1988 CART PPG Indy Car World Series

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1988 CART season
PPG Indy Car World Series
Season
Races 16
Start date April 10
End date November 6
Awards
Drivers' champion United States Danny Sullivan
Constructors' Cup United Kingdom Lola
Manufacturers' Cup United States Chevrolet
Nations' Cup United States United States
Rookie of the Year Canada John Jones
Indianapolis 500 winner United States Rick Mears
Chronology
Previous season Next season
1987 1989

The 1988 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season was the 10h national championship season of American open wheel racing sanctioned by CART. The season consisted of 15 races, and one non-points exhibition event. Danny Sullivan was the national champion, winning for Penske Racing. The rookie of the year was John Jones. The 1988 Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, but counted towards the CART points championship. Rick Mears won the Indy 500, his third victory at Indy.

The 1988 season was the breakout year for the Ilmor Chevrolet Indy V-8 engine. After being introduced in 1986, and earning its first victory in 1987, the Ilmor Chevy dominated the series in 1988, and established itself as the best powerplant on the circuit. Chevy won 14 of the 15 races, and all 15 pole positions. Along the way, the Ilmor Chevy earned its first victory at Indianapolis in 1988, with Rick Mears winning from the pole.

Danny Sullivan won four races, nine pole positions, and had 11 top five finishes en route to the championship title. Sullivan got off to a slow start, but at Indy, he and his Penske teammates (Rick Mears and Al Unser, Sr.) dominated the month of May. The Penske team swept all three spots on the front row, and led 192 of the 200 laps. Sullivan himself qualified second and dominated the first half of the race. He dropped out just beyond the halfway point when a wing adjuster failed and sent his car into the wall. He rebounded over the next six races, posting two wins and no finish worse than 4th.

Sullivan's nearest competitors during the season were Al Unser, Jr. and Bobby Rahal. Unser, Jr. left Shierson Racing and returned to Galles Racing for 1988, and also got use of the coveted Chevrolet engine. Unser won at Long Beach and Toronto, then won a controversial race at the Meadowlands. Battling for the lead in the late stages of the race, he tangled with Emerson Fittipaldi, sending Fittipaldi into the tire barrier.

Back-to-back defending CART champion, and 1986 Indy winner Bobby Rahal returned for his last season at Truesports. The team dropped the Cosworth DFX and the took up development of the Judd AV engine. The engine was known to be down on horsepower, but excelled in fuel mileage and reliability, particularly in the 500-mile races. Rahal finished 4th at Indy, second at the Michigan 500, and won the Pocono 500. His ten top five finishes kept him in contention for the title, but with only one win, he was struggling to keep pace with the Chevy-powered teams.

After winning the Michigan 500, Danny Sullivan took the points lead for the first time all year. The lead was short-lived, however, as he wrecked at Pocono. Rahal and Unser, Jr. finished 1-2 at Pocono, and the top three in the standings were separated by only 5 points with five races remaining.

At Mid-Ohio, Rahal crashed out, and his title hopes began to fade. Sullivan and Unser were separated by 1 point with four races to go. All three drivers finished strong at Road America, and the championship battle pushed on. The turning point of the season came at Nazareth. Al Unser, Jr. blew his engine, Rahal was not a factor, but Sullivan dominated. Sullivan started from the pole, and led the final 74 laps to score a crucial victory. With only two races left, Sullivan had a commanding 25-point lead. At the second-to-last race of the season at Laguna Seca, Sullivan won the pole, led the most laps, and won the race. With still one race left, Sullivan clinched the 1988 CART title, holding an insurmountable 35-point lead. It was Sullivan's first championship title and Penske's first since 1985.

With the championship decided for Sullivan, the season finale at Miami became a race to see who would finish second in points. Rahal held an 8-point lead over Al Unser, Jr., with Mario Andretti and Rick Mears also lurking in 4th and 5th, respectively. Unser, Jr. dominated the race, leading 82 (of 112) laps and winning for the second time at the Tamiami Park circuit. Rahal blew an engine, Mario Andretti dropped out, and Mears finished second. The results saw a shake up in the standings, with Unser, Jr. finishing second in points, Rahal third, and Mears slipping ahead of Andretti by 3 points for 4th and 5th.

Other stories from 1988 included A. J. Foyt returning to a full-time schedule (from 1980-1987, he only ran a partial schedule), and the Porsche Indy car team expanding to full-time with driver Teo Fabi. Rookie John Andretti suffered a devastating crash at the Pocono 500, but would recover before the end of the season. Jim Crawford, who suffered serious leg injuries in a crash in 1987, returned to the cockpit with a notable run at Indianapolis where he led 8 laps and finished 6th, the best result to-date for the Buick V-6 engine.

Drivers and constructors[edit]

The following teams and drivers competed for the 1988 Indy Car World Series.

Team Chassis Engine Tires No Drivers Notes
United States Newman/Haas Racing Lola Chevrolet G 6 United States Mario Andretti
United States Patrick Racing March/Lola Chevrolet G 20 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi
United States Galles Racing March Chevrolet/Cosworth G 3 United States Al Unser, Jr.
United States Team Penske Penske Chevrolet G 5 United States Rick Mears
9 United States Danny Sullivan
1/60 United States Al Unser Indianapolis 500, Michigan & Pocono only
United States Porsche North America March Porsche G 8 Italy Teo Fabi
United States Truesports Lola Judd/Cosworth G 1/4 United States Bobby Rahal
United States Kraco Racing March/Lola Cosworth G 18 United States Michael Andretti
United States Doug Shierson Racing March/Lola Cosworth G 30 Brazil Raul Boesel
United States Raynor Racing Lola Cosworth G 10 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly
United States Arciero Racing March Cosworth G 12 Canada John Jones did not qualify at Indianapolis 500
United States Granatelli Racing Lola/March Cosworth/Chevrolet G 2/4 Colombia Roberto Guerrero did not qualify at Milwaukee,
not competing at Toronto & Meadowlands
2/4 United States Al Unser Toronto & Meadowlands only
58/71/85 United States Gordon Johncock Michigan & Pocono only, did not qualify at Indianapolis 500
United States Machinists Union Racing March Cosworth G 11 United States Kevin Cogan not competing at Meadowlands, Michigan, Pocono & Mid-Ohio
United States Scott Pruett Meadowlands & Mid-Ohio only
55 United States Scott Atchison did not qualify at Indianapolis 500 & Nazareth
29/11 United States Rich Vogler Indianapolis 500, Michigan & Pocono only
Buick 28 United States Pancho Carter Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify
United States Dick Simon Racing Lola Cosworth G 7 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk
22 United States Dick Simon Phoenix, Indianapolis 500, Milwaukee, Michigan, Pocono &
Nazareth only
United States Scott Pruett Long Beach only
Belgium Didier Theys Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Meadowlands, Mid-Ohio,
Road America, Laguna Seca & Tamiami Park only
23 Italy Fulvio Ballabio Long Beach, Mid-Ohio & Road America only
Finland Tero Palmroth Indianapolis 500 & Portland only
Switzerland Jean-Pierre Frey Laguna Seca & Tamiami Park only
United States A. J. Foyt Enterprises Lola Cosworth G 14 United States A. J. Foyt withdrew (ill) at Michigan
United States Johnny Rutherford Michigan only
United States Johnny Parsons Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify
March 48 United States Rocky Moran Indianapolis 500 only
Chevrolet 84 United States Stan Fox Indianapolis 500 only
United States Bettenhausen Motorsports Lola/March Cosworth/Judd G 16 United States Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. did not qualify at Long Beach,
not competing at Portland & Tamiami Park
United States Dennis Vitolo Tamiami Park only
United States Alex Morales Motorsports March Cosworth G 21 United States Howdy Holmes
United States Hemelgarn Racing Lola Judd/Cosworth/Buick G 91 United States Scott Brayton not competing at Mid-Ohio, Road America & Laguna Seca
71 Canada Ludwig Heimrath not competing at Phoenix, Milwaukee, Michigan, Pocono,
Nazareth & Laguna Seca
United States Ken Johnson Laguna Seca only
81/71 United States Tom Sneva Indianapolis 500 & Michigan only
United States Gohr Racing March Cosworth G 56 United States Rocky Moran Long Beach, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Meadowlands, Mid-Ohio,
Road America, Laguna Seca & Tamiami Park only
United States Billy Vukovich III Phoenix, Indianapolis 500, Michigan & Pocono only
United States Bernstein Racing Lola Buick G 15 United Kingdom Jim Crawford Indianapolis 500 only
17 United States Johnny Rutherford Indianapolis 500 only
United States Curb Racing Lola Cosworth G 98 United States John Andretti not competing at Mid-Ohio, Road America, Laguna Seca &
Tamiami Park
United States Gary Trout Motorsports March Cosworth G 33 United States Steve Chassey Indianapolis 500 only
35 United States Ed Pimm Mid-Ohio & Road America only
United States Leader Card Racing Lola Cosworth G 24 United States Randy Lewis not competing at Nazareth
16 United States Dominic Dobson Portland only
United States Dobson Motorsports Lola Cosworth G 17/92 United States Dominic Dobson Indianapolis 500 & Laguna Seca only
United States Dale Coyne Racing March Chevrolet G 19 United States Dale Coyne Milwaukee, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Meadowlands,
Michigan, Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca & Tamiami Park only
did not qualify at Indianapolis 500, Pocono & Nazareth
did not start at Phoenix & Road America
United States Dominic Dobson Long Beach only
United States Los Angeles Drywall March Cosworth G 27 United States Dick Ferguson Long Beach only, did not qualify at Indianapolis 500
United States Ed Pimm did not qualify at Indianapolis 500
United States KargoStopper Lola Cosworth G 88 United States Darin Brassfield Mid-Ohio & Laguna Seca only
United States BDR Racing March Cosworth G 43 United States Steve Bren Laguna Seca only
United States Andale Racing March Cosworth G 69 Mexico Bernard Jourdain Laguna Seca & Tamiami Park only
United States U.S. Engineering March Cosworth G 77 United States Phil Krueger Cleveland, Michigan & Pocono only
United States Kent Baker Racing March Cosworth G 97 United States Phil Krueger Indianapolis 500 only
United States Scheid Tire Centers March Cosworth G 46 United States Gary Bettenhausen Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify
United States Calumet Farms March Chevrolet G 84 United States George Snider Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify
United States GF Racing March Cosworth G 25 Brazil Giupponi Franca Mid-Ohio & Laguna Seca only but did not qualify
Brazil José Romano Road America & Tamiami Park only but did not qualify
United States Indiana Carbon March Cosworth G 87 United States Spike Gehlhausen Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify
United States Mergard March Cosworth G 36 United States Harry Sauce Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify
United States Performers, Inc. March Cosworth G 77 United States Tom Bigelow Indianapolis 500 only but did not qualify

Results[edit]

Races[edit]

