1979 IndyCar season

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1979 IndyCar season
1979 IndyCar season
SCCA/CART Indy Car Series
Season
Races 14
Start date March 11
End date October 20
Awards
Drivers' champion United States Rick Mears
Constructors' Cup United States Penske
Manufacturers' Cup United Kingdom Cosworth
Nations' Cup United States United States
Rookie of the Year United States Bill Alsup
Indianapolis 500 winner United States Rick Mears
Chronology
Previous season Next season
1978 (USAC) 1980

The 1979 IndyCar season consisted of 14 races, beginning in Avondale, Arizona on March 11 and concluding at the same location on October 20. The SCCA/CART Indy Car Series Drivers' Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner was Rick Mears. Rookie of the Year was Bill Alsup. This was the first year that the championship was co-sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America and CART, after the majority of car owners left the USAC during the previous season. The 63rd Indianapolis 500 continued to be sanctioned by the USAC, but counted in the CART points standings.

Drivers and constructors[edit]

The following teams and drivers competed for the 1979 CART World Series.

Team/Car Owner Chassis Engine Tires # Driver(s) Notes
United States Jerry O'Connell Racing McLaren Cosworth G 1 United States Tom Sneva
32 United States Johnny Parsons Ontario only.
United States Chaparral Cars Lola

Chaparral

Cosworth G 2 United States Al Unser Used Lola chassis at all races through Atlanta (2).
United States Team McLaren McLaren Cosworth G 4 United States Johnny Rutherford
United States Bob Fletcher Racing Lightning Cosworth G 7 United States Steve Krisiloff All races through Trenton (3) only.
55 United States Spike Gehlhausen Ontario, Michigan (3), Atlanta (3) and Phoenix (2) only.
United States Team Penske Penske Cosworth G 9 United States Rick Mears
12 United States Bobby Unser
68 United States Bill Alsup Indianapolis only.
99 United States Mario Andretti Ontario and Michigan (3) only.
United States Morales Motorsports Lightning Offenhauser

Cosworth

G 10 United States Pancho Carter Used Cosworth engine at Atlanta (1 and 2).
15 United States Bob Harkey Ontario only. Used the Offenhauser engine.
United States Longhorn Racing Penske Cosworth G 11 United States Tom Bagley All races except Atlanta (3).
71 United States Steve Krisiloff Ontario only.
United States Gilmore Racing Parnelli Cosworth G 14 United States AJ Foyt Indianapolis only. Team ran in conjunction with Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing.
United States Lindsey Hopkins Racing Lightning Drake Goosen Sparks

Offenhauser

G 15 United States Johnny Parsons Indianapolis only. Used the Drake Goosen Sparks engine.
51 United States Hurley Haywood Indianapolis only. Used the Offenhauser engine.
United States Vollstedt Enterprises Vollstedt Offenhauser

AMC

G 17 United States Dick Simon Indianapolis only. Used the Offenhauser engine
27 United States Dick Simon Indianapolis practice only. Used the AMC engine.
United States Frantz Racing Wildcat Drake Goosen Saprks

Offenhauser

G 18 (16) United States Tom Frantz

United States Bill Henderson

Phoenix (1), Atlanta (1), Indianapolis, Michigan (all), Watkins Glen, Trenton (3) and Ontario only. Used the Offenhauser engine at Trenton (3) and Ontario only. Team ran in conjunction with Hoffman Racing at Phoenix (1) and Atlanta (1) only. Henderson drove the car at Trenton (1) only.
United States Gehlhausen Racing Eagle

Wildcat

McLaren

Offenhauser

Cosworth

G 19 United States Spike Gehlhausen

United States Bill Alsup

Italy Phil Caliva

United States Bob Harkey

Gelhausen drove the car at all races through Trenton (3) only. Used the Wildcat chassis and the Cosworth engine at Indianapolis only. Team ran in conjunction with Patrick Racing at Indianapolis only. Used the McLaren chassis at Indianapolis practice only. Harkey and Alsup attempted to qualify the car at Indianapolis only. Caliva drove the car at Ontario only. Used the Eagle chassis and the Offenhauser engine at all races through Ontario, except Indianapolis.
39 United States Al Loquasto Indianapolis and Michigan (1 and 2) only. Used the Eagle chassis and the Offenhauser engine.
United States Patrick Racing Penske

