Trenton International Speedway, 30 Apr 1977
|1||Wally Dallenbach||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#40 STP Oil Treatment [Patrick Racing]
(see note 1)
|134||1h 19m 42.420s
|2||Gordon Johncock||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#20 STP Double Oil Filter [Patrick Racing]
(see note 2)
|3||Mike Mosley||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#5 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
(see note 3)
|4||David "Salt" Walther||McLaren M16C/D  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#77 Dayton-Walther [George Walther]
(see note 4)
|5||Roger McCluskey||Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#11 First National Travelers Check [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 5)
|6||Todd Gibson||Eagle 74  - DGS 158 ci turbo
#22 Routh Meat [Richard Routh] (see note 6)
|7||James McElreath||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#26 McElreath Racing (see note 7)
|8||Johnny Rutherford||McLaren M24  - Cosworth DFX V8
#2 1st National Travel Check [Team McLaren]
(see note 8)
|9||Duane "Pancho" Carter||Eagle 77  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#48 Jorgensen Steel [AAR] (see note 9)
|10||Tom Sneva||McLaren M24  - Cosworth DFX V8
#8 Norton Spirit [Penske Racing]
(see note 10)
|11||Gary Bettenhausen||Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#98 Agajanian-Knievel [Agajanian/King]
(see note 11)
|88||Broken rear end|
|12||Spike Gehlhausen||Kingfish 72 ['2'] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#19 PV Corp [Carl Gehlhausen] (see note 12)
|13||Billy Vukovich||Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#15 Alex Foods [Alex Morales] (see note 13)
|14||Gary Irvin||Eagle 74 [7417?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#23 McCord Auto [Leader Card] (see note 14)
|15||Tom Bigelow||Eagle 74 [7403?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Thermo-King [Leader Card] (see note 15)
|41||Broken drive shaft|
|16||Mario Andretti||McLaren M24  - Cosworth DFX V8
#9 CAM2 Motor Oil [Roger Penske]
(see note 16)
|17||Vern Schuppan||Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#85 Wildcat Racing [Frank Curtis]
(see note 17)
|1||Johnny Rutherford||McLaren M24  - Cosworth DFX V8|
|2||Mario Andretti||McLaren M24  - Cosworth DFX V8|
|3||Tom Sneva||McLaren M24  - Cosworth DFX V8|
|4||Mike Mosley||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|5||Gordon Johncock||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|6||Duane "Pancho" Carter||Eagle 77  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|7||Wally Dallenbach||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|8||Tom Bigelow||Eagle 74 [7403?] - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|9||Roger McCluskey||Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|10||David "Salt" Walther||McLaren M16C/D  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|11||Gary Bettenhausen||Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|12||Billy Vukovich||Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|13||Spike Gehlhausen||Kingfish 72 ['2'] - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|14||Todd Gibson||Eagle 74  - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|15||Vern Schuppan||Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|16||James McElreath||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|17||Gary Irvin||Eagle 74 [7417?] - Offy 159 ci turbo|
Notes on the cars:
- Wildcat Mk 2 (Wally Dallenbach): Wally Dallenbach had a Wildcat Mk 2 for the 1976 season but we cannot be certain when he drove the Mk 2 that season and when he may have used an older Mk 1. The Mk 3s were produced for 1977 but were only used at a handful of races and Dallenbach drove his 1976 Mk 2 at most races. At the end of 1977, the Dallenbach Mk 2 was sold to Sherman Armstrong's Armstrong Mould team and driven by Tom Bigelow through the 1978 season. It was loaned back to Patrick Racing for Steve Krisiloff to drive at Trenton in September after his usual Mk 2 had been wrecked at Ontario three weeks earlier and the alternative Mk 4 had been shipped to England for the two British races. Retained by Armstrong and driven by Gary Bettenhausen and Howdy Holmes in 1979 and by Bettenhausen in 1980. Used briefly by Rich Vogler as an Armstrong Mould entry in Indy 500 practice in 1981. Subsequent history unknown
- Wildcat Mk 2 (Gordon Johncock): New for Gordon Johncock in 1976 as Patrick Racing's #20 Sinmast Goodyear entry, but Johncock also had a 1975 Mk 1 for short track events, and exactly where he used the Mk 2 is not yet fully resolved. This car was retained for 1977, becoming Johncock's short track car, and was also raced by Johnny Parsons Jr at the 1977 Indy 500 as Patrick's #60 entry. The car was wrecked by Johncock at Milwaukee in June 1977 and was not seen again. As the team had to borrow a Mk 2 back from another team during 1978, it can be assumed that this car was not rebuilt.
- Eagle 74  (Mike Mosley): New to Jerry O'Connell's team for 1974 and raced by Billy Vukovich as the #4 Sugaripe Prune Special, with Jud Phillips as chief mechanic. Presumably the car used through 1974 by Vukovich and then through 1975 by Mike Mosley but the team had older 1972 Eagles available and those older cars may have been used at some races. Used again by Mosley in 1977 but O'Connell also acquired a new Lightning for that season. After Pocono in July 1978 the Eagle was sold to Jim McElreath, who had damaged his ex-Patrick 1973 Eagle at that race. Identified by Simmo Iskül from photographs as McElreath's #23 in 1979, and presumed to be the McElreath Racing #23 right up to 1981, although the ex-Patrick car was also repaired and used again. Subsequent history unknown, but at some point in the next 30 years the car was acquired by Chuck Haines and restored to it original Sugaripe Prune livery. For reasons currently unknown, Haines advertises the car as chassis 74-08.
- McLaren M16C/D  (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.
- Lightning 77 (Roger McCluskey): New to Lindsey Hopkins' team and entered in 1977 as the #11 First National Travelers Check car for driver Roger McCluskey. Hopkins had a second 1977 Lightning, the #10 car used by Lloyd Ruby at the Indy 500, and exactly how these two cars were used in 1977 is not known with certainty. This car was sold to Patrick Santello for 1978 and appeared at the Indy 500 as the #35 car for Larry Rice, but Rice used the team's old 1974 Eagle at other races that season, and the Lightning's only other outing in 1978 was when raced by Vern Schuppan at Texas World Speedway in August. Retained by Santello in 1979 as the #35 S&M Electric entry for Rice and Tim Richmond. Sold to Jack Lang's Pacific Coast Racing for 1980 and raced as the #86 entry by Al Loquasto at Pocono and Jeff Heywood at Ontario. Then unknown until acquired by World Speedway Champion Barry Briggs in 1988, still in "as raced" yellow #86 livery. Later restored to its 1978 #35 livery, and ran at Indy in May and June 2016. Advertised for sale in May 2018. On display at the Grant King Racers Working Race Shop Museum in May 2019.
- Eagle 74  (Todd Gibson): New to VPJ for 1974, but exactly how this car was used in 1974 and 1975 is yet to be fully determined. After Gary Allbritain crashed Dick Routh's ex-Gordy Johncock 1974 Eagle twice in early 1976, Routh's chief crew Todd Gibson bought chassis 7406 from the VPJ team to replace it. Raced by Jan Opperman at the Indy 500 as the #8 Routh Meat entry and then by Gibson himself for the rest of the season. It then became Routh's #22 Baja Boats car for Gibson in 1977, but was crashed heavily in practice at Milwaukee in August. The car was repaired over the close season using the left rear corner from the ex-Johncock Eagle, and run by Gibson a few times in 1978 as the #75 Gibson Racing entry. The car was rebuilt using a Bob Fletcher update kit which moved the radiators to the back of the tub, and was raced in this form until Gibson crashed it in qualifying at the 1979 Indy 500. At some later date, this car was acquired by Chuck Haines and rebuilt to 1974 specification.
