Andretti and Sullivan Resume Rivalry in Meadowlands Race
Who’s going to stop Mario Andretti?
The likable little Italian-born driver rules the CART circuit with victories in three of the four Indy car races run this season. Andretti’s only loss, and by a slim margin, was to Danny Sullivan in last month’s Indianapolis 500.
Today’s race at the Meadowlands is CART’s first Eastern swing of the season. The second and final one in 1985 is at Pocono, Pa., in August.
Last year, Andretti won the 1.68 mile Meadowlands Grand Prix in the rain. Guess who finished second? Danny Sullivan. It’s becoming a habit between the two drivers to closely contest a race. In the season opener at Long Beach, Calif., Sullivan led Andretti for most of the latter part of the race and then ran out of fuel when he seemingly had the checkered flag in his pocket.
However, in Andretti’s Rex Mays victory at West Allis, Wis., Sullivan was a lap back in fourth place and went out early at Portland with broken steering mechanism.
Currently Sullivan, who earned a half-million dollars by winning Indy, leads CART drivers in money earnings with $591,924. Andretti is second with $481,164. There’s no contest in the driver standings. Andretti has 81 points to 47 for runner-up Sullivan.
The Meadowlands Complex, which includes the homes of the New York football Giants, the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, the NHL’s Devils and a major horse race track, presents a homey atmosphere this year at the auto race. Fans now can bring picnic lunches (no bottles or cans) to their seats and are permitted to return to their cars for additional refreshments. Last year, if a person left the race area, he was locked out for the duration.
“We were too restrictive last year,” says Meadowlands publicist Les Unger. “We treated racing people like football, basketball or hockey fans. Now we practically have an aura of a country fair. People come early and stay late. We want to make it comfortable for them where they can move around.”