Open main menu

1981–82 USAC Championship Car season

The 1981–82 USAC Championship Car season consisted of six races, beginning in Speedway, Indiana, on May 24, 1981, and concluding at the same location on May 30, 1982. The USAC National Champion was George Snider. The season included two Indianapolis 500 races. The 1981 winner was Bobby Unser, while the 1982 winner was Gordon Johncock. The schedule included dirt courses for the first time since 1970.

1981-82 USAC Championship Car season
USAC Gold Crown Championship
Season
Races6
Start dateMay 24, 1981
End dateMay 30, 1982
Awards
National championUnited States George Snider
Indianapolis 500 winnerUnited States Bobby Unser (1981)
United States Gordon Johncock (1982)
← 1980

Schedule and resultsEdit

The United States Auto Club formed the Gold Crown Series in 1981 which was a combination of the Indianapolis 500 and other races including races on dirt tracks. It was set up so that season would extend over the course of two years with the final race of the season being the Indianapolis 500, with all races running on Oval/Speedway courses.

Rnd Date Race Name Length Track Location Type Pole Position Winning Driver
1 May 24   Indianapolis 500-Mile Race 500 mi (800 km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, Indiana Paved   Bobby Unser   Bobby Unser
2 June 21   Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500 305 mi (491 km)A Pocono International Raceway Long Pond, Pennsylvania Paved   A. J. Foyt   A. J. Foyt
3 August 15   Tony Bettenhausen 100 100 mi (160 km) Illinois State Fairgrounds Springfield, Illinois Dirt   Tom Bigelow   George Snider
4 August 30   DuQuoin 100 100 mi (160 km) DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Du Quoin, Illinois Dirt   Bill Engelhart   Rich Vogler
5 September 12  Hoosier Hundred 100 mi (160 km) Indiana State Fairgrounds Indianapolis, Indiana Dirt   Larry Rice   Larry Rice
6 May 30   Indianapolis 500-Mile Race 500 mi (800 km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, Indiana Paved   Rick Mears   Gordon Johncock

^A Scheduled for 500 miles, stopped early due to rain.

The season opened with the 1981 Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Bobby Unser would win. Wally Dallenbach Sr. qualified the #40 car for Mario Andretti. However, after the race USAC officials penalized Unser 1 position and the win went to Andretti. Even if Andretti failed to win he would still go into the Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500 at Pocono International Raceway as the points leader as he was in possession of a USAC Class 1 License. The Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500 was won by A. J. Foyt getting Foyt his 67th and final USAC Gold Crown win. The race was cut from 500 miles down to 305 miles due to rain. At the Tony Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds was won by George Snider for his first and only win in USAC Gold Crown competition. At the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Rich Vogler would win his first and only race in USAC Gold Crown competition. At the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Larry Rice would win his only USAC Gold Crown race. The 1981 Indianapolis 500 results were changed to Bobby Unser winning the race over Mario Andretti, costing Andretti 200 points. The season ending 1982 Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis 500 was marred by the death of Gordon Smiley during qualifying (he was 36 years old), and at the start 2nd place starter Kevin Cogan would spin into A. J. Foyt Jr.'s car and Mario Andretti's car, while further back in the field Roger Mears, Dale Whittington, and Bobby Rahal would collide. However, Foyt and Rahal were able to continue. Gordon Johncock would beat Rick Mears to the line to win his second Indianapolis 500. George Snider would win the championship with Geoff Brabham 2nd, Tom Bigelow 3rd, A. J. Foyt 4th, and Gordon Johncock 5th.

Final points standingsEdit

Pos Driver INDY
 
POC
 
SPR
 
DQSF
 
ISF
 
INDY
 
Pts
1   George Snider DNQ 4 1 3 8 21 1395
2   Geoff Brabham 5 2 28 1310
3   Tom Bigelow 20 3 12* 2 5 18 1280
4   A. J. Foyt 13 1 19 1045
5   Gordon Johncock 9 1 1000
6   Mario Andretti 2 31 805
7   Rick Mears 30 2* 800
8   Rich Vogler DNQ 11 1* 2 DNQ 760
9   Larry Rice DNQ 21 2 13 1* DNQ 730
10   Vern Schuppan 3 17 DNQ 720
11   Tom Sneva 25 16* 4 635
12   Jim McElreath DNQ 7 3 17 24 DNQ 594
13   Bill Vukovich, Jr. DNQ 6 17 6 DNQ 568
14   Sheldon Kinser 6 22 15 7 DNQ 536
15   Harry MacDonald DNQ 5 500
16   Jack Hewitt 12 4 4 13 490
17   Don Whittington, Jr. 31 6 405
18   Gary Bettenhausen 26 27 20 18 3 12 366
19   Joe Saldana 5 6 22 366
20   Roger Rager DNQ 8 8 DNQ DNQ 350
21   Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. 7 26 310
22   Jim Hickman 7 300
23   Herm Johnson DNQ 9 200
24   Dennis Firestone 10 27 160
25   Johnny Parsons, Jr. DNQ 23 24 8 16 20 151
26   Bill Henderson 10 150
27   Greg Leffler DNQ 9 DNS 11 DNQ 100
28   Bobby Rahal 11 70
29   Mike Chandler 12 17 40
30   Bill Whittington 21 16 40
31   Larry Dickson 18 21 23 32
32   Héctor Rebaque 13 25
33   Steve Ball DNQ 14 25
34   Tim Richmond 14 DNP 25
35   Danny Sullivan 14 25
36   Jerry Karl 15 DNQ 25
37   Chip Ganassi 15 25
38   Jerry Sneva DNQ 25 23 25
39   Richard Hubbard 18 20
40   Dick Simon DNQ 20 DNQ 20
41   Josele Garza 23 29 20
42   Steve Chassey DNQ 26 14 DNQ 14
43   Danny Ongais 27 22 10
44   Salt Walther 26 DNQ 10
45   Kevin Cogan 4 30 5
46   Tom Klausler 29 5
47   Jan Sneva 29 DNQ 5
48   Roger Mears DNQ 32 5
49   Mike Mosley 33 DNQ 5
50   Dale Whittington DNQ 33 5
-   Bobby Unser 1* DNQ 0
-   Pancho Carter 28 3 0
-   Mark Alderson 11 19 19 4 0
-   Bill Tyler 15 DNQ 5 DNQ 0
-   Al Unser 17 5 0
-   Chuck Amati 6 12 0
-   Jerry Nemire 7 9 0
-   Johnny Coogan 7 DNP 0
-   Johnny Rutherford 32 8 0
-   Steve Krisiloff 8 DNQ 0
-   Jerry Miller DNQ DNP 9 19 0
-   Chip Mead 9 DNQ 0
-   Paul Pitzer 24 DNP 10 17 0
-   Larry Martin 23 10 0
-   Art Bisch Jr. 10 DNP 0
-   Howdy Holmes 10 0
-   Ken Schrader 16 11 0
-   Bill Alsup 11 DNQ 0
-   Jerry Weeks 12 0
-   Smokey Snellbaker 13 DNQ 15 0
-   Gary Gray 13 DNP 0
-   Jeff Bloom 19 14 18 0
-   Tracy Potter 14 23 DNP 0
-   Ron Shuman 15 DNQ 0
-   Scott Brayton 16 DNQ 0
-   Sleepy Tripp 16 DNQ 0
-   Bobby Olivero 18 21 20 DNP 0
-   Bob Lazier 19 DNQ 0
-   Bill Engelhart DNQ DNQ 20 26 DNQ 0
-   Chuck Gurney 21 0
-   Gordon Smiley 22 DNQ 0
-   Dean Vetrock 22 DNQ 0
-   Gary Hieber DNQ 22 0
-   Pete Halsmer 24 25 0
-   Arnie Knepper DNQ 24 0
-   Chet Fillip 24 0
-   Steve Cannon DNQ 25 0
-   Manny Rockhold 25 DNP 0
-   Duke Cook 28 DNQ DNQ DNQ 0
-   Steve Kinser DNQ DNS DNP 0
-   Bill Puterbaugh DNS DNQ 0
-   Wally Dallenbach DNS 0
-   Bobby Adkins DNS 0
-   Gary Patterson DNQ DNQ DNQ 0
-   Eddie Leavitt DNQ DNQ DNP 0
-   Al Unser, Jr. DNQ DNQ 0
-   Patrick Bedard DNQ DNQ 0
-   Phil Caliva DNQ DNQ 0
-   Bob Frey DNQ DNQ 0
-   Spike Gehlhausen DNQ DNQ 0
-   Ken Hamilton DNQ DNQ 0
-   Bob Harkey DNQ DNQ 0
-   Phil Krueger DNQ DNQ 0
-   John Mahler DNQ DNQ 0
-   John Martin DNQ DNQ 0
-   Lennie Waldo DNP DNQ 0
-   Richard Powell DNQ DNP 0
-   Mack McClellan DNQ DNP 0
-   Jack Ziegler DNQ DNP 0
-   Rick Hood DNP DNQ 0
-   Tom Bagley DNQ 0
-   Jim Buick DNQ 0
-   Larry Cannon DNQ 0
-   Dick Ferguson DNQ 0
-   Jim Hurtubise DNQ 0
-   Bubby Jones DNQ 0
-   Bill Tempero DNQ 0
-   Phil Threshie DNQ 0
-   Frank Weiss DNQ 0
-   Billy Earl DNQ 0
-   Tom Frantz DNQ 0
-   Tom Gloy DNQ 0
-   Tom Grunnah DNQ 0
-   Hurley Haywood DNQ 0
-   Gary Irvin DNQ 0
-   Lee Kunzman DNQ 0
-   Ray Lipper DNQ 0
-   Al Loquasto DNQ 0
-   Teddy Pilette DNQ 0
-   Rusty Schmidt DNQ 0
-   Billy Scott DNQ 0
-   Sammy Swindell DNQ 0
-   Leroy Van Conett DNQ 0
-   Desiré Wilson DNQ 0
-   Karl Busson DNP DNP 0
-   Lonnie Caruthers DNP DNP 0
-   Ron Fieller DNP DNP 0
-   Mike Gregg DNP DNP 0
-   Bobby Marshall DNP DNP 0
-   Bud Wilmot DNP DNP 0
-   Buddie Boys DNP 0
-   Earle Canavan DNP 0
-   Bobby Fisher DNP 0
-   Bill Compton DNP 0
-   Jerry Potter DNP 0
-   Dean Shirley DNP 0
-   Jerry Stone DNP 0
-   Mel Kenyon DNP 0
-   Robert Tapply DNP 0
-   Neil Bonnett DNP 0
Pos Driver INDY
 
POC
 
SPR
 
DQSF
 
ISF
 
INDY
 
Pts
Color Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green 4th & 5th place
Light Blue 6th-10th place
Dark Blue Finished
(Outside Top 10)
Purple Did not finish
(Ret)
Red Did not qualify
(DNQ)
Brown Withdrawn
(Wth)
Black Disqualified
(DSQ)
White Did not start
(DNS)
Blank Did not
participate
(DNP)
Not competing
In-line notation
Bold Pole position
Italics Ran fastest race lap
* Led most race laps
Rookie of the Year
Rookie

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Åberg, Andreas. "USAC National Championship 1982". Driver Database. Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  • "1981-82 USAC Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
  • "IZOD INDYCAR SERIES 2011 HISTORICAL RECORD BOOK" (PDF). Media.indycar.com. pp. 200–203.