1971 Rex Mays Classic (partially found footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1971)

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Program for the race.

Status: Partially Found

The 1971 Rex Mays Classic (also known as the 1971 Milwaukee 150) was the sixth race of the 1971 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 6th June at the Milwaukee Mile, the race would ultimately be won by Al Unser, after edging out fellow Colt-Ford driver and teammate Joe Leonard.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1971 Rex Mays Classic was the 22nd 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 1971 USAC Championship Car Season races to be held at Milwaukee Mile,[2] the other being the 1971 Tony Bettenhausen 200, which occurred on 15 August and was won by Bobby Unser in an Eagle-Offenhauser.[3] Lasting 150 miles,[4] the Rex May Classic would commence on an annual basis until it was renamed from 1988 onwards.[5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Bobby Unser winning the pole position with a speed of 118.894 mph.[6][7] Directly behind him was previous year's winner Joe Leonard, with A.J. Foyt lining up third in a Coyote-Ford.[6][7] Al Unser qualified ninth out of 24 competitors, his slow speed of 116.686 mph blamed on poor handling.[6][7] He nevertheless was looking to build on his Indianapolis 500 victory that occurred a week prior.[6][7] Meanwhile, prominent NASCAR driver Cale Yarborough was among eight competitors that ultimately failed to qualify for the race.[6]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1971 Rex Mays Classic commenced on 6th June.[4] Leonard shot into the lead from the first turn, holding onto it for the first 69 laps.[7][4] Meanwhile, Al Unser also made a strong start, passing four competitors on lap 2 alone.[7] By lap 7, he overtook his brother Bobby for second, and began to pursue Parnelli Jones‐Vel Miletich teammate Leonard.[7] Indeed, they ultimately were the only contenders for the first position, with Foyt retiring after a magneto failure, while Bobby Unser dropped out after 104 laps from an ignition problem that started from lap 90.[7][4]

On lap 65, Scorpion-Ford's Jimmy Caruthers spun, resulting in a caution.[7] When the race resumed on lap 70, Unser took advantage of Leonard being slowed by a backmaker to move into the first position.[7][4] Leonard attempted a comeback, but ultimately was unable to retake the lead because of handling problems caused by a lightened fuel load, with his car's right rear wheel "chattering" for the remainder of the race.[7] Thus, Unser remained in front to claim victory and $17,485 in prize money.[7][4] His average speed of 114.858 mph also set a track record.[7] Leonard finished second, while Brabham-Offenhauser driver Billy Vukovich took third, more than two laps down from Unser.[7][4]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the 90 minutes of footage was televised live by the TVS Television Network, the network syndicating sports programs to 185 television stations, including WOR‐TV in New York.[8][6] But of twelve IndyCar races to have been televised by TVS, none are currently publicly available. Nevertheless, some race highlights are available, including from a Car & Track TV episode.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Car & Track TV footage of the race.
Silent footage of the event.
nascarman History's Top 10 Lost IndyCar Broadcasts detailing TVS Television Network's IndyCar broadcasts (0:20-0:59).

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]