Jimmy Vasser relays a funny story about “The Pass” (VIDEO)

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One of the things I’m keen to highlight this year on MotorSportsTalk is the 1996 open-wheel season, which was a fairly divisive one in the grand scheme of things as it marked the first year of the split between CART and the Indy Racing League.

But it was also the year that Target Chip Ganassi Racing took its first CART championship, when Jimmy Vasser secured the 1996 title at Laguna Seca Raceway – now Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Vasser’s title triumph, however, was overshadowed by teammate Alex Zanardi in his final race of the rookie year.

Zanardi put the move on Bryan Herta at the top of the Corkscrew that was probably illegal, but who cares, because it was epic… and it came to be known simply as “The Pass.”

We have to thank Zanardi – who remains an inspiration 20 years later – for digging into the archives and finding this gem, which is Vasser’s even funnier retelling of the story from his perspective.

And if you need to rewatch “The Pass” itself, it’s linked below:

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.