Editor’s Note: The following was the lead story on page 3 of the August 20, 1986 issue of National Speed Sport News.
Mario Ends Pocono Frustration
Mario Andretti ended 14 years of frustration at Pocono Int’l Raceway Sunday with a one-lap victory over runner-up Kevin Cogan to win the Domino’s Pizza 500 CART PPG Indy Car race. An appreciative home crowd cheered him on, one that included his boss actor Paul Newman and actress Marsha Mason.
Prior to Sunday’s victory, the closest Andretti had come to a victory lane in Pennsylvania since Pocono opened was a trip to downtown Nazareth, Pa., where Market Street was renamed Victory Lane following his 1969 Indianapolis 500 victory.
Andretti took command in Sunday’s race for good on the 175th of 200 laps, in the Newman-Haas Lola, and was never seriously challenged after that as he built up a lead of one lap and 4.05 seconds over Cogan’s 7-Eleven March.
Victory was worth $102,843 to the Newman-Haas team, which has been frustrated in the two previous 500-milers on the CART PPG Indy Car circuit and had gone winless until Sunday.
The race was one of attrition, with breakdowns and crashes playing a major role. Cogan and Rick Mears were the only other race leaders around the finish.
Of the 11 cars running at the end, only two were on the same lap at the finish, placing fourth and fifth, three laps down.
Pancho Carter drove a steady race to finish third, two laps down in the Galles Coors Light Lola, and A.J. Foyt finished fourth in his own Gilmore-Copenhagen March, three laps back. Raul Boesel, also three laps down, completed the top five in Dick Simon’s Duracell Coppertop Lola Cosworth.
The weekend was an Andretti family affair. First, Michael set a new one-lap Indy Car record on Friday by turning a lap of 43.748 seconds for 205.724 mph to start on the pole and, on Saturday, Jeff Andretti, Mario’s youngest son, won the American Race Series.
– Penske Gets Nazareth
Team owner and racing entrepreneur Roger Penske has purchased Nazareth (Pa.) National Motor Speedway.
– Bill Elliott Sets Another Record
Bill Elliott became the only man to score four consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup victories at the same superspeedway when he won the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.
– Hewitt Wins Again
Jack Hewitt topped the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial Dirt Track Championship USAC Silver Crown Series race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.