In his briefcase, Tom Kendall carries a slip of paper he found in a fortune cookie. It reads, "The great pleasure in life is doing what others say you cannot."
Never was Kendall's fortune more apropos than after last Sunday's GTU-class win in the Columbus 500, held in Columbus, Ohio. The victory assured Kendall, 21, of his third straight International Motor Sports Assn. GTU title.
"We weren't given much of a shot at the beginning of the year," said Kendall, a La Canada resident who missed an early race and did not finish another because of car problems. "We had a brand new car and a brand new team--it takes a while to put things together.
"So to win the championship against those kinds of odds really makes me feel good."
Chevrolet, however, won't feel good until it captures a manufacturers' crown. Kendall switched from Mazda to Chevrolet this year. Chevrolet has only 2 entries in the circuit while Mazda, which has won the past 8 titles, runs a minimum of 7 cars per race.
Manufacturers' points are awarded to the top finishing cars in each race and Chevrolet is a point shy of the title. If Kendall or Max Jones finishes 10th or better in the Del Mar Grand Prix on Oct. 23, Chevrolet will win the title.
Kendall's win at Columbus will be televised on ESPN tonight at 9. Much of the race was filmed from a camera mounted in his car.