1997-98 Round 3

Ford 500 - Mini Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, WI

October 2, 1997

Round 3 of 14

1997 Ford 500



WEST ALLIS, WI (Oct. 6, 1997) - Under the moonlight of a beautiful warm autumn evening here last Thursday,

a epic battle was being fought in the 1997 Ford 500 on the Mini Milwaukee Mile 'bullring' oval. Veteran Ev

Kamikawa on the outside and sophomore driver John Baas on the inside having the ride of his PPPG career in

his first Final Four ever. And after 500 laps the finish was even too close for the video tape to determ ine who

won. The Marlboro Penske Mercedes of Bass nudged forward coming out of the final turn, only to be reeled in by

the Ferrari of Kamikawa as the two desperately raced for the line.

Once the race ended, the PPPG board met for several moments in private only to emerge saying a complete

review of the race, the rules and the cars involved would take place over the weekend before the winner would be

announced. In the end it was determined that John Baas had won his first PPPG event in his 15th career start. It

also marks the unofficial 100th win of Roger Penske's storied racing career.

PPPG Commissioner Phil Cianciola released a statement 36 hours after the race had ended congratulating both

drivers on an excellent effort. "This was an extremely difficult task for myself and the entire board of the PPPG,"

explained Cianciola. "First of all, an in-depth review of enhanced and enlarged frames of the video tape of the

race was done at the studios of Today's TMJ 4, for which the PPPG is grateful. The result was still an incredible

dead heat on tape. Techmaster Jim Kaehny did a complete post-race mechanical check of both the race cars

involved and found nothing in violation of any PPPG rules."

Cianciola went on to .explain the final decision came down to the rule book from the actual PPG series, from

section 6.10 regarding finishing positions. "The rule clearly states that in case of a tie the car with the most

rearward starting position shall be awarded the better finishing position. In keeping with the spirit and intent of

this rule, Mr. Baas had to come from further behind during the course of the night since he was neither the pole

sitter nor a heat race winner."

Kamikawa, who collected his seventh career pole, led for most of the first half of the Ford 500, relinquishing that

lead during the first round of pit stops when a fuel hose refused to engage smoothly in the Ferrari pit. Baas

picked up the lead briefly, but he too ran into trouble during what was supposed to be a routine stop for fuel. For

the second time this season, a Penske car had a mysterious overheating problem and there was smoke at the

back of the #3 Marlboro car. Despite falling behind by several laps, Baas fought back to run wheel-to-wheel to the

final flag.

Kamikawa vaults to the PPPG Cup points lead for the second time in his long career by three over Dave Austin,

who finished a distant sixth in the Ford 500. Austin's LC I Reynard/Honda ran into problems when it collected a

giant bug that had landed on the track.

Racing in the new Jelly Belly Swift/Ford for the first time, veteran Jim Kaehny brought home a podium finish in

third, while last year's Ford 500 winner Chad Sorce rounded out the Final in fourth. Sorce is now the only driver

this season to have made all three Final Four's.

Even though Dan Margetta was again fast, he settled for fifth place. Margetta put his Motorola Ford second on

the grid and actually out paced all of the drivers in the other heat. "Man, I had more laps than everybody else in

the other heat and / 'm the one that has to go home," he said afterward.

One of the big stories of the night was defending series champion Phil Cianciola's failure to drive through the

pain of his burn injuries from a crash in Indy two weeks earlier. He qualified in a tie for seventh but withdrew

after needing help getting out of his Penske/Mercedes after the qualifying run.

Harley-Davidson driver Tom Spehert took the early lead for Rookie of the Year honors, scoring his first points

ever by finishing seventh. Tony Perkins struggled mightily with an ill-handling Williams/Renault, spending more

time off the track than on it. He finished a disappointing eighth.

The PPPG CART World Series travels to Wauwatosa, WI next, for the Parma Fall Classic at Vernon Farms

Super Speedway. This will mark the first race ever at this brand new tri-oval track. The occasion will be marked

by a visit from long-time Indy 500 starter Duane Sweeney who will flag the start of the race.


o WHAT: The Ford 500

oWHERE: The Mini Milwaukee Mile West Allis, WI

o WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 2nd 7:00 p.m.

o DEFENDING CHAMPION: Chad Sorce--15:12

o DEFENDING POLESITTER: Ev Kamikawa--281 laps

o TRACK LAYOUT: "Bullring" oval

o RACE LENGTH: 500 laps

o RACE RECORDS: Qualifying- Arnie Lueders 286 laps 1995

Race- Chad Sorce 15: 12 1996

o RACE #: 3 of 14

o NEXT EVENT: The Parma Fall Classic Thursday, Oct. 16th

Vernon Farms Super Speedway Wauwatosa, WI


Last year, young Chad Sorce shocked the H.O. Indy world by jumping out to an early

lead then hanging on for his first career PPPG win in just his tenth start. The closest

anyone could come was Dave Austin, 16 laps back in second place. Phil Cianciola

was close behind Austin in third, while Jim Kaehny hung on to fourth place. Ev

Kamikawa nabbed the fifth pole of his long PPPG career. Dan Margetta struggled so

mightily with an ill-handling Lola chassis that he was placed on probation after the

Consi race for rough driving in several incidents with Tony Perkins.

Other items of interest from last year's race ...

It was a clean race, without one DNF ... lt marked the first win of the season for

Goodyear tires ... Austin and Kaehny came away tied for the points lead ... Rookies Jim

Kaluzny and John Baas failed to grid ... The only race of the season run outdoors

under the lights was moved inside due to drizzle and fog in Cudahy, Wisconsin.


Year Race Winner Pole Winner




Jim Kaehny

Arnie Lueders

Chad Sorce

Phil Cianciola

Arnie Lueders

Ev Kamikawa

Things to watch for this year ...

No one has ever been able to repeat a win or a pole in this race, so that does not

bode well for Chad Sorce, winner a year ago. Still, having put his Leinenkugel's team

on the podium in third place in the first two races of the season, this guy has to be

the favorite. Will former champion Phil Cianciola be able to race while recovering

from severe thigh burns in his crash at Indy? Jim Kaehny, who missed the Indy race,

will debut his new Jelly Belly Racing car.