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Subject: The 1986 Drivers Again rss

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Doug Mann
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In honor of the Memorial Day weekend, it was time to set up another USAC Auto Racing marathon. I decided to revisit the 1986 driver set after having run them once five years ago (session report here.

Qualifying was uneventful resulting in the following positions:
Rick Mears (217.8)...Tom Sneva.......R.Guerrero
Bobby Rahal..........Mi. Andretti....Kevin Cogan
Al Unser,Jr..........Ma. Andretti....Danny Sullivan
P. Carter.............Al Unser,Sr........A.J. Foyt
J. Villeneuve......G.Bettenhausen....S. Brayton
Josele Garza........R. Lanier........E. Fittipaldi
J. Parsons..........D. Firestone.....E. Prim
R. Moreno...........Dick Vogler......T.Bettenhausen
G. Snider...........C. Ganassi.......G. Brabham
Raul Boesel.........J. Crawford......A. Luyendyk
J. Rutherford.......P. Krueger.......Danny Ongais

Pole sitter Rick Mears got a great start, as did Roberto Guerrero. Tom Sneva misses the jump, but Mario Andretti gets a trouble roll, moving only 5 spaces. Bobby Rahal takes third from Tom Sneva out of Turn 3.

The green flag drops with no accidents.

At the start-finish, it's Mears, Roberto Guerrero, Bobby Rahal, Tom Sneva, Michael Andretti, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser, Jr., Gary Bettenhausen, Mario Andretti, and A.J. Foyt as the top 10. Before he completes the first lap, Raul Boesel rolls Trouble A and gets a blown engine result, the first retirement. As Mears approaches to lap him, Roberto Moreno suffers mechanical trouble and must limp to the pits.

As Mears crosses start-finish after four laps, Sullivan pulls even on the outside, with Rahal only three spaces back. A.J. Foyt, running 10th, suffers a blown engine, the second of the race. Sullivan makes his pass out of Turn 3 and takes the lead. Just in time, too, as Danny Ongais hits the wall on the back straight, and Tom Sneva, running in 5th, is gathered up in the wreckage (a roll of 2, 3 or 4 on two dice). The yellow only lasts one lap, and Rick Mears retakes the lead on the restart.

As Mears pits, Michael Andretti takes the lead after seven laps. At lap 10, it's Mears, Rahal, Al Unser, Jr., Michael Andretti, and Sullivan, but Sullivan spins and brings out a second yellow flag.
Position after Lap 12.

With 14 of 25 laps in the books, Dennis Firestone spins and brings out a third yellow flag. Over half the field makes the second pit stop of three.

At Lap 21, Mears pits for his final planned stop and rolls a 7, Good Stop, losing only one turn. Still, Rahal takes the lead at the pit exit, though he still has to pit. Rahal and Mears even up on the back straight, and Rahal cannot stay with him.
Mears takes the white flag.

As Mears gets the white flag, Sullivan and Rahal are dueling on the back straight for second place. The final top ten are
1. Mears
2. Rahal
3. Sullivan
4. Mario Andretti (-1)
5. Michael Andretti (-2)
6. Roberto Guerrero (-2)
7. Al Unser, Sr. (-3)
8. Al Unser, Jr. (-4)
9. Johnny Rutherford (-5)
10. Gary Bettenhausen (-5)

There were 11 drivers retired, a yellow flag due to accident, and two yellow flags due to spins, with three laps run under yellow. The top three drivers were the same as in my prior run, and I think that the Rick Mears card may be just a bit over-powered.


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Just Another User
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"...Danny Ongais hits the wall on the backstraight..."

Never saw that coming!

The Penske cars were awfully good in the 80's, although they tended to either win or break something during the race. Thanks for the report.
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Doug Mann
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oldfan wrote:
"...Danny Ongais hits the wall on the backstraight..."

Never saw that coming!


Come to think of it, that happened when I ran the 1980 drivers here.

oldfan wrote:
The Penske cars were awfully good in the 80's, although they tended to either win or break something during the race. ...

In theory, Mears has a chance for blowing an engine or hitting a wall as well as Ongais, but if his Trouble A rolls aren't catastrophic, he more than makes up the ground running Normal, while the other drivers have to Charge at least some. If I were to modify Mears's card, it wouldn't be by much.
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