- Eagle 74  (James McElreath): 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 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. Later in 1975, the car was fitted with a 209 ci AMC stock block V8 engine developed for Carrillo by Dick Jones, and was driven by Grant in late 1975 and early 1976, now with Dave Klym as chief mechanic. Carrillo then acquired a newer Eagle chassis for the AMC engine and the 1973 Eagle was rebuilt in 1977 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).
- McLaren M24  (Johnny Rutherford): Believed to be Johnny Rutherford's #2 Team McLaren entry in the opening raced of the 1977 season, before he used a newer car at the Indy 500. This car was then used at Milwaukee and Mosport, where Rutherford crashed heavily into the wall shortly before the end of the race. It is believe the car was returned to England for repairs, and missed the rest of the season.
- Eagle 77  (Duane "Pancho" Carter): AAR's new offset chassis 1977 Eagle was driven by Duane 'Pancho' Carter as the #48 Jorgensen Steel entry that season. It soon became clear that its turbo Offy engine was no competition for the Cosworth DFX engines in the McLarens and Parnellis, and the Eagle was abandoned after the California 500. AAR used a Lightning-DFX for the first few races of 1978 before a new 1978 Eagle was completed. The 1977 car was then retained by Gurney as part of AAR's collection of racing cars and remained on display at the AAR premises in Santa Ana. By 2014 it had been restored with a genuine 19-degree AAR engine located by Eagle owner Philippe de Lespinay.
- McLaren M24  (Tom Sneva): New to Penske Racing in 1977 for Tom Sneva to drive as the #8 Norton Spirit entry. Sold to George Walther for his son Salt Walther to drive in 1978, and identified by the Hungness yearbook as the car driven by Salt Walther at the 1978 "500". Walther also had the ex-Andretti M24, and intended to use this at the Indy 500, but swapped to the ex-Sneva car for qualifying and the race. Photographs indicate that Walther raced the ex-Sneva car at all races except Pocono and Ontario in 1978, and at Phoenix and Atlanta in early 1979. Walther acquired Penske PC6s for 1979, but it appears that both his M24s were retained that year. The ex-Sneva car remained with Walther until the auction of the team's remaining equipment in October 2002. It was acquired by Penske, and restored over the next three years, first appearing back in Sneva's 1977 livery in the Penske Racing Museum in 2005.
- Dragon 76 (Gary Bettenhausen): New for John Martin to drive at the 1976 Indy 500 as JC Agajanian & Grant King's #98 Genesee Beer entry. Also driven by Martin at Milwaukee, Pocono, Michigan, Trenton, Milwaukee again and Ontario, but it is possible that he was using the sister car at the short track races. Entered by Agajanian and Evel Knievel for Gary Bettenhausen to drive in 1977, but he used an old 1973 Kingfish at least once at short track events. For Bettenhausen again in 1978, now entered by Agajanian, King and JC Purcell, and with Oberdorfer Foundries as title sponsor. The car was retired from racing at the end of 1978, and crew member Bill Throckmorton recalls that "the Evel Knievel car hung upstairs with the orange Oberdorfer colors on it until Grant restored it".
- Kingfish 72 ['2'] (Spike Gehlhausen): 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.
- Eagle 74 (Billy Vukovich): Having crashed his usual #21 Vel's Parnelli Jones 1974 Eagle at the 1975 Indy 500, Mario Andretti drove a different 1974 Eagle at Pocono in June 1975, his final appearance for VPJ. The Pocono car went to Alex Morales for 1976 and was the #5 Alex Foods entry driven by Billy Vukovich and the 1976 Indy 500. Raced by Vukovich for Morales for the rest of 1976 and again in 1977 when it was the #15 entry. Last seen at the 1977 Indy 500 when it was the #75 backup car crashed by Jerry Grant during practice. The car was only moderately damaged so is likely to have been rebuilt. Subsequent history unknown.
