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Kendall Makes Push for 3rd GTU Title While Racing Under a New Sponsor

August 04, 1988|SAM FARMER

At the outset of the International Motor Sports Assn. GTU season, it appeared as if Amos Johnson had established an insurmountable points lead which would stave off La Canada resident Tom Kendall's bid for a third consecutive GTU crown.

In fact, Kendall, who missed the season's first race because his new car was not ready for an endurance race, was nosed out of second place by his older brother, Bart Kendall. Bart has since dropped into fourth place with 56 points.

But after a mid-season surge that included wins at Miami, W. Va., and Mid-Ohio, and a second place finish at last weekend's G. I. Joe's Grand Prix in Portland, Ore., Tom Kendall has moved into a first-place tie with Johnson. Both drivers have 85 points with five races remaining in the circuit.

"At the start of the year there was really no pressure," Kendall said. "Now that we're right in the thick of it again, you have to start thinking about the championship."

Few would be shocked if Kendall, 21, were to capture his third title, but it would be something of a coup if Chevrolet, his sponsor, were to win the manufacturer's crown. He switched from Mazda to Chevrolet this year. Chevrolet has only two entries in the GTU series. Mazda, which has won the title for the past eight years, has a minimum of seven entries per race.

"No one figured that we could come right out and win the championship," he said. "We're a long way from that now but at least we have a shot. It would make me a bit of a hero in Chevrolet's eyes."

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