Wildcat Lightning

Cosworth G 20 (3) United States Gordon Johncock Used the Penske chassis.
40 (6) United States Wally Dallenbach Used the Wildcat chassis at Phoenix (both) only and the Lightning chassis at Atlanta (1 and 2) only.
60 United States Steve Krisiloff

United States Roger Mears

Krisiloff drove the car at Michigan (3) only. Mears drove the car at Ontario only. Used the Penske chassis and the Cosworth engine.
United States Rhoades Competition McLaren Offenhauser G 20 United States John Martin Indianapolis only.
United States Conqueste Racing Team Parnelli Cosworth G 21 (89) United States Lee Kunzman Phoenix (1), Atlanta (1 and 2), Indianapolis, Trenton (1 and 2), Michigan (1 and 2) and Ontario only.
United States Leader Card Racing Watson Offenhauser G 22 United States Billy Vukovich II Indianapolis only.
24 United States Sheldon Kinser Indianapolis only.
40 United States George Snider Indianapolis practice only.
United States McElreath Racing Penske

Eagle

Cosworth

Offenhauser

G 23 United States Jim McElreath Indianapolis only. Used the Penske chassis and the Cosworth engine.
26 United States Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. Indianapolis only. Used the Eagle chassis and the Offenhauser engine.
United States Interscope Racing Parnelli Cosworth G 25 United States Danny Ongais
United States Wheel Center Eagle Offenhauser G 28 United States Billy Scott Indianapolis and Ontario only.
Canada Hucul Racing McLaren Offenhauser G 29 Canada Cliff Hucul Indianapolis only.
United States Thunder Racing McLaren Offenhauser G 30 United States Dana Carter

United States John Martin

Carter drove the car at Indianapolis only. Martin drove the car at Ontario only.
United States Wysard Racing Wildcat Offenhauser G 34 Australia Vern Schuppan Phoenix (both), Atlanta (1 and 2), Indianapolis, Michigan (1 and 3), Watkins Glen, Trenton (3) and Ontario only.
United States S&M Electric Lightning Offenhauser G 35 (31) United States Larry Rice

United States Tim Richmond

Rice drove the car at Phoenix (1), Atlanta (1 and 2), Indianapolis and Trenton (1 and 2) only. Richmond drove the car at Watkins Glen, Trenton (3), Ontario and Phoenix (2) only.
United States Medlin Racing Cicada Offenhauser G 35 United States Bill Puterbaugh Indianapolis only.
United States All American Racers Eagle Cosworth G 36 United States Mike Mosley
United States Karl Racing McLaren Offenhauser G 38 United States Jerry Karl Indianapolis only.
United States WASP Racing McLaren Offenhauser G 41 (67) United States Bill Alsup
United States Mergard Racing Eagle Offenhauser G 42 United States Herm Johnson Atlanta (3) and Phoenix (2) only.
United States AMI Racing Lola

Wildcat

Cosworth

Drake Goosen Sparks

G 43 United States Tom Bigelow Indianapolis practice only. Used the Lola chassis and the Cosworth engine.
44 United States Tom Bigelow

United States Gary Bettenhausen

Indianapolis only. Bettenhausen practiced the car and Bigelow raced in it. Used the Lola chassis and the Cosworth engine.
45 United States Janet Guthrie Indianapolis only. Used the Lola chassis and the Cosworth engine.
46 United States Howdy Holmes Indianapolis only. Used the Wildcat chassis and the Drake Goosen Sparks engine.
United States BFM Enterprises Antares

Manta

Offenhauser G 50 Canada Eldon Rasmussen

Canada Frank Weiss

Rasmussen drove the car at Indianapolis only. Weiss drove in the Indianapolis Rookie Orientation and Atlanta (3) only. Used the Manta chassis at Atlanta (3) only.
United States Hurtubise Racing Mallard Offenhauser

