Cars n' Stars: QB Elway to Race at Long Beach, Chrysler Sales Soar, IROC Field Complete, Gregg Moore Fastest In CART.

12 February 1998


One of the highlights of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April
3-5, is the Toyota Celebrity race on the Saturday prior to the final
practice for the Sunday FedEx championship 200 miler.  In the past 20
years EVERYONE has competed in the celeb event, Hackman, Eastwood,
Gurney, Parnelli, and top sports stars.  In recent years, just about
every bopper hearthrob appearing on the nightime soaps.

The 15 lap sprint for this April's charity bash will have as its
headline/Marquee attraction none other than Super Bowl hero and long
time football superstar, John Elway of the Denver Broncos. Joining the
man with the golden arm will be last year's winner Sean Patrick
Flanery, teen Top Fuel drag racer, Cristen Powell, and actor Teve
Guttenberg-- all will be tutored by long time celeb house father,
Danny McKeever. Stay tuned for the full field, including what pro
racers are selected.

Chrysler Corp may have had a mediocre fourth quarter for 1997, but
they started 1998 with a bang: the new Dodge Durango hit a receptive
market as 9,167 were sold. MOPAR is looking at a 2% sales increase.

Honda reports its truck sales have doubled since last year.

Some of the NASCAR drivers who have been selected to compete in the
four-race International Race Of Champions (IROC) for 1998 were testing
at Daytona International Speedway this week, and are reporting the new
1998 Pontiac Firebird is--due to a new nose job--fantastic on the high
banks and really sticks. Trans Am winner Tommy Kendall, who can't seem
to land a ride anywhere (he even dyed his hair back from blond to au
natural brown), will be in the field, as will Dale Earnhardt, Terry
LaBonte and Randy LaJoie.

CART Spring Training at Homestead, FL saw gusts of wind attaining 36
mph, but the FedEx championship drivers drove right into it. When the
day came to an end, Canadian Gregg Moore had posted fast time of
206.186 mph.  Finland's J.J. Lehto, driving his first oval for Carl
Hogan, ran an impressive 201.748 mph. Jimmy Vasser had a 201.234, and
rookie Tony Kanaan from Indy Lights posted a run of slightly over
200. Michael Andretti, who appeared in prime time network TV turkey
The Pretender last Saturday, had a run of 202.406.  Defending CART
champ Alex Zanardi ran 199.735.

In more big CART news emanating from Homestead, two of auto racing's
best known names made an announcement that they will be teaming
up. Emerson Fittipaldi and Tony Bettenhausen, son of an American open
wheel racing legend, have signed a working arrangement to band
together and expand the Alumax team. Fittipaldi who retired last year
after a few bad accidents--one on the race track and one in an
ultralight airplane--will coach countryman Helio Castro Neves and act
as goodwill ambassador for the team.

The Specialty Equipment Marketing Association will stage its first
ever Import Auto Salon at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA, Feb 20-22. For
info contact 909 396 0289 X103

The Vintage Auto Racing Association kicks off their 1998 season at
Phoenix International, Raceway Feb 20-22, and will give the tam and
tassel set a chance to drive the "banks" of a real race track. Gone
from the VARA schedule are two fun events, Pomona/Fairplex and Tustin
Thunder in July at the Marine base in Tustin, CA.  There are rumors,
however, that the latter may still take place.

Speed King Kenny Bernstein may have been eliminated in the semi-finals
of the NHRA Winternationals last weekend, but he did turn the fastest
terminal speed of the weekend with a pass of 320.74 mph

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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