1975 Michigan 150 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1975)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1975 Michigan 150 (also known as the 1975 Michigan Grand Prix) was the 11th race of the 1975 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 13th September at the Michigan International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Tom Sneva in a McLaren-Offenhauser, who controlled proceedings after Coyote-Foyt's A.J. Foyt and Wildcat-DGS' Gordon Johncock both ran out of fuel with a few laps remaining.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1975 Michigan 150 was the third running of the event, with the annual race lasting 150 miles.[1] It was one of two 1975 USAC Championship Car Season races to commence at Michigan International Speedway, the other being the Norton 200,[2] which occurred on 20th July and was won by A.J. Foyt.[3] The track would continue hosting IndyCar races until being dropped from the schedule from 2007 onwards after failing to reach a deal with IndyCar's organisers.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Foyt winning the pole position with a speed of 201.117 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Johncock, with Johnny Rutherford lining up third in a McLaren-Offenhauser.[1] Sneva qualified seventh out of 22 competitors,[1] and was making a comeback after suffering burns at the 1975 Indianapolis 500.[5]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1975 Michigan 150 commenced on 13th September.[1] Johncock shot into the lead on the first lap, but Foyt regained it a lap later, leading the next 25 laps.[1] Johncock moved back into the first position on lap 27, but dropped it three laps later to Eagle-Offenhauser's Johnny Parsons.[1] Parsons would then be passed by Foyt two laps later, but Johncock would again regain the first position on lap 41.[1] On lap 49, Parsons crashed out, prompting a caution that lasted until lap 53.[1]

When the race resumed, Johncock still led, but Sneva was quickly making his way through the field.[1] On lap 69, he achieved what was ultimately the final lead change of the event.[1] With only a few laps to go, Foyt and Johncock both suddenly ran out of fuel on laps 71 and 72 respectively.[1] This enabled Sneva to control the remaining laps to claim his first USAC Championship victory and $11,821 in prize money.[5][1] Rutherford finished second,[1] despite colliding with Bobby Unser's Eagle-Offenhauser, the impact breaking Unser's leg and putting him out for the remainder of the season.[6][7] Nevertheless, although this occurred two laps before the finish, Unser had performed well enough to be classified third.[1] Jimmy Caruthers finished fourth in an Eagle-Offenhauser, marking his final race before he passed away on 26th October 1975 from cancer aged 30.[8][6]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, 30 minutes of highlights were televised by ABC on 8th November 1975 as part of its Wide World of Sports, alongside the International Thoroughbred Horse Race and Hawaiian Masters Surfing Championships.[9] The program paid tribute to Caruthers once the event ended.[6][8] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]