Chevrolet

G 52 United States Woody Fisher Indianapolis only. Used an unknown chassis and the Chevrolet engine.
56 United States Jim Hurtubise Indianapolis only. Used the Mallard chassis and the Offenhauser engine.
United States Crower Cams Eagle Chevrolet G 57 United States Jerry Sneva Indianapolis only.
Canada Rasmussen Racing Rascar Foyt G 58 Canada Eldon Rasmussen Indianapolis only.
United States Hoffman Racing Eagle

Lightning

Spyder

Penske

Offenhauser

Cosworth

G 59 United States Joe Saldana

United States George Snider

United States Dick Ferguson

Snider drove the car at Indianapolis only. Saldana drove the car at Michigan (1 and 2) and Ontario only. Ferguson drove the car at Phoenix (2) only. Used the Lightning chassis and Offenhauser engine at Indianapolis, Michigan (1 and 2) and Ontario only. Used the Penske chassis and Cosworth engine at Phoenix (2) only.
69 United States Joe Saldana

United States Al Loquasto

Saldana drove the car at all races except Michigan (1 and 2), Ontario, Atlanta (3) and Phoenix (2) only. Loquasto drove the car at Ontario only. Used the Eagle chassis and Offenhauser engine.
79 United States Dick Ferguson

United States Joe Saldana

Canada Cliff Hucul

Ferguson drove the car at Michigan (1 and 2) only. Saldana drove the car at Atlanta (3) and Phoenix (2) only. Hucul drove the car at Ontario only. Used the Eagle chassis at Ontario, Atlanta (3) and Phoenix (2), the Spyder chassis at Michigan (1 and 2) only and the Offenhauser engine in each of those races.
United States Bob Olmstead's V12 Eagle Volker G 62 United States Ed Finley Indianapolis only.
United States Rager Racing Eagle

Wildcat

Chevrolet G 66 Australia Roger Rager Indianapolis only. Used both the Eagle and Wildcat chassis in practice.
United States Mach I Racing Eagle Offenhauser G 69 United States Tim Richmond Michigan (1) only.
United States Hodgdon Racing McLaren

Spirit 78

Cosworth

AMC

G 72 United States Roger McCluskey

United States Jerry Sneva

McCluskey drove the car at Indianapolis only. Sneva drove the car at Ontario only. Used the McLaren chassis and Cosworth engine.
73 United States Jerry Sneva

United States Neil Bonnet

Indianapolis only, Sneva drove in the race and Bonnet drove in practice. Used the Spirit 78 chassis and the AMC engine.
United States Gibson Racing Eagle Offenhauser G 75 United States Todd Gibson Indianapolis only.
United States Walmotor McLaren

Penske

Cosworth G 77 United States Salt Walther Phoenix (1), Atlanta (1 and 2), Indianapolis, Michigan (all) and Ontario only. Used McLaren chassis at Phoenix (1) only.
United States R.P. Racing Penske Cosworth G 80 United States Larry Dickson Indianapolis only.
United States Woodward Racing Eagle Offenhauser G 81 United States Dick Ferguson

United States Jan Opperman

Indianapolis only.
United States Beaudoin Racing Wildcat Drake Goosen Sparks G 83 United States Billy Engelhart Indianapolis only.
United States AMSoil Lola Cosworth G 86 Australia Dennis Firestone Ontario only.
United States Intercomp Eagle

Bear

Offenhauser

Drake Goosen Sparks

G 92 United States John Mahler Phoenix (1), Atlanta (1), Indianapolis, Trenton (1 and 2), Michigan (1 and 2) and Watkins Glen only. Used the Eagle chassis and the Offenhauser engine at Phoenix (1), Atlanta (1), Indianapolis and Watkins Glen only and the Bear chassis and the Drake Goosen Sparks engine at Trenton (1 and 2).
United States O'Hanlon Racing March Chevrolet G 93 United States Larry McCoy Indianapolis only.
United States Whittington Bros. Racing McLaren

