OldRacingCars.com

California 500

Ontario Motor Speedway, 3 Sep 1978

ResultsLapsTime/Speed
1 Al Unser Lola T500 - Cosworth DFX V8
#2 First National City Travelers Checks [Chaparral Racing]
(see note 1)
200 3h 26m 40.270s
2 Duane "Pancho" Carter Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
#8 Budweiser [Fletcher Racing Team]
(see note 2)
195 Flagged
3 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#20 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 3)
194 Fuel pickup
4 Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#22 Kent Oil [Leader Card] (see note 4)
194 Flagged
5 Lee Kunzman Sugai Fox 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#90 Hank's Datsun [Sugai] (see note 5)
180 Flagged
6 Roger Mears Eagle 72 [7219] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#28 Galles Chevrolet [Richard Beith]
(see note 6)
158 Flagged
7 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#40 Foreman Industries [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 7)
153 Wrecked
8 Cliff Hucul Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#18 Longhorn Racing [Longhorn Racing (Bobby Hillin)]
(see note 8)
151 Wrecked
9 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#7 Gould Charge [Penske Racing]
150 Engine
10 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
#6 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
148 Engine
11 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
#4 First National City Travelers Check [Team McLaren]
(see note 9)
129 Engine
12 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#25 Interscope
126 Fuel pump
13 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
#48 ARCOgraphite [AAR/Dan Gurney]
123 Broken exhaust header
14 Dick Simon Vollstedt 77 [14] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#17 La Machine [Vollstedt Enterprises]
108 Overheated
15 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#16 First National City Travelers Check [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 10)
95 Overheated
16 Mike Mosley Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#78 Alex Foods [Alex Morales] (see note 11)
78 Wrecked
17 Sheldon Kinser Watson 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Thermo King [Leader Card] (see note 12)
72 Lost oil pressure
18 Bob Harkey Eagle 73 [7302?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#99 Joe Hunt Magneto [Joe Hunt]
(see note 13)
60 Engine
19 Al Loquasto RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#87 Machinists Union [Frank Fiore]
(see note 14)
40 Piston
20 Jim McElreath Eagle 74 [7407] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#26 Circle City Coal [Jimmy McElreath]
(see note 15)
37 Piston
21 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#19 Tibon [Carl Gehlhausen] (see note 16)
26 Cracked block
22 Larry Cannon Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#85 Natural Lite Beer [Larry Cannon]
(see note 17)
21 Oil leak
23 Tom Sneva Penske PC6B - Cosworth DFX V8
#1 Norton Spirit [Penske Racing]
(see note 18)
18 Wrecked
24 Roger McCluskey Wildcat 'Mk 4' - Drake DT 160 V8
#60 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 19)
12 Overheated
25 Jerry Sneva McLaren M16B/A [B-3/A-2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#30 Thunder Racing [Fred Ruth/Marv Schmidt?]
(see note 20)
10 Manifold
26 Billy Vukovich Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
#32 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
(see note 21)
9 Clutch
27 George Snider Coyote 75 ['75-1'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#14 Gilmore/Citicorp [Foyt Enterprises]
(see note 22)
4 Clutch
28 AJ Foyt Parnelli VPJ-6C [005] - Cosworth DFX V8
#21 Gilmore/American Racing [Foyt Enterprises]
(see note 23)
1 Gearbox
29 David "Salt" Walther McLaren M24 [002] - Cosworth DFX V8
#77 Dayton-Walther [George Walther]
(see note 24)
0 Wrecked
30 Phil Threshie Lightning 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#47 Machinists Union [Phil Threshie]
(see note 25)
0 Wrecked
31 Jerry Karl McLaren M16C [6] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#38 Bentzel Construction [Jerry Karl]
(see note 26)
0 Did not start
Qualifying
1 Tom Sneva Penske PC6B - Cosworth DFX V8
2 Johnny Rutherford McLaren M24B [001?] - Cosworth DFX V8
3 Danny Ongais Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
4 Rick Mears Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
5 Spike Gehlhausen Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
6 Duane "Pancho" Carter Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
7 Al Unser Lola T500 - Cosworth DFX V8
8 Wally Dallenbach McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
9 Gordon Johncock Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
10 Johnny Parsons Jr Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
11 Bobby Unser Eagle 78 [7801] - Cosworth DFX V8
12 David "Salt" Walther McLaren M24 [002] - Cosworth DFX V8
13 Tom Bagley Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
14 Steve Krisiloff Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
15 Mike Mosley Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
16 Dick Simon Vollstedt 77 [14] - Offy 159 ci turbo
17 Phil Threshie Lightning 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
18 Cliff Hucul Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
19 Jerry Karl McLaren M16C [6] - Offy 159 ci turbo
20 Sheldon Kinser Watson 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
21 Jerry Sneva McLaren M16B/A [B-3/A-2] - Offy 159 ci turbo
22 Bob Harkey Eagle 73 [7302?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
23 Larry Cannon Wildcat Mk 1 - DGS 158 ci turbo
24 AJ Foyt Parnelli VPJ-6C [005] - Cosworth DFX V8
25 George Snider Coyote 75 ['75-1'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
26 Billy Vukovich Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
27 Lee Kunzman Sugai Fox 78 - Offy 159 ci turbo
28 Roger McCluskey Wildcat 'Mk 4' - Drake DT 160 V8
29 Roger Mears Eagle 72 [7219] - Offy 159 ci turbo
30 Al Loquasto RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
31 Jim McElreath Eagle 74 [7407] - Offy 159 ci turbo

Notes on the cars:

  1. Lola T500 (Al Unser): Al Unser's Indy 500 winner, later wrecked (at Mosport next race, presumably) but rebuilt and was the car used at Ontario (Autosport 14 Sep 1978 p21). Presumably HU2.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Eagle 72 [7219] (Roger Mears): 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Wildcat Mk 1 (Cliff Hucul): New for Wally Dallenbach in 1975 as Patrick Racing's #40 Sinmast entry. Retained for 1976 and used by Dallenbach in practice at the 1976 Indy 500 and raced by him at Trenton in August. Sold to Bobby Hillin's Longhorn Racing for 1977, and raced by George Snider as the #18 entry at most races that season, a 1974 Eagle being used at others. Retained by Longhorn for 1978, but neither Bubby Jones nor Billy Vukovich could get the car up to speed at the Indy 500 due to a handling problem. Jones raced it at Pocono in July, and then Canadian Cliff Hucul raced it at Ontario in September, but was eliminated in a collision with Steve Krisiloff. It appears that the Longhorn Wildcat was significantly remodelled during repairs, as it looked significantly different to a standard Wildcat Mk 1 when George Snider raced it at Phoenix in October. This remodelled car was owned and driven by Tom Frantz (Littleton, CO) in 1979, again wearing #18. It was sold to Ross Davis (Grand Junction, CO) for 1980, with backing from Jim Land and Jon Abrasom. He raced it at Ontario in March, but was refused a rookie test at Indy, and the drive was taken over by John Martin, who qualified but was bumped. Martin drove the car for the rest of the season. According to Bob Sawicki, "this car was destroyed when the trailer broke away from the truck and crash down a hill in 1980".
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Eagle 73 [7302?] (Bob Harkey): Built in time for Bobby Unser to drive as AAR's #8 Olsonite entry at Texas World Speedway in April. He then used the same car at Trenton, but had a further new car, chassis 7304, for Indianapolis. Exactly how 7302 was then used is still being resolved, but it is assumed for now to be the car he crashed at Milwaukee in August. The unrepaired chassis then sat on pallets at AAR until the autumn of 1975 when it was bought by Joe Hunt (Torrance, CA), repaired, and run by him as the #99 Joe Hunt Magneto entry starting when John Martin drove it in the final race of the 1975 season. Hunt continued to run it at Indy races at Ontario and at Phoenix through the next five seasons. It was taken to the Indy 500 in 1981 for Phil Krueger to drive and was crashed heavily during practice, but rebuilt yet again, and raced until 1982. Subsequent history unknown, but it was acquired by Jack Danko (Laurel Run, PA) in January 2004, and rebuilt to be used in Pensylvania hillclimbs by his son Darryl Danko from 2005 to at least 2011.
  14. RasCar-Atlanta 74 (Al Loquasto): 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.
  15. 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.
  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. 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.
  18. 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).
  19. Wildcat 'Mk 4' (Roger McCluskey): A new car to continue the development of the Drake V8 engine, replacing the original car "written off" at Mosport Park in June 1978. First raced by Roger McCluskey at Ontario in September, then by Steve Krisiloff at Michigan. Then taken to England for Krisiloff to race at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, but Krisiloff crashed it after practice at Brands Hatch. Next seen in 1981, when it had been acquired by Ross Davis (Grand Junction, CO) and was run from Atlanta in late June onwards. Subsequent history unknown.
  20. 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.
  21. Lightning 77 (Billy Vukovich): New to Jerry O'Connell's team for 1977 and entered as the #5 Sugaripe Prune car for Mike Mosley, with Jud Phillips as chief mechanic. The team used an older 1974 Eagle at some events that year and the Lightning was also raced by Johnny Parsons at Texas. It was fitted with a Cosworth DFX and became the team's spare car for 1978 after O'Connell acquired a McLaren M24 for Wally Dallenbach and would be the Lightning-DFX driven by Billy Vukovich (#32 Sugaripe Prune) as a second team entry at Ontario and finally by Dallenbach (#6 Sugaripe Prune) at Trenton at the end of 1978. Subsequent history unknown.
  22. Coyote 75 ['75-1'] (George Snider): New for AJ Foyt at the 1975 Indy 500 as Foyt Enterprises' #14 Gilmore Racing entry. This car was allegedly slimmer and lower than previous cars in this series. Photographs show that the next times Foyt raced this car were to win the Pocono 500 in June 1975, finish second at the Indy 500 in May 1976, and then to win the Indy 500 in 1977, Foyt's fourth win at the Speedway. Foyt then announced that the car had been donated to the IMS Museum, but it was later reclaimed and Foyt took it to second place at the California 500 at Ontario in September. The following year it was raced more often: by Foyt at the Ontario 200 in March and the Texas 200 in April, then it was George Snider's #84 entry at the 1978 Indy 500, was raced by Foyt at Michigan in July, then Foyt's winning ride at the 200-mile Texas Grand Prix at TWS in August that year, and finally Snider's #14 at the Ontario 500. After it was retired, the car was on display in the Indy Museum during the 1980s, but returned to Foyt to be auctioned in 1992. It was acquired by Tony George for $410,000, and returned to the IMS Museum. It has remained in the museum collection since then.
  23. Parnelli VPJ-6C [005] (AJ Foyt): When Interscope split from Vel's Parnelli Racing at the end of 1977, Interscope took the VPJ6Bs and Vel's Parnelli kept the newer VPJ6C design with its transverse VPJ/Weismann gearbox (Autosport 14 Sep 1978 p20). At the 1978 California 500 at Ontario, AJ Foyt appeared in one of the VPJ6Cs - initially still in its #21 blue-and-white 1977 livery - and continued to use this car through 1978 and 1979. At the 1979 Indy 500, the Laycock car record card states that Foyt's #14 car at Indy had been new at the 1978 Ontario 500 [sic] and had won the 1979 Ontario 200. The USAC Tech sheet for car #14 at that race gives the model as "786C-005" which is assumed to mean VPJ6C-005. It is presumed from this information that VPJ6C-005 was run by Foyt at the 1978 California 500 and was the Parnelli he used at subsequent 1978 races.
  24. McLaren M24 [002] (David "Salt" Walther): 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 (Cincinatti, 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.
  25. Lightning 76 (Phil Threshie): New for Lindsey Hopkins as the #7 Hopkins entry for Roger McCluskey at the Indy 500 in 1976. Raced by McCluskey from Michigan in July to the end of the season, qualifying second at Ontario and at Michigan in September but not actually finishing a race higher than fifth. Sold to Rolla Vollstedt for Janet Guthrie to drive in 1977 as his #27 Bryant Air Conditioning entry. Guthrie qualified for the Indy 500, and also raced the car at Pocono and Ontario, and by Bob Harkey and Dick Simon at other races. Sold to Phil Threshie for 1978 but crashed at Michigan and wrecked again at Ontario, its final race. Later owned by Nick Pappas (Oregon City, OR) and sold by him to Bob Boyce (Michigan City, IN). Later to Bob McConnell (Urbana, OH).
  26. McLaren M16C [6] (Jerry Karl): 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 with Frank Fiore as chief mechanic and a #89 RasCar/Atlanta as his backup. How this car was used later is currently unclear. Sold with M16C/2 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.

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.