OldRacingCars.com

Tony Bettenhausen 200

Milwaukee Mile, 20 Aug 1978

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#25 Interscope
200 1h 50m 42.960s
2 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#7 Gould Charge [Penske Racing]
200 Finished
3 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#20 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 1)
200 Finished
4 AJ Foyt Coyote 74 ['74-2'?] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#14 Gilmore/Citicorp [Foyt Enterprises]
(see note 2)
200 Finished
5 Al Unser Lola T500 - Cosworth DFX V8
#2 First National City Travelers Checks [Chaparral Racing]
199 Flagged
6 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#40 Foreman Industries [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 3)
198 Flagged
7 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
#6 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
198 Flagged
8 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
#4 First National City Travelers Check [Team McLaren]
(see note 4)
198 Flagged
9 Cliff Hucul McLaren M16E [002] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#29 Longhorn Racing [Cliff Hucul]
(see note 5)
196 Flagged
10 Tom Bigelow Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#43 Armstrong Mould [Sherman E. Armstrong]
(see note 6)
195 Flagged
11 Sheldon Kinser Watson 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Thermo King [Leader Card] (see note 7)
195 Flagged
12 Jim McElreath Eagle 74 [7407] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#26 Circle City Coal [Jimmy McElreath]
(see note 8)
194 Flagged
13 Al Loquasto Finley Eagle ['72 7228?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#92 McCord Auto [Tassi Vatis] (see note 9)
191 Flagged
14 Todd Gibson Eagle 74 [7406] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#75 Gibson Racing [Brenda Gibson]
(see note 10)
189 Flagged
15 Tom Sneva Penske PC6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#1 Norton Spirit [Penske Racing]
(see note 11)
181 Flagged
16 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#19 Tibon [Carl Gehlhausen] (see note 12)
164 Wrecked
17 Larry Cannon Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#85 Natural Lite Beer [Larry Cannon]
(see note 13)
134 Oil leak
18 Lee Kunzman Sugai Fox 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#90 Hank's Datsun [Sugai] (see note 14)
102 Lost brakes
19 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#16 First National City Travelers Check [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 15)
83 Oil leak
20 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
#48 ARCOgraphite [AAR/Dan Gurney]
77 Fuel return
21 Dick Simon Vollstedt 77 [14] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#17 La Machine [Vollstedt Enterprises]
50 Broken half shaft
22 Gary Bettenhausen Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#98 Oberdorfer [Agajanian/King/JC Purcell]
(see note 16)
33 Blown piston
DNQ Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#22 Kent Oil [Leader Card] (see note 17)
Did not qualify
DNQ Joe Saldana Eagle 72 [7221] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#69 Team 69 [Hoffman] (see note 18)
Did not qualify
DNQ Mike Mosley Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#78 Alex Foods [Alex Morales] (see note 19)
Did not qualify
Qualifying
1 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
2 Tom Sneva Penske PC6B - Cosworth DFX V8
3 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
4 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
5 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
6 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
7 Al Unser Lola T500 - Cosworth DFX V8
8 AJ Foyt Coyote 74 ['74-2'?] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
9 Dick Simon Vollstedt 77 [14] - Offy 159 ci turbo
10 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
11 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
12 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
13 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
14 Al Loquasto Finley Eagle ['72 7228?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
15 Tom Bigelow Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
16 Cliff Hucul McLaren M16E [002] - Offy 159 ci turbo
17 Sheldon Kinser Watson 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
18 Jim McElreath Eagle 74 [7407] - Offy 159 ci turbo
19 Larry Cannon Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
20 Lee Kunzman Sugai Fox 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
21 Gary Bettenhausen Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
22 Todd Gibson Eagle 74 [7406] - Offy 159 ci turbo
23 Mike Mosley * Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
24 Joe Saldana * Eagle 72 [7221] - Offy 159 ci turbo
25 Tom Bagley * Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
 
* Did not start

Notes on the cars:

  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  5. McLaren M16E [002] (Cliff Hucul): New in 1975 for McLaren Cars and raced by Lloyd Ruby at the Indy 500 as the #7 Allied Polymer car. Johnny Rutherford took over this car after Pocono and used it for the rest of the season as his #2 Gatorade entry. Used again at long track in 1976 as the #2 Hy-Gain car and won the Indy 500 as well as finishing second at Michigan and Ontario, and winning at TWS. To Cliff Hucul for 1977 as the #29 Hunter Racing or Team Canada entry, and in 1978 as the Wendy's Hamburgers entry. Raced again by Hucul in 1979 but described then as a M16C/D. Not raced again but seen in Aat Groenevelt's garage at Indy in 1985 still in Hucul livery. Then unknown until loaned to Ken Behring's Behring Auto Musem (Danville, CA) in 1988 but the museum, now called the Blackhawk Museum, cannot recall who owned it. It left the museum in mid-1990s and nothing further is known until 2004, when a M16E was on display in the Samsung Transportation Museum (Yongin, South Korea).
  6. Wildcat Mk 2 (Tom Bigelow): 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
  7. Watson 78 (Sheldon Kinser): Driven by Sheldon Kinser at the Indy 500 but Kinser goes missing for a couple of races and Bagley takes over the 78 (as at Pocono, Ontario, Michigan, Brands and Silverstone according to Autosport). Assumed to have been driven by Bagley everywhere except at the Indy 500.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. Wildcat Mk 1 (Larry Cannon): 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.
  14. 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. Subsequent history unknown. 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.
  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. This car was retained for 1978 alongside the Laydown and it 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. 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".
  17. Watson 77 (Tom Bagley): Sheldon Kinser started 1978 with the only Watson, presumably the team's 1977 car. Kinser then took the 1978 car for the Indy 500 but only Bagley drove the next race (Mosport) and by the time Kinser returned at Pocono, he was in the 77 car (ditto at Ontario). Assumed to have been driven by Kinser for the rest of the year. Maybe then Kinser's #24 through 1979 and then maybe the basis of his #24 Watson-DFX through 1980.
  18. 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).
  19. Lightning 77 (Mike Mosley): New to Alex Morales for 1977 and entered as the #78 Alex Foods car for Bobby Olivero. Presumably his #78 car for the rest of the season but it is possible that the sister #15 car was also used as the #78 at some points during 1977. Then the #78 Alex Foods car for Max Mosley in 1978 and presumed to be the same #78 car he uses all season but it is again quite likely that the sister car was used somewhere. This was then Pancho Carter's Offy-powered #10 Alex XLNT Foods car at the 1979 Indy 500 and as the sister car had been converted to Drake V8 power, this is presumably the Offy car he used through 1979. As the Drake car was converted to a Cosworth DFX and retained for 1980, this Offy car would be the car sold to John Menard's team and entered as the #28 for Herm Johnson in 1980, still with Offy power. For 1981, the Menard team, led by ex-Parnelli mechanic Dan Cota, extensively modified the car with new ground-effect sidepods and fitted a normally-aspirated Chevrolet stock block engine. The car went well at the Indy 500 but Herm Johnson was bumped. To Larry Walker (Indianapolis, IN) for 1982, and entered by his Timberwood Racers at the Indy 500 in 1982 and 1983 as the #88 Frito-Lay Racer, for Billy Scott in 1982 and Roger Rager in 1983, but did not qualify. Subsequent history unknown.

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.