OldRacingCars.com

Chuck Dietrich in his Formula B McLaren M4B at Lime Rock in 1968.  Copyright Jeff Savage 2011.  Used with permission.

US Formula B 1968

The Formula A cars were now 5-litre and dominated the Continental Championship, leaving the FB cars to scrap over class honours. Only Bill Brack and Chuck Dietrich were doing a full program and both also had domestic titles to worry about: Brack winning several rounds of the Canadian Eastern series and Dietrich comfortably winning the SCCA Central Division title. Brack was first FB car home only once at a Pro series races but was second three times; Dietrich had two class wins and one second place.

If the SCCA's preferred 9-6-4 points system had been used, Brack would have won the 1968 FB class title by a single point from Dietrich. Joe Alves, Mike Hiss, Peter Rehl, Fred Stevenson and Mike Eyerly won the other five races but none of them scored any other points in this nominal championship. Hiss and Stevenson were also fastest FB qualifiers at other races but the most eye-catching performance was that of Eyerly, easily outqualifying the other FB cars and winning the class at Laguna Seca in October in a McLaren M4B.

Bill Gubelmann was also a contender in his Brabhams, quickest in qualifying at War Bonnet in June and at Lime Rock in September but retiring both times; a point for being classified at War Bonnet being his sum total for the season.

And so to the Runoffs at Riverside in November. With no Brack of course and with Stevenson absent, Dietrich looked to have been handed the title when both Gubelmann in his new Brabham BT23F and Eyerly, now in his regular Brabham BT18, failed to complete the first lap. But it was Roger Barr and his Crosslé 12F that ran out winners, comfortably ahead of Dietrich and Rehl.

The races

26 May 1968 > Continental Divide

16 Jun 1968 > War Bonnet

27 Jul 1968 > Elkhart Lake

18 Aug 1968 > Thompson

25 Aug 1968 > Mosport Park

02 Sep 1968 > Lime Rock

22 Sep 1968 > Brainerd

12 Oct 1968 > Laguna Seca

Continental Championship FB class table

1. Bill Brack Lotus 41C 31 pts 1 win
2. Chuck Dietrich McLaren M4B 30 pts 2 wins
3. Charlie Adams Brabham 12 pts  
4. Richard Negley Lotus 41C 10 pts  
5. (six drivers tied) 9 pts  

Next: the 1969 season

The table below shows Formula B class finishing positions at each of the eight races of 1968 and the points that would have been scored if a 9-6-4-3-2-1 points system had been applied. E&EO.

    R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8  
Bill Brack Lotus 41C - 2 3 2 1 2 - R 31 pts
Chuck Dietrich McLaren M4B 2 - 1 R 4 4 1 R 30 pts
Charlie Adams Brabham 5 3   6 5   4   12 pts
Richard Negley Lotus 41C     2         3 10 pts
Joe Alves Brabham BT21 1               9 pts
Mike Hiss Brabham   1           9 pts
Brian Robertson McLaren M4B     4   3 5     9 pts
Peter Rehl Cooper       1         9 pts
Fred Stevenson Lotus 41C         1     9 pts
Mike Eyerly McLaren M4B               1 9 pts
Dick Smothers Brabham BT21A   4       3     7 pts
Joe Grimaldi Chevron B14         2 6     7 pts
Fred Opert Brabham             2   6 pts
Dave Ogilvy Lotus 35               2 6 pts
Harry Hester LeGrand 3           6   5 pts
Jacques Couture Crosslé 12F       3         4 pts
Howard Brown Brabham             3   4 pts
John Simmons Lotus       4         3 pts
Stuart Wright LeGrand Mk 3 4               3 pts
Gerry Bruihl Brabham BT18               4 3 pts
Ted Clark Brabham   5             2 pts
Gregg Brumm Lotus 41     5           2 pts
Roger Barr Crosslé 12F       5         2 pts
Jon Reski LeGrand             5   2 pts
Ray France Brabham BT21               5 2 pts
Gerhard Klose LeGrand 6               1 pt
Bill Gubelmann Brabham   6           1 pt
Brian Follon LeGrand Mk 3     6           1 pt
Carson Baird Brabham BT18         6       1 pt
Jon Milledge Brabham BT21               6 1 pt


The points table does not reflect the competitiveness of some drivers. For example, at Thompson (R4), Hiss, Gubelmann and Dietrich were fastest in practice but all retired allowing Rehl to take the win. Stevenson was fastest in practice at Mosport (R5) but retired; Gubelmann was fastest at Lime Rock and also retired.

To travel further into conjecture, had there been a constructors title, Lotus would have had 61 points, Brabham 57 points, McLaren 48, LeGrand 12, Cooper 9, Chevron 7 and Crosslé 6. Lotus and Brabham would have been tied going into the last race, showing that even retrospective titles can be exciting.