FIFTH SEASON TO KICK OFF WITH A NEW TITLE TO AN OLD RACE
WAUWA TOSA, W I (Sept. 1, 1997) - The oldest race on the oldest track in the PPPG CART World Series gets a new name and a new look for 1997. The Shrine Track, a natural terrain road course, was changed in the off- season to now include a long run up a steep incline into a set of hairpin turns, something never before attempted
in the series. And the Shrine Cup, the traditional season-opening race, now goes by the title of the Trokan Cup- Presented by Harley-Davidson. The Harley-Davidson sponsorship was added this year and the Trokan Cup is now named after three-time champion Phil Cianciola's grandfather Joe, who helped design the facility and passed
away during the off season.
Cianciola begins defense of his 1996-1997 PPPG Cup in a race where he has sat on the pole in two of the last four years. He won this race in 1994. But the Italian driver this year will be looking to improve on a bad memory from last year when he started the season with a DNF and his lowest finish of the campaign (8th).
New Berlin's Jim Kaehny, who missed taking the title from Cianciola at the conclusion of last season by just five points, comes into this race as its defending champion. Kaehny is debuting with a new team and also racing for the first time since injuring his leg in a crash during last season's finale back in April.
Former PPPG champion Dave Austin also opens the season with a new team (LCI/Reynard/Honda). The Greendale native is the only other former Trokan Cup winner expected to be in the field. Austin finished on the podium (3rd) here a year ago.
Milwaukee's Everet Kamikawa returns with Ferrari power this season and is hoping to carryover some momentum from the end of last season when he tasted the cold milk in victory lane at the H.O. U.S. Indy 500. Kamikawa finished as high as second here in 1994.
Placing second here a year ago was Tony Perkins from I ndianapol is, IN. Now in his fifth year, Perkins is another driver with a new team this season, running a Renault powered Rothmans F-1 machine after leaving the Players Ltd. team he drove for last season.
Young Chad Sorce of West Allis, one of the rising young stars of the series, once said he hated this track. But after a strong fourth place effort a year ago, Sorce's quote has changed to "I'm really getting to like this place." He returns with a stable of Leinenkugel's cars to work with this season.
South Milwaukee's Dan Margetta returns for another season in a new car, a Goodyear-shod Motorola Ford Reynard. Margetta has finished as high as fourth in this race in 1995.
Veteran Rick Osterbrink of Milwaukee begins the new season riding the wave of his first PPPG win in 37 starts last season in the Leinenkugel's 400. He followed that up by ending the season with a strong second place finish at the H.O. U.S. Indy 500.
John Baas of Wauwatosa returns for his second season with Team Penske H.O. after taking PPPG Rookie of the Year honors last season. Baas scored his first PPPG Cup points here a year ago with a ninth place finish.
Making a PPPG debut will be rookie John Jagler of Watertown, WI. When he attempts to make the field in his Valvoline/Reynard/Honda it will be his first H.O. race of any kind. Other rookies who may race for the first time include Lance Allen and Tom Spehert, neither with any H.O. Indy car racing experience.
Dick Alpert Jr. returns to PPPG action in the Pennzoil car this season. The Glendale, W I native competed in four races back in the 1993-1994 season before serious injuries sidelined him for several seasons.
The Trokan Cup-Presented by Harley-Davidson will be broadcast on CART Cable TV at 7:00 p.m. CT Thursday, September 4th.
The PPPG CART World Series continues with its longest road trip in history to Indianapolis for a Saturday evening race just blocks away from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Deercross Indy Challenge will be held on on Saturday, Sept. 20th.