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Cars 'n' Stars: Emmo Hurt in Plane Crash, Stallone Serious about Formula One Flick, Frankfort Auto Show is Boffo

11 September 1997

Emerson Fittipaldi, still recovering from a horrific crash at Michigan Speedway last year, will undergo back surgery for injuries he received while piloting his plane across his zillion orange tree estate/plantation in Brazil. The two time Indy 500 winner was at the controls when the plane lost power and plunged 300 feet to the ground in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

As reported here last week movie super star Sylvester Stallone is really getting serious about making a mega-bucks feature film about Grand Prix racing. It will be the first feature since the Tom Cruise "Days of Thunder" turkey in 1994. Sly was in the pits at Monza, hob-nobbing with Bernie and the boys, and gathering material for the flick, which will come out in late 1998. Goody!

The Frankfort Auto Show, ranked right up there in importance with the Paris, London, Tokyo, Detroit and Chicago/New York shows just opened and one of the highlights was the introduction of the Cadillac Seville for 1998 on foreign soil.There are 1100 vehicles and motorcycles on display with Porsche launching a new 911, VW showing a new Golf line and Opel employing gymnasts to attract attention to their new cars. There are 48 U.S. made cars on display.

Notes from the aftermath of the CART/Laguna Seca skirmish last weekend which saw Zig-Zag Zanardi button up the 1998 championship for Chip Ganassi's Target team:

Max Papis finished in the top 15 with his Toyota powered Reynard and commented that he also visited victory lane for the first time as he gave race winner Jimmy Vasser a ride on the back of his car to the pits after Zanardi smacked into the 1996 champion.

Roberto Moreno subbed for the injured Patrick Carpenteir and finished in the number 10 spot. Carpenteir still leads the Rookie of the Year chase.

A group of Brazilian auto journalists beat an international team of scribes in soccer at Monterey. Brazilians also copped the first three starting spots for the Indy Lights race which was won by Christiano daMatta with an average speed of 76 mph over Tony Kanaan and Helio Castro Neves. The CART race average speed was 109 mph. Though the CART series championship goes to Zanardi the Indy Lights points race goes right to the wire and will be decided at the California Raceway, Fontana race Sept. 28.

Casey Mears finished 19th at Monterey and Clint Mears did not start. If you are a PSL (personal seat license) owner at Roger Penskes Fontana, CA speed palace, you will be allowed to have lunch with other PSL holders on the patio at the track prior to the start of the CART race. It will cost $55.00.

Alex Barron took the pole for the Toyota Atlantic race at Laguna Seca and in so doing picked up the point he needed to sew up the TA championship winning over Memo Gidley. Barron won the race and 20 grand with David Pook second.

In NASCAR Sterling Marlin loses his Kodak Chevrolet ride to Bobby Hamilton.

Richard Noble owns the world land speed record and has been having trouble raising enough bread to come across the pond and have it out at Black Rock desert with Craig Breedlove. However the late word is that he acquired the money needed and is on his way to Nevada for the DUEL IN THE DESERT!

1940s F-1 Grand Prix driver Luigi Villoresi has died in Italy. He finished seventh in the 1946 Indy 500.

It is, I think, the greatest idea in motordom since the invention of the horn. You'll see it on next year's Chrysler minivans . . . a series of small hooks in the cabin where you can hang your plastic grocery bags.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel