OldRacingCars.com

California 500 Qualification Heat 2

Ontario Motor Speedway, 2 Mar 1975

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 Wally Dallenbach Eagle 74 [7403] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#40 Sinmast [Patrick Racing] (see note 1)
40 0h 39m 55.130s
2 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M16E [001] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#2 Gatorade [McLaren Cars] (see note 2)
40 Finished
3 Steve Krisiloff Eagle 72 [7218] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#98 Lodestar [Agajanian/Leader Card]
(see note 3)
40 Finished
4 Billy Vukovich Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#6 Cobre Tire [Fletcher Racing Team]
(see note 4)
40 Finished
5 Jimmy Caruthers Eagle 72 [7226] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#78 Alex Foods [Alex Morales] (see note 5)
40 Finished
6 Bobby Allison McLaren M16C [3] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#16 CAM2 Motor Oil [Penske Racing]
(see note 6)
40 Finished
7 Eldon Rasmussen RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#58 Rasmussen Racing Products [Eldon Rasmussen]
(see note 7)
36 In pits
8 George Follmer Eagle 72 [7219] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#28 American Kids Racer [Richard Beith]
(see note 8)
34 Wrecked
9 Jerry Karl Kingfish 72 ['2'] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#38 Midwest Durapot [Carl Gehlhausen]
(see note 9)
29 Out of fuel
10 Bobby Unser Eagle 74 [7404 or 7405] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#48 Jorgensen Steel [AAR]
24 Broken piston
11 Tom Bigelow Vollstedt 73 [13] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#27 T. H. Wilson Development [Vollstedt Enterprises]
(see note 10)
24 Power loss
12 David "Salt" Walther McLaren M16C/D [6] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#77 Dayton-Walther [George Walther]
(see note 11)
23 Power loss
13 Dick Simon Eagle 72 [7212] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#44 Simon [Dick Simon] (see note 12)
21 Broken universal joint
14 Lee Brayton Coyote 70 ['70-1'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#29 Eisenhour-Brayton (see note 13)
10 Poor handling
15 Al Loquasto McLaren M16C [M16-1?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#86 Frostie Root Beer [Al Loquasto Sr.]
(see note 14)
5 Turbocharger
16 Jerry Grant Eagle 73 [7306] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#73 Spirit of Orange County [Fred W. Carrillo]
(see note 15)
3 Broken transmission
DNS Bob Harkey Gerhardt 68 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#99 Joe Hunt Magneto [Joe Hunt]
(see note 16)
Did not start
(Did not start)
Qualifying
1 Bobby Unser Eagle 74 [7404 or 7405] - Offy 159 ci turbo
2 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M16E [001] - Offy 159 ci turbo
3 Wally Dallenbach Eagle 74 [7403] - Offy 159 ci turbo
4 Steve Krisiloff Eagle 72 [7218] - Offy 159 ci turbo
5 Jimmy Caruthers Eagle 72 [7226] - Offy 159 ci turbo
6 Billy Vukovich Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
7 David "Salt" Walther McLaren M16C/D [6] - Offy 159 ci turbo
8 Bobby Allison McLaren M16C [3] - Offy 159 ci turbo
9 Al Loquasto McLaren M16C [M16-1?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
10 Jerry Karl Kingfish 72 ['2'] - Offy 159 ci turbo
11 Tom Bigelow Vollstedt 73 [13] - Offy 159 ci turbo
12 George Follmer Eagle 72 [7219] - Offy 159 ci turbo
13 Lee Brayton Coyote 70 ['70-1'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
14 Jerry Grant Eagle 73 [7306] - Offy 159 ci turbo
15 Eldon Rasmussen RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
16 Dick Simon Eagle 72 [7212] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
17 Bob Harkey * Gerhardt 68 - Offy 159 ci turbo
 
* Did not start

Notes on the cars:

