1969 Rex Mays Classic (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1969)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1969 Rex Mays Classic (also known as the 1969 Milwaukee 150) was the 4th race of the 1969 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 8th June at the Milwaukee Mile, the race would ultimately be won by Art Pollard in a Gerhardt-Offenhauser, following a ten-car crash that occurred on the opening lap that forced him to take the car driven by Greg Weld. It was also the first USAC race to be shown by the TVS Television Network.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1969 Rex Mays Classic was the 20th running of the race, the annual event being held in honour of Rex Mays, a two-time AAA champion who saved fellow racer Duke Dinsmore's life during the 1948 Milwaukee 100.[1] It was one of two 1969 USAC Championship Car Season races to be held at Milwaukee Mile,[2] the other being the 1969 Tony Bettenhausen 200, which occurred on 17th August and was won by Al Unser in a Lola-Ford. Lasting 150 miles,[3] the Rex May Classic would commence on an annual basis until it was renamed from 1988 onwards.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Mario Andretti winning the pole position in a Brawner-Ford with a speed of 119.126 mph.[5][3] Directly behind him was Lola-Ford's Jim Malloy, with Coyote-Ford's A.J. Foyt lining up third.[3] Greg Weld started 13th, while Art Pollard also entered his own car, a Gerhardt-Offenhauser, lining up fifth out of 24 competitors.[3]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1969 Rex Mays Classic commenced on 8th June.[3] As Andretti led the field on the first lap, a major crash occurred that took out ten drivers, including Pollard, who was deemed to have caused the accident following a suspension failure.[5][3] Most of the involved cars were wrecked, with only four passing an inspection that allowed them to compete for the restart.[5] No one was seriously injured in the crash, although Gary Bettenhausen was seriously shaken and proved fortunate to escape injury after his Gerhardt-Offenhauser smashed through the inside rail and ended up slamming into the infield mud.[5]

Meanwhile, Pollard's team elected to replace Weld with Pollard on the restart.[5][3] Andretti would lead the first 89 laps, before Pollard made what was ultimately the only lead change on lap 90 after Andretti pitted.[3][5] With Andretti falling out of contention, Pollard maintained his lead for the remaining 61 laps, although did face constant competition from Malloy.[5][3] Ultimately, he crossed the line to claim victory and $17,362 in prize money.[3][5] Malloy finished second, being the only other driver on the lead lap, while Foyt took third, two laps down from Pollard.[3][5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the race was the first USAC-sanctioned event to be broadcast by the TVS Television Network.[6] It was televised live for two hours in colour, with the network syndicating sports programs to 185 television stations.[6] But of twelve IndyCar races to have been televised by TVS, none are currently publicly available. Nevertheless, audio from the original broadcast can be listened to online.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

nascarman History's Top 10 Lost IndyCar Broadcasts detailing TVS Television Network's IndyCar broadcasts (0:20-0:59).

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]