Cars n' Stars: R. Gordon Gets CART Ride, F-1 Comes Down Hard on Rule Breakers, D. Waltrip Cashes In

20 March 1998

Stormy petrol Robby Gordon, who has been serving the Arciero Wells CART
race team as a "tester," has now been promised a full time ride when
driver Hiro Matushita retires after the Long Beach GP on April 5. 

The governing body of Formula One racing says that it will levy severe
penalties to any team attempting a "contrived" finish such as the one
the McLaren team pulled off in Australia last week when David Coulthard
allowed teammate Mikka Hakkinen to take the lead and the race in the
penultimate lap.

In NASCAR Darrell Waltrip has announced  that he is selling his entire
tean after next week's race at Darlington.  That will put the three-time
champion out of the cockpit, and we predict that you just may see a few
veteran Winston Cup drivers move over for Darrell allowing him a top
finish in this Sunday's race, so he will go out with close victory. Did
someone say "contrived?"

Wayne Taylor has the pole for Sunday's Sebring 12 hour race. His R&S Olds
beat out the Ferrari of England's James Weaver by 0.94 seconds.

Saab is up to its old enduro tricks again. In an effort to punctuate
the durability aspects of its new 9-3 sedan, two of the cars will go
on a 6000 mile cross-country jaunt that will take them from sub-zero
climes to temperatures of 80 degrees. Earlier this week, the two cars
left Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and will run 24 hours a day going through
Canada, Montana, Missouri, Georgia, Florida and Key West, Florida. You
can keep up with the caravan on the Saab web site...www.saabusa.com.

Saab has also announced the prices for their new 9-5 sedans that we
reviewed two weeks ago.  We pointed out that if the compsny could keep
the retail sticker down in the low 30s, it would be a neat price for a
lot of luxury car.

9-5 2.3 Turbo       $29,995
    V6  Turbo auto  $33,750

Honda says it is the sales leader once again for individual purchases.
The Accord sold 359,101 units to 326,925 for Camry.  Ford Escort was
in the number 5 spot with 223,214 registrations. These figures do not
include fleet purchases.

CART is starting a new ad campaign built around the theme "Feel the
speed."

Speaking of CART, did anyone notice how fast rookie J,J, Lehto toured
the 1.5 mile Homestead track last Sunday?  He was third fastest in
morning warmups, and, although he started almost last (mechanical)
during the race, he moved through the pack and into the top 15.  The
race marked Lehto's first oval track outing.

At Phoenix this weekend the IRL cars have their second outing of 1998.
Home town favorite Billy Boat (driving for Anrhony Foyt) is setting
top speed records in practice. Speed King Boat is a spokesman for his
town. As such, has recorded public service radio spots that
say..."It's our town, please slow down."

Kia Motors came to the U.S. in 1992, and hired Hyundai executive Greg
Warner to head the operation.  Warner died at the age of 54 last week
after an acute asthma attack.  

7200 Saturn workers have voted to retain their "risk and reward"
contract wherein they have lower hourly wages than other GM divisions
but can make out real good in the bonus department, getting around
$5,000 each if sales goals are met.

Daewoo, the Korean car company that is forever announcing its U.S.
launch, is back in the news.  Now they say they will have a Los
Angeles headquarters.  They were going to launch last fall, then at a
couple of last month's major auto shows, and then . . . well, who
knows?

Do government crash tests mean anything to the car makers? You betcha.
Last year the VW Passat received a "poor" rating. This year it is
rated "good."

BMW is going to build a sport utility plant in Spartanburg, NC for its
new SAV (Sport activity vehicle), which will sell for $50,000.

As followers of CART know, Bobby Rahal is hanging up his helmet at the
end of this season.  Now Marlboro announced they will contribute
$10.00 to the Rahal charity foundation for EVERY lap he completes this
season.

What is the name of the founder of Toyota Motor Company?

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel
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