  1. Eagle 74 [7403] (Wally Dallenbach): New to Patrick Racing and identified by an Indianapolis 'Laycock card' as Wally Dallenbach's #40 STP entry in 1974. Given the early construction date, marked as January on the chassis plate, this car is assumed to be Dallenbach's ride from the start of 1974. Presumably his early-1975 car before the new Wildcats were ready. At Indy 1975 as the #60 spare. Sold to Leader Card Racers for 1976 and George Snider's #23 Hubler Chevrolet ride in that year's 500. Also for Mike Hiss at Ontario. Retained for 1977 and the #64 at the Indy 500 but thought to be the #23 at other races. Retained again for 1978 but wrecked in Tom Bigelow's accident at Mosport Park in June. Bought from AJ Watson by someone called Al in Grand Rapid, Michigan and sold by him to Bill Wiswedel (Holland, Michigan) around 2000-2004. In approximately 2017, Bill sold the car to James Long (Nevada City, CA) and he sold it to Bobby Rahal (Chicago, IL) in 2020.
  2. McLaren M16E [001] (Johnny Rutherford): New in 1975 for McLaren Cars main driver Johnny Rutherford as the #2 Gatorade entry. Raced at the three 500 mile events that year but Rutherford then moved to M16E-2 and this car was next seen at Michigan in 1976 when it was entered by Russ Polak's Polak Racing as the #80 for Larry Dickson. Raced by Dickson until the end of 1977. Then almost certainly the McLaren entered by Jack L. Rhoades as the #20 Scientific Drilling Controls car for John Martin at the 500 mile races in 1979 and for Dana Carter at Indy in 1980. Returned to Indy in 1981 as the #52 Rassey Engines car for Larry Rice. Then unknown until advertised in the late 1980s by Stephen A. Schwartz (Westport, CT), totally restored and in its original Gatorade livery. It was reacquired by McLaren and put on display in the Donington Museum for many years. It was at McLaren HQ in Woking in 2010.
  3. Eagle 72 [7218] (Steve Krisiloff): 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.
  4. Eagle 74 (Billy Vukovich): New to Robert L. 'Bob' Fletcher's Cobre Firestone team and entered as the #55 car for Jerry Grant in 1974. Firestone withdrew from racing In August 1974 and Fletcher, who ran the largest Firestone dealership in the US, had to use Goodyear tyres in 1975. He also lost chief mechanic Jim McGee to Penske. This car became the blue #6 entry for Billy Vukovich in 1975 and then the #3 entry for Bobby Unser in 1976. Probably the car raced by Unser at Phoenix at the start of 1977. To Carl Gehlhausen for 1978 and used by John Mahler as Gehlhausen's #39 entry at the 1978 Indy 500. Also the #39 Gehlhausen entry for Al Loquasto through 1979 until he was promoted to the Fletcher team after Steve Krisiloff quit the team. Phil Caliva drove Gehlhausen's Eagle at Ontario, and it was then sold to Walter L. Medlin who entered as the #32 car for Tony Bettenhausen II at three races in early 1980. It reappeared for Bubby Jones as Medlin's #58 entry at the 1981 Indy 500 but did not qualify. The car remained with Medlin and is part of a collection of unrestored cars photographed on occasions since.
  5. Eagle 72 [7226] (Jimmy Caruthers): 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 Yunick's 1973 Chevrolet turbo engine project.
  6. McLaren M16C [3] (Bobby Allison): To Roger Penske for Gary Bettenhausen to drive during the 1973 season as the #5 Sunoco DX car, and used by him at all races that season. Entered for Mike Hiss as the #68 Norton Spirit entry at Indianapolis and Michigan in 1974. Then the #16 CAM2 Motor Oil entry for Bobby Allison at four long-track races in 1975. Then raced by Mario Andretti for Penske as the #6 in 1976 at the Indy 500 and Pocono. Sold to Bill Simpson later in 1976 (still as #6) together with M16C/4. It then became part of Teddy Yip's Theodore Racing team in 1977 as their #39 but was crashed very heavily by Clay Regazzoni in Indy practice. The wrecked car was cubed by Yip.
  7. RasCar-Atlanta 74 (Eldon Rasmussen): New for Lloyd Ruby at the Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix in March 1972, where it was Gene White Racing's #5 Wynns entry, and then used by him at the Indy 500, where he finished sixth. Ruby then tried the team's Lola T270 at Milwaukee, and tried both cars in practice at Pocono before it was rained off. He then crashed the Atlanta before the race at Michigan in July, and used the Lola for the rest of the season. Almost certainly the Atlanta-Ford sold to Loyd Meek's Quality Racing Team for 1973, where it was due to be enginered and raced by Eldon Rasmussen, but Rasmussen did not appear in the car until Texas in October, where it went very well. Rebuilt by Rasmussen as a "Ras-Car", and thereafter described as a 1974 car. Raced by Rasmussen in the 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978 seasons, although he generally only appeared for the longer races at Indianapolis, Ontario, Pocono and Michigan. This is believed to be the car that was demolished in Rasmussen's huge accident at Pocono in 1979.
  8. Eagle 72 [7219] (George Follmer): 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.
  9. Kingfish 72 ['2'] (Jerry Karl): The second new 1972 Grant King car appeared for the first time at the Indy 500 as the #15 car for Steve Krisiloff. As the other 1972 car was destroyed in Merle Bettenhausen's accident at the 1972 Michigan 200, it would be reasonable to assume this is the 1972 Kingfish acquired by Carl Gehlhausen's Mid-West Manufacturing Dura-pot team. A Racing Pictorial photograph shows that it first appeared as the team's #58 entry at Phoenix in November 1972, but driver Larry Dickson did not start. It was raced as the #58 by Dickson at the start of 1973, and was driven by Johnny Parsons Jr, Arnie Knepper, Tom Bigelow and Tom Sneva later that season. The Gehlhausen team only made a couple of appearances with the Kingfish in 1974, but made a more concerted effort in 1975, with the Kingfish now as the #38 entry, raced initially by Jerry Karl, and then by Al Loquasto, Jerry Sneva and Mike Hiss (who crashed it) in practice for the Indy 500. Spike Gehlhausen, Carl's son, was then given his first chance in the car after the 500 and kept the drive to the end of the season. The Gehlhausens then acquired a McLaren M16 as the #19 Spirit of Indiana entry, and the Kingfish acted as backup until an Eagle was acquired in mid-1977. Subsequent history unknown but at some point the car was repainted with Sta-On Glaze livery, Gehlhausen's 1979 sponsor. By 2008, it was part of a collection of unrestored Indy cars owned by Walter Medlin.
  10. Vollstedt 73 [13] (Tom Bigelow): New for 1973 as Vollstedt Enterprises' #17 Norton Spirit entry for Bill Simpson but Simpson crashed during practice for the Indy 500, and the car could not be repaired in time for qualifying. Simpson drove the car again in practice for the Pocono 500, but left the team, saying the car was not fast enough. Bob Harkey took over the drive, and qualified. At the Ontario 500, Tom Sneva was brought into the team, but again crashed the car preventing it from qualifying. The car was converted to the McLaren-style design of the 1972 car for 1974 when it was raced by Bigelow as the #27 Bryant Heating car. Raced by Bigelow at Indy in 1975 but its usage during the rest of that season is still to be determined. Rebuilt extensively for 1976 with its radiators moved to the nose, the same as the 1972 car which had been modified the previous season. Raced by Dick Simon as the #17 Bryant Heating entry in 1976 and in early 1977. It was then retained by the team as a backup car in 1978 and was fitted with an AMC turbo V8 for some races in 1979. Its last known appearance was when driven by Gary Bettenhausen at Pocono in June 1981, when it was described as "an old shovel-nose car". Rolla Vollstedt's son Bruce recalls that the tub sat around for some time, the sides having been taken off with the intention of using it build a different style car. The sides were later put back on, it was sold to to Joe Green, and Rolla rebuilt the car for him in about 2001.
  11. McLaren M16C/D [6] (David "Salt" Walther): New in 1974 for McLaren Cars as a M16C/D for David Hobbs to drive at the 1974 Indy 500 as the #73 Carling Black Label entry. Sold to George Walther by early July for Salt Walther to drive and used as his main #77 car at the Indy 500 in 1975, 1976 and 1977. Walther had other McLarens during this time and he is likely to have used those on short tracks. Sold with M16C/2 to Jerry Karl for 1978 and entered as his #88 Offy car at the 1978 Indy 500 with Frank Fiore as chief mechanic and a #89 RasCar/Atlanta as his backup. This was Karl's car at Pocono, Ontario and Trenton later in 1978, and again at five races in 1979. It was modified as a "McLaren-Karl" for 1980 and 1981 but was wrecked at Riverside in August 1981. Karl then used his backup M16C/2 in the last few races of the season. Both M16Cs were sold to Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) and stored for some years, before undergoing a complete restoration in 2015. Appeared at the Historic Indycar Exhibition in May 2016 in immaculate Carling livery. To Rob Dyson (Millbrook, NY) of Dyson Racing c2017.
  12. 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.
  13. Coyote 70 ['70-1'] (Lee Brayton): New for AJ Foyt at the 1970 Indy 500 as the #7 Sheraton-Thompson entry. Also raced by Foyt at Milwaukee in June, but he used an older 1969 car on short tracks later in the season. Believed to have been Foyt's car at Ontario and Phoenix later in the season. It was then retained for short tracks in 1971, so was probably Foyt's car again at Phoenix in early 1971. It was also his car at Michigan in July, probably at the June Milwaukee, and possibly at other tracks. It may have been Donnie Allison's car at Ontario in September. In 1972, the car was sold to Lee Brayton, to replace the 1969 car that he had wrecked in Indy 500 practice. Raced by Brayton later in 1972, at one race in early 1973, and even at two races in early 1975. It was eventually acquired from Brayton by a sponsor, Harry Oppenhuizen, and was sold by Oppenhuizen to Bill Wiswedel (Holland, MI) in 1988. Owned by Wiswedel and then his son, also named Bill, ever since.
