Atlanta 150

Atlanta International Raceway, 23 Jul 1978

1 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#7 Gould Charge [Penske Racing]
100 1h 03m 43.950s
2 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
#4 First National City Travelers Check [Team McLaren]
(see note 1)
100 Finished
3 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
#48 ARCOgraphite [AAR/Dan Gurney]
100 Finished
4 AJ Foyt Coyote 74 ['74-2'?] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#14 Gilmore Racing [Foyt Enterprises]
(see note 2)
99 Flagged
5 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#40 Foreman Industries [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 3)
99 Flagged
6 Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#22 Kent Oil [Leader Card] (see note 4)
98 Flagged
7 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#20 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 5)
98 Flagged
8 Tom Sneva Penske PC6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#1 Norton Spirit [Penske Racing]
(see note 6)
97 Flagged
9 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
#6 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
97 Flagged
10 Joe Saldana Eagle 72 [7221] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#69 Mr. Wize Carpets [Hoffman] (see note 7)
97 Flagged
11 Duane "Pancho" Carter Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
#8 Budweiser [Fletcher Racing Team]
(see note 8)
97 Flagged
12 Roger Rager Eagle 74 [7411] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#81 Dairy Queen [Wayne Woodward]
(see note 9)
96 Flagged
13 Jim McElreath Eagle 74 [7407] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#26 Circle City Coal [Jimmy McElreath]
(see note 10)
95 Flagged
14 Al Unser Lola T500 [HU1-2?] - Cosworth DFX V8
#2 First National City Travelers Checks [Chaparral Racing]
94 Out of fuel
15 Todd Gibson Eagle 74 [7406] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#75 Gibson Racing [Brenda Gibson]
(see note 11)
92 Flagged
16 Jerry Sneva McLaren M16B/A [B-3/A-2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#30 Smock Material [Fred Ruth] (see note 12)
89 Flagged
17 Sheldon Kinser Watson 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Thermo King [Leader Card] (see note 13)
78 Flagged
18 Dick Simon Vollstedt 77 [14] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#17 La Machine [Vollstedt Enterprises]
62 Handling
19 Al Loquasto Finley Eagle ['72 7228?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#92 McCord Auto [Tassi Vatis] (see note 14)
47 Transmission
20 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#16 First National City Travelers Check [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 15)
34 Wrecked
21 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#25 Interscope
11 Engine
22 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#19 Tibon [Carl Gehlhausen] (see note 16)
4 Overheated
DNSC Phil Threshie unknown
#87 Machinists Union [Frank Fiore]
Did not start (crashed)
DNQ Lee Kunzman Sugai Fox 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#90 Hank's Datsun [Sugai] (see note 17)
Did not qualify
1 Tom Sneva Penske PC6B - Cosworth DFX V8
2 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
3 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
4 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
5 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
6 Duane "Pancho" Carter Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
7 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
8 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
9 AJ Foyt Coyote 74 ['74-2'?] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
10 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
11 Jim McElreath Eagle 74 [7407] - Offy 159 ci turbo
12 Al Unser Lola T500 [HU1-2?] - Cosworth DFX V8
13 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
14 Sheldon Kinser Watson 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
15 Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
16 Joe Saldana Eagle 72 [7221] - Offy 159 ci turbo
17 Jerry Sneva McLaren M16B/A [B-3/A-2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
18 Roger Rager Eagle 74 [7411] - Offy 159 ci turbo
19 Al Loquasto Finley Eagle ['72 7228?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
20 Dick Simon Vollstedt 77 [14] - Offy 159 ci turbo
21 Todd Gibson Eagle 74 [7406] - Offy 159 ci turbo
22 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
23 Phil Threshie * unknown
24 Lee Kunzman * Sugai Fox 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
* Did not start

Notes on the cars:

  1. McLaren M24B [001?] (Johnny Rutherford): Johnny Rutherford's intended #4 Team McLaren entry at the 1978 Indy 500 but not run. First used at Milwaukee and Pocono in June 1978 (Autosport 6 Jul 1978 p29) and presumably used for the rest of the season. Definitely used at Ontario (Autosport 14 Sep 1978 p21), Silverstone (Autosport 5 Oct 1978 p19) and Brands Hatch (Autosport 12 Oct 1978 p21). This was presumably Rutherford's backup car during the 1979 season, and is believed to be the car he raced at Trenton in June, at Trenton again in August, and at Michigan in September. It is also likely to have been the #94 car raced by Don Whittington at Ontario's California 500 in September.
  2. Coyote 74 ['74-2'?] (AJ Foyt): New for AJ Foyt at the 1974 Indy 500 as Foyt Enterprises' #14 Gilmore Racing entry. Photographs show that it was also raced by Foyt at Milwaukee in June, Pocono, Michigan in July, Milwaukee in August, probably Michigan again in September, Trenton in September and Phoenix in November. It was also used to set a new record speedway lap of 217.854 mph at Talladega on 3 August 1974. Photographs also show that this was one of three cars used by Foyt during the 1975 season: at Ontario in March, as his #10 backup car at the Indy 500, and at both Michigan races in July and September 1975. In 1976, Foyt raced the older 1974 car at early-season short track races and the newer 1975 car at the Indy 500, but used this car for every race from Pocono in June to the end of the season. In 1977, it was raced by Foyt at Ontario and Phoenix in March, TWS in April, Pocono, Mosport, and Trenton in September; and by Billy Vukovich at the Indy 500. In 1978, it was raced by Foyt at Phoenix in March, Trenton in April, Mosport, and Milwaukee in June, by Snider at Pocono, and probably at Michigan, where he hit the wall. It may be the car raced by Foyt in the August Milwaukee and by George Snider in the two races in Britain in October 1978, but this remains uncertain. Foyt then bought Parnelli VPJ6Cs, and the Coyotes were finally retired. This car passed to Foyt's long-time sponsor Jim Gilmore and was on display in his second-floor office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was in his living room at his home by 1985. After Gilmore died in a traffic accident in 2001, the Coyote moved to the Gilmore Museum, also in Kalamazoo, which had been founded by his uncle, Donald S. Gilmore in 1966. Its display board calls it a 1974 car, and that it was the Talladega record car.
  3. Wildcat Mk 2 (Steve Krisiloff): Built by Patrick Racing during 1976, but not run for the first time until the 1977 Indy 500, where it was Gordon Johncock's #20 STP entry. It is believed to have been his regular long-track car in 1977, but he also had his 1976 Mk 2 for short tracks early in the season, and had a Mk 3 which was used at Mosport and at least one short track later in the season. This car became Steve Krisiloff's #40 Foreman Industries car in 1978 until he wrecked it at Ontario in September, in a collision with Cliff Hucul's older Wildcat sent Krisiloff into the wall. Krisiloff had to use the unloved Drake V8-powered Mk 4 for the rest of the season, indicating that Patrick Racing had no Mk 2s left and that this car was not rebuilt.
  4. Watson 77 (Tom Bagley): New for Tom Bigelow to drive as the Leader Card #24 Thermo King entry at the 1977 Indy 500. He qualified 22nd and finished sixth. Bigelow raced the Watson at six more races that season, but used one of the team's old Eagles at Mosport Park and at the short-track races. He was replaced by Sheldon Kinser for 1978, and he raced this car at the opening races before moving to the new 1978 car. Tom Bagley then took over the 1977 car for the rest of the season at was at his best on road courses, qualifying fifth at Mosport, seventh at Silverstone and eighth at Brands Hatch. Billy Vukovich took over the car for 1979, the year of the CART/USAC schism and achived several good placing in the poorly-supported USAC races, including second place at Milwaukee in June. The car was only seen a few times in 1980 and was then sold to Harry Schwartz' Rattlesnake Racing for Billy Vukovich to drive in 1981.
  5. Wildcat Mk 2 (Gordon Johncock): Another new Mk 2 was built for Gordon Johncock to use in 1978 and he used this car throughout the 1978 season, the Mk 3 and Mk 4 having been effectively abandoned. Sold to Herb & Rose Wysard for 1979 and became their #34 Wysard Motors entry for Vern Schuppan. Retained for 1980 and raced by Pete Halsmer and Schuppan up to Watkins Glen in August, after which it was sold to Larry Cannon to replace his Mk 1. Probably the car raced by Cannon in the last few races of 1980 and then entered for Dick Ferguson and Herm Johnson in early 1981. 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.
  6. Penske PC6B (Tom Sneva): Sneva's late season PC6B. Said (Autosport 14 Sep 1978 p20) to be the car used since Pocono. The Harms/Ferner data calls Sneva's car a PC6/78 all season but this PC6B assumed to be used through to the end of 1978 (despite the wreck at Ontario and the rebuild in time for Michigan).
  7. Eagle 72 [7221] (Joe Saldana): New to Leader Card Racers in time for the TWS race at the start of 1973. Raced by Mike Mosley as the #98 Leader Card entry. Then taken to the Indy 500 as a backup, renumbered #97, and qualified by Rick Muther. It was then Mosley's short track car, and raced by Muther at Pocono and by Johnny Parsons Jr at Ontario and at the late-season races. Presumably for Parsons again at Ontario in March 1974. Then Mosley's short track car when he wasn't using his new 1974 Eagle. Signs of repairs to the left side of this car allow it to be identified from 1975 onwards. It was raced by George Snider as the #97 at Ontario at the start of 1975, then by Steve Krisiloff in the Indy 500 as the #98 and later in the season as the #98 and then the #10. For 1976, the car was sold to Patrick Santello and was his #65 City of Syracuse or S&M Electric entry that season for Larry Dickson and Lee Kunzman. Then to Gus and Richard Hoffman (Milford, OH) of Hoffman Racing for 1977 and entered for Jerry Grant and later Joe Saldana as the #69. Driven again by Saldana in 1978 and 1979. Also appeared once for Bob Frey in 1980. Reappeared briefly in 1982 when it was entered by George T. Smith's GTS Racing as the #86 Empress Traveler for Al Loquasto. Sold by Smith to Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO) who sold it to Bob Colllings (Boston, MA) in April 1985. Retained by Collings and now forms part of the auto collection in The Collings Foundation (Stow, MA).
  8. Lightning 77 (Duane "Pancho" Carter): Bob Fletcher's Cobre Tire team had a second 1977 Lightning for Bobby Unser in 1977, but exactly how it was used that season is currently undetermined. This second car was very probably the one converted to take a Cosworth DFX engine later in 1977 and took pole position at Phoenix in October. New driver Pancho Carter then crashed the Lightning-DFX heavily in testing at Phoenix in early December, suffering major injuries. Although it was repaired in time to be entered in the 1978 Indy 500 as the #55 for Vern Schuppan, it did not appear on track. It returned to service at Milwaukee in June after Carter had damaged his other car at Mosport and was his regular car from then until the end of the season. It was raced by Steve Krisiloff at the start of 1979 and was his intended car at the Indy 500 but was withdrawn and he raced his backup. This car did not appear again in the team until Krisloff left the team prior to the Ontario 500. It then became the #55 Fletcher entry for Spike Gehlhausen from Ontario onwards. Fletcher bought a Penske PC7 for 1980 and neither Fletcher Lightning was seen that season. The other Fletcher Lightning went to Phil Caliva for 1981, but the fate of this second car remains unknown.
  9. Eagle 74 [7411] (Roger Rager): New to Mike Devin's Unlimited Racing Team, who was expecting to be Lloyd Ruby's chief mechanic on the car as part of the Parnelli team, but was sold on to Mike Slater's Commander Motor Homes, still with Ruby as driver and Devin as chief mechanic. Ruby also owned a 1973 car, chassis 7228, which was his short track car in 1974. Entered by Devin for Sammy Sessions at the 1975 Indy 500, then Bob Fendler (Phoenix, AZ) bought the '74 Eagle, setting up a new team in Phoenix, with Devin relocating to be chief mechanic, and Ruby again as driver in the November 1975 Phoenix 150. Fendler's empire then collapsed, and the Eagle returned to Devin. After Ruby's last Indy 500 appearance in the car the following May, Devin joined Lindsey Hopkins' team in July 1976, and leased the Eagle to Bobby Hillin's Longhorn Racing, later selling the car to Hillin in 1977. It was Hillin's #18 Spirit of Truth entry in 1976 for Jan Opperman and George Snider, then Hillin's #72 entry for Bubby Jones at Indy 1977, and then the #18 again for Snider later in the year. It was entered by Hillin for the 1978 Indy 500, but only as a backup. This was then the 1974 Eagle entered as the #81 Dairy Queen car for Billy Vukovich and Roger Rager later in 1978, in what became the John O'Hanlon/Wayne Woodward Shade Tree Racing, although whether O'Hanlon and Woodward had joined forces as early as 1978 is unclear. It was run for Dick Ferguson and Jerry Sneva in 1979 and then appeared at two more races for Michel Jourdain in 1980. It was next seen when Steve Culp (Shreveport, LA) bought it from Mike Gue of Essex Racing some time between 1982 and 1984. Gue was an English dealer who moved his operation to Connecticut in 1981, then to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1983. Culp moved the car to Shreveport about 1985, where it remained, still in Jourdain's livery. It was bought by Danny Aiello (Marshall, TX) in 2020.
  10. Eagle 74 [7407] (Jim McElreath): 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 Isk├╝l 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.
  11. Eagle 74 [7406] (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.
  12. McLaren M16B/A [B-3/A-2] (Jerry Sneva): 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.
  13. Watson 78 (Sheldon Kinser): New for Sheldon Kinser to drive as the Leader Card #24 Thermo King entry at the 1978 Indy 500, and at races later in the season. Kinser continued to race this car for the team in 1979, now with Genesee Beer sponsorship. The car was updated for 1980 with "ground-effect" sidepods. Kinser started the season in it before moving over the the 1979 Watson, and Billy Vukovich then qualified it for the Indy 500, finishing 12th. Kinser and Vukovich both raced it later in the season, as the team rotated all three of the 1977-1979 cars. It was entered as a backup car for Dick Simon in his #22 Vermont American livery at the 1981 Indy 500 and was raced by Simon at Pocono and Milwaukee later that season. It was then sold to Rolla Vollstedt for Max "Rusty" Schmidt to attempt to qualify at the 1982 Indy 500. Vollstedt recalled selling it to a female Formula Ford racer in Portland whose cheque bounced. This must be the Amber Furst (Brightwood, OR) who entered a Watson-Offy for the 1983 Indy 500 with husband Tim Furst as chief mechanic but was refused a chance to take her rookie test. After Vollstedt got the car back he sold it to "a local fellow" who put a Chevy in it. Subsequent history unknown.
  14. Finley Eagle ['72 7228?] (Al Loquasto): The Vatis/Finley team's #92 in 1978 looks much the same as the #93 car used by Bill Vukovich at the Indy 500. It would be fair to assume that one is the old 1972 Eagle the team acquired in 1975 (chassis 7228) and the other is the new-old Eagle built for the 1976 season. The implication is that the #92 car is the 1972 Eagle.
  15. Lightning 77 (Johnny Parsons Jr): New for Lindsey Hopkins' team and appeared as the team's second entry at the 1977 Indy 500, the #10 '1st National Travel Check' Lightning as raced by Lloyd Ruby. The car was extensively damaged when Ruby hit the wall on lap 34 and burst into flames. It was returned to Autoresearch and completely repaired. The car does not appear to have raced again in 1977, but was retained by the Hopkins team for 1978 alongside the Laydown and was Hopkins' #16 entry for Johnny Parsons at the 1978 Indy 500. Photographs show that Parsons used it at most races that season, with the Laydown only being raced three times. At the final race of the season at Phoenix, Parsons damaged his primary car in practice, and photographs have not yet been found to determine which car he crashed. It is likely to have been this car, with the Laydown by then serving as his backup. It is then distinctly possible that this car was rebuilt as the team's Drake V8 car for 1979, but that remains unproven.
  16. Eagle 74 (Spike Gehlhausen): New to Robert L. 'Bob' Fletcher's Cobre Firestone team and entered as the #21 car for Jimmy Caruthers 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 white #11 entry for Duane Carter in 1975. Unknown in 1976 but presumably a backup car for Bobby Unser's regular #3 car. Sold to Carl Gehlhausen and entered for Spike Gehlhausen as the #19 PV Corp car at four races towards the end of the 1977 season and then through the 1978 season, until it was crashed heavily at Michigan in September. Gehlhausen then bought Pat Santello's '74 Eagle to replace it. The Michigan wreck is believed to have been repaired for 1979, and may be the car sold to Todd Gibson for 1980.
  17. Sugai Fox 78 (Lee Kunzman): Built by John Thompson's TC Prototypes in England for customer Art Sugai (Ontario, OR), and entered for Lee Kunzman to drive in the 1978 Indy 500 as the #90 Sugai Fox. Chief mechanic was Tom Fox, who had been in the same role for Sugai in 1977. The car arrived too late for Kunzman to sort out and was not allowed to attempt to qualify as Kunzman had not managed a lap over 180 mph (qualifying times ranged from 187 to 202 mph). Hank Alders (Bismark, ND) then took a controlling interest in the car, renaming it the Hank's Datsun Chisel, and Danny Jones took over as crew chief. Due to lack of entries, Kunzman was allowed to start the Pocono 500 in June in the Sugai Fox despite not setting a time during qualifying, but only completed one lap. After failing to qualify in Atlanta, Kunzman qualified 20th out of 22 at Milwaukee in August, and ran as high as 11th before retiring. In early 1979, supermodified racer Don Mack (East Grand Forks, Minn.) bought out Sugai's share. Alders and Mack planned to enter the 1979 Indy 500, but could not muster the finance. They were said to have two cars and five engines. The car was advertised by Albers in January 1981, and sold to Joe Archuleta (Santa Fe, NM) who entered it for the Phoenix race in March 1981, but could not get it to start. After testing it and spinning off at a local Sante Fe track, Archuleta realised he was out of his depth, and put the car up for sale in March 1982. Subsequent history unknown, but by 2011, the car was on display in the Barber Museum, still wearing Archuleta's #44.


Note that 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' published 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.