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Motor Racing : Drivers Go for $85,000 First Prize at Del Mar

October 22, 1987|Shav Glick

There will be no International Motor Racing Assn. driving championships at stake this weekend in the Camel Grand Prix of Southern California at Del Mar, since the titles have already been won. Still, the three-day sports car festival in the fairgrounds parking lot will provide a meeting of champions.

Bobby Rahal, for instance, who has already plundered Championship Auto Racing Teams and the Indy car set for $993,998, including a $300,000 bonus for winning his second straight CART championship, will be out to get some of IMSA's lucrative payoff.

Even though he has competed in only 5 of 15 events, Rahal stands fourth in the IMSA standings, and a win in Sunday's two-hour GTP race could net him $125,000--$85,000 for winning the race and a $40,000 bonus for moving up to third place in the standings.

Chip Robinson, who has already won a $100,000 bonus as the IMSA GTP champion, will also be after the $85,000 winner's purse, largest in IMSA's 16-year history.

Both he and Rahal will be driving Porsche 962s, Rahal for Bruce Leven, Seattle garbage disposal tycoon, and Robinson for Al Holbert, five-time IMSA champion who gave up full-time driving this season to work on Porsche's entry into Indy car racing.

In his five races, Rahal has won three and finished second twice. Robinson, who clinched the championship at Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 4, also has three wins, including a share of the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Champions of the GTO and GTU classes have also been named. Chris Cord of Beverly Hills won the GTO while driving a Toyota Celica for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers team from Santa Ana. Tom Kendall of Flintridge, who became IMSA's youngest champion last year at 19, repeated in the GTU division, driving a Mazda RX-7 for the Clayton Cunningham Racing team of El Segundo. Both will receive $35,000 bonuses.

Kendall's No. 75 RX-7 is one of the most renowned cars in IMSA history. It has won four straight GTU championships, with Jack Baldwin driving in 1984 and 1985, and Kendall in 1986 and 1987. The car has been driven in more than 100 events, more than any other IMSA car.

The GTO race will be one hour, on Saturday, followed by GTP qualifying. Sunday will feature the GTP cars in a two-hour race, along with a 45-minute preliminary for the GTUs.

Racing will be on a 1.6-mile temporary circuit.

SPRINT CARS--The World of Outlaws will race winged cars for three nights in a row, starting tonight, in the Pacific Coast Nationals at Ascot Park, but on Sunday night the wingless California Racing Assn. machines will return for a Parnelli Jones Firestone/CRA points race. Defending champion Brad Noffsinger will be after his third straight win, but will be challenged by a number of Outlaw drivers eager to try their hand at non-wing racing. A $3,000 bonus will go to the driver who scores the most points in the winged finale Saturday night and the non-winged race Sunday. The Pacific Coast Nationals will feature 20-lap main events tonight and Friday night and a 30-lap feature Saturday night.

INDY CARS--National champion Bobby Rahal and the TrueSports team have reconsidered and will run their car in the Oct. 31 Marlboro Challenge at Miami's Tamiami Park. Rahal withdrew from the lucrative 75-mile race two weeks ago in a dispute over drivers' uniforms and the positioning of sponsor patches on the uniform. The race will pay $225,000 to the winner. . . . Didier Theys, American Racing Series champion from Belgium, will drive as Rahal's TrueSports teammate in the Nov. 1 Indy car at Miami, final event on the CART schedule. . . . Indy car owner Alex Morales has dropped three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford as driver of his car next season. . . . Actor James Garner is no longer associated with Larry Cahill's Indy car program, but Cahill has said he will continue. Wednesday he announced the signing of Kevin Cogan as his driver.

JET SKIS--The sixth annual $30,000 world jet ski tournament will be held this weekend at Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Sanctioned by the International Jet Ski Boating Assn., the tournament will determine 26 individual class champions. Novice finals will be Friday, expert finals Saturday and the professionals on Sunday, along with world-record attempts on the distance record of 91 feet held by David Gordon of Wayland, Mass. Two-time world champion Gordon trails Jeff Jacobs, 16, of El Cajon, by three points on the IJSBA world tour, which ends with the Lake Havasu competition. Jacobs' mother, Karen, 38, is second in the women's professional class.

VINTAGE RACING--The Vintage Auto Racing Assn. will hold its final meet Saturday and Sunday at Riverside International Raceway. The oldest entry is a 1932 Studebaker Indy 500 car driven by Mike Cleary of Pacific Palisades.

FORMULA ATLANTIC--Johnny O'Connell of San Juan Capistrano won the Stefan Petroff Industries Formula Atlantic championship with 141 points to 128 for Dean Hall of Olympic Valley, Calif. O'Connell also was rookie of the year.

STOCK CARS--Street stocks will get their place in the spotlight Saturday night at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield where an $18,000 purse will be distributed to place winners in five championship heats. The 50-lap main event will pay $1,200 to the winner.

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