OldRacingCars.com

California 500 Qualification Heat 1

Ontario Motor Speedway, 26 Aug 1973

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 Wally Dallenbach Eagle 72 [7219] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#40 STP Gas Treatment [Patrick Racing]
(see note 1)
40 0h 33m 20.900s
2 Roger McCluskey McLaren M16B [2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#3 Hopkins Buick [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 2)
40 Finished
3 Mike Hiss Eagle 72 [7216?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#6 Thermo King Air Cond [Don Gerhardt]
(see note 3)
39 Flagged
4 Jimmy Caruthers Eagle 72 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#21 Cobre Firestone [Robert L. 'Bob' Fletcher]
(see note 4)
39 Flagged
5 Gordon Johncock Eagle 73 [7303] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#20 STP Double Oil Filter [Patrick Racing]
(see note 5)
39 Flagged
6 Jim McElreath Eagle 72 [7220] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#35 Norris Industries [Champ Carr Ent.]
(see note 6)
39 Flagged
7 Tom Bigelow Vollstedt 72 [12] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#27 Norton - Bryant Heating [Vollstedt Enterprises]
(see note 7)
38 Flagged
8 John Mahler McLaren M16C [1] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#74 Carling [Roy Woods Racing] (see note 8)
38 Flagged
9 Joe Leonard Parnelli VPJ-2 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#1 Samsonite [Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing]
38 Flagged
10 John Cannon Eagle 66 [203] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#76 Webster Racing [Marvin Webster]
(see note 9)
38 Flagged
11 Sam Posey Eagle 72 [7226] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#34 Norris Industries [Champ Carr Ent.]
(see note 10)
35 Broken gear
12 Billy Vukovich Eagle 72 [7207?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#2 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
(see note 11)
35 Flagged
13 John Martin McLaren M16B [3] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#89 Unsponsored [John Martin] (see note 12)
3 Engine vibration
Qualifying
1 Gordon Johncock Eagle 73 [7303] - Offy 159 ci turbo
2 Joe Leonard Parnelli VPJ-2 - Offy 159 ci turbo
3 Sam Posey Eagle 72 [7226] - Offy 159 ci turbo
3 Roger McCluskey McLaren M16B [2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
5 Wally Dallenbach Eagle 72 [7219] - Offy 159 ci turbo
6 Jimmy Caruthers Eagle 72 - Offy 159 ci turbo
7 Billy Vukovich Eagle 72 [7207?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
8 Jim McElreath Eagle 72 [7220] - Offy 159 ci turbo
9 Mike Hiss Eagle 72 [7216?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
10 John Martin McLaren M16B [3] - Offy 159 ci turbo
11 Tom Bigelow Vollstedt 72 [12] - Offy 159 ci turbo
12 John Mahler McLaren M16C [1] - Offy 159 ci turbo
13 John Cannon Eagle 66 [203] - Offy 159 ci turbo

Notes on the cars:

