Gabriel Trenton 200
Trenton International Speedway, 23 Apr 1978
|1||Gordon Johncock||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#20 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 1)
|134||1h 32m 04.180s
|2||AJ Foyt||Coyote 74 ['74-2'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8
#14 Gilmore/1st National [Foyt Enterprises]
(see note 2)
|3||Tom Sneva||Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#1 Norton Spirit [Penske Racing]
|4||Danny Ongais||Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8
|5||Steve Krisiloff||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#40 Goodyear/Patrick [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 3)
|6||Bobby Olivero||Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#78 Alex Foods [Alex Morales] (see note 4)
|7||Jim McElreath||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#26 McElreath (see note 5)
|8||Tom Bigelow||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo
#43 Armstrong Mould [Sherman E. Armstrong]
(see note 6)
|130||Broken water line|
|9||Larry Rice||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#65 S&M Electric [Patrick Santello]
|10||Johnny Rutherford||McLaren M24 [003?] - Cosworth DFX V8
#4 First National City Travelers Check [Team McLaren]
|11||Wally Dallenbach||McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8
#6 Sugaripe Prune [Jerry O'Connell/Jud Phillips]
|12||Tom Bagley||Eagle 74 [7403?] - Offy 159 ci turbo
#22 Kent Oil [Leader Card] (see note 7)
|13||Mario Andretti||Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8
#7 Gould Charge [Penske Racing]
(see note 8)
|14||Sheldon Kinser||Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#24 Thermo King [Leader Card] (see note 9)
|89||Broken water line|
|15||David "Salt" Walther||McLaren M16C  - Offy 159 ci turbo
#77 Dayton-Walther [George Walther]
(see note 10)
|16||Vern Schuppan||Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
#8 Budweiser [Fletcher Racing Team]
(see note 11)
|17||Johnny Parsons Jr||Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci laydown turbo
#16 First National City Travelers Check [Lindsey Hopkins]
(see note 12)
|18||Spike Gehlhausen||Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#19 Huber Chevrolet/WIRE [Carl Gehlhausen]
(see note 13)
|19||Gary Bettenhausen||Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#98 Oberdorfer [Agajanian/King/JC Purcell]
(see note 14)
|26||Broken half shaft|
|20||Bobby Unser||Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8
#48 ARCOgraphite [AAR/Dan Gurney]
(see note 15)
|21||Roger McCluskey||Wildcat 'Mk 4' - Drake DT 160 V8
#60 North American Van Lines [Patrick Racing Team]
(see note 16)
|22||Jerry Karl||RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo
#87 Machinists Union [Frank Fiore]
(see note 17)
|1||Lost oil pressure|
|1||Tom Sneva||Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8|
|2||Danny Ongais||Parnelli VPJ-6B - Cosworth DFX V8|
|3||Mario Andretti||Penske PC6 - Cosworth DFX V8|
|4||Gordon Johncock||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|5||AJ Foyt||Coyote 74 ['74-2'] - Foyt-Ford 159 ci quad cam turbo V8|
|6||Spike Gehlhausen||Eagle 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|7||Johnny Parsons Jr||Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci laydown turbo|
|8||Tom Bigelow||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|9||Steve Krisiloff||Wildcat Mk 2 - DGS 158 ci turbo|
|10||Bobby Unser||Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8|
|11||Johnny Rutherford||McLaren M24 [003?] - Cosworth DFX V8|
|12||Wally Dallenbach||McLaren M24 - Cosworth DFX V8|
|13||David "Salt" Walther||McLaren M16C  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|14||Sheldon Kinser||Watson 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|15||Larry Rice||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|16||Gary Bettenhausen||Dragon 76 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|17||Bobby Olivero||Lightning 77 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|18||Jim McElreath||Eagle 74  - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|19||Vern Schuppan||Lightning 77 - Cosworth DFX V8|
|20||Jerry Karl||RasCar-Atlanta 74 - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|21||Tom Bagley||Eagle 74 [7403?] - Offy 159 ci turbo|
|22||Roger McCluskey||Wildcat 'Mk 4' - Drake DT 160 V8|
Notes on the cars:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lightning 77 (Bobby Olivero): 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.
- Eagle 74  (Jim McElreath): Patrick Racing acquired a new 1973 Eagle after the 1973 Indy 500, probably either chassis 7305 or 7306. It was fitted with a Ford V8 engine and used in practice at Ontario by Graham McRae as the #60 entry, but failed to qualify. Raced by Dick Simon at two later races that season. It may have been Steve Krisiloff's intended #60 Patrick entry at Indy in 1974, identified by Hungness as an Eagle "of 1973 vintage", but the car Krisiloff actually qualified was an older 1972 car. The 1973 car finally reappeared when raced by Krisiloff at Pocono and a few races later in the 1974 season, by which time it had a turbo Offy engine. Sold by Patrick Racing's chief crew George Bignotti to Fred Carrillo (San Juan Capistrano, CA) and entered as the #73 Spirit of Orange County entry for Jerry Grant at Ontario at the start of 1975. Later in 1975, the car was fitted with a 209 ci AMC stock block V8 engine developed for Carrillo by Dick Jones, and was driven by Grant in late 1975 and early 1976, now with Dave Klym as chief mechanic. Carrillo then acquired a newer Eagle chassis for the AMC engine and the 1973 Eagle was rebuilt in 1977 to Offy specification and sold to Jim McElreath for son James to drive as the #26 McElreath Racing entry in 1977. Then for Jim McElreath in 1978. In 1979, McElreath acquired a second Eagle, apparently the ex-O'Connell 1974 car, which was numbered as the #23 with the older car continuing as #26. The older car continued in use until 1981. In 2017, it was reported that this was chassis 7306, and had remained at Jim McElreath's home in Texas from 1983 until his death in 2017. It was then owned by Angus Russell (Ormond Beach, FL).
- 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
- Eagle 74 [7403?] (Tom Bagley): New to Patrick Racing and identified by an Indianapolis 'Laycock card' as Wally Dallenbach's #40 STP entry in 1974. Given the early construction date, marked as January on the chassis plate, this car is assumed to be Dallenbach's ride from the start of 1974. Presumably his early-1975 car before the new Wildcats were ready. At Indy 1975 as the #60 spare. Sold to Leader Card Racers for 1976 and George Snider's #23 Hubler Chevrolet ride in that year's 500. Also for Mike Hiss at Ontario. Retained for 1977 and the #64 at the Indy 500 but thought to be the #23 at other races. Retained again for 1978 but wrecked in Tom Bigelow's accident at Mosport Park in June. Bought from AJ Watson by someone called Al in Grand Rapid, Michigan and sold by him to Bill Wiswedel (Holland, Michigan) around 2000-2004. In approximately 2017, Bill sold the car to James Long (Nevada City, CA) and he sold it to Bobby Rahal (Chicago, IL) in 2020.
- Penske PC6 (Mario Andretti): There were four Penske PC6s at the Indy 500 (Autosport 25 May 1978 p31) so all Penske Racing entries during 1978 are presumably PC6s. The pair of PC5s also appear to have been sold to Dickson at the start of the year.
- Watson 77 (Sheldon Kinser): 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.
- McLaren M16C  (David "Salt" Walther): New for McLaren Cars to be driven by Johnny Rutherford as the #7 Gulf entry in 1973. He used this car at the Indy 500 but may have used M16C/2 (or even M16C/4) at other races that season. Raced again by Rutherford in 1974 as the #3 car, winning the Indy 500, but he used another M16C at short track events that year. This car then became Rutherford's short-track car in 1975 and 1976. Sold to George Walther to be Salt Walther #33 backup car at Indy in 1977 but how it was used that season is unknown. Entered by Walther at the 1978 Indy 500 as the #34 for Graham McRae but he was bumped. Sold by Walther to Rick Carroll (Jensen Beach, FL) and restored. Sold by Carroll's estate in 1990 via Sotherby's Palm Springs Auction for $495,000 to Patrick S. Ryan (Montgomery, AL). Loaned by Ryan to the IMS Museum but also attended various concours events while owned by Ryan. Repainted by Paintergeek Paintworks (Indianapolis, IN) in May 2013. Sold by Ryan through RM Auctions at Monterey in August 2013 for $3,250,000 to web entrepreneur Bill Oesterle (Indianapolis, IN).
- Lightning 77 (Vern Schuppan): New to Bob Fletcher's Cobre Tire team for Bobby Unser to drive in 1977. After the team's second car was converted to a Cosworth DFX engine late in 1977 but then wrecked by Pancho Carter in testing, this car was also converted to Cosworth power and was raced by Vern Schuppan early in 1978 while Carter recuperated. Carter drove this car at the Indy 500 where it was said by Hungness to be the same car Unser drove in 1977 and also said in press reports to be the car raced by Schuppan at Texas and Trenton prior to Indy. Carter then wrecked this car at Mosport two weeks later and photographs suggest that it was not used again that year. It reappeared for Steve Krisiloff to race at Atlanta in early 1979 and was his intended backup car at the Indy 500, which he raced after withdrawing his primary car. He also raced it at Michigan and Watkins Glen (and probably at the two Trenton races) but Krisiloff then quit the team in frustration. It was not seen in the Fletcher team again but was given by Fletcher to Phil Caliva in 1981 after Caliva had wrecked his McLaren M16C/D in practice at the Indy 500. Caliva built up a "McLightning" combining the monocoque and front section of the Lightning with the rear of the McLaren. He raced this car in 1981, then appeared at Indianapolis, Riverside and Phoenix in 1982 without qualifying for a race, and also raced it at Riverside in August 1983. History then unknown until bought by Dave Roberts (Weddington, NC) in northern Indiana in 2011, on track at the Indianapolis historic event in May 2013, then taken to England for the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014 in Budweiser livery. Also displayed at Indianapolis in the same livery in 2015 and at the Coronado Speed Festival in 2015, but by 2017 it had the Budweiser signage removed and Phil Caliva's name on it instead.
- Lightning 77 (Johnny Parsons Jr): Designed by Roman Slobodynskyj to have the Offy engine laid on its side, angled just 12 degrees from the horizontal, the 'laydown' Offy was first seen in public at the 1977 California 500. The car required a completely new transmission, designed by Pete Weismmann, and this proved troublesome. Despite the car's speed, Roger McCluskey raced the conventional car at Ontario. New team driver Johnny Parsons drove the car at Ontario and Trenton in early 1978, retiring both times, and then ran it at 197.889 mph in practice at the Speedway before another transmission failure. Photographs show it was at Michigan in September but the car Parsons used to finish in seventh place is now believed to have been his conventional car. Then team focused on the Drake V8 in 1979, but at Indy in May Parsons took the laydown off Hurley Haywood during practice and qualified it ninth. He also qualified it third at Pocono and then - remarkably - finished fourth in it at Milwaukee. Parsons qualified it well again in 1980 but after another retirement, he focused on Hopkins' new ground-effect design. In 1986, the car was donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and remained with the museum, unrestored, until it was offered for sale in April 2021.
- 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.
- 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".
- Lightning 77 (Bobby Unser): Chassis "ROMLIN/7" was one of the 1977 Lightnings but its history before it was raced by Bobby Unser for the Teddy Yip/Dan Gurney AAR team in early 1978 is unresolved. It was used for the opening four races of 1978 before being replaced by the team's new Eagle. To Richard Hoffman (Milford, OH) for 1979 and raced by Joe Saldana as the #59 or #69 car during 1979 and 1980. These entry numbers were also used by the team's old 1972 Eagle and exactly how the two cars were used is still to be determined. The Lightning was run in practice at the 1981 Indy 500 with modified sidepods and nose but was crashed by Saldana. It was acquired by Dean Vetrock (Racine, WI) for 1982, but he failed to qualify for the Indy 500 and did not appear in the series again. Vetrock raced this car briefly in the CAT (ex-Can-Am) series in 1987. Four years later, the car was acquired from a Monterey area dealer by a client of Tom Tatalovich Racing Services (Golden Valley, AZ). Tatlovich restored the car to AAR livery, and it was sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona in January 1992. Tom recalls that the buyer was from Hilton Head. By 2002, the car was owned by Larry Wharton, who completed a restoration that year. In 2008, it was bought from Wharton by David S. Morrison (Long Beach, CA).
- Wildcat 'Mk 4' (Roger McCluskey): New for 1978 for the new Drake DT-160 V8 engine. First raced at Trenton in April, where Roger McCluskey raced it as the #60 entry, then used in practice by Gordon Johncock at the Indy 500, and then converted for road racing at Mosport in June but crashed heavily by Johncock in practice and "written off".
- RasCar-Atlanta 74 (Jerry Karl): 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can help in any way with our research.