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Template:Infobox Sport governing body The United States Auto Club (USAC) is one of the sanctioning bodies of auto racing in the United States. From 1956 to 1979, the USAC sanctioned the United States National Championship, and from 1956 to 1997 the organization sanctioned the Indianapolis 500. Today, the USAC serves as the sanctioning body for a number of racing series, including the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series, National Midget Series, Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series, .25 Midget Series, and Traxxas TORC Series.

HistoryEdit

USACTrailerTORC2010Oshkosh

USAC trailer at a TORC event

The 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. It became the arbiter of rules, car design, and other matters for what it termed championship auto racing. This became the term 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.

The USAC’s long history as on open-wheel sanctioning body continues today with the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series, National Midget Series, Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series, .25 Midget Series, and Traxxas TORC Series. NASCAR stars including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Kasey Kahne honed their skills and captured championships while competing in various USAC series.

In 2011 Taylor Ferns of Michigan won the 8th race of her career surpassing Alison MacLeod as the Winningest Female in USAC history

The Triple CrownEdit

The "Triple Crown" is earned in USAC racing when a driver claims all three national championships (Silver Crown, Sprint Car, and Midget Car). Only two drivers, Tony Stewart (1995) and J.J. Yeley (2003), have achieved the triple crown in a single season. Three other drivers, Pancho Carter (1972–78), Dave Darland (1997–2001), and Jerry Coons, Jr. (2006–08), have claimed each of the three championships at least once in their careers. In 2012 Mike Curb and Cary Agajanian became the only car owners to win the Triple Crown by winning all three championships in the same year.

National ChampionshipEdit

USAC had awarded a national championship until A. J. Foyt won his seventh title in 1979.[1] It has announced that it will begin awarding a national championship starting in 2010.[1] A driver's finishes in his 25 best races are counted toward the championship and the 2010 winner will receive $40,000.[1] Points are accumulated in the three national series: sprints, midgets, and Silver Crown.[1] Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Indiana claimed the inaugural championship, topping runner-up, Levi Jones, by 14 points. USAC National Drivers Champions

1978 plane crashEdit

On April 23, 1978, eight key members of the USAC, plus the pilot, were killed when their 10-seat Piper Navajo Chieftain crashed during a thunderstorm 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis.[2]

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 technical 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 the USAC, and for open-wheel racing in the United States, was devastating, especially since it closely followed the death of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman.

End of championship car sanctioningEdit

Unfortunately, the plane crash came at a time when Indy car owners and drivers were demanding changes from the USAC. Aside from the Indianapolis 500, USAC events were not well attended, and the owners felt that the USAC poorly negotiated television rights. The owners also wanted increases in payouts, especially at Indy.[3] Though some think the plane crash was used as an opportunistic way to force change in the sport, it was merely an unfortunate coincidence. The seed of dissent had been growing for several years before the accident,[4] and claims the crash was an immediate cause for the 1979 CART/USAC "split" are considered for the most part unfounded.

Also unpopular were the attempts of the USAC 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.[5]

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 Indianapolis 500, finally losing in court before the race began. Both the USAC and CART ran race schedules in 1979.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway president John Cooper was instrumental in forming a joint body of CART and the 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.[6] After the USAC's pitiful attempt at a 500-mile races at Pocono Raceway – which was boycotted by the CART teams, forcing USAC to fill the field with silver crown 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.

Active seriesEdit

USAC Silver Crown Series Edit

Template:Infobox motorsport championship

Butler Springfield Mile 88

1988 Steve Butler Silver Crown car

USAC Silver Crown Series Champions

USAC Sprint Car Series Edit

Template:Infobox motorsport championship

TracyHines2008SprintCar

2008 Tracy Hines, pavement sprint car (without wing).

From 1956–1960 the USAC National Sprint Car Championship was divided into two divisions, Midwest and East.

USAC Sprint Car Series Champions

USAC National Midget Series Edit

Template:Infobox motorsport championship

Christopher Bell 71 USAC Midget 2013 National Champion

2013 USAC Midget champion Christopher Bell

Template:Listen USAC National Midget Series Champions

USAC Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series Edit

The Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series Series is a regional division of USAC. Utilizing cars identical to the midgets seen in the National Midget Championship, with the exception of the engine, drivers as young as 12 years old can compete. The sealed crate engine used by the series is a 2.0L 4-cylinder based on the engine found in the Ford Focus ZX3 and built by Roush Yates Engines.

National Championship
The Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series National Champion has been determined in a variety of ways. The inaugural championship, 2005, was decided by a two-race series (one dirt, one pavement). Subsequent national champions were determined by a single "national championship race" held at various locations. This format was used until 2010. In 2011, a points system was instituted to determine the national champion. Counting only a drivers twelve best finishes, the system allowed drivers from multiple regions to compete under a common points structure for a season-long championship. The 2012 season did not award a national champion, however the respective regional champions were honored at the USAC Night of Champions.

USAC Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series Midget National Champions

  • 2005: Robbie Ray; Davenport, IA;
  • 2006: Michael Faccinto; Hanford, CA ; Scelzi #4x
  • 2007: James Robertson; Indianapolis, IN; Steele #1
  • 2008: Alex Bowman; Tucson, AZ; Bowman #55
  • 2009: Kyle Hamilton; Danville, IN; Steele #1
  • 2010: Nick Drake; Mooresville, NC; Cline #55
  • 2011: Nick Drake; Mooresville, NC; Cline #55

Traxxas TORC SeriesEdit

Main article: Traxxas TORC Series
ScottTaylorPro2TrophyTruck2009CrandonWinner

Scott Taylor's Crandon winning Pro 2 truck

The Traxxas TORC Series was founded in 2009 by motocross racer Rick Johnson and it was managed the race operations and officiated the events.[7] USAC took over complete management of the series in 2010.[7]

Former seriesEdit

USAC Championship Car Series Edit

Main article: List of USAC Championship Car seasons
Foyt1977car

1977 A. J. Foyt Champ Car

USAC Championship Car Season Champions
1956 USAflagsmall Jimmy Bryan || season
1957 USAflagsmall Jimmy Bryan || season
1958 USAflagsmall Tony Bettenhausen || season
1959 USAflagsmall Rodger Ward || season
1960 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1961 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1962 USAflagsmall Rodger Ward || season
1963 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1964 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1965 USAflagsmall Mario Andretti || season
1966 USAflagsmall Mario Andretti || season
1967 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1968 USAflagsmall Bobby Unser || season
1969 USAflagsmall Mario Andretti || season
1970 USAflagsmall Al Unser || season
1971 USAflagsmall Joe Leonard || season
1972 USAflagsmall Joe Leonard || season
1973 USAflagsmall Roger McCluskey || season
1974 USAflagsmall Bobby Unser || season
1975 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1976 USAflagsmall Gordon Johncock || season
1977 USAflagsmall Tom Sneva || season
1978 USAflagsmall Tom Sneva || season
1979 USAflagsmall A.J. Foyt || season
1980 USAflagsmall Johnny Rutherford || season

USAC Gold Crown SeriesEdit

From 1985 onwards, the Indianapolis 500 was the only race on the Gold Crown calendar. The winner of the Indianapolis 500 would be the de facto Gold Crown champion.

USAC Gold Crown Series Champions
1981–82 USAflagsmall George Snider || season[8]
1982–83 USAflagsmall Tom Sneva || season[9]
1983–84 USAflagsmall Rick Mears || season[10]
1985 USAflagsmall Danny Sullivan || report[11]
1986 USAflagsmall Bobby Rahal || report[12]
1987 USAflagsmall Al Unser || report[13]
1988 USAflagsmall Rick Mears || report[14]
1989 25px-Brazilflag Emerson Fittipaldi || report[15]
1990 22px-Flag of the Netherlands Arie Luyendyk || report[16]
1991 USAflagsmall Rick Mears || report[17]
1992 USAflagsmall Al Unser, Jr. || report[18]
1993 25px-Brazilflag Emerson Fittipaldi || report[19]
1994 USAflagsmall Al Unser, Jr. || report[20]
1995 25px-Canadaflag Jacques Villeneuve || report[21]

USAC Stock Cars Edit

Main article: USAC Stock Car
NormNelsonRogerMcCluskeyPlymouth2009MilwaukeeMile

Norm Nelson's USAC Stock Car

The USAC featured a stock car division from 1956 to 1984.

Past Champions
Year Champion 2nd Place 3rd Place Rookie Of The Year
1956* Johnny Mantz Marshall Teague Les Snow None
1957 Jerry Unser Ralph Moody Sam Hanks None
1958 Fred Lorenzen Mike Klapak Norm Nelson None
1959 Fred Lorenzen Mike Klapak Nelson Stacy None
1960 Norm Nelson Paul Goldsmith Tony Bettenhausen None
1961 Paul Goldsmith Norm Nelson Elmer Musgrave None
1962 Paul Goldsmith Don White Norm Nelson None
1963 Don White A.J. Foyt Norm Nelson Sal Tovella
1964 Parnelli Jones Norm Nelson Don White Joe Leonard
1965 Norm Nelson Paul Goldsmith Don White Billy Foster
1966 Norm Nelson Don White Billy Foster Butch Hartman
1967 Don White Parnelli Jones Jack Bowsher Al Unser
1968 A.J. Foyt Roger McCluskey Don White Dick Trickle
1969 Roger McCluskey A.J. Foyt Don White Verlin Eaker
1970 Roger McCluskey Norm Nelson A.J. Foyt Billy Reis
1971 Butch Hartman Jack Bowsher Roger McCluskey J. Booher/B. Schroyer
1972 Butch Hartman Roger McCluskey Paul Feldner Chuck McWilliams
1973 Butch Hartman Ramo Stott Bay Darnell Irv Janey
1974 Butch Hartman Norm Nelson Ramo Stott Ken Rowley
1975 Ramo Stott Butch Hartman Sal Tovella Len Gittemeier
1976 Butch Hartman Ramo Stott Sal Tovella Wayne Watercutter
1977 Paul Feldner Ramo Stott Sal Tovella Dave Watson
1978 A.J. Foyt Terry Ryan Bay Darnell Joe Ruttman
1979 A.J. Foyt Bay Darnell Rusty Wallace Rusty Wallace
1980 Joe Ruttman Rusty Wallace Bay Darnell Ken Schrader
1981 Dean Roper Sal Tovella Ken Schrader Rick Hanley
1982 Dean Roper Bay Darnell Rick O'Brien J. Schwister/J. Lindhorst
1983 Dean Roper Butch Garner Rick O'Brien Roger Drake
1984 David Goldsberry Ken Rowley Jim Hall David Goldsberry

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

USAC Road Racing ChampionshipEdit

Main article: USAC Road Racing Championship

From 1958 until 1962, USAC sanctioned a road racing championship.[22] It was held for sports cars from 1958–1961, and adopted Formula Libre rules in 1962.

Year Champion Car Report
1958 USAflagsmall Dan Gurney || Ferrari 375 Plus
Ferrari 290 MM || season
1959 USAflagsmall Augie Pabst || Ferrari 625 TR
Scarab Mk. II-Chevrolet || season
1960 USAflagsmall Carroll Shelby || Maserati Tipo 61
Scarab Mk. II-Chevrolet || season
1961 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom Ken Miles || Porsche 718 RS 61 || season
1962 USAflagsmall Roger Penske || Cooper T53-Climax || season

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Waltz, Keith (February 23, 2010). "A True USAC National Championship". National Speed Sport News. http://www.nationalspeedsportnews.com/node.php?tag=15&id=2604. Retrieved 31 March 2010.  Template:Dead link
  2. Indiana plane crashes indystar.com, published May 1, 2002.
  3. The battles wage on and off the tracks automedia.com.
  4. The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 10, 2007
  5. The CART-USAC War: part 1 oreopolis.com. Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly – January 25, 1996.
  6. The CART-USAC War: part 2 oreopolis.com. Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly – January 25, 1996.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "TRAXXAS Off Road Championship Under New Direction". Traxxas TORC Series. March 12, 2010. http://www.torcseries.com/news10009.php. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  8. "1981–82 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1981-82.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  9. "1982–83 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1982-83.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  10. "1983–84 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1983-84.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  11. "1984–85 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1985u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  12. "1985–86 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1986u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  13. "1986–87 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1987u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  14. "1987–88 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1988u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  15. "1988–89 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1989u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  16. "1989–90 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1990u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  17. "1990–91 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1991u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  18. "1991–92 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1992u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  19. "1992–93 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1993u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  20. "1993–94 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1994u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  21. "1994–95 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. http://www.champcarstats.com/year/1995u.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  22. Krejci, Martin. "USAC Road Racing Championship". World Sports Racing Prototypes. http://wsrp.ic.cz/usacrrc.html. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 

Jim Dittemore 1971 Lola/Chevrolet T192

External linksEdit


Template:USAC tracks Template:USAC Silver Crown race venues Template:USAC National Sprint Car Series race venues

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