  1. Eagle 72 [7219] (Wally Dallenbach): New to Patrick Racing for 1973 and identified as their #60 STP entry at the 1973 Indy 500 for Graham McRae. Then became Wally Dallenbach's #40 car after the Indy 500, winning at Milwaukee and Ontario. Sold to Richard Beith (Danville, CA) for 1974 and entered as the #18 American Kids Racer car for Steve Krisiloff and Bill Simpson. Returned in 1975 for George Follmer, now as the #28, but only at Ontario and Indy. Leased from Beith by Warner Hodgdon (San Bernardino, CA) for 1976 and raced by Billy Scott at the Indy 500 before returning to Beith for three more seasons, appearing mainly at the 500-mile races at Ontario and Indianapolis. Retained by Beith until sold to Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) in October 2005. Haines advertised it in early 2006 still in Beith's American Kids livery. Bought from Haines by Aaron Lewis (Cessnock, NSW, Australia) in September 2008 and restored for him by Walter Goodwin between 2008 and 2011 to McRae's 1973 livery. Ran at the vintage demonstration at the Indy 500 in 2011 and 2012 and then on display at the Riverside International Automotive Museum. Sold at the RM Auctions sale at Monterey in August 2014 to Milton Verret (Austin, TX), but bought back by Lewis in 2018. Sold to Carlos de Quesada (Tampa, FL) at Indy in May 2019.
  2. McLaren M16B [2] (Roger McCluskey): McLaren Cars 1972 for Peter Revson (#12), and raced at the Indy 500, Pocono and Ontario. Also raced by Gordie Johncock at Trenton in September after his usual M16B/3 had been wrecked at Ontario. To Lindsey Hopkins for Roger McCluskey to race in 1973 as the #3 Hopkins Buick entry, but McCluskey raced his older M16A at the Indy 500 and at Pocono, before settling on the M16B at the end of the season. The two cars took McCluskey to the USAC National Championship. The M16B was retained for 1974 and 1975 as a backup to Hopkins' new Riley-built 'English Leather' car. The McLaren was used at Trenton in 1975, and then entered for Graham McRae at the 1975 Indy 500, but he could not qualify. Sold to Carl Gehlhausen for Spike Gehlhausen to drive in 1976 (#19 Spirit of Indiana) and 1977 (#19 PV Corp) but crashed at Ontario, Indy and Pocono in 1977 with serious damage each time. Replaced with an Eagle in mid-1977. Acquired from Gehlhausen by Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) some time in the 1980s, and restored by Gehlhausen's chief mechanic Eddie Baue and Walter Goodwin. USAC's history of this car identified it as the #86 "ex-Revson" McLaren (actually Hopkins' other M16) and it was restored to this specification and then sold to Gene Wagner (Atlanta, GA), who used it in US vintage racing between 1988 and 1990.
  3. Eagle 72 [7216?] (Mike Hiss): Built in the fall of 1972 as one of the two replacement Thermo King/Gerhardt cars after Malloy's crash at Indy in 1972. Used by Mike Hiss in the 1973 500 as the #6 car; then the #46 car used by Jim McElreath in practice in 1974; then the #46 car used by Rick Muther and Jan Opperman in practice in 1975; then the #45 car qualified by Gary Bettenhausen in 1976. After Eddie Miller wrecked the sister Gerhardt Eagle (7209) at Indy in 1976, 7216 was driven by Bettenhausen and Steve Krisiloff for the rest of 1976. Sold by Fred Gerhardt to Gary Howard when Gerhardt stopped racing but not raced by Howard, and sold to Bob Featherly (East Syracuse, NY) about 1980/81.
  4. Eagle 72 (Jimmy Caruthers): One of two 1972 Eagles bought by Robert L. 'Bob' Fletcher and chief crew Clint Brawner for Fletcher's new Cobre Firestone team in 1973. This car arrived in time for the race at Texas World Speedway at the start of April so is likely to be chassis 7214. Entered at TWS as the #21 entry for Jimmy Caruthers, and it is assumed that this was the same #21 entered for him at Trenton and at the Indy 500. After Art Pollard's accident in the sister car, this was Fletcher's only remaining 1972 car and it was driven by Caruthers for the rest of 1973, then by Duane "Pancho" Carter at the Indy 500 in 1974. It is likely to be the car raced by Carter later in the season but he might have been allocated one of the team's 1974 Eagles. The car was renumbered #55 for 1975 and entered for Lee Kunzman at Ontario, where he finished third in his heat and fourth in the final. Entered also at the Indy 500 but Kunzman did not qualify. The car was not needed again but remained with the team as a show car. It was photographed in Frosty Acres livery, which cannot be earlier than 1979. Subsequent history unknown.
  5. Eagle 73 [7303] (Gordon Johncock): New for Jerry Grant to race at the 1973 Indy 500 as AAR's #48 Olsonite Eagle. Grant was not entered at the Pocono 500 and the car was sold to Patrick Racing prior to that race. It was raced by Gordy Johncock for the rest of the season as his Indy-winning car was wrecked at Pocono. Raced by teammate Wally Dallenbach in the early races of 1974, then brought to the Indy 500 to replace a '74 car damaged by Johncock in practice. Raced by Johncock at Indy and at Milwaukee in June, and believed to have been his short track car for the rest of the year. Then to Lee Elkins and entered as the #83 McNamara Eagle for Bill Puterbaugh at Indy and at Pocono in 1975, qualifying for both. Retained for the 500-mile races 1976, when Puterbaugh qualified for the Indy 500 and Ontario, and also in 1977 when, now as the #16 entry, he again qualified for the Indy 500. Immediately after qualifying, the car was acquired by George Walther who wanted to put son Salt into it but after an uproar, Puterbaugh drove it in the race. Then from Walther to Bob Olmstead who fitted a Volker V12 engine for Indy 1978 but did not get the car on track. The car was stored until after Olmstead's death, and was sold to Bill Simpson in the early 1990s. It was restored as a show car for Simpson by Wayne Leary and put on display in North Carolina to represent the Eagle that Simpson had raced at Indy. Sold around 2013 to Jeff Urwin (New York, NY).