Rnd Date Race Name Circuit City/Location Pole position Winning driver Winning team Report
1 April 10 Checker 200 Phoenix International Raceway Phoenix, Arizona United States Rick Mears United States Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Report
2 April 17 Long Beach Grand Prix Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, California United States Danny Sullivan United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles Racing Report
3 May 29 72nd Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, Indiana United States Rick Mears United States Rick Mears Team Penske Report
4 June 5 Dana-Rex Mays 200 Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wisconsin United States Michael Andretti United States Rick Mears Team Penske Report
5 June 19 Budweiser/G. I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway Portland, Oregon United States Danny Sullivan United States Danny Sullivan Team Penske Report
6 July 3 Cleveland Grand Prix Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport Cleveland, Ohio United States Danny Sullivan United States Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Report
7 July 17 Molson Indy Toronto Exhibition Place Toronto, Ontario United States Danny Sullivan United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles Racing Report
8 July 24 Meadowlands Grand Prix Meadowlands Sports Complex East Rutherford, New Jersey Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles Racing Report
9 August 7 Marlboro 500 Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Michigan United States Rick Mears United States Danny Sullivan Team Penske Report
10 August 21 Quaker State 500 Pocono Raceway Long Pond, Pennsylvania United States Rick Mears United States Bobby Rahal Truesports Report
11 September 4 Escort Radar Warning 200 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio United States Danny Sullivan Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Patrick Racing Report
12 September 11 Race for Life 200 Road America Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin United States Danny Sullivan Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Patrick Racing Report
13 September 25 Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Nazareth Speedway Nazareth, Pennsylvania United States Danny Sullivan United States Danny Sullivan Team Penske Report
14 October 16 Champion Spark Plug 300 Laguna Seca Raceway Monterey, California United States Danny Sullivan United States Danny Sullivan Team Penske Report
NC November 5 Marlboro Challenge Tamiami Park University Park, Florida United States Danny Sullivan United States Michael Andretti Kraco Racing Report
15 November 6 Miami Indy Challenge Tamiami Park University Park, Florida United States Danny Sullivan United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles Racing Report
  Oval/Speedway
  Road Course/Street Circuit
  Non-championship race
  • Indianapolis was USAC-sanctioned but counted towards the CART title.

Full Series Results[edit]

Final driver standings[edit]