- Eagle 74 [7417?] (Gary Irvin): Mike Mosley's #98 1974 Indy 500 drive for the Lodestar/Leader/Agajanian/Watson combine and identified in a letter from AAR to USAC in Feb 1974 as 7417. Said to be the #98 for Steve Krisiloff in 1975 but the #98 picture in the 1975 yearbook is clearly a 1972 car. Could this be the car Krisiloff wrecked at Phoenix at the end of 1974? It might also be the one he "damaged extensively" in practice at the 1975 Indy (6 May - see trackside report); although the 14 May trackside report says this car was rebuilt, it is an older '72 car that Krisiloff races. Later in 1975, Agajanian left Lodestar/Leader/Watson taking his #97/#98 numbers with him and joined Grant King. Krisiloff's Lodestar/Leader/Watson Eagle then took #10 for the rest of 1975, then moved to the #23/#24 numbers in 1976. Krisiloff may have raced the '74 car later in 1975 but it is not yet known how long the car took to rebuild. At Indy in 1976, Tom Bigelow is bumped in the Leader Card #24 entry which looks like a '74 Eagle but is modified around the front suspension. Maybe 7417 with suitable repairs? Again, the usage of this car in 1976 cannot yet be determined. In 1977, Joe Saldana was bumped in the #64 Leader Card entry, a standard-looking Eagle 74. A picture shows that Saldana's #23 car at the next race was also a '74 Eagle. Finally, at the 1978 Indy 500, Tom Bagley is pictured in Hungness driving a '74 Eagle in practice. As late as 1980, the Leader Card team used an Eagle at short-track events. Subsequent history unknown but this may be the Eagle that Harry Schwartz's Rattlesnake Racing acquired together with a 1977 Watson chassis for 1981.
- Eagle 74 [7403?] (Tom Bigelow): 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.
- McLaren M24  (Mario Andretti): New to Penske Racing for Mario Andretti to drive as the #9 CAM2 Motor Oil entry at eight races in 1977. Sold to George Walther's Dayton-Walther team for his son Salt Walther to drive in 1978. The ex-Andretti car was Salt's intended race car at the Indy 500, but he swapped to his ex-Tom Sneva car for qualifying and the race. Photographs indicate that Walther raced the ex-Andretti car at Pocono and Ontario in 1978. Walther acquired a new Penske PC6 for 1979, but one of the M24s was retained as a backup. The ex-Andretti car was sold to Tom Frantz (Littleton, CO) for 1980, but only appeared at the Indy 500, where he did not qualify, and was then sold to Don Mergard (Cincinnati, OH), whose crew chief Eddie Meinking fitted a Chevrolet stock block engine. Mergard entered it for Phil Threshie at the Indy 500 in 1981, and for Teddy Pilette in 1982, but both failed to qualify. Mergard advertised the car in February 1982 as being "ex-Andretti". The movements of the car are unknown after that date, but at some point it was restored to the livery Sneva's 1977 pole position car and put on display in the Historic Auto Attractions Museum in Roscoe, Illinois. However, it still had its M24-002 chassis plate, its USAC sticker from when Tom Frantz ran it in 1980, and the Chevrolet stock block engine from the Mergard era.
- Wildcat Mk 1 (Vern Schuppan): New for Gordy Johncock in 1975 as Patrick Racing's #20 Sinmast entry. Retained for 1976 and used by Johncock at short track events, winning at Trenton and twice finishing second at Milwaukee. Sold to Wildcat Racing Associates (Lynbrook, NY), a partnership of Frank Curtis, Gene Langsam and Walter Albert, with Curtis as chief mechanic and to be raced by Vern Schuppan as the #85 entry. The car was repossessed by lawyers at Pocono, and in August was sold to Danville barber Larry Cannon, who raced it for the rest of 1977 still entered as #85. Retained by Cannon for 1978, 1979 and 1980, qualifying for the Indy 500 in 1980. The car was again entered by Cannon in 1981 for guest drivers. Both Cannon's Wildcats were later bought by Maurice Kraines of Kraco and used as display cars at store openings and malls. Subsequent history unknown.
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 (email@example.com) if you can help in any way with our research.