Tommy Kendall, host of SpeedTv’s Test Drive, dominated the 1997 SCCA Trans-Am season in the All-Sport sponsored Mustang Cobra. Roush Racing constructed Tom Kendall's 1997 championship winning car. Roush chose to use a 310 cubic inch V8 pushrod motor. The engine was a cast-iron block with aluminum cylinder heads. It was estimated that this combination produced about 650 horsepower at 8,200 rpm.





Photo Credit: Ford



The minimum weight for a car using a 310 cubic inch engine was 2,600 pounds but after the driver and fuel were added that total would be closer to 2,800 pounds. The power in the Mustang was transferred to the rear wheels through a 5-speed Hewland sequential transmission and 9 inch Ford rearend.



Kendall and the Roush Racing team began their win streak at the opening race of the season. In 1997 the series started in February at the St. Petersburg street course where Kendall had to come back from a spin to take the victory. Kendall's next win was at Phoenix, which was followed by victories at Lime Rock, Detroit, Mid Ohio and Minnesota. Throughout the season Kendall and the Roush Mustang set new records. His seventh win of the 1997 series at Cleveland put his career earnings over $1 million and in doing so he became the first Trans Am driver to reach this milestone. By the end of August he had taken wins at Trois Rivieres, Watkins Glen, Road America and Mosport. Kendall's ninth straight victory, which was at Watkins Glen, surpassed the previous record of eight consecutive Trans Am wins set by the late Mark Donohue in 1968.







In an ironic twist it was Jerry Titus who ended Donohue's streak and as a result of his accomplishments during the year Kendall won the Jerry Titus Award - voted on by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association to recognize the driver of the year. The victory at Road America allowed him to clinch the 1997 Drivers' Championship. This was his third consecutive title and fourth of his career making him the first driver in series history to achieve these milestones. The Ford Mustang easily took the Trans-Am Manufacturers' Championship outperforming the Camaro and Pontiac Grand-Prix with 13 wins in 13 races.

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