Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1 - This day in Schaefer racing history

1973 Schaefer 500
USAC Indy car race
Pocono International Raceway
Pocono, Pennsylvania
Winning driver: "Super Tex" A.J. Foyt
Full results:

Road course legend Peter Revson surprised the oval racing bunch by laying down the quickest qualifying lap to nab the pole.

Source: Spartanburg Herald via Google News Archive
An interesting entry was Mel Kenyon. The long-time USAC midget racer also ran in several Indy car races so his driving a car wasn't that surprising. His sponsor, however, was a bit interesting for the times: the Atlanta Falcons NFL team. Kenyon's car owner, Lindsey Hopkins, was a minority investor in the franchise.

Though I'm uncertain if the Falcons sponsorship was the first in motorsports for the NFL, it certainly preceded the NFL's associate sponsorship of Joe Gibbs Racing's NASCAR team by two decades.

Credit: illeagle10
Credit: jkacing50 on Flickr
Source: Observer-Reporter via Google News Archive
The front row of pole winner Revson, second place starter Al Unser and third place starter Mario Andretti.

Credit: National Speed Sport News
A.J.'s car being pushed from the track to the paddock.

Credit: illegale10
The first half of the race saw many drivers at the point. In the second half, however, Roger McCluskey was the dominant car leading 62 of the final 100 laps. With a comfortable lead over Foyt on the final lap, McCluskey was headed for victory...until. McCluskey and his team attempted to stretch his fuel load to the end and almost made it...almost. He instead ran out on the final lap, and Foyt was able to pass him for the win. McCluskey's car was unable to even coast around to take the checkers yet still finished second to Foyt albeit one lap down.

Winner celebration FAIL. You win the SCHAEFER 500 - yet you drink champagne in victory lane? C'mon A.J., you shoulda known better than that.

Source: The Victoria Advocate via Google News Archive
But at least a Schaefer did make it to victory lane.

Source: Reading Eagle via Google News Archive
Some notables from July 1, 1973:
  • Jerry Carl finished 26th driving for legendary NASCAR innovator and trickster Smokey Yunick.
  • Wally Dallenbach finished 29th driving a #40 STP Eagle/Offenhauser (shown below in his 1974 colors at Indy):
Credit: Russ Thompson
  • Two decades later, his son and current TNT announcer, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., found himself driving the #43 Petty Enterprises Pontiac - also sponsored by STP.

Source: Reading Eagle via Google News Archive

Edited July 1, 2014

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