United States Automobile Club


United States Automobile Club

Infobox sport governing body
title = USAC


size = 180px
category = Auto racing
jurisdiction = United States
year formed = 1955 [ [http://www.insmkt.com/usac.htm USAC Information] "insmkt.com." Retrieved on August 19, 2007.]
year closed =
headquarters = Speedway, Indiana
president =
chairman =
key staff =
website = [http://www.usacracing.com www.usacracing.com]
The United States Automobile Club (USAC) is an open-wheel auto racing sanctioning body. From 1956 to 1979, the USAC sanctioned the United States National Championship, and from 1956 to 1997 it sanctioned the Indianapolis 500. USAC is the sanctioning body for the Silver Crown Series, the Sprint Car Series, and the Midget National Championship.

2008 USAC National Schedules

History

USAC was formed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman when the American Automobile Association (AAA) withdrew from auto racing following the 1955 Le Mans disaster. USAC became the arbiter of rules, car design, and other matters for what it termed "Championship" automobile racing. This term, which sounds rather generic, in fact became a term of art describing a car built to be used in the highest level of USAC racing. For a while there was a separate series of specifications for Championship cars designed to be run on dirt, rather than paved, tracks.

USAC also became the sanctioning body for many lower levels of motor racing, including sports cars, sprint cars, midget cars, and others. Some of these series were used somewhat as a developmental league for Championship racing. USAC sanctioned stock car racing from 1956 to 1984. [http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com/usacstock.htm "USAC Stock Car Championship History"] , Retrieved September 7, 2007]

1978 Plane Crash

On April 23, 1978, eight key members of USAC, plus the pilot, were killed when their 10-seat Piper Navajo Chieftain crashed during a thunderstorm 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis. [ [http://www2.indystar.com/library/factfiles/history/disasters/planecrashes.html Indiana plane crashes] "indystar.com, published May 1, 2002."]

Killed were:
*Ray Marquette, USAC's vice-president of public affairs and a former sportswriter for the Indianapolis Star
*Frank Delroy, chairman of the USAC technical committee
*Shim Malone, starter for USAC races and head of its midget racer division
*Judy Phillips, graphic artist and publication director of USAC's newsletter
*Stan Worley, chief registrar
*Ross Teeguarden, assistant technnical chairman
*Don Peabody, head of the sprint division
*Dr. Bruce White, assistant staff doctor
*Don Mullendore, owner and pilot of the plane.

The effect on USAC, and for open wheel racing in the USA, was devastating, especially since it closely followed the death of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman.

End of Championship car sanctioning

Unfortunately, the crash came at a time when Indy car owners and drivers were demanding changes from USAC. Aside from the Indy 500, USAC events were not well attended, and the owners felt that USAC poorly negotiated TV rights. The owners also wanted increases in payouts, especially Indy. [ [http://www.automedia.com/IRL_and_CART/pht20030901ic/1 The battles wage on and off the tracks] "automedia.com."]

Also unpopular were USAC's attempts to keep the aging Offenhauser engine competitive with the newer, and much more expensive, Cosworth DFV engine using boost-limiting "pop off valves" and limiting the amount of fuel that could be used. [ [http://oreopolis.com/Pages/051401.html The CART-USAC War: part 1] "oreopolis.com. Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly - January 25, 1996."]

Finally, most car owners banded together to form Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1978, with the first race to be run in 1979. USAC tried unsuccessfully to ban all CART owners from the 1979 Indy 500, finally losing in court before the race began. Both USAC and CART ran race schedules in 1979.

IMS Speedway President John Cooper was instrumental in forming a joint body of CART and USAC with the creation of the Championship Racing League in March, 1980. However, in mid 1980, Cooper forced USAC to renounce their agreement with the CRL if they wanted to keep officiating the Indy 500. [ [http://oreopolis.com/Pages/051501.html The CART-USAC War: part 2] "oreopolis.com. Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly - January 25, 1996."] After USAC's disastrous attempt at a 500-mile races at Pocono – which was boycotted by the CART teams, forcing USAC to fill the field with sprint cars – USAC and CART eventually settled into a relatively peaceful co-existence, with the USAC continuing to sanction the Indianapolis 500, and CART including the race in its schedule.

IRL sanctioning body

In 1996, Tony George formed the Indy Racing League, and chose USAC to be the sanctioning body. While most races were not plagued by sanctioning body controversy, there were notable races where USAC rulings proved to be controversial.

In the final moments of the long rain-delayed 1997 Indianapolis 500, a caution flag came out. It was assumed by most competitors that the race would finish under caution. USAC officials had a standard practice of giving a "one-to-go-before-green" signal before returning back to green flag racing. Since there was only one lap remaining in the entire race, the "one-to-go-before-green" signal was omitted, and the starter Bryan Howard was abruptly and unexpectedly instructed to simply display the green and white flag (final lap) as the cars came around. None of the cars in the race were anticipating the start. With only one lap to go, leader Arie Luyendyk scrambled to accelerate. When the cars arrived in turn one, and until they arrived at the halfway point of the back strech, the yellow caution lights still flashed despite the green having been displayed by the flagman. Runner-up Scott Goodyear claimed that he had assumed the race would end under caution and was surprised to see the green flag.

At the IRL's next race in Texas Motor Speedway, some of the scoring antennas in the track were malfunctioning. The malfunctioning antennas were due to the antennas being buried at an improper depth by the Texas Motor Speedway. Overemphasis on building luxury suites and not enough attention on the track itself is evident when the track was resurfaced only a few years after being built. Several cars were incorrectly scored, with laps omitted. Arie Luyendyk was incorrectly scored two laps down from the apparent winner Billy Boat. While Boat and car owner A.J. Foyt celebrated in victory lane, Luyendyk stormed victory lane and confronted the officials. Foyt slapped Luyendyk, and the latter fell over a flower bed. A day later after review, Luyendyk was scored as the race winner by nearly a lap, and USAC was subsequently removed as the IRL's sanctioning body.

Tony George had been looking at going in-house for officiating the IRL races (like NASCAR) for some time and many feel that this event was used as the scapegoat for dropping USAC and bringing in his own people.fact|date=July 2008 | need citation that documents this opinion

While USAC did not disappear, its influence was greatly lessened. It still continues today as a sanctioning body for some of the medium levels of motor racing, including the "USAC Silver Crown" series for tube-framed, alcohol-fueled open-wheel cars racing on dirt and paved ovals, as well as national championships for sprint and midget cars.

USAC Championship Car Series

USAC Championship Car Season Champions: (1956-1979)
*1956 - Jimmy Bryan Phoenix, AZ
*1957 - Jimmy Bryan Phoenix, AZ
*1958 - Tony Bettenhausen Tinley Park, IL
*1959 - Rodger Ward Beloit, KS
*1960 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1961 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1962 - Rodger Ward Beloit, KS
*1963 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1964 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1965 - Mario Andretti Montona, Italy
*1966 - Mario Andretti Montona, Italy
*1967 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1968 - Bobby Unser Colorado Springs, CO
*1969 - Mario Andretti Montona, Italy
*1970 - Al Unser Albuquerque, NM
*1971 - Joe Leonard San Diego, CA
*1972 - Joe Leonard San Diego, CA
*1973 - Roger McCluskey San Antonio, TX
*1974 - Bobby Unser Colorado Springs, CO
*1975 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1976 - Gordon Johncock Hastings, MI
*1977 - Tom Sneva Spokane, WA
*1978 - Tom Sneva Spokane, WA
*1979 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX

USAC Silver Crown Series

USAC Silver Crown Series Champions
*1971 - George Snider Fresno, CA
*1972 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX
*1973 - Al Unser Albuquerque, NM
*1974 - Mario Andretti Montona, Italy
*1975 - Jimmy Caruthers Anaheim, CA
*1976 - Billy Cassella
*1977 - Larry Rice Linden, IN
*1978 - Pancho Carter Racine, WI
*1979 - Bobby Olivero Lakewood, CA
*1980 - Gary Bettenhausen Tinley Park, IL
*1981 - Larry Rice Linden, IN
*1982 - Ken Schrader Fenton, MO "Fortune #39"
*1983 - Gary Bettenhausen Tinley Park, IL
*1984 - Dave Blaney Wooster, OH
*1985 - Rick Hood "Fortune #39"
*1986 - Jack Hewitt Troy, OH "Hampshire #63"
*1987 - Jack Hewitt Troy, OH "Hampshire #63"
*1988 - Steve Butler Kokomo, IN
*1989 - Chuck Gurney Heyward, CA
*1990 - Jimmy Sills Placerville, CA
*1991 - Jeff Gordon Vallejo, CA "Ede #35"
*1992 - Steve Butler Kokomo, IN "Jarrett #10"
*1993 - Mike Bliss Milwaukie, OR
*1994 - Jimmy Sills Placerville, IN
*1995 - Tony Stewart Columbus, IN "Boles #25"
*1996 - Jimmy Sills Placerville, CA "Stanton #75"
*1997 - Dave Darland Lincoln, IN "Foxco #56"
*1998 - Jason Leffler Long Beach, CA "Goetz #9"
*1999 - Ryan Newman South Bend, IN "Ede #14"
*2000 - Tracy Hines New Castle, IN "Riggs #37"
*2001 - Paul White Temple, TX "Cook #10"
*2002 - J. J. Yeley Phoenix, AZ "Stewart/East #9"
*2003 - J. J. Yeley Phoenix, AZ "Stewart/East #9"
*2004 - Dave Steele Tampa, FL "Stewart/East #9"
*2005 - Dave Steele Tampa, FL "Stewart/East #9"
*2006 - Bud Kaeding Campbell, CA "BK/Leffler #29"
*2007 - Bud Kaeding Campbell, CA "BK #29"

USAC Sprint Car Series

USAC Sprint Car Series Champions"From 1956-1960 the USAC National Sprint Car Championship was divided into two divisions (Midwest and East)."
*1956 - Pat O'Connor North Vernon, IN (Midwest Champion)
*1956 - Tommy Hinnershitz Muhlenberg, PA (East Champion)
*1957 - Elmer George Hockerville, OK (Midwest Champion)
*1957 - Bill Randall North Reading, MA (East Champion)
*1958 - Eddie Sachs Allentown, PA (Midwest Champion)
*1958 - Johnny Thomson Lowell, MA (East Champion)
*1959 - Don Branson Rantoul, IL (Midwest Champion)
*1959 - Tommy Hinnershitz Muhlenberg, PA (East Champion)
*1960 - Parnelli Jones Texarkana, AR (Midwest Champion)
*1960 - A.J. Foyt Houston, TX (East Champion)
*1961 - Parnelli Jones Texarkana, AR
*1962 - Parnelli Jones Texarkana, AR
*1963 - Roger McCluskey San Antonio, TX
*1964 - Don Branson Rantoul, IL
*1965 - Johnny Rutherford Coffeyville, KS
*1966 - Roger McCluskey San Antonio, TX
*1967 - Greg Weld Kansas City, MO
*1968 - Larry Dickson Marietta, OH
*1969 - Gary Bettenhausen Tinley Park, IL
*1970 - Larry Dickson Marietta, OH
*1971 - Gary Bettenhausen Tinley Park, IL
*1972 - Sammy Sessions Nashville, MI
*1973 - Rollie Beale Toledo, OH
*1974 - Pancho Carter Racine, WI
*1975 - Larry Dickson Marietta, OH
*1976 - Pancho Carter Racine, WI
*1977 - Sheldon Kinser Bloomington, IN
*1978 - Tom Bigelow Whitewater, WI
*1979 - Greg Leffler Winchester, IN
*1980 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL
*1981 - Sheldon Kinser Bloomington, IN
*1982 - Sheldon Kinser Bloomington, IN
*1983 - Ken Schrader Fenton, MO "Fortune #39"
*1984 - Rick Hood "Fortune #39"
*1985 - Rick Hood "Fortune #39"
*1986 - Steve Butler Kokomo, IN "Stoops #6"
*1987 - Steve Butler Kokomo, IN "Stoops #1"
*1988 - Steve Butler Kokomo, IN "Stoops #1"
*1989 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL "Hoffman #69"
*1990 - Steve Butler Kokomo, IN "Hoffman #69"
*1991 - Robbie Stanley "Stanley #7"
*1992 - Robbie Stanley "Stanley #1"
*1993 - Robbie Stanley "Hoffman #69"
*1994 - Doug Kalitta Ypsilanti, MI "Kalitta #22k"
*1995 - Tony Stewart Columbus, IN "Niebel #20"
*1996 - Brian Tyler Parma, MI "Contos #4c"
*1997 - Brian Tyler Parma, MI "Contos #4c"
*1998 - Tony Elliott Warsaw, IN "Walker/Vance #2" & "Conroy #12"
*1999 - Dave Darland Lincoln, IN "Hoffman #69"
*2000 - Tony Elliott Warsaw, IN "Walker #66"
*2001 - J. J. Yeley Phoenix, AZ "GT #76"
*2002 - Tracy Hines New Castle, IN "Hoffman #69"
*2003 - J. J. Yeley Phoenix, AZ "Stewart #20"
*2004 - Jay Drake Santa Maria, CA "Stewart #20"
*2005 - Levi Jones Olney, IL "Benic #2B"
*2006 - Josh Wise Riverside, CA "Stewart #20"
*2007 - Levi Jones Olney, IL "Stewart #20"

USAC National Midget Series

USAC National Midget Series Champions
*1956 - Shorty Templeman Pueblo, CA
*1957 - Shorty Templeman Pueblo, CA
*1958 - Shorty Templeman Pueblo, CA
*1959 - Gene Hartley Roanoke, IN
*1960 - Jimmy Davies Glendale, CA
*1961 - Jimmy Davies Glendale, CA
*1962 - Jimmy Davies Glendale, CA
*1963 - Bob Wente St. Louis, MO
*1964 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IL
*1965 - Mike McGreevy Hoosick, NY
*1966 - Mike McGreevy Hoosick, NY
*1967 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IN
*1968 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IN
*1969 - Bob Tattersall Pennsbury, PA
*1970 - Jimmy Caruthers Anaheim, CA
*1971 - Danny Caruthers
*1972 - Pancho Carter Racine, WI
*1973 - Larry Rice Linden, IN
*1974 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IL
*1975 - Sleepy Tripp
*1976 - Sleepy Tripp
*1977 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IL
*1978 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL
*1979 - Steve Lotshaw
*1980 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL
*1981 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IL
*1982 - Kevin Olson Machesney Park, IL
*1983 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL
*1984 - Tom Bigelow Whitewater, WI
*1985 - Mel Kenyon Lacon, IL
*1986 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL
*1987 - Kevin Olson Machesney Park, IL
*1988 - Rich Vogler Chicago, IL "Jonathan Byrd"
*1989 - Russ Gamester Peru, IN "Gamester #46"
*1990 - Jeff Gordon Vallejo, CA "Helmling #4"
*1991 - Mike Streicher "Streicher #8"
*1992 - Stevie Reeves Speedway, IN "Wilke #11"
*1993 - Stevie Reeves Speedway, IN "Lewis #9"
*1994 - Tony Stewart Columbus, IN "Potter #6"
*1995 - Tony Stewart Columbus, IN "Lewis #9"
*1996 - Kenny Irwin, Jr. Indianapolis, IN "Lewis #91"
*1997 - Jason Leffler Long Beach, CA "Willoughby #71"
*1998 - Jason Leffler Long Beach, CA "Lewis #9"
*1999 - Jason Leffler Long Beach, CA "Lewis #9"
*2000 - Kasey Kahne Enumclaw, WA "Lewis #91"
*2001 - Dave Darland Lincoln, IN "Lewis #9"
*2002 - Dave Darland Lincoln, IN "Lewis #9"
*2003 - J. J. Yeley Phoenix, AZ "Lewis #9"
*2004 - Bobby East Brownsburg, IN "Lewis #9"
*2005 - Josh Wise Riverside, CA "Stewart #20w"
*2006 - Jerry Coons Jr. Tucson, AZ "Wilke #11"
*2007 - Jerry Coons Jr. Tucson, AZ "Wilke-Pak #11"

USAC Stock Cars

The United States Automobile Club featured a Stock Car Series division from 1956-1984.

¹ - The inaugural season featured two subtitles: Pacific Coast (won by Sam Hanks) and Short Track (Troy Ruttman).

References

External links

* [http://www.usacracing.com Official website]
* [http://motorsportsschedules.com/index.php?option=com_eventlist&Itemid=26&func=shcatev1&categid=20 2008 USAC National Midget Series Schedule]
* [http://motorsportsschedules.com/index.php?option=com_eventlist&Itemid=26&func=shcatev1&categid=19&limit=30&limitstart=0 2008 USAC Lucas Oil National Sprint Car Series]
* [http://www.MILLSVIDEOPRODUCTIONS.com USAC Racing Videos]


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