  6. Eagle 72 [7220] (Jim McElreath): One of two cars invoiced to Norris Industries, the sponsor of Champ Carr Enterprises, owned by Fred Carillo. This is believed to be the #35 car entered for John Mahler, who also had backing from Richard Deutsch of Harbor Oil. However, Mahler was dropped from the team just before Carillo tried to disguise the team's other main entry, the #34 car, as the #31 backup, resulting in both being disqualified. Jim McElreath then drove this #35 car at the Indy 500. Photographs indicate this car was later used by Sam Posey at Pocono, and by McElreath at Ontario. Subsequent history unknown.
  7. Vollstedt 72 [12] (Tom Bigelow): New for 1972 as the #27 Vollstedt Enterprises entry for Denny Zimmerman but arrived too late to qualify. Raced by Zimmerman at Pocono and Ontario in 1972 and then retained for 1973 as a backup to the new "bunkbeds" car and raced as the #27 by Tom Bigelow. It was Bigelow's intended #27 car at Indy in 1974 but crashed heavily on the second day of practice. Extensively rebuilt for 1975 with the radiators moved from McLaren-style sidepods to the nose. Bigelow preferred the 1973 car in McLaren form at the Indy 500, but raced the revised 1972 car at the Pocono 500. Used by Janet Guthrie as the #27 in 1976 but then retired. Donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in May 1982.
  8. McLaren M16C [1] (John Mahler): New to Roger Penske for Bobby Allison to drive at the 1973 Indy 500 as the #12 Sunoco DX car. Sold to Roy Woods and appeared at Ontario in August/September 1973 as the #74 Carling entry for John Mahler, who crashed it in the race. It evidently returned to Penske and was rebuilt as the #8 entry for Gary Bettenhausen in 1974. Used by Mike Hiss after Bettenhausen was injured in a dirt race in July 1974. Taken over by Tom Sneva in 1975 as the #68 Norton Spirit entry but wrecked in Sneva's huge accident at Indy in 1975. Rebuilt later in the season and rejoined the Penske team to be a backup car for Sneva in 1976. Its last known appearance was at Michigan in July 1976. History then unknown until 2009 when it was part of the Harrah Collection at the National Automobile Museum (Reno, NV). Presumably it had been bought by Bill Harrah, founder of Harrah's Casinos. After Harah's death in November 1978 his 'Harrah’s Automobile Collection' was acquired by Holiday Inns and started to be broken up and auctioned in the mid-1980s. In response to ensuing outcry, Holiday Inns agreed to donate 175 cars and Harrah's research library to a new Harrah Automobile Foundation and this became the basis of the National Automobile Museum which opened in Reno, Nevada, in 1989. The car is in Sneva's 1977 red, white and blue Norton/Gould/CAM2 livery, suggesting it was used as a show car in 1977.
  9. Eagle 66 [203] (John Cannon): A customer car sold to John W. Klug (Newport Beach, CA) of Pacesetter Homes, fitted with a 255ci Ford V8 and entered at the 1966 Indy 500 as the #88 Bardahl-Pacesetter Homes Special for Jerry Grant to drive, with Roy Campbell as chief mechanic. Klug's USAC entry form identifies the car as chassis 203. Grant was dropped by AAR's team of Can-Am Lola T70s at the beginning of October 1966, and set up Friedkin Enterprises Racing Division with financial backing from his old friend Tom Friedkin (San Diego, CA), and with ex-AAR mechanics Larry Stellings and Larry Webb. The new operation had two Eagles, Grant's #88 Indy 500 car chassis 203 which Friedkin acquired from Klug and the former Yamaha #6 car of Joe Leonard, and acquired a new Lola T70 which Grant drove at Riverside in October, entered by Alan Green Chevrolet. Grant drove the #88 Eagle at Phoenix in November as a Bardahl entry and this is presumably the #78 Friedkin Enterprises entry for Grant at the 1967 Indy 500 and at road course events later in the season. It was entered by Friedkin Enterprises as the #76 for Jerry Titus at the 1968 Indy 500. No sign has been found of it racing again in 1968, but photographs show that this was the car used in the Universal Pictures film 'Winning', starring Paul Newman and filmed during the summer of 1968, where it appeared as the #42 car of Robert Wagner's character Luther Lou Erding. It was then sold to Jackson oilman Walt Michner for his Michner Petroleum team, and used by driver Johnny Rutherford as a backup to his 1967 Eagle. The 1966 car was fitted with an Offy turbo for 1969 and entered as the #36 Patrick Petroleum car for Rutherford throughout the season. Retained by Michner for Rutherford during the 1970 and 1971 seasons still in partnership with Michner's 1967 Eagle as the #18 entry. The 1966 car was nicknamed "Geraldine" during this time and the 1967 car "Old Shep". Then to Marvin Webster (who had previously owned 'the AAR/Leonard car') and on the entry list at Ontario in 1972 for Don Brown. Next seen in practice at the 1973 Indy 500, entered by Webster as the #76, and later at Ontario in September 1973 where John Cannon raced it. Advertised by Webster in December 1973 with a 1968 Eagle. Unknown until owned by Anthony Seibert (Boulder, CO) in May 1983. Reappeared when sold by Joseph D Lhotka, Trustee, Shawn S Trust (Westminster, CO) to Centennial Import Motor Co (Boulder, CO) in April 1987, and then sold almost immediately to Chuck Haines (Manchester, MO). Retained by Haines until 2005, when sold to Aaron Lewis (Cessnock, NSW, Australia) and restored to Rutherford #36 livery. Run at the Phillip Island Classic 2011 by Lewis, and displayed car at Indianapolis in 2017 and 2018. Sold to Bobby Rahal (Chicago, IL) in October 2018.
