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1981 CART PPG Indy Car World Series

  (Redirected from 1981 IndyCar season)

The 1981 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season, the third in the CART era of U.S. open-wheel racing, consisted of 11 races, beginning in Avondale, Arizona on March 22 and concluding at the same location on October 31. The PPG Indy Car World Series Drivers' Champion was Rick Mears despite missing Round 2 at Milwaukee due to injuries sustained in the Indianapolis 500. Rookie of the Year was Bob Lazier. After the disagreement with the USAC during the previous season, the 65th Indianapolis 500 was not part of the Series, however no competing race was scheduled and most CART teams and drivers did take part.

1981 CART season
PPG Indy Car World Series
Season
Races11
Start dateMarch 22
End dateOctober 31
Awards
Drivers' championUnited States Rick Mears
Constructors' CupUnited States Penske
Manufacturers' CupUnited Kingdom Cosworth
Nations' CupUnited States United States
Rookie of the YearUnited States Bob Lazier
← 1980
1982 →

Contents

Drivers and constructorsEdit

The following teams and drivers competed for the 1981 CART World Series.

Team/Car Owner Chassis Engine # Drivers Rounds
  Chaparral Cars Chaparral Cosworth 1   Johnny Rutherford All
  Jerry O'Connell Racing Phoenix Cosworth 2   Tom Sneva 1
32   Kevin Cogan 2-3, 5-7
  Bignotti-Cotter Racing March (5-11)

Phoenix (2)

Cosworth 2   Tom Sneva All except 1 and 3-4
Phoenix 21   Salt Walther 5
  Team Penske Penske Cosworth 3   Bobby Unser All
6   Rick Mears All except 2
7   Bill Alsup All except 1 and 8-9
  Morales Motorsports Penske (all except 2, 9)
Lightning (2, 9)
Cosworth 5   Pancho Carter All
Lightning 75   Steve Chassey 4
  Longhorn Racing Longhorn (All except 8)

Eagle (8)

Cosworth 8   Al Unser All
  Rhoades Competition Wildcat Cosworth 12   Dennis Firestone 3
  Gary Bettenhausen 5, 7
  Gordon Smiley 6, 10-11
  Gilmore Racing Coyote Cosworth 14   A. J. Foyt 5
  Tempero Racing McLaren Chevrolet 15   Bill Tempero All except 2
  Bettenhausen Racing McLaren (1-6)

Longhorn (7)

Phoenix (8-11)

Cosworth 16   Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. All except 1
  Leader Card Racing Watson Cosworth (All except 7-8)

Offenhauser (7-8)

22   Dick Simon All except 3-4.
  Spike Gehlhausen 3-4
  Patrick Racing Wildcat Cosworth 20   Gordon Johncock All
40   Mario Andretti 1-4, 8-9, 11
  Steve Krisiloff 5, 7
  Brayton Racing Penske Cosworth 21   Mike Mosley 11
  Chip Ganassi 12
37   Scott Brayton All
  McElreath Racing Eagle Offenhauser

(1, 9-11)Chevrolet (8)

23   Jim McElreath 1, 8-11
  Luxury Racers Kingfish Chevrolet 24   Wally Pankratz 6
65   Wally Pankratz 11
  Buick Racing Eagle Chevrolet 26   Jim Buick 1
86   Jim Buick 2-5
  Menard Racing Lightning (1-8)

Eagle (9-11)

Chevrolet 28   Herm Johnson All except 1-2, 4, and 8
  Beaudoin Racing McLaren Cosworth 29   Billy Engelhart 2, 5, 7
  Machinists Union Racing Penske Cosworth 31   Larry Dickson All except 1
  Theodore Racing McLaren (5, 10-11)

March (6)

Cosworth 33   Vern Schuppan 5-6, 10-11
  Wysard Racing Eagle Cosworth 34   Hurley Haywood 6, 9-10
  Johnny Parsons 11
  Bob Fletcher Racing Penske (1-6)

March (7-11)

Cosworth 35   Bob Lazier All
  Karl Racing McLaren (1)

Karl (2-7, 9-10)

Chevrolet 38   Jerry Karl All except 8 and 11
  Alsup Racing Penske Cosworth 41   Bill Alsup 1, 8-9
McLaren Chevrolet 47   Phil Caliva 3-7, 11
  Frey Racing Eagle Offenhauser 42   Bob Frey 1
71   Bob Frey 2, 5
  Rattlesnake Racing Watson Offenhauser 42   Billy Vukovich II 5-6, 8, 10
  AMI Racing Armstrong Cosworth 43   Greg Leffler 11
Lola 45   Harry MacDonald 5
  Rager Racing Wildcat Chevrolet 44   Roger Rager 11
66   Roger Rager 5-9
  Orio Trice 10
  All American Racers Eagle Chevrolet 48   Mike Mosley 2-3, 5, 7-8, 11
  Geoff Brabham 6, 10
  Rocky Moran 9
  Space Racing Eagle Cosworth 49   Chip Mead 5, 11
  Garza Racing Penske Cosworth 54   Geoff Brabham 1
  Josele Garza 2
55   Josele Garza All except 2
  Gohr Racing Penske Chevrolet 56   Tom Bigelow 3, 5, 7-8, 11
  Metro Racing McLaren Offenhauser 57   Cliff Hucul 2, 5, 8
  Hamilton Racing Riley Chevrolet 63   Ken Hamilton 6, 11
  Jet Engineering Eagle Chevrolet 64   Steve Chassey All except 4 and 10
  Mergard Racing McLaren (2, 9)

IAM (10)

Chevrolet (2, 9)

Donovan (10)

67   Phil Threshie 2
  Teddy Pilette 9-10
  Hodgdon Racing Penske Cosworth 72   Michael Chandler 5
74   Michael Chandler 6, 10-11
  Davis Racing Wildcat Offenhauser (3-4, 7-9, 11)

Chevrolet (6)

77   Ross Davis 3-4, 6-9, 11
  Joe Hunt Magneto Eagle Chevrolet (1, 6, 10)

Offenhauser (11)

89   Phil Krueger 1, 6, 10-11
  Intercomp Penske Offenhauser (2, 6-7)

Chevrolet (11)

92   John Mahler 2, 6-7, 11
  Grupo-Acypsa Penske Offenhauser 93   Michel Jourdain 10
  Whittington Bros. Racing March Cosworth 94   Bill Whittington 5
  Cannon Racing Wildcat Offenhauser 95   Larry Cannon 1
  Herm Johnson 4
96   Tom Frantz 1
  Dick Ferguson 5
99   Larry Cannon 2-5
  Dick Ferguson 6-7, 10-11
  Vetrock Racing Eagle Chevrolet X   Dean Vetrock 2
  Ohio Racing Associates Longhorn Cosworth X   Steve Krisiloff 8

Notable team and driver changesEdit

Notable Equipment ChangesEdit

Season SummaryEdit

ScheduleEdit

Rd Date Name Circuit Location
1 March 22   Kraco Car Stereo 150  O  Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, Arizona
NC May 24   Indianapolis 500  O  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis, Indiana
2 June 8   Gould Rex Mays Classic  O  Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wisconsin
3 June 21   Kraco Twin 125  O  Atlanta Motor Speedway Hampton, Georgia
4
5 July 25   Norton Michigan 500  O  Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Michigan
6 August 30   Los Angeles Times 500  R  Riverside International Raceway Riverside, California
7 September 5   Tony Bettenhausen 200  O  Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wisconsin
8 September 20   Detroit News Grand Prix  O  Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Michigan
9 October 4   Watkins Glen 200  R  Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, New York
10 October 18   I Copa México 150  R  Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Mexico City, Mexico
11 November 8   Miller High Life 150  O  Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, Arizona

- The Detroit News Grand Prix was supposed to run for 150 miles, but was shortened due to a scoring error.

O Oval/Speedway
R Road Course/Street Circuit

Race ResultsEdit

Rd Race Pole Position Winning driver Winning team Race time
1   Kraco Car Stereo 200   Bobby Unser   Johnny Rutherford Chaparral 1:17:08
NC   Indianapolis 500-Mile Race   Bobby Unser   Bobby Unser Team Penske 3:35:42
2   Gould-Rex Mays 150   Gordon Johncock   Mike Mosley All American Racers 1:19:03
3   Kraco Twin 125   Johnny Rutherford   Rick Mears Team Penske 0:51:29
4   Rick Mears   Rick Mears Team Penske 0:45:20
5   Norton Michigan 500   Tom Sneva   Pancho Carter Alex Foods 3:45:45
6   Los Angeles Times 500   Geoff Brabham   Rick Mears Team Penske 2:43:40
7   Tony Bettenhausen 200   Johnny Rutherford   Tom Sneva Bignotti-Cotter 1:41:41
8   Detroit News Grand Prix   Rick Mears   Rick Mears Team Penske 1:10:30
9   Watkins Glen 150   Mario Andretti   Rick Mears Team Penske 1:52:17
10   II Copa Mexico 150   Bobby Unser   Rick Mears Team Penske 1:24:48
11   Miller High Life 150   Bobby Unser   Tom Sneva Bignotti-Cotter 1:20:10
  Non-championship event

Note, the total time of the Nortan Michigan 500 does not include red flag stoppage time as the race was stopped for nearly 1 hour due to a bad pit lane fire

Final driver standingsEdit

Pos Driver PHX1   MIL1   ATL1   ATL2   MIC1   RIR   MIL2   MIC2   WTG   MXC   PHX2   Pts
1   Rick Mears 4 1 1* 3 1* 2 1 1 1 8 304
2   Bill Alsup 5 8 8 4 3 11 4 3 5 17 175
3   Pancho Carter 7 20 5 5 1* 10 10 18 15 6 5 166
4   Gordon Johncock 6 16 4 4 36 2 6 5 10 3 3 142
5   Johnny Rutherford 1* 6 2* 3 22 21 4 20 2 26 21 120
6   Tony Bettenhausen Jr. 12 7 11 2 DNS 14 10 8 11 19 107
7   Bobby Unser 2 21 13 6 16 9 3 7 17 15* 2 99
8   Tom Sneva 3 4 23 24 1* 19 21 20 1* 96
9   Bob Lazier  RY  12 13 17 9 10 5 16 13 4 4 13 92
10   Al Unser 17 5 6 7 11 14 5 3 14 2 2 90
11   Mario Andretti 11 3 3 2 2* 16* 4 81
12   Tom Bigelow 9 5 24 9 11 60
13   Scott Brayton  R  15 11 9 10 7 8 21 24 20 23 DNQ 57
14   Larry Dickson 10 10 12 9 16 12 8 7 22 DNQ 49
15   Gary Bettenhausen 6 19 42
16   Dick Simon 10 7 31 6 22 25 11 25 20 38
17   Herm Johnson 22 22 17 33 7 13 9 8 9 38
18   Mike Chandler 27 4 16 DNQ 37
19   Mike Mosley 1* DNS 18 DNS 26 7 24 32
20   Steve Chassey DNQ 24 23 22 20 15 15 12 5 DNQ 31
21   Josele Garza 21 14 12 18 19 12 8 23 24 18 6 30
22   Phil Caliva 19 15 8 DNS DNS DNQ 27
23   Kevin Cogan 2 16 28 11 23 23
24   Dick Ferguson 30 18 6 10 7 20
25   Steve Krisiloff 17 7 17 18
26   Rocky Moran  R  6 16
27   Geoff Brabham  R  9 19 9 14
28   Jerry Karl 8 23 21 21 14 22 25 19 19 13
29   Billy Engelhart 8 35 9 11
30   Larry Cannon 20 15 11 20 12 10
30   Roger Rager 13 13 18 21 DNQ DNQ 10
32   Bill Tempero 18 15 14 34 28 17 15 23 12 DNQ 7
33   Phil Krueger  R  14 20 14 16 6
33   Bill Vukovich II 15 DNQ 14 27 6
35   Gordon Smiley 25 18 10 5
36   Jim McElreath 19 11 DNQ 13 DNQ 4
36   Ross Davis DNQ 19 DNQ DNS 16 13 DNQ 4
36   Vern Schuppan 24 17 21 15 4
36   Jim Buick  R  16 19 20 16 DNS 4
40   Hurley Haywood 26 12 17 3
41   Spike Gehlhausen 14 13 2
41   Bob Frey 13 17 DNQ 2
41   John Mahler 25 27 20 DNQ 2
44   Jerry Sneva DNS 12 1
44   Chip Mead 29 14 1
44   Phil Threshie 18 1
44   Dennis Firestone 18 1
44   Johnny Parsons 18 1
  Harry MacDonald 21 0
  Cliff Hucul 26 25 22 0
  Tom Frantz 22 0
  Teddy Pilette 22 0
  Ken Hamilton 23 0
  Greg Leffler 23 0
  Michel Jourdain 24 0
  A. J. Foyt 26 0
  Salt Walther 32 0
  Bill Whittington 37 0
Pos Driver PHX1   MIL1   ATL1   ATL2   MIC1   RIR   MIL2   MIC2   WTG   MXC   PHX2   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
 RY  Rookie of the Year
 R  Rookie

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Åberg, Andreas. "PPG Indy Car World Series 1981". Driver Database. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  • "1981 PPG Indy Car World Series". Champ Car Stats. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  • "Standings after Phoenix". Champ Car World Series. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-19.