IndyCar: A huge crowd attended the 1996 Laguna Seca IndyCar race

The photos below from the 1996 CART IndyCar race at Laguna Seca underscores how popular IndyCar was when CART ran things.

The 1996 race was attended by 300% more people than attended this year’s IndyCar grand finale. Since Tony George destroyed the sport, it has never been the same.

It was the day when Alex Zanardi completed the move known as “The Pass” on Bryan Herta at the Corkscrew at the top of the hill.

Herta, driving the No. 28 Rahal Reynard Mercedes, was leading Zanardi, who started from pole in the No. 4 Target Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda, on the 83rd and final lap. As the two entered the braking zone at the top of The Corkscrew, Zanardi dove left to the inside entering Turn 8, came in hot so the car shot to the outside on exit of Turn 8 but with the lead. The entire car was outside the rumble strip to the right and Zanardi’s right-side tires were in the dirt both entering and exiting Turn 8A, the exit of The Corkscrew. He went on to win the race, his third of the year, while teammate Jimmy Vasser finished fourth and clinched the championship for Target Ganassi Racing.

The place was packed in 1996
They were hanging from the rooftops in 1996
There were cars parked as far as the eye could see. Then Tony George destroyed it all
Alex Zanardi makes “The Pass” on Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996


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