It was 20 years ago Sept 8, 1996, that Alex Zanardi pulled off, and Bryan Herta had an unfortunate front row seat to, one of the greatest passes in the history of motor sports.
“The Pass,” as it simply became known, took place Sept. 8, 1996, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at The Corkscrew turns on the last lap of the Monterey Grand Prix, the final race of the 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series.
The two decades that have since passed have turned the amazing pass into folklore drivers and race fans still talk about.
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.
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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.