1997-98 Round 7
TOMY Christmas Classic - Sanibel Speedway - Wauwatosa, WI
December 18, 1997
Round 7 of 14
KAEHNY DOMINATES TOMY CHRISTMAS CLASSIC RACE
Defense of title hoists driver into first place at holiday break
Wauwatosa, WI (Dec. 22, 1997) - For the second year in a row, Jim Kaehny took
control early in the Green lane and never looked back en route to an impressive 19-1ap
victory in the TOMY Christmas Classic at Sanibel Speedway. The New Berlin, WI native
tied a track record as he put his Jelly Belly Swift Ford on the pole for the third time this
season, then set a track record with 313 laps in the event.
"The car was just really hooked up tonight," he explained. "I love this track and I
love Green lane, so it was pretty easy tonight." Kaehny takes the PPPG Cup points lead at
the holiday break by virtue of the second level of tie breakers used in the series. Both he
and Ev Kamikawa of the Ferrari team have 97 points.
Dangerous Racing's Dan Margetta in the Motorola car was closest to Kaehny but
although he made a strong run during the night coming up from fifth on the grid he could
not contend for the lead. "We're real happy with second. Our car just didn't have enough
speed to keep up with Kaehny tonight," said Margetta. Both men were utilizing Ford
The Shell car of Rick Osterbrink took third place, struggling in the outside groove at
times. But Osterbrink managed to fight his way up through the field all the way from his
sixth position on the starting grid.
It was a big night for Harley-Davidson and their driver Tom Spehert , who made the
Final Four in just his fourth career start. Inexperience showed early in the race however,
when Spehert forced the issue in a squeeze track on Gulf Drive and crashed heavily on lap
42. He was not injured. Harley spokesman Steve Piehl, among the sellout crowd on the
island, said "I just can't tell you how many goose bumps I'm feeling right now. We're
thrilled Tom made it to the Final."
One of the reasons Spehert made it was because Phil Cianciola put his Marlboro car
into Lake Murex while leading on the final lap of his heat race. "That was ugly. I'm just
glad a shark didn't get me," a soaked Cianciola said after the disheartening incident. He
finished in fifth place. Leinenkugel's driver Chad Sorce also crashed into the lake in the
same heat and ended up in eighth place on the night.
Former champion Dave Austin shipped his LCI cars to the island via UPS and they
never arrived in time for the race. So Austin, humiliated, had to borrow a car from the
Leinenkugel's stable of Sorce. Ironically, Austin finished sixth, two better than Sorce.
John Baas finished seventh and Tony Perkins failed to make the field by a lap.
AFX SIGNS TITLE SPONSORSHIP AGREEMENT WITH CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO
RACING TEAMS H.O.
FedAFX Championship Series showcases top H. O. Champ Car drivers
Milwaukee, WI (Dec. 15, 1997) - AFX and Championship Auto Racing Teams, H.O.
today announced details of a new title sponsorship agreement based on the many synergies
of the two organizations. The newly established "FedAFX Championship Series" aligns the
former PPPG CART W orId Series and AFX, the leading slot car manufacturer in the
country and the world.
"The FedAFX Championship Series represents an excellent opportunity for AFX to
showcase its products," said AFX spokesman Becky Hoffman from the company's
headquarters in California. "It's a natural fit. Both organizations rely on high-performance
teamwork and leading-edge technology to beat the competition. We're proud to be on
board with one of the original and best known regional slot car racing series in the
"The stature of AFX lends credibility and an even greater awareness to the CART
H. O. racing program I formed back in 1993," said Phil Cianciola, Commissioner of the
FedAFX Championship Series. "We've been around for five years and this year we've
expanded our racing into two states. AFX was there as a sponsor of our Christmas race
from the start, so this title sponsorship addition seemed only natural. When the actual
PPG CART World Series changed its name to the "FedEx Championship Series" it was
time for the H.O. equivalent to change names as well."
CART H.O. champ cars are capable of scale speeds exceeding 1,000 mph and are
driven by some of the world's leading drivers including Dave Austin, Jim Kaehny, Everet
Kamikawa and Phil Cianciola. The 14-race FedAFX Championship Series season began in
September and runs through April when a champion will be crowned. Drivers will still
compete for the PPPG Cup, just as the drivers of the FedEx Championship Series compete
for the PPG Cup.
AFX produces the racing track utilized at the seven racing facilities where the drivers
of the FedAFX Championship Series compete during the course of the season. AFX also
produces one of the fastest models of stock slot cars available on the market today, known
as "Super G-Plus" machines. These cars will be introduced to the new FedAFX
Championship Series in some form in the near future.