinking about bringing out a sport utility in 2001; the company would partner the project with VW.

1997 Toyota Atlantic champ Alex Barron got his prize last week as he tested an Arciero-Wells Indy car at Buttonwillow, CA Raceway.

The biggest classic car auction in the world is the Barrett-Jackson affair in Scottsdale, AZ on Jan 15-18, 1998. The title sponsor will be Chrysler. Tommy Barrett expects 3,500 bidders.

The first Shelby series 1 roadster was auctioned off at the Kruse/Auburn, IN auction for $120,000. That is, the "rights" to the car were sold, as the first model is not quite completed. 150,000 people looked at 5,000 cars during the event.

Toyota may be leading the sales race, but according to research guru J.D. Power, Toyota's customers rank the Japanese car maker almost at the bottom of the scale in customer satisfaction.

In October, 1893 Karl Benz organized his company, Benz & Cie to produce gasoline engines.

Hyundai introduced an electric vehicle, the Atos, at the Frankfort Auto Show last week. It has a range of 120 miles and goes 80 mph.

In F-1, Olivier Panis--who broke both legs in the Canadian GP--is testing with the Prost team. He hopes to be back in the cockpit for the Japanese GP, Oct. 12.

Though the PPG/CART 1997 championship has been clinched by Alex Zanardi, the upcoming California 500 race in Fontana, CA is sold out. Tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday practice.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel