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List of American open-wheel racing national champions

Scott Dixon, the five-time and current National Champion.

Various organization have awarded a season-long, points-based National Championship of open-wheel racing in the United States, first in 1905, and consistently since 1946. As of 2018, the top-level American open wheel racing championship is the IndyCar Series.

Contents

By seasonEdit

AAA (1905–1955)Edit

Season Driver
1905   Barney Oldfield
1906–1915: No championships
1916   Dario Resta
1917–1919: No championships (World War I)
1920   Gaston Chevrolet
1921   Tommy Milton
1922   Jimmy Murphy
1923   Eddie Hearne
1924   Jimmy Murphy
1925   Peter DePaolo
1926   Harry Hartz
1927   Peter DePaolo
1928   Louis Meyer
1929   Louis Meyer
1930   Billy Arnold
1931   Louis Schneider
1932   Bob Carey
1933   Louis Meyer
1934   Bill Cummings
1935   Kelly Petillo
1936   Mauri Rose
1937   Wilbur Shaw
1938   Floyd Roberts
1939   Wilbur Shaw
1940   Rex Mays
1941   Rex Mays
1942–1945: No championships (World War II)
1946   Ted Horn
1947   Ted Horn
1948   Ted Horn
1949   Johnnie Parsons
1950   Henry Banks
1951   Tony Bettenhausen
1952   Chuck Stevenson
1953   Sam Hanks
1954   Jimmy Bryan
1955   Bob Sweikert

USAC (1956–1978)Edit

AAA ceased participation in auto racing at the end of the 1955 season. It cited a series of high-profile fatal accidents, namely Bill Vukovich at Indianapolis, and the Le Mans disaster.[1] The national championship was taken over by the United States Auto Club (USAC), a new sanctioning body formed by the then-owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman.

Season Driver Team
1956   Jimmy Bryan Dean Van Lines Racing
1957   Jimmy Bryan Dean Van Lines Racing
1958   Tony Bettenhausen Wiggers/Wright Racing,
John Zink Racing
1959   Rodger Ward Leader Card Racers
1960   A. J. Foyt George Bignotti Racing
1961   A. J. Foyt George Bignotti Racing
1962   Rodger Ward Leader Card Racers
1963   A. J. Foyt Ansted-Thompson Racing
1964   A. J. Foyt Ansted-Thompson Racing
1965   Mario Andretti Dean Van Lines Racing
1966   Mario Andretti Dean Van Lines Racing
1967   A. J. Foyt A. J. Foyt Enterprises
1968   Bobby Unser Leader Card Racers
1969   Mario Andretti Andy Granatelli Racing
1970   Al Unser Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing
1971   Joe Leonard Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing
1972   Joe Leonard Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing
1973   Roger McCluskey Lindsey Hopkins Racing
1974   Bobby Unser All American Racers
1975   A. J. Foyt A. J. Foyt Enterprises
1976   Gordon Johncock Patrick Racing
1977   Tom Sneva Team Penske
1978   Tom Sneva Team Penske

USAC/CART (1979–1995)Edit

From 1979 to 1995 the Indianapolis 500 and the national championship were sanctioned by separate organizations, USAC and CART, respectively. USAC continued to sanction their own national championship series until 1981, when they formed the USAC Gold Crown Championship. From 1985 to 1995 the USAC Gold Crown Championship consisted solely of the Indianapolis 500, thus making such championship winners indistinguishable from Indianapolis winners. IndyCar does not recognize winners of the USAC Gold Crown Championship as full season champions.[2]

USAC CART
Season Driver Team Season Driver Team
1979   A. J. Foyt Gilmore Racing 1979   Rick Mears Team Penske
1980   Johnny Rutherford Chaparral Cars 1980   Johnny Rutherford Chaparral Cars
1981–82   George Snider Gilmore Racing 1981   Rick Mears Team Penske
1982   Rick Mears Team Penske
1982–83   Tom Sneva Bignotti-Cotter Racing 1983   Al Unser Team Penske
1983–84   Rick Mears Team Penske 1984   Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing
1985   Danny Sullivan Team Penske 1985   Al Unser Team Penske
1986   Bobby Rahal Truesports 1986   Bobby Rahal Truesports
1987   Al Unser Team Penske 1987   Bobby Rahal Truesports
1988   Rick Mears Team Penske 1988   Danny Sullivan Team Penske
1989   Emerson Fittipaldi Patrick Racing 1989   Emerson Fittipaldi Patrick Racing
1990   Arie Luyendyk Doug Shierson Racing 1990   Al Unser, Jr. Galles-Kraco Racing
1991   Rick Mears Marlboro Team Penske 1991   Michael Andretti Newman/Haas Racing
1992   Al Unser, Jr. Galles-Kraco Racing 1992   Bobby Rahal Rahal-Hogan Racing
1993   Emerson Fittipaldi Team Penske 1993   Nigel Mansell Newman/Haas Racing
1994   Al Unser, Jr. Marlboro Team Penske 1994   Al Unser, Jr. Marlboro Team Penske
1995   Jacques Villeneuve Team Green 1995   Jacques Villeneuve Team Green
  Not recognized as national champion

The Split (IRL/CART, 1996–2007)Edit

The Indy Racing League (IRL), founded in 1994 by Tony George, broke away from CART in 1996. George planned the IRL as a lower-cost alternative to CART, which had become technology-driven and dominated by a few wealthy multi-car teams, much like Formula One. It initially attracted some of the smaller teams, who believed in the vision presented by George, though most major teams remained in CART.

IRL CART
Season Driver Team Season Driver Team
1996   Buzz Calkins
  Scott Sharp
Bradley Motorsports
A. J. Foyt Enterprises
1996   Jimmy Vasser Target Ganassi Racing
1996–97   Tony Stewart Team Menard 1997   Alex Zanardi Target Chip Ganassi
1998   Kenny Bräck A. J. Foyt Enterprises 1998   Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing
1999   Greg Ray Team Menard 1999   Juan Pablo Montoya Chip Ganassi Racing
2000   Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Racing 2000   Gil de Ferran Team Penske
2001   Sam Hornish, Jr. Panther Racing 2001   Gil de Ferran Team Penske
2002   Sam Hornish, Jr. Panther Racing 2002   Cristiano da Matta Newman/Haas Racing
2003   Scott Dixon Ganassi Racing 2003   Paul Tracy Team Player's
2004   Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing 2004   Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing
2005   Dan Wheldon Andretti Green Racing 2005   Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing
2006   Sam Hornish, Jr. Team Penske 2006   Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing
2007   Dario Franchitti Andretti Green Racing 2007   Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

Reunification (IndyCar, 2008–present)Edit

Serious troubles began to surface for CART in 2001, after the planned Firestone Firehawk 600 had to be cancelled due to drivers reporting dizziness and disorientation. Additionally, teams were under increased sponsor pressure to participate in the Indy 500, which had long been the most important open-wheel event of the year, and was effectively limited to IRL teams. Major CART teams soon began preparing to leave in the series, with Team Penske first making the leap in 2002, followed by Andretti Green and Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003. CART was forced to declare bankruptcy twice, first in 2003, then for a second and final time in 2008. The IRL purchased CART's assets at auction, officially merging the two series and their respective histories.

Season Driver Team Chassis Engine
2008   Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda
2009   Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda
2010   Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda
2011   Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda
2012   Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara Chevrolet
2013   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda
2014   Will Power Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet
2015   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Chevrolet
2016   Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet
2017   Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet
2018   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda

By driverEdit

This list includes winners of all titles listed above, excluding the USAC Gold Crown Championship. Consequently, some years are listed twice.[3][4]

Driver Total Season(s)
  A. J. Foyt 7 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1975, 1979
  Scott Dixon 5 2003, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2018
  Mario Andretti 4 1965, 1966, 1969, 1984
  Sébastien Bourdais 4 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  Dario Franchitti 4 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
  Louis Meyer 3 1928, 1929, 1933
  Ted Horn 3 1946, 1947, 1948
  Jimmy Bryan 3 1954, 1956, 1957
  Rick Mears1 3 1979, 1981, 1982
  Al Unser2 3 1970, 1983, 1985
  Bobby Rahal3 3 1986, 1987, 1992
  Sam Hornish, Jr. 3 2001, 2002, 2006
  Jimmy Murphy 2 1922, 1924
  Peter DePaolo 2 1925, 1927
  Wilbur Shaw 2 1937, 1939
  Rex Mays 2 1940, 1941
  Tony Bettenhausen 2 1951, 1958
  Rodger Ward 2 1959, 1962
  Joe Leonard 2 1971, 1972
  Bobby Unser 2 1968, 1974
  Tom Sneva 2 1977, 1978
  Johnny Rutherford 2 1980, 1980
  Al Unser, Jr.4 2 1990, 1994
  Alex Zanardi 2 1997, 1998
  Gil de Ferran 2 2000, 2001
  Barney Oldfield 1 1905
  Dario Resta 1 1916
  Gaston Chevrolet 1 1920
  Tommy Milton 1 1921
  Eddie Hearne 1 1923
  Harry Hartz 1 1926
  Billy Arnold 1 1930
  Louis Schneider 1 1931
  Bob Carey 1 1932
  Bill Cummings 1 1935
  Kelly Petillo 1 1935
  Mauri Rose 1 1936
  Floyd Roberts 1 1938
  Johnnie Parsons 1 1949
  Henry Banks 1 1950
  Chuck Stevenson 1 1952
  Sam Hanks 1 1953
  Bob Sweikert 1 1955
  Roger McCluskey 1 1973
  Gordon Johncock 1 1976
  Danny Sullivan 1 1988
  Emerson Fittipaldi 1 1989
  Michael Andretti 1 1991
  Nigel Mansell 1 1993
  Jacques Villeneuve 1 1995
  Buzz Calkins 1 1996
  Scott Sharp 1 1996
  Jimmy Vasser 1 1996
  Tony Stewart 1 1996–97
  Kenny Bräck 1 1998
  Juan Pablo Montoya 1 1999
  Greg Ray 1 1999
  Buddy Lazier 1 2000
  Cristiano da Matta 1 2002
  Paul Tracy 1 2003
  Tony Kanaan 1 2004
  Dan Wheldon 1 2005
  Ryan Hunter-Reay 1 2012
  Will Power 1 2014
  Simon Pagenaud 1 2016
  Josef Newgarden 1 2017

Drivers in bold have competed in the 2018 IndyCar Series.

  1. ^ Rick Mears also won three USAC Gold Crown Championships (1983–84, 1988, 1991).
  2. ^ Al Unser also won the 1987 USAC Gold Crown Championship.
  3. ^ Bobby Rahal also won the 1986 USAC Gold Crown Championship.
  4. ^ Al Unser, Jr. also won two USAC Gold Crown Championships (1992 and 1994).

By nationalityEdit

Country Total Drivers
  United States 81 47
  United Kingdom 7 4
  France 6 3
  Brazil 5 4
  New Zealand 5 1
  Canada 2 2
  Italy 2 1
  Sweden 1 1
  Colombia 1 1
  Australia 1 1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "AAA Cuts Ties With U.S. Auto Racing". The Michigan Daily. Ann Arbor, MI. AP. August 4, 1955. p. 3. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  2. ^ https://www.indycar.com/-/media/Files/2014/News/IndyCar_Historical_Record_Book_2015-All-Time-Champions.pdf?la=en
  3. ^ "Through The Years". Champ Car Stats. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  4. ^ http://media.indycar.com/pdf/2011/IICS_2011_Historical_Record_Book_INT6.pdf