August 17, 1986 |
After the last fan has driven out of the giant pasture of a parking lot, Pocono International Raceway becomes little more than a couple of huge chunks of concrete on a country road in the middle of nowhere. The nights are still and silent. Where there once was the noise of 200- m.p.h. machines, there is only a choir of crickets. Through the still of Friday night and into the early hours yesterday morning, in a garage in the midst of the middle of nowhere, the mechanics of Tom Sneva's crew tinkered with the intricacies of a $200,000 March-Cosworth.
May 18, 1987 |
The television replay of the crash was shown several times during the hot and hard weekend of the Indianapolis 500 time trials. Seeing is still not believing. On the television replay, it appears almost as if the green race car had acquired a mad mind of its own and decided to drive into the wall on the first turn, a Stephen King fantasy come to lurid life. It seemed that way to Tom Sneva. He was driving the car. "I've never experienced anything like that in my life," he said several days later, still incredulous.
May 27, 1988 |
Every May, the Indianapolis 500 is a paradise for nuts-and-bolts racing fans. Those who can get close enough to the cars - and somehow, there are thousands who can - inspect them as if they were buying them. Camera-carrying fans snap pictures of the chassis and engines with the same zeal of professional photographers shooting pictures of fashion models. For the camshaft and crankshaft crowd, this year is exceptional. Since 1978, the Cosworth has been the dominant engine.
August 14, 1987 |
The business-as-usual sign was up yesterday as the Al Unser Jr. and Geoff Brabham teams started practicing for Sunday's Quaker State 500. Both crews were working efficiently on a delightfully sunny Pocono Mountains day to prepare Unser's Domino's Pizza-sponsored March and Brabham's Team Valvoline March for the season's third and final 500-mile race on the Indy-car circuit. Watching the crews about 50 yards apart in the Pocono International Raceway pits, there was no hint that Unser would be leaving the Doug Shierson-owned team and replacing Brabham next season.
June 27, 1986 |
Maybe the asphalt capital of North America is not the place to hold an Indy-car race. Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca, Calif., and Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wis., are the most scenic Indy-car road racing courses. The Meadowlands, site of Sunday's Chase Grand Prix, is scenic only if you prefer asphalt over grass. The best road courses are in the country, where there are hills and grass. At the Meadowlands, the most prominent features are Byrne Arena, Giants Stadium, the Meadowlands race track and parking lots.
May 28, 1999 |
Bob Jenkins's gain is Paul Page's loss. Jenkins will call his first Indianapolis 500 for television on Sunday (Channel 6, 11 a.m.). "This is the ultimate of my career," Jenkins said. "I'm a race fan who happened to get lucky. " While Jenkins is behind the ABC Sports microphone at Indy, Page will be watching the Indy 500 as a spectator. For the previous 12 years, Page was the TV voice of the Indy 500. Before that, he called the race on radio for 15 years. This year, ABC assigned Page to the FedEx CART series.
April 27, 1999 |
A racing career that began in the basement of a friend's home in Boston 40 years ago continues for Jim McGee at the top level of Indy-car racing. The victory by Adrian Fernandez in the CART FedEx series race in Japan earlier this month gave McGee his 85th victory as a crew chief/team manager.. The drivers McGee has worked with make an impressive list: Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Tom Sneva, Bobby Rahal, Gordon Johncock, Nigel Mansell and Parnelli Jones. McGee, 61, helped Andretti, Mears, Johncock and Fittipaldi to Indianapolis 500 victories.
June 29, 1986 |
Al Unser Jr. reported for work shortly after 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. He climbed into the cramped cockpit of his red, white and blue Cosworth- powered Lola, stomped on the accelerator and barreled around the 1.682- mile, 11-turn circuit during final qualifying for today's CART Meadowlands Grand Prix Indy-car race. The defending champion turned a lap in a shade over 61 seconds, at a speed of 99.024 m.p.h. - faster than the 98.452 that earned the pole for Mario Andretti. But it wasn't Little Al's day. Yesterday, Michael Andretti, 23, became the first driver in the three-year history of the race to turn a lap of more than 100 m.p.h.
August 16, 1987 |
Jeff MacPherson drove to Pocono Raceway last week on the pitted and pothole-ridden section of Interstate 80 that winds through the northern part of the state like a never-ending nightmare. On Friday afternoon, the rookie race-car driver went out and qualified for today's Quaker State 500, scheduled to begin at noon, in a disappointingly slow time of 181.774 m.p.h. "Driving out there was reminiscent of Interstate 80, which I had the pleasure of driving on the other day," said MacPherson.
September 19, 1987 |
The name Andretti means the same in racing as the Sutter pedigree does in hockey. Like a Sutter, an Andretti has talent, determination, and more than the average dose of nerve. The way the Andrettis are multiplying, they have almost as many racers as the six Sutters in the NHL. Mario and son Michael are established Indy-car drivers. Jeff, Mario's youngest son, is training in the American Racing Series. Now, there's another Andretti. John, Mario's nephew, has succeeded the fired Tom Sneva as the Skoal Bandit driver.