OldRacingCars.com

California 500 Qualification Heat 1

Ontario Motor Speedway, 3 Mar 1974

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 AJ Foyt Coyote 73 series - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#14 Gilmore Racing [Foyt Enterprises]
40 0h 33m 55.360s
2 Bobby Unser Eagle 74 [7404 or 7405] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#48 Olsonite [AAR]
40 Finished
3 Lloyd Ruby Eagle 72 [7228] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#9 Unlimited Racing (see note 1)
40 Finished
4 Jim McElreath Eagle 72 [7216?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#45 Thermo King [Don or Fred Gerhardt]
(see note 2)
40 Finished
5 Roger McCluskey McLaren M16B [2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#1 Hopkins Buick [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 3)
39 Flagged
6 Mike Mosley Eagle 72 [7218] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#98 Lodestar [Agajanian/Leader Card]
(see note 4)
38 Out of fuel
7 Wally Dallenbach Eagle 73 [7303] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#2 Patrick Racing (see note 5)
37 Flagged
8 Dick Simon Eagle 72 [7212] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#44 Travelodge [Dick Simon] (see note 6)
37 Out of fuel
9 Tom Bigelow Vollstedt 72 [12] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#27 Bryant Heating & Air Cond [Vollstedt Enterprises]
(see note 7)
37 Out of fuel
10 Billy Vukovich Eagle 72 or 74 [7207??] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#4 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell]
(see note 8)
37 Out of fuel
11 Lee Brayton Eagle 72 [7217] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#28 Eisenhour [Eisenhour-Brayton Racing]
(see note 9)
35 Flagged
12 Bentley Warren Finley 73 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#94 Vatis [Tassi Vatis] (see note 10)
34 Magneto
13 Tom Sneva Kingfish 73 ['1'] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Grant King Racing (see note 11)
33 Valve
14 Gordon Johncock Eagle 74 [7409] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#7 Patrick Racing (see note 12)
23 Out of fuel
15 Skip Barber Eagle 72 [7205] - Chevrolet 203 ci turbo Crower V8
#23 Crower [Bruce H. Crower] (see note 13)
17 Brkn connecting rod
Qualifying
1 AJ Foyt Coyote 73 series - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
2 Bobby Unser Eagle 74 [7404 or 7405] - Offy 159 ci turbo
3 Gordon Johncock Eagle 74 [7409] - Offy 159 ci turbo
4 Wally Dallenbach Eagle 73 [7303] - Offy 159 ci turbo
5 Dick Simon Eagle 72 [7212] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
6 Billy Vukovich Eagle 72 or 74 [7207??] - Offy 159 ci turbo
7 Lloyd Ruby Eagle 72 [7228] - Offy 159 ci turbo
8 Jim McElreath Eagle 72 [7216?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
9 Roger McCluskey McLaren M16B [2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
10 Mike Mosley Eagle 72 [7218] - Offy 159 ci turbo
11 Tom Bigelow Vollstedt 72 [12] - Offy 159 ci turbo
12 Tom Sneva Kingfish 73 ['1'] - Offy 159 ci turbo
13 Bentley Warren Finley 73 - Offy 159 ci turbo
14 Lee Brayton Eagle 72 [7217] - Offy 159 ci turbo
15 Skip Barber Eagle 72 [7205] - Chevrolet 203 ci turbo Crower V8

Notes on the cars:

