Stadium motocross, popularly known as Supercross, has played to sell-out crowds of about 70,000 for seven straight years at Anaheim Stadium, prompting promoter Mickey Thompson to decide it was time to introduce four-wheeled vehicles to the same site.
Thompson will open his fifth Off-Road Championship Gran Prix season Saturday night at Anaheim Stadium with a full program of Grand National sport trucks, 1,600cc single seater buggies, ultrastock all-terrain passenger car look-alikes, four-wheeled ATVs and Odysseys.
Al Unser Jr., who won the International Race of Champions last year in addition to the year's final Indy car race at Miami, will make his off-road debut driving a Jeep Comanche against defending series champion Steve Millen and Ivan Stewart in Toyotas, 1985 champion Roger Mears and Coliseum winner Sherman Balch in Nissans, Rose Bowl winner Glenn Harris and Jeff Huber in Mazdas, and Danny Thompson, winner of last year's final race at Pomona, in a Chevrolet S-10.
Veteran Baja champion Walker Evans, who was honored as "personality of the year" at the SCORE International-High Desert Racing Assn. dinner last Saturday night, is entered in a Dodge truck. Evans' crew chief, Randy Anderson, was named mechanic of the year.
The 1,600cc single seater race has attracted 31 entries, among them several family combinations. Fathers and sons include Bob and Robbie Gordon of Orange and Jim Fishback and Jim Jr. of Fontana. Brothers Brad and Kent Castle of Cypress and Frank and Al Arciero of Los Alamitos are also in the field.
Qualifying will start at noon with the first race at 7:30 p.m.
The stadium motocross season will also start in Anaheim Stadium on Jan. 31 with the Coors Supercross Kickoff featuring defending champion Rick Johnson of El Cajon and 500cc champion David Bailey of Axton, Va., on Hondas. The opening race of the Suzuki Quad Racer national championship series will be held in conjunction with the Supercross.
The Thompson off-road show at Anaheim will not be the only event kicking off the 1987 racing season this weekend.
Mike Kidd, Former American Motorcyclist Assn. Camel Pro series champion, has turned promoter and Saturday night will present what he calls the Pomona Mile on the L.A. County Fairgrounds horse racing oval. The Fairplex track, however, is not a mile but slightly more than 5/8 of a mile. Among the riders will be former Grand National winners Alex Jorgensen and Terry Poovey.
Friday night, also at Fairplex, Kidd will present the opening round of the American All-Terrain Vehicle Assn. championship series for three- and four-wheeled ATVs and Odysseys. The 10-race program will have a purse of $12,000, largest of the 10-race series.
The tentative West Coast racing schedule for 1987:
April 5--Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, CART road race, Long Beach.
April 12--Phoenix 200, CART oval race, Phoenix International Raceway.
Oct. 11--Champion 300, CART road race, Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey.
Mar. 6--Season opener, Olimpic Racing Assn., hobby division, Saugus Speedway.
Mar. 22--Opening night, NASCAR Winston Racing Series, Ascot Park.
Mar. 28--Southwest tour, NASCAR Grand American oval race, Saugus Speedway.
Apr. 4--Southwest tour, Cajon Speedway, El Cajon.
May 9--Southwest tour, Orange Show Speedway, San Bernardino.
June 6--Winston West 250, NASCAR oval race, Ascot Park.
June 21--Budweiser 400, NASCAR road race, Riverside International Raceway.
July 3--Firecracker 50, NASCAR Winston Racing Series, Ascot Park.
Nov. 8--Winston Western 500, NASCAR road race, Riverside International Raceway.
Jan. 29-Feb. 1--Chief Winternationals, National Hot Rod Assn., L.A. County Fairgrounds, Pomona.
May 1-3--U.S. Fuel & Gas meet, NHRA Division 7 series, Famoso Drag Strip, Bakersfield.
Oct. 16-18--Castrol GTX Fallnationals, NHRA, Firebird Raceway, Chandler, Ariz.
Oct. 29-Nov. 1--Winston Finals, NHRA, L.A. County Fairgrounds, Pomona.
April 25-26--Los Angeles Times/Ford Grand Prix, International Motor Racing Assn., Riverside International Raceway.
May 3--Monterey Triple Crown, IMSA, Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey.
May 16-17--Camel 300, IMSA, Firebird Raceway, Chandler, Ariz.
Aug. 2--Ford California Grand Prix, IMSA, Sears Point Raceway, Sonoma.
Oct. 25--Southern California Grand Prix, IMSA, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar.
Feb. 8--Skoal Copper World Classic, Phoenix International Raceway.
Mar. 21--Western States championship race, United States Auto Club, Mesa Marin Speedway, Bakersfield.
May 2--Western States championship race, USAC, Saugus Speedway.
Oct. 10--National championship race, USAC, Saugus Speedway.
Jan. 10--Mickey Thompson Gran Prix, closed-course series, Anaheim Stadium.
Jan. 17--Thompson closed-course series, Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego.
Jan. 31--Parker 400, SCORE International, Parker, Ariz.
Mar. 7--Gold Coast 250, High Desert Racing Assn., Las Vegas.
Apr. 4--Great Mojave 250, SCORE, Lucerne Valley.
May 2--Thompson closed-course series, Rose Bowl, Pasadena.