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Tommy Kendall (born October 17, 1966 in Santa Monica, California) is an American race car driver and television broadcaster. He is best known for his IMSA GT Championship and SCCA Trans-Am Series career.
Son of race driver Charles Kendall, Tommy began his racing career competing at the IMSA GT Championship. He drove a Mazda RX-7 in the GTU category while studying and by the time he completed his studies, he took the 1986 and 1987 championships. Later he won three other titles in the same car, which he still owns.
He later dominated the SCCA Trans-Am Series in the 1990s, scoring four series championships. His greatest year came in 1997, when he managed to win every single race on the schedule, except for the last two—almost a perfect season. During this time, Kendall was also honored by representing the series for six IROC seasons.
He ran in fourteen NASCAR Winston Cup races between 1987 to 1998. He raced primarily only on road courses (see road course ringer), and scored one Top-10 finish. He nearly won the 1991 Banquet Frozen Foods 300K at Sears Point Raceway before cutting a tire with two laps to go. He had a single start in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Kendall also had one start with Dick Johnson Racing at the 1996 AMP Bathurst 1000 co-driving with Steven Johnson, the son of team boss Dick Johnson. Johnson and Kendall finished 8th in their Ford Falcon. Of the American drivers who have competed in the Bathurst 1000 since the race moved to Bathurst in 1963 (including four time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, Janet Guthrie, Sam Posey and Bob Tullius), Tommy Kendall is the only one to have ever finished the race.
On June 30, 1991 Kendall encountered serious injuries at Watkins Glen when a mechanical failure caused his Intrepid RM-1 IMSA GTP car to leave the track. This occurred along the same area of track where J. D. McDuffie of NASCAR Winston Cup fame lost his life only a month later. Kendall speaks of this incident during Episode 4, Season 2 of the Speed Channel series, Setup as a "crossroads in his racing career." He returned to racing over a year later in August 1992. He also discusses his accident on Athlete 360, the sports medicine television show hosted by Mark Adickes.
In the 2000s, Kendall became a television analyst for the Champ Car series. He is also the host of the Speed Test Drive promotional television series where he and another professional race car driver drive a new vehicle on a race course while being able to remotely talk to each other and offer their positive thoughts on the car.
In 2007 and 2008, Kendall was one of the hosts of the show Setup on SpeedTV.
On July 15, 2012, Kendall revealed on SpeedTV's WindTunnel program that he would be returning to the cockpit as one of four full-time drivers in a factory-backed Dodge Viper effort competing in the American Le Mans Series.
24 Hours of Le Mans results
|2000||Konrad Motorsport|| Charles Slater
Jürgen von Gartzen
|Porsche 911 GT2||GTS||317||14th||7th|
|2013||SRT Motorsports|| Jonathan Bomarito
|SRT Viper GTS-R||GTE Pro||301||32nd||9th|