  1. Eagle 72 [7228] (Lloyd Ruby): Supplied as a monocoque to Lloyd Ruby and his chief crew Mike Devin after Ruby had crashed chassis 7224 at Ontario. Chassis 7228 was built up using the components of 7224 and raced as Ruby's #18 Commander Motor Homes for the rest of the season. Retained in 1974 as a backup car to Ruby's new 1974 Eagle, but actually raced more often than the '74 that season. Sold to Anastassios "Tassi" Vatis, a Greek shipping tycoon and veteran Indy car owner, and run by Vatis's faithful chief mechanic Bill Finley for Johnny Parsons Jr in 1975. In 1976, the team had a "new" car built on an "unused" chassis, presumably 7224 as it still carries the 7224 plate today. However, 7228 remained the main car, Parsons' #93 Ayr-Way/Vatis entry in 1976 and 1977. In 1978, 7228 was modified with straight sidepods and radiators repositioned to the rear of the tub, matching the specification of 7224, after which they are hard to tell apart. John Mahler (Bettendorf, Iowa) bought the Vatis team in November 1978 with the support of longtime backer Richard Deutsch, and it is believed that 7228 was the #92 car that Mahler had bumped after qualifying. Retained as a backup in 1980 and 1981, then sold to Rick DeLorto (Wood Dale, IL) who attempted to qualify for several CART races in 1982. Then to John Griffith (Chicago, IL) 1983, then Steve Burgner (Chicago, IL) 1984, after which it was sold to Mountain View Motorsport Park in Colorado. It then passed to a dealer in Connecticut, from which Eric Camiel (Danbury, CT) bought it in 1991. Then unknown until acquired from Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) by John Mueller (Fresno, CA) in late 2005. Chuck is believed to have got it from Lilo Zicron (Burbank, CA). Extensively rebuilt by Mueller to standard specification. Sold to Rick and Alison Dresang (Hartford, WI) in May 2016.
  2. Eagle 72 [7216?] (Jim McElreath): 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.
  3. 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. The later history of this car is currently being withheld.
  4. Eagle 72 [7218] (Mike Mosley): New to Leader Card Racers in time for the 1973 Indy 500 where it was Mike Mosley's #98 Leader Card entry. Raced by Mosley at Pocono and at Ontario, and then at the late-season races. Presumably his car at Ontario in March 1974, after which he used a new 1974 Eagle, and this 1972 Eagle was not seen again in 1974. After the 1974 car was wrecked, this car reappeared for Steve Krisiloff at Ontario in March 1975 as the #98 entry, then for George Snider as the #97 at three more races. Taken to the 1976 Indy 500 as a backup and qualified by Tom Bigelow, and may have been used by Bigelow at some short track races that year as the #24 entry. Although Leader Card now had two 1974 Eagles, this old 1972 car was present at the Indy 500 again in 1977 as the #23 entry but was crashed heavily in practice on 16 May by Gary Irwin and "damaged extensively". Repaired and then acquired by Warner Hodgdon, who had sponsored Mike Hiss in Leader Card's '74 car in 1976. Retained by Hodgdon until his death in 2013, and acquired from the estate by Jeff Urwin (New York, NY). The car was inspected at GE Autosport's shop at Indianapolis in November 2014 by Jacques Dresang, who found traces of Leader Card livery and USAC stickers that tied it to Gary Irwin's 1977 Indy 500 entry.
  5. Eagle 73 [7303] (Wally Dallenbach): New for Jerry Grant to race at the 1973 Indy 500 as the #48 Olsonite Eagle. As only two 1973 cars were ready, and as 7301 had been destroyed in testing, this must be either 7302 or 7303. Grant was not entered at the Pocono 500 and some time that summer, this car was sold to Patrick Racing. It was raced by Gordy Johncock at Ontario and at later races. 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 Skip 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 [7212] (Dick Simon): To Dick Simon, fitted with a Foyt-Ford V8 turbo engine and first raced as his #44 Travelodge entry at Phoenix in November 1972, where he was second fastest in Friday practice. Raced by Simon through 1973 and 1974 as the #44, retaining its Travelodge sponsorship until mid-1974. Returned in 1975 with Bruce Cogle Ford backing and in 1976 with Lan Hairpieces and later Robyn CB sponsorship when it was driven by Roger Rager. Not at Indy in 1977 but later in the year it was acquired by Nick Krantz and entered for Phil Threshie, still as the #44 but now with Mr. Golden Sunflower sponsorship. Crashed by Threshie in practice for the 1977 California 500 at Ontario and not seen again.
  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 1972 but crashed heavily on the second day of practice. Extensively rebuilt for 1975 with the radiators moved from McLaren-style sidepods to the nose. Used as a short track car for 1975. Used by Janet Guthrie as the #27 in 1976 but then retired. Donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in May 1982.
