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The TACH Report: Robby Gordon to Race for Arciero in CART, FF2000 Driver Bezerra Remains Critical, NHRA Winternats Next

29 January 1998

California Kid Robby Gordon returns from the NASCAR wars and will once again be driving--on a limited schedule--for Toyota and Arciero/Wells in the FedEx/CART championship series for 1998. Gordon, who has two CART victories to his credit at Phoenix and Detroit will do testing for Arciero/Wells and run a selected number of races. Other Toyota powered drivers are P.J. Jones, Alex Barron, Hiro Matushita and Mad Max Papis. These guys had better be on their toes, as Gordon is going to want more than a "selected number of races" this year. Gordon first drove for Arciero in his off-roading days and has done extremely well in the Mickey Thompson series, IMSA, SCORE, CART, NASCAR and IRL. He's a guy to watch.

As a result of a terrible crash at Walt Disney World Speedway last friday, Brazilian driver Thiago Bezerra who sat on the pole and crashed on lap 30, remains in critical condition with a non-surgical head injury in an Orlando, FL hospital. Winner of the first USAC FF2000 race of the season was 30th starter David Besnard. The top 10 standings for this series now look like this:

 1 David Besnard
 2 Robby McGehee
 3 Andy Lally
 4 Jon Herb
 5 Sam Hornish
 6 Jon  Botoms
 7 Jeff Shafer
 8 Chris Coggin
 9 Tom Wood
10 Seth Taylor

Qualifying gets under way Friday for the first race of the NHRA 1998 season, The Winternationals in Pomona, CA. Hotdog Cory McClenathan, who just last week underwent a helluva cancer scare when doctors found and removed a lump from his shoulder blade, logged some hospital time, but old friend Kenny Bernstein tried out his car and helped dial it in. The Auto Channel will be on hand to bring you all the action.

Practice and qualifying also starts tomorrow, thursday for the 24 hours of Daytona by Rolex, and a hybrid race car (gas/electric), is entered in the Can Am division. It takes guts to go up against Ferraris and Riley & Scott 200 mph machines with a hybrid. One of the drivers is Paul Dallenbach. Johnny Unser will also do a stint or two.

The season really gets under way this weekend as the first SCORE off-road race at Laughlin, NV takes place Jan 29.

In Goodyear's year-end attendance report for auto racing, NASCAR once again took top honors with 6 million fans through the gates. CART and NASCAR had spectator increases.

Bob Bondurant is out of the Cobra building business, and now into Shifter Karts. He's having a 30th anniversary bash at his school in Phoenix on April 1-2.

The natives in the NASCAR Ford camps are restless regarding the configuration of the new Ford Taurus. Crew Chief Robert Yates says the new car needs more downforce, but the the Ford teams do not go along with his thinking.

Formula One Czar Bernie Eccelstone, who controls a $zillion worth of international TV rights, is getting his foot in deep kaka. European TV networks are challenging him from all sides.

Pep Boys is the new title sponsor of the IRL, and they just edged out a major sport shoe maker.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel