The next race was due to take place at Watkins Glen, for the Camel Continental race. Twenty cars would be entered, which was a very scant figure. Two Nissan NPT90s were entered for the first time, which was an achievement for the NPTI team. Geoff Brabham and Derek Daly were teamed together and Chip Robinson and Bob Earl would run the second car
John Paul and Jacques Villeneuve ran the ex-Busby Nissan ZX T GTP car. Willing to stand no chance to lose that race, a ZX T GTP chassis was listed too. TWR also had two cars, with Davy Jones and Alain Ferté joining forces together, while Price Cobb and Jan Lammers shared the other car. AAR had two cars, with Juan Fangio and Drake Olson running solo on both cars. Only two Porsche 962s were entered, which was quite a surprise, as it was a track which suited the car very well. Dyson Racing entered its usual car for Hurley Haywood and James Weaver, and Gianpiero Moretti was partnered by Derek Bell in his familiar Momo car. A new car was to be seen, which was become a welcome addition to the GTP ranks : the Spice SE89P Oldsmobile driven by friends Paul Newman and Michael Brockman.
Copyright Dwight Deal, courtesy Racingsportscars
Tom Kendall and Perry McCarthy were at the wheel of the Spice Engineering car, well supported by the MTI Vacations Spice SE89P Chevrolet driven by Wayne Taylor and Albert Naon. The Lights class featured a six car field, which was disappointing. The favorite car was the works entry driven by Firmin Velez and Tomas Lopez, but they had to keep an eye on the Ferrari powered Spice driven by Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati. Howard Katz and Brian Bonner could do well on such a track. David Tennyson and Calvin Fish were also a pair to be watched upon. Two Kudzu DG1s were entered, and they were regular entries. Jim Downing and John Grooms had a Mazda powerplant, while Charles Morgan and Tom Hessert had a Buick. Uli Bieri and John Graham drove a less conventional Alba AR2, which was, of course, Ferrari powered. Once again, Drake Olson was the fastest in practice with his Toyota Eagle HF89. Davy Jones and Alain Ferté were next to him. The race would again turn into a Nissan victory, which was however hampered by the early retirement of one of the two NPT90s. Geoff Brabham and Derek Daly had to turn to the old ZX T GTP chassis. They would end up in fifth place. Chip Robinson and Bob Earl finally won easily over Hurley Haywood and James Weaver, in the Dyson Racing Porsche 962. TWR was quite unlucky, with Davy Jones and Alain Ferté ending up third with a blown engine close to the chequered. Price Cobb and John Nielsen were fourth. The Lights class seemed to be mimicking the GTP class in terms of screenplay, as the works Spice broke an engine, Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati grabbing the lead they would not release until the chequered. Jim Downing and John Grooms finished second.
The next round was to take place in the sunburnt track of Sears Point. As per usual, a twenty car field would hit the track, but it seemed that every entrant was willing to get one's share of the pie. The two Nissan boys, Geoff Brabham and Chip Robinson were scheduled to run solo. David Seabroke entered his Nissan ZX T GTP, which would be driven by John Paul and Jacques Villeneuve.
They would face two Eagle HF89s, which were solo driven, too. Juan Fangio and Drake Olson were eager to win some more races. The Jaguar XJR10s were driven by two men teams. Davy Jones and Alain Ferté were entered with Price Cobb and John Nielsen. A bunch of Spices was entered, with some high hopes. Perry McCarthy and Jay Cochran drove the Spice Engineering car, Albert Naon was at the wheel of Jim Miller's entry. George Sutcliffe and Bob Lesnett drove the Racecraft entry, which was Pontiac powered. Two Porsche 962s were entered, and James Weaver drove solo the Dyson car, the second car was Bruce Canepa's, which would have its only race of the year. The Lights class, once again, would be Spice dominated. Tomas Lopez was partnered by Dan Marvin, whose skill would be welcomed on this very track. David Tennyson had his Spice SE90P Ferrari, while Ruggero Melgrati and Martino Finotto drove an older version of the Spice.
Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati had several strong races, with wins at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Road America and Tampa.
Copyright Van Zannis, courtesy Racingsportscars
Scott Schubot now had an SE90P, which was still Buick powered. Ken Knott would co-drive him. Two older chassis, aka Firebirds, were entered. David Rocha and Don Bell were on the Huffaker car, and Howard Katz and Brian Bonner were on the Essex Racing entry. The latter team entered the sole Kudzu to be seen. Charles Morgan and Tom Hessert still drove it. The last car being an old Tiga GT288 Chevrolet driven by Carlos Bobeda and Andy Evans. The race was to bring its share of surprises. The practice sessions were dominated by the two Spice Chevrolets. Perry McCarthy and Albert Naon would share the front row. Still, one question remained : would they last? In fact, the answer would come after twenty eight racing laps. Albert Naon led the first twenty two laps, then it Perry McCarthy who took over. After twenty eight laps, he pitted with engine problems. The race then would be Toyota-Nissan battle until the end. This time, the win came to Toyota, with Juan Fangio winning the race by a scant 0.740s. A welcome victory for the AAR team. The Lights class was dominated, as could be expected, by Tomas Lopez and Dan Marvin, who won by a near two lap margin over Charles Morgan and Tom Hessert Kudzu DG1 Buick.
Next race was due to take place in Portland, Oregon. A much more fast track which was to favor the turbocharged engines. The two NPTI Nissan NPT90s should find a more suitable track to their capabilities. Geoff Brabham and Chip Robinson would run solo. The David Seabroke entry was driven by John Paul.
Against them, you could find two Jaguar XJR10s, also solo driven by John Nielsen and Davy Jones. Two Eagle Toyotas were entered, and the brand new HF90 was there, devoted to Juan Fangio, while Drake Olson drove the HF89. Wayne Taylor was listed in Jim Miller's Spice SE89P Chevrolet, and Perry McCarthy and Jay Cochran drove the works Spice. Dan Marvin and David Rocha were again at the wheel of the Huffaker Spice Firebird, and Jim Adams was listed on John Hotschkis Spice SE90P Pontiac. The sole Porsche 962 to be seen was Gianpiero Moretti's car. The Lights class was Spice dominated. Tomas Lopez was co-driven by Parker Johnstone on the Spice Engineering car. The two Ferrari posered cars were driven by the same pair of drivers. Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati in the Bieri Racing car and David Tennyson, this time partnered by David Loring. Charles Morgan was co-driven by Brian Bonner on the Spice, while Tom Hessert would drive the Kudzu solo. Ken Knott drove Scott Schubot Spice. The last car was the less efficient Tiga GT287 Chevrolet entered and driven by Carlos Bobeda, who was co-driven by Andy Evans. The practice session, again was dominated by Geoff Brabham, but Davy Jones was alongside him. He would lead the race in the opening laps, but then had to retire due to a faulty oil cooler. Davy Jones then inherited the lead he would not release. He would easily hold off Drake Olson, who finished second, Wayne Taylor was third, just ahead of Chip Robinson. Nissan had one of its worst results in two years of domination. However, Jaguar's victory was somewhat spoiled by the fact that the team lost its main sponsorship for the next season, Castrol had decided not to renew its contract. The Lights class was yet another victory for Tomas Lopez, but the first one for Parker Johnstone, a long-time RS competitor. The next race was to be held at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The format had changed, and GTPs and Lights would run a 250km race, while GTOs and GTUs had their own race. Thus, the field was reduced to nineteen cars, which was a very thin one on such a track. It suited the Nissan NPT90s perfectly, and Geoff Brabham and Chip Robinson would share the front row. Davy Jones and John Nielsen would try to counteract this domination with their Jaguar XJR10s, and they qualified third and fourth, respectively. Juan Fangio and Drake Olson ran the two Eagles, with the latter at the wheel of the new HF90. It looked like they would be at a disadvantage on such a track. James Weaver was the sole Porsche driver to enter this race. The car had been lightened, thanks to the IMSA's rules, in order to give those cars a new chance at being more competitive. John Paul Jr was running the old Nissan ZX T GTP, but it seemed that the car was clearly outperformed. Three Spices were entered, which were the now usual cars. Jay Cochran drove the Spice Engineering car solo, as did Wayne Taylor with the Jim Miller car. Jim Adams would run the Wynn's Spice Pontiac. The Lights class, still, was Spice dominated. Two Argo JM19s were entered, and the Erie Scientific car was a new entry. Frank Jellinek and John Grooms shared this Mazda powered car. Max Schmidt and Jim Briody had a similar car. Charles Morgan and Tom Hessert were driving the now familiar Kudzu, which was getting more and more refined. They would have to face five Spices, which were still the cars to beat. Tomas Lopez and Parker Johnstone were driving the fastest car, but Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati were improving from race to race. David Tennyson and Dan Marvin, also, were a regular force to be counted upon. Ken Knott and Jim Pace now were driving Scott Schubot's car while Howard Katz and Brian Bonner drove Essex Racing's second car. The rain would be falling before the race, but it stopped when the cars were set on the grid. At the start, Geoff Brabham took the lead, but it seemed that the Jaguars were ready to fight for the win. Davy Jones took the lead on lap two, followed by John Nielsen. The format would remain unchanged for many laps, until Geoff Brabham got past John Nielsen. Behind them, Juan Fangio, Chip Robinson, Rocky Moran, Jay Cochran and Wayne Taylor followed. John Paul Jr was still out of the pace, with his car suffering from engine and boost problems. The rain suddenly was back, but it seemed that only one part of the track would be wet, which would become a problem. Every top driver would come to the pits to switch for rain tires, except Geoff Brabham who gambled on the fact that the rain would stop. He soon overtook Davy Jones, only to lose it later, then recovered it on lap thirty two for good. Surprisingly, when the rain finally spread over the entire track, Geoff Brabham drove masterfully and maintained his position to the chequered. Davy Jones ended up second, Juan Fangio was third and James Weaver finished fourth. The Lights class was won by Ruggero Melgrati and Martino Finotto, in the Spice SE90P Ferrari, who also kept their racing slicks while the rest of the pack changed to wet tires. The two of them winning their class over Tomas Lopez and Parker Johnstone by over a minute. Tomas Lopez, who had consistent high finishes throughout the season, clinched the 1990 Lights title.
The next race was to be held at San Antonio, Texas. That was another street course, and a narrow one. Twenty cars would hit the track, and it would be a kind of classical field. The two Nissan NPT90s were again solo driven by Chip Robinson and Geoff Brabham. They would have to face a tough opposition from Jaguar and Toyota. Davy Jones and Price Cobb were eager to show their strength to the field. The same could be told from the Toyota guys. Juan Fangio and Drake Olson had a well suited weapon. James Weaver was the only Porsche proponant, with a highly modified Porsche 962C. John Paul Jr still drove the former Nissan ZX T GTP, while four Spices were entered. Wayne Taylor was very optimistic as to his chances at winning this race, and Perry McCarthy-Jay Cochran were at the wheel of the works car. Scott Sharp and Mike Brockman drove the Tom Milner SE89P, which was fitted with an Oldsmobile powerplant. Jim Adams and John Hotschkis had their Spice SE90P Pontiac. The Lights class was overwhelmed by Spice cars. The only non-Spice car being the effective Kudzu DG1 Buick driven by Charles Morgan and Tom Hessert. This car was entered by Essex Racing, which also fielded a Spice SE88P Buick driven by Brian Bonner.
Tomas Lopez was again co-driven by Parker Johnstone in the Spice Engineering car. Ruggero Melgrati would drive the Bieri Racing car solo. David Loring was driving David Tennyson's car along with Firmin Velez. David Rocha and Dan Marvin would share the Huffaker entered car. Racecraft entered another Spice SE88P Buick for Greg Gallapsy, C T Hancock and George Sutcliffe. Davy Jones led the driving session, just ahead of Geoff Brabham, with whom he would share the front row. The race would provide a lot of action to the spectators. A tough battle was engaged right from the start between Davy Jones, Geoff Brabham, Wayne Taylor and Perry McCarthy. Juan Fangio, who started from the sixth row, was climbing up the standings. Unfortunately, Davy Jones would hit the wall in the third lap, an incident which happened to be due to throttle problems. Then it was Geoff Brabham followed by Wayne Taylor and Perry McCarthy pushing hard. Price Cobb and James Weaver were just behind. Wayne Taylor retired on lap thirty five, with ignition problems, followed by Perry McCarthy one lap later. A full course yellow followed, due to Ruggero Melgrati's Spice SE90P Ferrari catching fire after a shunt while leading the Lights class. The driver was unhurt, thanks to the firemen. The race then was led by James Weaver, who maintained his position for a few laps, then he spun when a piece of his rear wing got detached. A fierce battle again followed, between Geoff Brabham, Chip Robinson and Juan Fangio swapping their positions many times. Juan Fangio took the lead, while John Paul Jr was able to catch up the group. He would then destroy his car while spinning! Juan Fangio and Chip Robinson were engaged in a relentless battle when Chip Robinson spun, losing twenty seconds or so. That left Juan Fangio in the lead with Chip Robinson still in second place at the end in front of teammate Geoff Brabham, who could not end up ahead of him. The Lights class was one by Tomas Lopez and Parker Johnstone, who won ahead of Ken Knott and Aurelio Lopez, who drove the Schubot Racing car to its best result in the season.
The next race would take place in Tampa, for the Nissan World Challenge. This event was not the European-American challenge it used to be, but it attracted one European entry, which was the Ada Ford driven by Pierre Chauvet. The field was again dominated by the two Nissan NPT90s, driven by Geoff Brabham and Chip Robinson, plus the private David Seabroke entry driven by John Paul Jr. Drake Olson and Rocky Moran would drive the old Eagle HF89, and the new car was devoted to Juan Fangio. Davy Jones and John Nielsen would drive the two Jaguar XJR10s, while Wayne Taylor was eagerly willing to post a win of his own. Gianpiero Moretti had recruited Derek Bell, who was a welcome addition to the team. Jay Cochran would drive the Spice SE90P solo, while George Sutcliffe and Bob Lesnett drove a new Spice SE90P Buick, which had a 6,0L displacement. Scott Sharp was the last Spice entry, along with Pierre Chauvet, in the aforementioned ADA Ford. The Lights class provided no surprise, with the Spices still outnumbering the field. Tomas Lopez was again with Firmin Velez, while Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati were back with a new car, which they purchased from David Tennyson. Brian Bonner was partnered by Jan Tingdal on the Essex car, a team which fielded the Kudzu, driven by Tom Hessert and Charles Morgan.
Copyright Kirk Hoffman, courtesy Racingsportscars
Ken Knott was again at the wheel of the Spice SE89P Buick entered by Scott Schubot and Brent o'neill was back with his Argo JM19 Buick. Chip Robinson was on the pole, with Geoff Brabham alongside, at the start of the race. The two of them would lead the race until lap 102. However, the threatening weather turned into a storm. The track, which was kind of slippery, became nearly unpracticable. Every car went into the pits for rain tires, and James Weaver took the lead. The weather was so dull, that the race was to be shortened, and James Weaver finally won. It was his first victory of the season, and he earned a $60000 Camel pyramid bonus. Second was Chip Robinson, who could still be the Camel GT Champion. Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati were happy with another win after the loss of their car in the previous race. Tomas Lopez and Firmin Velez finished second.
Copyright Steve Dilts, courtesy Racingsportscars
The last race took place at Del Mar, and this race should determine which driver would become the 1990 Champion. The two Nissan drivers were aware of the fact that they were not allowed any mistake, so they had to focus their mind on their race. Their opponents were less oppressed. Juan Fangio and Rocky Moran knew they had a car which was perfectly suited to the track. The Jaguar boys too, Davy Jones and Martin Brundle were steadily running fast. John Paul Jr had his car rebuilt, and he was still very fast. Spice Engineering fielded a car for Jay Cochran, who shared his drive with Al Unser Jr. Wayne Taylor ran solo the Spice SE90P entered by Jim Miller. A new car to be seen was the HDF Motorsport Spice Pontiac, driven by Jeff Davis. John Hotschkis and Jim Adams rounded out the GTP entry list with their Spice Pontiac. The Lights class was to be turned by a brand new car, which was entered by Comptech Racing. This Spice Pontiac, driven by Parker Johnstone and Doug Peterson, would dominate its class right from the box. David Tennyson was partnered by Firmin Velez, while Martino Finotto and Ruggero Melgrati had a brand new car. Ken Knott was sharing his drive with Charles Hausmann, and Michael Dow would drive the second HDF Motorsport car, a Spice SE89P Buick, with Bob Lesnett. Tom Birden was at the wheel of Carlos Bobeda's Tiga GT287 Chevrolet. David Rocha and Dan Marvin would drive the Taco Bell Huffaker Racing Spice Firebird. Charles Morgan and Tom Hessert were faithful to the Kudzu, with Brian Bonner on the team's Spice. Jay Cochran was the surprise pole winner, showing how good the car could be in practice form. The race would less convincing, with an accident on lap eighteen. Geoff Brabham was on the outside of row one. In fact, he would run a very cautious race. He would spin by mid race, and he finally ended up fifth. Juan Fangio grabbed another win, preceding Davy Jones in the Jaguar XJR10. John Paul Jr in the BF Goodrich Nissan ZX T GTP. Geoff Brabham was the 1990 IMSA Champion, just ahead of Chip Robinson, while Nissan was the 1990 Manufacturers Champion. The Lights class was won the Comptech Racing Spice Pontiac, driven by Parker Johnstone and Doug Peterson, who dominated the week end and easily won their class over David Tennyson in the Denon Spice Ferrari. Tomas Lopez, a quite unknown Mexican driver, was the 1990 Lights class Champion. The season was over and Nissan was again emerging on top of the IMSA charts. But the opposition was getting stronger, and the year to come would bring a lot of excitement.