1977 American Parts 200 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1977)

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1977americanparts2001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1977 American Parts 200 was the tenth race of the 1977 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 31st July at the Texas World Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Johnny Rutherford in a McLaren-Cosworth, after having led 81 of the 100 laps.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1977 American Parts 200 was the second running of the event, with the annual race lasting 200 miles.[1] It was one of two 1977 USAC Championship Car Season races to commence at Texas World Speedway, the other being the Texas 200,[2] which occurred on 2nd April and was won by Tom Sneva in a McLaren-Cosworth.[3] USAC races would continue to commence at the speedway before it was completely removed from the IndyCar schedule when the 1980 race was cancelled following the USAC-CART conflict.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Danny Ongais winning the pole position in a Parnelli-Cosworth with a speed of 205.421 mph.[1] Directly behind him was McLaren-Cosworth's Johnny Rutherford, with Parnelli-Cosworth's Al Unser lining up third out of 22 competitors.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1977 American Parts 200 commenced on 31st July.[1] Rutherford maintained his lead from the start, defending the first position until he was passed by Unser on lap 10.[1] Unser led until retiring after 15 laps following a broken gearbox.[1] Rutherford re-took the lead, holding it for 13 laps before Ongais moved past on lap 28.[1] Ongais was repassed by Rutherford on lap 33, and retired three laps later when his car's clutch failed.[1]

Following a caution period from laps 35-45 triggered by Lightning-Offenhauser's Bobby Unser's crash, Rutherford would lead the next 14 laps before being overtaken by Johncock on lap 58.[1] Four laps later, Rutherford regained it, and would only relinquish it once more to Johncock during a caution period between laps 64-67.[1] When the race resumed on lap 68, Rutherford was in front, and controlled proceedings to claim victory and $14,870 in prize money.[1] Johncock finished second, with Eagle-Offenhauser's Pancho Carter two laps down in third.[1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the race received live flag-to-flag coverage from CBS, being billed as a "CBS Sports Special".[5] 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]