The 1997 season will be remembered as the year Tommy Kendall awoke to find all of his dreams had come true by scoring 11 consecutive victories en route to his record fourth and third straight Championship. Kendall's remarkable winning streak set records in the Trans Am, SCCA Pro Racing and professional road racing worldwide.
On breaking those streaks in 1997, “I’d followed Senna’s streak when he was in the F3, and I’d known of Ascari’s consecutive wins,” said Kendall. “Breaking these streaks, it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t sink in until far down the road. It’s just hard to fathom. For years to come it will continue to gain significance in my mind.”
To this day, nearly 18 years after it was set, Kendall’s 1997 11-race streak remains the longest winning streak in professional road racing history. His record is only eclipsed by Steve Kinser who holds the longest streak in professional auto racing with 12 wins in a row during the 1987 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Championship.
On June 18, Kendall was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He joined the ranks of fellow Hall of Fame Inductees Ricky Carmichael, Walter Evens, Warren Johnson, Mark Martin, Duke Nalon and Lloyd Ruby.
Kendall retired from driving at the end of the 2013 season. He spent the latter part of his career transitioning into a broadcasting career, and most recently covered the 2015 edition of the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Photos collected from 1997-1998 SportsCar articles