Pos Driver
PHX

LBH

INDY

MIL

POR

CLE

TOR

MEA

MIC

POC

MDO

ROA

NAZ

LAG

MIA
Pts
1 United States Danny Sullivan 23 13 23* 2 1 3* 2 4 1 18 5 4 1 1* 5 182
2 United States Al Unser, Jr. 18 1* 13 20 4 4 1* 1 21 2 4 7 19 6 1* 149
3 United States Bobby Rahal 16 2 5 6 12 2 5 5 2 1 18 2 12 4 18 136
4 United States Rick Mears 22 8 1 1* 6 23 6 3 13* 23 3 12 7* 5 2 129
5 United States Mario Andretti 1* 15 20 17 5 1 25 2 12 17 2 3 3 3 15 126
6 United States Michael Andretti 3 7 4 7 11 14 3 6 3 25 26 5 2 2 17 119
7 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 21 16 2 3 3 19 4 14* 19 21 1* 1* 8 16 20 105
8 Brazil Raul Boesel 5 4 7 4 26 5 8 9 11 5 6 14 5 21 22 89
9 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly 13 5 29 11 19 6 23 24 16 4 9 6 10 7 23 53
10 Italy Teo Fabi 7 24 28 9 7 24 10 18 25 24 8 8 4 10 21 44
11 Canada John Jones 20 12 DNQ 14 8 7 7 7 8 8 7 13 11 11 16 44
12 Colombia Roberto Guerrero 2 19 32 DNQ 14 20 20 3 11 22 6 14 26 40
13 United States Kevin Cogan 8 3 11 22 20 10 24 24 15 9 4 40
14 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk 9 10 10 15 2* 18 20 20 28 26 25 19 9 22 14 31
15 Belgium Didier Theys 10 9 18 21 10 23 8 3 29
16 United States A. J. Foyt 4 11 26 5 15 11 15 17 Wth 16 22 10 17 24 25 29
17 United States Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. 6 DNQ 33 19 15 17 8 4 15 16 16 13 26 25
18 United States Howdy Holmes 10 17 12 8 16 13 11 23 23 7 14 11 14 23 8 24
19 United States Al Unser 3 9 19 9 13* 23
20 United States Scott Atchison 12 9 DNQ 16 25 12 13 10 10 12 15 20 DNQ 25 9 17
21 United States Gordon Johncock DNQ 6 6 16
22 United States Phil Krueger 8 17 5 22 15
23 United States Scott Brayton 15 23 31 10 9 16 14 11 26 10 18 24 12
24 United States Dick Simon 19 9 12 7 19 20 11
25 United States Rocky Moran 6 16 13 22 12 15 13 17 28 13 9
26 Mexico Bernard Jourdain 20 6 8
27 United Kingdom Jim Crawford 6 8
28 Canada Ludwig Heimrath 14 25 23 26 19 12 19 21 7 7
29 United States Randy Lewis 17 21 15 21 22 21 21 13 14 20 21 9 15 10 7
30 United States Billy Vukovich III 11 14 17 9 6
31 United States John Andretti 14 20 21 18 17 8 22 25 24 14 16 5
32 United States Rich Vogler 17 15 11 2
33 United States Dennis Vitolo 11 2
34 United States Dale Coyne DNS DNQ 13 24 25 16 22 27 DNQ 24 DNS DNQ 27 12 1
35 United States Ed Pimm DNQ 12 15 1
36 United States Ken Johnson 12 1
37 Switzerland Jean-Pierre Frey 13 19 0
38 United States Scott Pruett 18 16 20 0
39 Italy Fulvio Ballabio 25 17 18 0
40 United States Steve Bren 17 0
41 United States Dominic Dobson 26 18 21 18 0
42 Finland Tero Palmroth 19 18 0
43 United States Johnny Rutherford 22 18 0
44 United States Darin Brassfield 23 19 0
45 United States Tom Sneva 27 22 0
46 United States Dick Ferguson 22 DNQ 0
47 United States Steve Chassey 24 0
48 United States Stan Fox 30 0
United States Gary Bettenhausen DNQ 0
United States Tom Bigelow DNQ 0
United States Pancho Carter DNQ 0
Brazil Giupponi Franca DNQ DNQ 0
United States Spike Gehlhausen DNQ 0
United States Johnny Parsons DNQ 0
Brazil José Romano DNQ DNQ 0
United States Harry Sauce DNQ 0
United States George Snider DNQ 0
Pos Driver PHX LBH INDY MIL POR CLE TOR MEA MIC POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG MIA Pts
Color Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green 4th & 5th place
Light Blue 6th-10th place
Dark Blue Finished
(Outside Top 10)
Purple Did not finish
Red Did not qualify
(DNQ)
Brown Withdrawn
(Wth)
Black Disqualified
(DSQ)
White Did not start
(DNS)
Blank Did not
participate
(DNP)
Not competing
In-line notation
Bold Pole position
* Led most race laps
Rookie of the Year
Rookie

Point Scoring System:

  • Points are awarded based on each driver's resulting place (regardless of whether the car is running at the end of the race):
Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Points 20 16 14 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1

Bonus Points:

  • 1 For Pole Position
  • 1 For Leading The Most Laps Of The Race

Nation's Cup[edit]

  • Top result per race counts towards Nation's Cup.
Pos Country Pts
1 United States United States 317
2 Brazil Brazil 158
3 Italy Italy 52
4 Canada Canada 50
5 Republic of Ireland Ireland 45
6 Colombia Colombia 40
7 Netherlands Netherlands 31
8 Belgium Belgium 29
9 Mexico Mexico 8
10 England England 8
11 Switzerland Switzerland 0
12 Finland Finland 0
Pos Country Pts

Chassis Constructor's Cup[edit]

Pos Chassis Pts
1 United Kingdom Lola T8800/T8700 248
2 United States Penske PC-17 231
3 United Kingdom March 88C/87C/86C/85C 222
Pos Chassis Pts

Engine Manufacturer's Cup[edit]

Pos Engine Pts
1 United States Chevrolet A 320
2 United Kingdom Cosworth 206
3 United Kingdom Judd 131
4 Germany Porsche 44
5 United States Buick 8
Pos Engine Pts

References[edit]

See also[edit]