From left: Al Unser Jr., a second generation star with two Indy 500 wins and two CART titles, drove for Team Penske; Mauricio Gugelmin, the personable ex-F1 driver from Brazil would become the "240mph Man" with his record qualifying run at Fontana later that season; Team Penske's mercurial Paul Tracy, an out-spoken and lightning-fast pilot; Patrick Carpentier, who recently spent part of a season in Sprint Cup, won the 1997 Rookie-of-the-Year title for the tiny Bettenhausen Racing team. (When Patrick jumped to Forsythe Racing, a young Brazilian driver took his seat in '98: Helio Castroneves.); Mark Blundell, Gugelmin's teammate at PacWest Racing, another former F1 driver who is now a TV commentator and manages the careers of young drivers; Greg Moore, the young Canadian was much like Kyle Busch today: very young, very fast and a world of talent, except Moore was extremely popular, especially in his native Canada before his horrific fatal crash at California Speedway in 1999; and Dario Franchitti, a likeable and unsponsored driver with the underdog Hogan Racing team, a short time before he met Ashley Judd and long before he became an Indy 500 winner and IRL champ and then dipping his toe into the NASCAR pool last season.
Forgive the rush of nostalgia from the 90s, but I also found a hilarious shot of me smiling like a madman while being strapped into a Mercedes-Benz C-Class German Touring Car (DTM) at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The driver's window says Jan Magnussen, but I believe the driver is actually Bernd Maylander, a driver who now makes his living driving the Safety Car in F1. Now that's an E-Ticket ride! (As always on this blog, click any image to see a larger size of the picture.)