  14. McLaren M16C [M16-1?] (Al Loquasto): To Roger Penske at the 1971 Indy 500 for Mark Donohue (#66 Sunoco). Donohue retired from the Indy 500 but his car was later "destroyed" when Mike Mosley crashed his Eagle into it. It was said that nothing was salvageable and a new car (M16-4) was built in time for Pocono. However, detailed study of photographs establishes that M16-1 was rebuilt and was raced by Gary Bettenhausen for Penske at short-track races in the first half of 1972. Sold to Roy Woods Racing for John Mahler (#74) at Ontario 1972 but wrecked in the race. Not seen again until entered by Roy Woods for David Hobbs (#73) at Ontario September 1973 then for Mahler (#74) at the 1974 Indy 500 but DNQ. It had been updated to M16C form during this time. Sold to Al Loquasto, replacing the M16B he had previously raced, and used from 1975 to 1978 as Loquasto's #86 Frostie Root Beer entry. Loquasto may have used his M16B at some tracks, but no photographic evidence has yet been found for that. Sold by Loquasto to Robert W. LaWarre Sr. (Titusville, FL) for Tony Bettenhausen II (#86 Tilton) late 1979. History then unknown until the M16 was bought from someone in Florida by Joe Baird (Shelbyville, IN) and a partner in the 1990s, when the car still had Loquasto and LaWarre bodywork. Sold via Jim Mann and Steve Truchan to former Formula Atlantic driver Glen A. Smith (Rockwall, TX) and retained by Smith until his death in 2008, after which his wife sold it to Bob Boyce (Michigan City, Indiana).
  15. Eagle 73 [7306] (Jerry Grant): Patrick Racing acquired a new 1973 Eagle after the 1973 Indy 500, probably either chassis 7305 or 7306. It was fitted with a Ford V8 engine and used in practice at Ontario by Graham McRae as the #60 entry, but failed to qualify. Raced by Dick Simon at two later races that season. It may have been Steve Krisiloff's intended #60 Patrick entry at Indy in 1974, identified by Hungness as an Eagle "of 1973 vintage", but the car Krisiloff actually qualified was an older 1972 car. The 1973 car finally reappeared when raced by Krisiloff at Pocono and a few races later in the 1974 season, by which time it had a turbo Offy engine. Sold by Patrick Racing's chief crew George Bignotti to Fred W. Carrillo (San Juan Capistrano, CA) and entered as the #73 Spirit of Orange County entry for Jerry Grant at Ontario at the start of 1975. This became Carillo's AMC-engined car in late 1975 and early 1976, driven again by Grant, before Carillo acquired a newer Eagle. In 1977, this car was rebuilt to Offy specification and sold to Jim McElreath for son James to drive as the #26 McElreath Racing entry in 1977. Then for Jim McElreath in 1978. In 1979, McElreath acquired a second Eagle, apparently the ex-O'Connell 1974 car, which was numbered as the #23 with the older car continuing as #26. The older car continued in use until 1981. In 2017, it was reported that this was chassis 7306, and had remained at Jim McElreath's home in Texas from 1983 until his death in 2017. It was then owned by Angus Russell (Ormond Beach, FL).
  16. Gerhardt 68 (Bob Harkey): Don Gerhardt had a new #11 Thermo King Auto Air Cond entry from the start of 1968 and it is assumed that this Gerhardt-Offy turbo was new at Hanford in April, replacing the #16 car used in 1967. Art Pollard continued as driver for the opening races of the season but during practice for the Indy 500, he was poached by the Granatelli STP team to drive one of the new Lotus 56s. Gary Bettenhausen took over the Gerhardt drive for the Indy 500 and for the rest of the season. Bettenhausen drove the '68 car again at the start of 1969 before the team's new wedge design was ready. The '68 car was then driven by Bruce Walkup as the team's #16 entry at the 1969 Indy 500, by which time the car had a lower, flatter nose cone and had been converted to outboard front suspension. Bettenhausen raced it again at Langhorne in June and Trenton in July, but at the latter race it was crashed heavily. Its movements over the next couple of years are not yet understood, but in late 1971 or early 1972, it became #99 Joe Hunt Magneto Spl entered by Joseph B. Hunt (Los Angeles, CA). It was driven in practice by Bob Harkey and Jerry Karl at the 1972 Indy 500 in highly modified form, but did not attempt to qualify. It continued to evolve even further over the next three seasons, and was the car that Harkey tried to qualify for the California 500 as late as 1975. The two Gerhardts were retained by Hunt until he died in June 1985, and about a year later they were sold by his widow Mary to Jack Thompson (Doylestown, PA).

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.