Dale Earnhardt sat in a hospitality suite and watched Al Unser Jr. help him win a second International Race of Champions title.
Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, was knocked out of the 50-lap, 100-mile race early and was relegated to watching the all-star event at Michigan International Speedway on closed-circuit television.
But Earnhardt was smiling as defending IndyCar PPG Cup champion Unser held off SCCA Trans-Am star Tommy Kendall to earn a record ninth IROC victory.
Mark Martin, who came into the fourth and final IROC race of the season trailing fellow NASCAR competitor Earnhardt by 10 points, never got closer than third in the 11-car field and wound up fifth, losing the title by four points, 61-57.
Unheralded Parker Johnstone, in his first oval race, won the pole for today’s Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway at Brooklyn, Mich. His pole speed of 230.458 mph was nearly 2 mph faster than runner-up Teo Fabi’s 228.526.
At Hockenheim, Germany, Damon Hill clinched the pole position for the German Grand Prix by posting the fastest time in the final qualifying session by clocking 1 minute, 44.385 seconds in his WilliamsRenault over the 4.240-mile Hockenheim Ring, for an average speed of 141.185 mph.