Mickey Thompson's Off-Road Championship Gran Prix is billed as the first auto race in the Rose Bowl in nearly 40 years, but tonight's competition may resemble a demolition derby more than a desert race.
The tight, man-made course constructed of dirt and clay is supposed to simulate desert racing, but the majority of the sport's stars were predicting plenty of bumping and collisions in the featured mini-pickup truck class.
"If there is any passing done, we'll be rubbing fenders a little more than normal," said Ivan Stewart, Toyota factory driver. Stewart was recently penalized for rough driving during a series race at the Houston Astrodome.
"You're going to see a lot of kicking and gouging," Stewart said. "It's going to be a barroom fight."
Defending class champion Roger Mears called the track "the tightest course I have ever driven on" after a practice session Thursday. Mears has failed to win in four previous races this year.