OldRacingCars.com

Rex Mays Classic

Milwaukee Mile, 18 Jun 1978

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#7 Gould Charge [Penske Racing]
150 1h 14m 34.770s
2 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001] - Cosworth DFX V8
#4 First National City Travelers Check [Team McLaren]
(see note 1)
150 Finished
3 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
#6 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
148 Flagged
4 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#40 Foreman Industries [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 2)
148 Flagged
5 Larry Dickson Penske PC5 [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
#80 Polak Construction [Russel Polak]
(see note 3)
148 Flagged
6 Tom Bigelow Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Thermo King [Leader Card] (see note 4)
147 Flagged
7 Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#22 Kent Oil [Leader Card] (see note 5)
145 Flagged
8 Al Unser Lola T500 - Cosworth DFX V8
#2 First National City Travelers Checks [Chaparral Racing]
(see note 6)
144 Out of fuel
9 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#16 First National City Travelers Check [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 7)
143 Out of fuel
10 Larry Cannon Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#35 That's My Car (see note 8)
142 Flagged
11 David "Salt" Walther McLaren M24 [004] - Cosworth DFX V8
#77 Dayton-Walther [George Walther]
(see note 9)
142 Flagged
12 Al Loquasto Finley Eagle ['72 7224?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#92 McCord Auto [Tassi Vatis] (see note 10)
139 Flagged
13 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#19 Tibon [Carl Gehlhausen] (see note 11)
138 Flagged
14 Mike Mosley Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#78 Alex Foods [Alex Morales] (see note 12)
136 Out of fuel
15 Tom Sneva Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#1 Norton Spirit [Penske Racing]
128 Out of fuel
16 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#25 Interscope
92 Engine
17 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
#48 ARCOgraphite [AAR/Dan Gurney]
71 Magneto
18 Dick Simon Vollstedt 73/76 [13] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#17 La Machine [Vollstedt Enterprises]
(see note 13)
57 Oil leak
19 AJ Foyt Coyote 74 ['74-2'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#14 Gilmore/1st National [Foyt Enterprises]
(see note 14)
50 Handling
20 Phil Threshie RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#87 Machinists Union [Frank Fiore]
(see note 15)
33 Magneto
21 Duane "Pancho" Carter Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
#8 Budweiser [Fletcher Racing Team]
(see note 16)
6 Clutch
22 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#20 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 17)
0 Clutch
DNSC Ed Finley Antares 72 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#50 BFM (see note 18)
Did not start (crashed)
DNQ Roger Rager Eagle 72 [7204] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#42 Dairy Queen [Donald Mergard? Wayne Woodward?]
(see note 19)
Did not qualify
DNQ Gary Bettenhausen Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#98 Oberdorfer [Agajanian/King/JC Purcell]
(see note 20)
Did not qualify
Qualifying
1 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
2 Tom Sneva Penske PC6 - 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 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
7 Duane "Pancho" Carter Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
8 Al Unser Lola T500 - Cosworth DFX V8
9 AJ Foyt Coyote 74 ['74-2'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
10 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
11 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
12 Larry Dickson Penske PC5 [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
13 Tom Bigelow Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
14 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
15 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
16 David "Salt" Walther McLaren M24 [004] - Cosworth DFX V8
17 Mike Mosley Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
19 Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
19 Phil Threshie RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
20 Al Loquasto Finley Eagle ['72 7224?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
21 Larry Cannon Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
22 Dick Simon Vollstedt 73/76 [13] - Offy 159 ci turbo
23 Roger Rager * Eagle 72 [7204] - Offy 159 ci turbo
24 Gary Bettenhausen * Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
25 Ed Finley * Antares 72 - 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. 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.
  3. Penske PC5 [001?] (Larry Dickson): Said to have been present at the 1977 Indy 500, but locked in the team's transporter throughout. First raced by Tom Sneva as Penske Racing's #8 Norton Spirit entry at the Michigan 200 in July 1977. Later raced by Sneva at Texas World Speedway two weeks later, and in the California 500 at Ontario in early September. Sold to Russel Polak (Noblesville, IN) and entered for three-time USAC sprint car champion Larry Dickson to race in 1978 and 1979, with Chuck Looper as crew chief. Last seen when Dickson crashed it in practice at Milwaukee in August 1979. Entered for Indy in 1980, but the car did not arrive. This is presumably the car acquired by Joe Hunt and extensively rebuilt for Phil Krueger to race at the start of 1982. Crashed at Phoenix in March 1982 and very heavily damaged. Its suspension was used to build up new car using McLaren M24 tub, and the resulting car used the identity of the McLaren.
  4. Watson 77 (Tom Bigelow): 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Lola T500 (Al Unser): Al Unser's Pocono 500 winner, "first raced at Milwaukee" (Autosport 6 Jul 1978 p30). As only two T500 chassis numbers were used in 1978 (HU3 was a 1979 car), and as this car replaced the Mosport wreck, it would appear to have been a second version of HU1.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. McLaren M24 [004] (David "Salt" Walther): 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.
  10. Finley Eagle ['72 7224?] (Al Loquasto): As well as their regular #92 car, the Vatis/Finley team ran a very similar #93 car for 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 #93 car is the 1976-built car.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Vollstedt 73/76 [13] (Dick Simon): 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.
  14. 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.
  15. RasCar-Atlanta 74 (Phil Threshie): Completed by Gene White Racing after Atlanta Cars closed, and first seen as the team's #21 Bill Daniels GOP for Cale Yarborough at the 1972 Indy 500. Yarborough was then "asked to step down", and the car was converted from Ford to Offy power for team leader Lloyd Ruby to try in practice at Pocono. It was raced by Jimmy Caruthers as the #52 Wynn's Special at Ontario in September. Almost certainly the Atlanta-Offy sold to Larry McCoy Sr's Eastern Racing for his son Larry McCoy to drive in 1973, backed by James Bidwell's Shurfine Foods. Converted by Eldon Rasmussen to Ras-Car specification for 1974, and raced by McCoy and others up to 1977. To Frank Fiore for 1978, and his #87 Machinists Union entry for Jerry Karl, Phil Threshie and Al Loquasto that season. Then to Buddie Boys, a Calgary trucking magnate, and entered for Bob Harkey at the 1980 Indy 500, but he could not get enough speed out of it. The last that was heard of the car was just before the Milwaukee race, when the engine was said to have blown up during testing.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Antares 72 (Ed Finley): Sold to Lindsey Hopkins and entered at the 1972 Indy 500 as the #10 Gilmore Racing car for Wally Dallenbach. Dallenbach qualified Hopkins' 1970 Eagle for the race instead of the Antares but was forced into the Antares when the Eagle was bumped. The Offy engine blew during its qualifying run so it did not make the race. According to a history written by Kevin Triplett, this car and the Swede Savage car were returned to Antares Engineering and remained there until the two cars were bought by Ed Finley, Gary Miller and Keith Shuck in 1975. This ex-Dallenbach car was not used in 1976 but returned to the Indy 500 in 1977 when Ken Mahoney and Doug Beiderstedt had joined as part owners. Raced by Ed Finley in 1977 and 1978, then in 1979 by Frank Weiss and Eldon Rasmussen who managed to qualify it for the 1979 Indy 500. Reappeared a handful of times in 1980 and 1981 and then sat at the workshop of Ken Mahoney (Peru, IL) for some years. This car and all Mahoney's other Antares bits were acquired from him at some point by Jack Layton (Howell, Michigan), and he sold this ex-Dallenbach to Bob McConnell (Urbana, OH). By 2012, the car was fully restored in 1981 Roman Wheels #87 livery.
  19. Eagle 72 [7204] (Roger Rager): One of two 1972 Eagles bought new by Jerry O'Connell's Sugaripe Prune team and raced by Billy Vukovich as the #3 entry in 1972, with Jud Phillips as chief mechanic. As the later history of 7207 is known from an invoice, and as the cars have distinct differences that can be seen in photographs, 7204 can be safely identified as Vukovich's 1972 Indy 500 car, after which it swapped roles with 7207 and became his short track car. It remained his short track car in 1973, and is then believed to have raced just twice in 1974. Sold to Donald Mergard and very probably the car raced by Bob Harkey as Mergard Racing's #42 entry at Michigan late that season. Retained by Mergard for another six seasons, racing as the #42 with numerous drivers and sponsors. In 1981, this car appears to have become Tom Frantz' #71 entry for Bob Frey. Subsequent history unknown.
  20. 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".

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.