1962 Trenton 200 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1962)

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Status: Lost

The 1962 Trenton 200 was the 11th race of the 1962 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 8th April at the Trenton Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Don Branson in a Watson-Offenhauser, in an event deemed "spectacular" by The New York Times.

Background[edit | edit source]

As part of the 75th New Jersey State Fair, the 1962 Trenton 200 lasted 200 miles.[1] It was one of three 1962 USAC Championship Car Season races to be held at Trenton Speedway;[2] the Trenton 100 commenced on 8th April and was won by A.J. Foyt in a Meskowski-Offenhauser,[3] while the Trenton 150 occurred on 22nd July and was won by Roger Ward in a Watson-Offenhauser.[4] Trenton would continue hosting IndyCar races until 1979 before it was dropped from the schedule and demolished in 1980.[5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Foyt winning the pole position with a speed of 105.758 mph.[6][1] Directly behind him was Troy Ruttman in an Elder-Offenhauser, with Ward lining up third.[1] Don Branson qualified fourth out of 24 competitors.[1][6]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1962 Trenton 200 commenced on 23rd September.[1] Foyt maintained the lead on the opening lap, holding it until Ruttman overtook him on lap 19.[1][6] He defended it for eight laps, only for Ward to assume the lead on lap 27.[6][1] Aside from a brief challenge between the 43rd-44th lap according to The New York Times, Ward dominated for the next 105 laps.[6][1] However, his chances of winning ended when he crashed into a guardrail near Turn 4, dropping him down to eighth.[6] Ward would recover to finish fourth, though was ultimately classified fifth due to receiving assistance when restarting his car following the crash.[6][1] Foyt also dropped out contention when he was forced to suddenly pit for a new tyre.[6]

After Ward's crash, Ruttman re-inherited the lead.[6][1] He held onto it for another 35 laps, before dropping it to Branson.[6][1] From there, Branson maintained the lead for the remaining 34 laps, as Ruttman retired after 189 laps following a fuel pump failure.[6][1] Ruttman's main competition was fellow Watson-Offenhauser driver Len Sutton, but he was able to cross the line with a 9-second margin over his opponent.[6] He therefore claimed victory and $5,565 in prize money.[1][6] Sutton finished second, being the only other driver on the lead lap, while Bobby Marshman finished a lap down in third, driving a Meskowski-Offenhauser.[6][1] The New York Times praised the event in its report, stating "It was the longest and one of the most exciting contests ever seen in the East for this type of car."[6]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, 45 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 20th October 1962 as part of its Wide World of Sports alongside a French horse racing championship.[7] This broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Image[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]