The TACH Report: California Speedway is Blissful for Mike, Muldowney Fails at NHRA, L.A. Auto Show Features Nissan Electric

22 October 1997

As Terry Callahan has so eloquently outlined, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at the 2 mile California Speedway yesterday was a Mike Bliss charity romp. Bliss drove a Ford with a motor prepared by ex-chevy tuner Robert Yates; the pickup went off and hid from the rest of the field.

He had no competition at yellow flags, pit stops or the five minute halfway (60 miles) break. He was all alone all day, and the real racin' was for the top 10 spots. Ernie Irvan was the class of the Winston Cup contingent--which included Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip, Jimmy Hensley and Robbie Gordon. Waltrip came home 6th and Petty wound up in 11th. Another Bodine surfaced--Barry--in 12th. It's awesome to see pickup trucks hitting 180 mph in the straights and averaging 175mph around the slightly banked oval.

The LaPaz Party Mix company had a hospitality suite for the event. V.P. Tim Casey, who was very active with the Rough Riders Ford F-150 off-road racing team, allowed that he'd sure like to build a truck for the Craftsman series, if he could find time to race it. Presently Tim is leading in points at the local Glen Hellen Park off road series.

Big racing weekend. Shirley Muldowney, after a five year hiatus from NHRA, tried to qualify for the Revell Nationals in Ennis, TX, and though her 286 mph run was her best ever, it didn't make the cut.

At Sebring, Fla, the World SportsCar enduro saw a couple of IRL drivers compete: Eliseo Salazar drove a Ferrari 333SP to fourth, and John Paul Jr drove an R&S Ford to fifth place. You wouldn't see a CART team owner like Roger Penske give his drivers an OK to race elsewhere.

Big Trans-Am field at Reno, as 32 cars took the green, and Paul Gentilozzi took the checker.

The December 30 Los Angeles Auto Show will feature several "firsts," as it competes with the Detroit show scheduled to open a week later. The Nissan Altra EV Electric will go on display for the first time, and Daewoo Motors (of South Korea) will unveil their offerings for the U.S., which include the Lanos, Leganza, and the Nubira. What kind of car does your father drive? He has candy apple AWD Nubira. A what?

Does Roger Penske go first class, or what? Everyone of the 13,000 PSL (personal seat license) owners recieved a letter, mailed flat, on parchment saying "thanks for being with us at the California Speedway for the inaugural racing season. Marketing biggie and ex-sprint car owner Mike Kelly, Newport Beach, CA says he's framing his letter from Roger.

In F-1, Jaques Villenueve will race at Jerez, Spain next week as the Williams Nurburgring appeal was dropped. It will be Gerhard Beger's last race--he's retiring.

As they say at the start of a Craftsman Truck race as they go for the green flag, "If your name's on the door, put your foot on the floor"

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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