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The TACH Report: GM Recalls 16,000 Malibus, Zanardi & Gil deFerran Guys to Beat In Wisconsin CART Race, Las Vegas/NASCAR Tix Prices

14 August 1997

Generous Motors today announced the recall of 16,000 Chevrolet Malibus from model year 1997. The company will repair fasteners on passenger side airbag modules. Also on the Fed recall hit list are Corvettes, Isuzu Trooper, Chevy Cavalier and Ford Taurus/Sable.

Probably the best race of the 1997 CART season will take place this weekend at the beautiful Road America four-mile permanent road racing course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It is a seasoned road racers paradise, and seeing that most of the CART contingent have cut their teeth on road courses it will be a shoot out between Zig-Zag Zanardi and Gil deFerran. But watch out for the other European bred gear shifters, 'cause Gregg Moore, Mo Gugelmin, Christian Fittipaldi, and even Toyota powered Max Papis could make a charge.

Now that it has been announced that a Winston Cuo NASCAR bash will take place at the huge 110,000 seat Las Vegas Motor Speedway next March, the ticket prices have been set at $50 and $110 per seat. You can also watch the event from "the Club" and have food/drink served for $350 per ducat.

GM has announced a battery breakthrough: the company now claims to have an EV battery that will double the existing range of their cars to 160 miles. In 1998 it will be offered as an option to EV lesses.

Top vehicle sellers in the U.S. for July are:

1 Ford F series pickup 64,995 units 2 Chevy pickup 41,770 3 Ford Explorer 34,005 4 Honda Accord 33,865 5 Toyota Camry 32,555 6 Chevy Cavalier 31,318 7 Honda Civic 29,995 8 Ford Taurus 29,495 9 Dodge Ram pickup 28,535 10 Ford Escort 27,951

Gateway International Raceway, St. Louis has lots of good numbers for its inaugural three race events so far in 1997. The Bush race had a sellout crowd of 52,00 and a CBS Nielsen rating of 1.8...1.75 million homes. The CART race and the NHRA event were also sellouts and the economic impact (Chris Pook's favorite measuring device) was 13% higher than originally estimated.

Not all new car prices are being increased. Corvette and Nissan Altima have actually been lowered for 1998, and holding the line (almost) are Suzuki, Ford, Subaru, Saturn, Infiniti and GM. Toyota has raised Camry prices 1.7% for 1998.

Mazda dumped the exotic high performance RX-7 because of slow sales and a high price tag but now the company says it may bring the car back, as it doesn't have a hot rod model for that niche.

Each year Team Kool Green conducts an academy for aspiring professional race drivers. Among the 15 nominees for 1998 are FF2000 drivers, Ryan Hampton, Andy Lally, Robby McgeHee and Buddy Rice. They will have training sessions at Derek Bell's race school at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Additional comments heard from the CART drivers as they make their way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin:

Al Unser, Jr.: "I'm not giving up on the PPG championship, but for me it will be a miracle."

Bryan Herta: "They say the first victory is the toughest. We had a good car at Mid Ohio but it just wasn't our day."

Christian Fittipaldi: "I really wanted to win this one last me it was the most important race of the year."

Bicycles. First VW came out with a mountain bike package that was available with a new Jetta. Then Mercedes Benz offered a bike that cost as much as a Suzuki Swift as a premium. Now BMW has joined the bike brigade with a folding "Olympic" model.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel