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The TACH Report: Subaru-Panoz Driving School, New Saab Wagon, Team Kool Gets $50 Million

22 December 1998

Subaru of America is giving Don Panoz a bunch of GT sedans and wagons for the new Panoz Performance Driving school at Road Atlanta. The cars will be featured in two-day classes covering braking, skid control, car control and maneuverability. For all the info on the school call good old Alex Fedorak at Subaru: 609 488 8615.

Saab is bringing out a new 9-5 station wagon at a time when most manufacturers like BMW are finally getting around to producing a compact SUV. Saab says the new wagon will have plenty of room for five people and some of its unique features are...according to Saab: A quiet driving environment; Extra large parcel shelf in the cargo area; New theft protection device; Weightless tailgate; Illuminated cargo area for night work; Cargo "tracks" foe sliding things in and o; An optional sliding load floor that comes out 20 inches from the back of the vehicle; Advanced climate control system; A rear window washer-wiper that activates when the vehicle is in reverse; and front wipers are on.

Team Kool Green which is subsidized by the Brown and Williamson Tobacco co has announced that B&W has earmarked $50 million for the next three years of Kool racing in CART and Indy Lights. Champ car drivers are Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy and the Indy Lights shoe is Johnny Kane from Ireland.

The BMW X5 will be shown at some of the major auto shows next month and the interesting looking sport utility will give the Lexus, Acura and Mercedes SUV's some good competition. It comes with a V8 or a six cylinder mill, hill descent control system, Xenon headlamps, electric rear seat rests, rear climate control and 10 inflatable restraints.

The Plymouth Prowler for 1999 will sport ANOTHER paint scheme aside from the purple and yellows of this/last season.

Some off-road racing stars visited children's hospitals recently to spread holiday cheer. Ivan "Ironman" Stewart, Bob Gordon, Ryan Arciero and Frank Arciero Jr donated a "Off Road Challenge" game to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles./p>

The extremely popular Trans Am Sedan racing series has their 1999 schedule locked up and will conduct 10 races starting April 18 at Long Beach and wrapping up September in Houston in the streets.

Watkins Glen, one of the oldest road racing venues ion the U.S. (Willow Springs in Ca is the oldest) has a full plate for 1999 with Busch, Winston Cup, SCCA nationals, Craftsman Trucks and vintage races slated. Info: 607 535 2481

Tis the season for contract negotiations and the TV agreements between tracks and TV networks are getting into some heavy dollar figures. By 2000 the TV rights for the Daytona 500 will cost $15 million.

Chip Ganassi's Chicago race track near Cicero (once Al Capone land) is going to be open for business next Labor Day but there is talk of another race track going into Chicago-land and it will be NASCAR oriented. Roger Penske is building a race track in Germany...the Lausitzring.

The Winston Cup season is two months away and yet the Talledega April 25th Die Hard 500 tickets are almost sold out. 256 362 RACE.

Also on the NASCAR scene team owner Joe Gibbs is making a bid to buy his old football team, the Washington Redskins.

Rumor has Roger Penske building an IRL racer for the Indy 500 and we think little Al will be the chauff ..he wants that fourth victory.. Will the IRL cars end up being a support race for the Indy F-1 race or will Formula 3 or Trans Am be on the September weekend schedule?

Now that the U.S. Grand Prix has been awarded to Tony George we hear that one of the bridesmaid finalists to get the event was vitamin king, vintage racer, racontuer.restrautuer Dick Marconi of Tustin, California who tried to get the race for the Tustin Marine Corp air station venue where Dick produced a fantastic vintage racing event in 1997.

The China F-1 race has been dropped from the F-1 1999 calendar. Logistics problems re getting jumbo jest in and out of the racing venue area.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel