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The TACH Report: Rod Millen Gears up Pennzoil Toyota to Attack Pikes Peak Record, Solar Eagle Wins Nine Day SunRayce '97, F-1 Cafe On The Drawing Board

1 July 1997

Newport Beach, CA off-road racer Rod Millen has been practicing for an assault on Pikes Peak in the traditional "run for the clouds." In practice for the July 4 race he has set a new record for ONE section of the course. Rod hopes to do the entire run in under 10 minutes, and his 3:40 time on the middle 4.1 miles of the 12 mile circuit is a record. This year the Pennzoil twin turbo Toyota Celica has an adjustable anti roll bar which enhances handling.

Last week we told you about Cal State, Los Angeles' shoestring attempt to build and race a solar powered car and win Sunrayce '97, the 1,250 mile trip through mid-America to the end in Colorado Springs, Col. The earnest young engineering students from Cal State begged, borrowed and made do with what they could fabricate to build their solar racer and compete in the event--and they won with Roman Vasquez at the controls in this, his fourth try.

There's the series of Hard Rock Cafes, Planet Hollywood, and NASCAR cafes. Now the F-1 contingent is planning a Formula One Cafe of 17,500 in London.

SCCA and Professional SportsCar Racing broke off merger talks last week, and SCCA is suing the new race sanctioning body for using the term SportsCar, which has been the SCCA trademark since 1965 . . . and EVERYBODY knows that.

In NHRA Pro Stock driver Jerry Eckman has been suspended for two years for using nitrous in the WRONG places.

Looks like Robby Gordon may be on his way out at NASCSAR's Sabco Racing, as the tension is mounting re his attempting to drive in more than one series.

At the new California Speedway last week they sold 12,500 pounds of ice and two cases of Maalox--the weekends supply of the medicine--in one day. See what beer does to you?

You may not have heard it here first (two months ago), but the replacement for the Ford T-Bird in NASCAR next season looks like it will be a hopped up four-door Taurus. It has the right aerodynamics.

Add Pikes Peak: Roger Mears and Robby Unser will attack the Peak in the truck division next Friday. Both will drive Chevvies.

New Line Cinema, producers of such memorable flicks as Dumb/Dumber, Michael, and The Mask, will be a sponsor of the USAC FF200 race series. In seven races so far in 1997 FF2000 has had seven different winners as Zak Morioka, Sao Paulo, Brazil won at Pikes Peak last weekend.

At the IRL Race at Pikes Peak Raceway, 13 cars finished. All were powered by Aurora engines The only Infiniti was in Dr. Jack Miller's Dallara, which went out at the 148 lap (out of 200).

The California Speedway in Fontana, CA was jam-packed for the NASCAR tour last week with the cars qualifying at 183 mph. How packed do you think it will be for CART on September 28, what with Paul Tracy turning a 230 mph lap at the new track last week?

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel