1965 Jimmy Bryan Memorial (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1965)

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Don Branson, pictured at the 1965 Golden State 100, won the event.

Status: Lost

The 1965 Jimmy Bryan Memorial was the inaugural race of the 1965 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 28th March at the Phoenix International Raceway, the race would ultimately be won by Don Branson in a Watson-Offenhauser, after having lapped the field. The race is also notable for being the first USAC event to be televised by CBS.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1965 Jimmy Bryan Memorial was the second running of the event, with the annual race lasting 150 miles.[1] It was one of two 1965 USAC Championship Car Season races to commence at Phoenix International Raceway, the other being the 1965 Bobby Ball Memorial,[2] which occurred on 21st November and was won by A.J. Foyt in a Lotus-Ford.[3] The race, named in honour of 1958 Indianapolis 500 winner Jimmy Bryan,[4] would have ties with Phoenix events like the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, before Phoenix events were dropped from the IndyCar schedule after 2018 following low attendance.[5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Foyt winning the pole position with a speed of 117.493 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Watson-Ford's Roger Ward, with Mario Andretti lining up third in a Blum-Offenhauser.[1] Don Branson qualified fifth out of 24 competitors.[1] Future three-time champion Al Unser notably failed to qualify for the event, driving for Arciero Brothers.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1965 Jimmy Bryan Memorial commenced on 28th March.[1] Foyt maintained his lead from the opening lap, holding it until lap 12 when Ward took over.[1] While Ward held the lead until being passed by Andretti on lap 49, Foyt retired after 41 laps because of a suspension failure.[1] Andretti held the first position for the longest uninterrupted duration of the the race at 63 laps, before Ward overtook him on lap 112.[1] As Ward was leading, his engine suddenly failed on lap 124, enabling Branson to move into the first position.[1]

This proved to be the final lead change, with Branson dominating the remaining 26 laps to claim victory and $3,945 in prize money.[1] Brabham-Offenhauser's Jim McElreath finished a lap down in second, while Ronnie Duman took third in a Flynn-Offenhauser, two laps down from Branson.[1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, this was the first USAC-sanctioned event to be televised by CBS.[6] CBS broadcast 30 minutes of footage on 4th April 1965 as part of its CBS Sports Spectacular, alongside professional trampoline championships.[6] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available. Nevertheless, photos of the event can be viewed online.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]