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The TACH Report: Elva Race Cars' Frank Nichols Dies, Buick/Chrysler Have Big Recalls, Racing TV Ratings Look Good

24 July 1997

Frank Nichols, England, creator of the famed Elva sports racing cars plus the Elva Courier and Formula race cars has died at 76 in England. His most famous racers were the potent 2 liter Elva Porsche models that often beat Can Am type race cars in the United States Road Racing Championship in the '60s.

Buick is recalling 21,000 1997 Park Avenues for seat belt anchor problems. Chrysler is recalling 436,000 1992 Dodge Caravans/Plymouth Voyagers for lift gate problems. They are also recalling 96,000 1994-97 Dodge Ram Pickups for transmission line attachments.

Best Nielsen TV ratings for racing shows for May-June are:

June 1    NASCAR    Winston cup  Dover       TNN      4.8 rating
June 8    NASCAR    Pocono                   TNN      4.8
June 15   NASCAR    Michigan                 CBS      4.4
June 22   NASCAR    California               ABC      5.5
CARTs best rating was a 1.7 for Detroit
The new VW Beetle is on schedule to debut in the U.S. next year as a 1999 model. It will be assembled in Mexico.

CART is seriously looking southward and may schedule a 1999 race at Road Atlanta and possibly a street race in Houston next year.

Volvo will come out with an all-wheel drive wagon next year with a sticker of $40,000. The V70 will have a 236 hp motor.

Dan Gurney's All American Racers Indy car team heads to the Michigan 500 this weekend with trepidation. They know they are down on power behind Mercedes, Honda and Ford but are hoping reliabilty will be their strong suit for 500 miles. Speaking of Michigan 1996 CART champ Jimmy Vasser says it is now time for him to make his move...charge to more points. Mark Blundell has picked up 45 points in the last few races.Paul Tracy is the points leader heading for the 235 mph circuit in Brooklyn, Mich where overdue Al Unser Jr had the fastest average speed for a race ever in winning this event in 1990 at 189.222 mph.

Things are getting TACHY in NASCAR-land at the Sabco stable as Felix Sabates is telling Robby Gordon to make up his mind where he wants to race. Cars with or without fenders.

Michigan Speedway this weekend will also be the site of round 4 of the IROC series. All the ace drivers will pilot Pontiac Trans Ams and the purse is $760,00. So far in 1997 Al Unser Jr has a win and Mark Martin has seen the checker twice. He has won the championship in 1994 and 1996. At Michigan Alex Zanardi and Darrell Waltrip will share the front row. There's a match up.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel