Point-Leader Sullivan Nears Title After Down-and-Up Year
Danny Sullivan has had an up-and-down year on the Indy-car circuit--make that a down-and-up year--in pursuit of his first season driving championship.
Sullivan is the points leader with 128 heading into today’s 200-mile Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Pennsylvania International Raceway in nearby Nazareth. He leads despite getting only 2 points through the first 3 races of the season, including an early exit in the Indianapolis 500.
“I didn’t think there was any way to ever catch up, much less get in the lead of a championship,” Sullivan said recently.
With 3 races remaining on the 15-race schedule, Sullivan leads 2-time defending champion Bobby Rahal by 5 points and Al Unser Jr. by 8. Five other drivers remain in contention for the $300,000 CART-PPG championship bonus.
At Indianapolis, Sullivan started second, led 91 of the first 94 laps but crashed on lap 101.
“Indy was a crusher,” Sullivan said. “And then it all started to change.”
Since Indy, Sullivan has won the Portland 200 and the Marlboro 500 at Brooklyn, Mich. He has missed the top 5 only once, that in the Quaker State 500 at Pocono International Raceway. In that race at Long Pond, Pa., Dick Simon collided with front-running Mario Andretti, and that accident caused the 2nd-place Sullivan to crash as well.
“That was, for me, the second biggest disappointment,” said Sullivan, whose best finish in the driver standings was third in 1986. “I think that the championship will be determined by something like that.”