  10. Eagle 72 [7226] (Sam Posey): According to AAR records, this car was originally sold to Doug Champlin & Fred Carillo of Champ Carr, Inc. This is believed to be the team's #34 car for Sam Posey but he was bumped. The team then tried to disguise the #34 car as the team's backup #31 entry to allow Posey another try at qualifying, but the deception was spotted by IMS technical supervisor Frank DelRoy and both the #34 and #31 entries were disqualified. Photographs indicate this car was then used as a short track car for Jim McElreath in 1973. Carillo retained the car during 1974, but it was not seen. In early 1975, it was repainted as Carillo's "Spirit of Orange Country" entry, but finance could not be found, and it was sold to Alex Morales, who entered it as the #78 Alex Foods car for Jimmy Caruthers. Assumed to be the #78 car for the rest of 1975 and then the #78 Alex Foods second team car for Bobby Olivero in 1976. The team acquired a pair of new Lightnings for 1977 and the Eagle was not seen again. Unknown after November 1976. Nothing more is known until it was sold by Barry Green via Walter Goodwin to Kenneth Hodge (Ocala, FL) in 2004 to be fitted with a complete spare drive train that Ken had acquired from Smokey Yunich's 1973 Chevrolet turbo engine project.
  11. Eagle 72 [7207?] (Billy Vukovich): One of two 1972 Eagles, the other being 7204, bought new by Jerry O'Connell's Sugaripe Prune team and raced by Billy Vukovich as the #3 entry in 1972, with Jud Phillips as chief mechanic. This car can be identified from an invoice later in its life so is known to Vukovich's backup car at the 1972 Indy 500 (entered as #32 but ran as #3 and crashed during practice) and then became his long track car later in the season. Finished second at the 1973 Indy 500 and won at Michigan the following August. The team then bought a 1974 Eagle and sold 7204 but kept this car as a backup for three more seasons. Sold to Arthur E. 'Art' Sugai (Ontario, OR) for 1977 and entered as the #91 Eastside Café car that season, alongside the ex-Penske 7225. Sold with 7225 to collector/dealer Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) in May 1980 and fully restored to 1972 specification by Walter Goodwin of Race Car Restorations. On display for many years at the "International Motorsports Hall of Fame", a NASCAR museum at Talladega Speedway in Alabama.
  12. McLaren M16B [3] (John Martin): McLaren Cars 1972 for Gordy Johncock (#24) and 'wrecked' at Ontario. Repaired and sold to John Martin 1973 (#89) and 1974 and 1975. Wrecked at Milwaukee June 1975 and tub "thrown in dumpster". Rebuilt using a M16A monocoque bought from Lindsey Hopkins, first appearing in this form at Pocono three weeks later, and raced by Martin to the end of 1975. This M16B/A was acquired by Danny Jones and Roy Dickinson in 1976 and rebuilt for the 1977 Indy 500. They were then joined by Bill Freeman Racing, appearing on the 1977 Indy 500 entry list as #30 Caesars Palace entry. Bob Harkey failed to qualify the car at Indy and it was raced by Johnny Parsons Jr later in the 1977 season. To Fred Ruth for 1978 and qualified for the Indy 500 by Jerry Sneva in 1978 as the #30 Smock Material entry. Ruth was joined and at some point as co-owner by Marv Schmidt. Returned again in 1979, entered by Thunder Racing and with Molly Mate sponsorship. It was next seen in 1981 when John Martin qualified at the Indy 500 but was bumped. Cliff Hucul ran it later that year as the #57. Then unknown until 1991 when it was owned by Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) and still in Hucul livery.

Sources

The identification of individual cars in these results is based on the material presented elsewhere in this site and may in some cases contradict the organisers' original results.

The foundation for this research is the work done by the late Phil Harms collating the results of all AAA, USAC and CART races, including the period covered here. His data was refined by Michael Ferner who added more information before making it available to OldRacingCars.com. Since the start of the USAC project on OldRacingCars.com in 2004, a wealth of further information has been gleaned from the Carl Hungness and Donald Davidson Yearbooks, Formula and On Track magazines, USAC News, National Speed Sport News and other published sources. Gerry Measures has also provided much information from his files as have others on TNF and Trackforum. Since 2009, the work of Simmo Iskül and others identifying cars from period photographs has has moved this research forward significantly.

All comments, clarifications, corrections and additions are most welcome. Please email Allen (allen@oldracingcars.com) if you can help in any way with our research.