  8. Eagle 72 or 74 [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. 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 amd 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.
  9. Eagle 72 [7217] (Lee Brayton): New to Patrick Racing and raced by Gordy Johncock in 1973 as the #25 Patrick Racing entry early in 1973 and then became the #20 STP Double Oil Filter Special at the Indy 500 when Patrick Racing picked up STP sponsorship. Johncock won the Indy 500 in this car but it was wrecked at Pocono in July when a wheel came off. Repaired and sold to Lee Brayton and John Eisenhour, and raced by Brayton at Michigan in September 1973 as the #61 Eisenhour-Brayton car, replacing the team's 1972 Coyote. Retained for 1974 when it was Brayton's #28 car, also driven by Mike Hiss at Ontario. Wrecked by Brayton at Indianapolis during practice on 7 May when Tom Bigelow spun in front of him, and extensively damaged, the Daily Reports noting that the Eagle was "apparently a complete loss". Brayton had to return to the old Coyote for Pocono and it is not clear whether he raced the Coyote again at Michigan later in the year or whether the Eagle had been repaired. Retained by Lee Brayton and undergoing restoration at Walter Goodwin's workshop in May 2010. In June 2010, it appears that this car was placed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, replacing the mueum's replica of Johncock's 1973 Indy 500 winner. Sold to Bruce McCaw around 2012.
  10. Finley 73 (Bentley Warren): This car is often described as a Fleagle (e.g. the 1974 Hungness and the 1973 Daily Reports) but the descriptions are sufficiently consistent to be able to pinpoint this as a 1973 car built by Vatis Chief Mechanic Bill Finley (Hungness 1974 p124) as the car used by Parsons at both the 1973 and 1974 Indy 500s. All other references to Finley-Eagles, Finleys and Fleagles wearing #94 in 1973, 1974 and 1975 are presumed to be this same car. In 1975, the Vatis team acquired at old 1972 Eagle which was run as the #93 car with the 1973 Finley retaining the number #94. In 1976, a new Eagle was built on a "spare tub" and took the number #93 after which the 1973 Finley appears to have been retired.
  11. Kingfish 73 ['1'] (Tom Sneva): Built by Grant King for Steve Krisiloff to drive in 1973 as the #24 Grant King Racing entry, acquiring many different sponsors during the season. This car started the season red but was repainted blue-and-yellow after qualifying for the Indy 500. Retained the number #24 for 1974 but now driven by Tom Sneva, scoring a fifth place finish at Michigan in September 1974. Retained by the team for 1975 and raced by Bentley Warren at the Indy 500 but crashed in the rain and was very badly damaged. Parts of the car were used to build up a new chassis and what was left of the car remained with its 1973 sister car until both were sold as a project on race-cars.com in 2009 to Rick and Jacques Dresang (Hartford, WI).
  12. Eagle 74 [7409] (Gordon Johncock): New to Patrick Racing and identified by Gene Lee Gibson as Gordon Johncock's #20 STP entry in 1974. Entered in the early-1974 races as the #7 Patrick Racing car until a deal was done with STP and it became the #20 STP Double Oil Filter entry at the Indy 500. Brushed the wall on 9 May and replaced by the ex-Dallenbach car for qualifying and the race. Presumably Johncock returned to this car for the remainder of the 1974 season. Identified from pictures as the car raced by Johncock on short tracks in 1975. Then sold to Richard Routh and entered for Gary Allbritain as #75 in early 1976 but Allbritain crashed in practice for his first two races and his entry for the Indy 500 was refused. The car was then kept by Todd Gibson as a source of spare parts for the ex-Andretti Eagle that the Routh team bought from VPJ. The left rear corner from this car was removed to repair the ex-Andretti Eagle after Gibson crashed it at Milwaukee in 1977. Subsequent history unknown.
  13. Eagle 72 [7205] (Skip Barber): AAR's third team car in 1972 and entered at the Indy 500 as the #48 Mystery Eagle for Jerry Grant. Also raced by Grant at other races that season, taking pole position at Ontario with the first official lap at over 200 mph. The car was sold to engine specialist Bruce H. Crower for 1973 and entered as his #23 Crower Cams car as a test bed for various Chevrolet engine projects over the next three seasons. In late 1976, the car returned again as the #57, powered by Crower's own flat-6 engine. Crower then acquired a 1974 Eagle for 1978 and the '72 car was retired.

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.