The Bosch Super Vee series has been the springboard to Indianapolis in the last few years, and Steve Bren hopes to be the next driver to take the plunge.
Bren, 26, of Newport Beach, won the 37-lap event on the Long Beach Grand Prix course for the second consecutive year Sunday morning, holding off the charge of pole-sitter Paul Radisich of New Zealand by .673 of a second--the closest finish in five Super Vee events at Long Beach.
Bren, the son of Donald Bren of Orange County's Irvine Company, said he hadn't planned to race until about a week ago because he was busy "trying to secure my future" by taking over an auto dealership in Newport Beach.
Bren said he recently auditioned at Phoenix for Mike Curb, who owns veteran Tom Sneva's car, and Curb offered him a ride in Sunday's CART main event at Long Beach.
"But I didn't think I'd had enough test time on a road course," Bren said.
He may yet attempt to qualify a Curb car for the Indianapolis 500 next month--"if not this year, next year," Bren said. "He has a three-fourths sponsorship for me. I'm trying to arrange the other 25%."
Apparently, Bren is trying to do it on his own.
There were 37 entries in the Super Vee event, which created a severe traffic jam once the leaders started lapping stragglers.
"It's a big factor here," Bren said, "but I love to work the traffic, and I obviously worked it very well."
Scott Atchison of Bakersfield held an early lead but slipped to third with braking problems. After Bren outbraked Atchison at the end of the Shoreline straightaway to go in front on Lap 7, he had no problems until Radisich came at him on the last 10 laps.
The Kiwi closed within a car length around the final hairpin turn, but Bren outdragged him to the finish.