Cars 'n Stars: L.A. Street Race Won't Include Vintage but NASCAR's Martin, Schrader, Little will Make Appearances; Villenueve Switches Teams

5 August 1998

The second L.A. Street Race (titled L.A. Grand Prix in '97) takes
place at a new venue Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7. The VARA
vintage racing association is out and NASCAR is in.  The three-day
event will run on a 1.4 mile, six-turn street/road circuit adjacent to
the Los Angeles Coliseum. The first thing automotive journalist wags
will tell you about this neighborhood is put your hub caps in your
trunk and activate the burglar alarm. Race fans will not see Lolas,
Cobras, Corvettes and Formula cars mixing it up, but they will see a
few NASCAR superstars.  The L.A. event's press release announced the
appearances of Chad Little (John Deere Ford), Ken Schrader (Skoal
Chevy), and Mark Martin (Valvoline Ford).  This is very interesting;
it must have cost the race promoter Dr. William Burke a ton of money
to get these three top shoes, as the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule calls
for them to be at Darlington on September 6 running for Cup
points. The weekend's headline event will be the NASCAR Featherlight
Southwest Tour, a series composed of Chevrolet Monte Carlos, Chrysler
LeBaron, Dodge Daytona, Ford Thunderbird and Olds Cutlass, circa
1996-1998.  Fifth ranked driver Kenny Shepherd will be at the media
kickoff for the race weekend, which includes American City Racing
League sports racers and Ford Ultra Wheel Spec Truck series machines.

In Formula One off-track activity, former world champion Jacques
Villenueve has signed on with the new British American Racing team for
1999.  His current boss, Frank Williams tried to entice him to stay
for another season with Williams where he has modest success but the
big bucks of the new venture--a $13 million salary--lured him away.
It is rumored Jimmy Vasser may fill Villeneuve's seat at Williams, as
his Chip Ganassi contract expires this year.

Toyota is going to seriously market the Prius alternative fuel car in
1999.  The company says that, at $16,000 a copy, they can make a
profit.

NASCAR, whose Winston Cup division now has too many races on its
schedule, is thinking about adding a race date at Homestead in
Florida..

CART will pay $1 million to the winning driver at the season finale
race in California November 1, California Speedway.

In IRL, A.J. Foyt's main man Billy Boat, injured at New Hampshire in
June, will be back on the gas August 16 at Pikes Peak Raceway.

In Indy Lights, Cristiano da Matta moved a step closer to the
championship with his victory Sunday at Trois-Rivieres road course in
Quebec.  He now leads Guy Smith, 130 points to 102.  The Lights
Brigade races next at Vancouver, BC, Sept. 6.

The featured marque at the Pebble Beach Concours on August 16 will be
the Belgium built Minerva, produced from 1908 to 1934.

Upcoming "car stuff" dates:

August 9      NSRA Street Rod nationals, Louisville, KY
              Goodguys Rod Custom and classic car show, Carlisle, PA
              FedEx CART Series Miller Lite 200, Mid-Ohio sports car course


Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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