Tommy Kendall Returns
dailysportscar.comThose of us who have followed American sportscar racing since the days when men were men, and sportscars had roofs, will recall the name Tommy Kendall as one of the main players in the IMSA and Trans-Am series of the late '80s and early '90s. After a few years away from active competition to pursue other interests, such as a broadcasting career, Kendall will drive a Rocketsports Jaguar in the 2004 Trans-Am. He still holds the record for the most consecutive race wins in one T/A season (11 out of 13 races, in 1997).

Still the youngest champion in IMSA history, and at 6'5" one of the tallest drivers in the business, Kendall began his IMSA career with a run of three successive GTU titles from 1986 to 1988, followed by his first stint in Trans-Am. With the 1990 T/A Championship in the bag, he linked up with MTI to drive the all-American, Riley-designed Intrepid GTP; but his career was violently interrupted by a nasty high-speed crash at Watkins Glen. His return to competition in 1993 coincided with IMSA's decline, and after securing the GTS Championship he set out to make Trans-Am his own; 1995 to 1997 saw another "triple". More recently, Kendall was associated with the Saleen / Allen Speedlab team at its 2000 debut at Laguna Seca (below), but the prospect of a competitive season in the works-entered S7-R was never fulfilled.

Today, Kendall's return to a troubled Trans-Am can be seen not only as the welcome return of a great champion but also as an attempt by series owner Paul Gentilozzi to restore some of the series' former glory. Kendall is so far the only confirmed Rocketsports entry: his comeback season will begin on April 16-18 at Long Beach.
Johannes Gauglica


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