Parnelli

Cosworth G 94 United States Don Whittington, Jr. Ontario only. Used the McLaren chassis.
98 United States Bill Whittington Ontario only. Used the Parnelli chassis.
United States Cannon Racing Wildcat Drake Goosen Sparks

Offenhauser

G 95 United States Larry Cannon Indianapolis, Michigan (1 and 3), Trenton (3), Ontario, Atlanta (3) and Phoenix (2). Used the Drake Goosen Sparks engine at Michigan (1) only.
United States Agajanian-Grant King Racers King Chevrolet

Offenhauser

G 97 United States Phil Threshie

United States Jerry Miller

Indianapolis only. Miller drove the car in the rookie orientation and Threshie raced it. Used the Chevrolet engine.
98 United States Gary Bettenhausen Indianapolis only. Used the Offenhauser engine.
United States Canavan Racing McLaren Offenhauser G X United States Earle Canavan Indianapolis only. Number was unknown.

Results and standings[edit]

Races[edit]

Rd Date Name Circuit Winning driver Winning team Report
1 March 11 United States Arizona Republic / Jimmy Bryan 150 Avondale, Arizona United States Gordon Johncock Patrick Racing Report
2 April 22 United States Gould Twin Dixie 125 Atlanta, Georgia United States Johnny Rutherford Team McLaren Report
3 United States Johnny Rutherford Team McLaren
4 May 27 United States Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis, Indiana United States Rick Mears Team Penske Report
5 June 10 United States Trenton Twin Indy Trenton, New Jersey United States Bobby Unser Team Penske Report
6 United States Bobby Unser Team Penske
7 July 15 United States Norton Twin Brooklyn, Michigan United States Gordon Johncock Team Penske Report
8 United States Bobby Unser Team Penske
9 August 5 United States Kent Oil 150 Watkins Glen, New York United States Bobby Unser Team Penske Report
10 August 19 United States Ditzler 150 Trenton, New Jersey United States Rick Mears Team Penske Report
11 September 2 United States California 500 Ontario, California United States Bobby Unser Team Penske Report
12 September 15 United States Gould Grand Prix Brooklyn, Michigan United States Bobby Unser Team Penske Report
13 September 30 United States Rich's Atlantic Classic Atlanta, Georgia United States Rick Mears Team Penske Report
14 October 20 United States Miller High Life Avondale, Arizona United States Al Unser Chaparral Cars Report
  Oval/Speedway
  Road Course/Street Circuit
  • CART was sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)
  • Indianapolis was USAC-sanctioned but counted towards the CART championship.

Full Series Results[edit]

Non-CART members in CART events haven't points in officially: Don Whittington, Jr., Bill Whittington, Roger Mears, John Martin, Frank Weiss, Bob Harkey, Dennis Firestone, Johnny Parsons, Jr. and Cliff Hucul

Points Breakdown[edit]

Points Earned for Each Type of Race
Pos 100 Miles 125 Miles 150 Miles 200 Miles 500 Miles Pos 100 Miles 125 Miles 150 Miles 200 Miles 500 Miles
1 200 250 300 400 1000 18 5 5 6 8 20
2 160 200 240 320 800 19 5 6 8 20
3 140 175 210 280 700 20 5 6 8 20
4 120 150 160 240 600 21 4 5 6 15
5 100 125 150 200 500 22 4 4 6 15
6 80 100 120 160 400 23 4 4 6 15
7 60 75 90 120 300 24 6 10
8 50 63 75 100 250 25 4 10
9 40 50 60 80 200 26 4 10
10 30 38 45 60 150 27 10
11 20 25 30 40 100 28 10
12 10 13 15 20 50 29 5
13 5 5 8 10 25 30 5
14 5 5 8 10 25 31 5
15 5 5 8 10 25 32 5
16 5 5 8 10 25 33 5
17 5 5 6 8 20

Final driver standings[edit]

Pos Driver United States
PHX1
United States
ATL1
United States
ATL2
United States
INDY
United States
TRT1
United States
TRT2
United States
MIC1
United States
MIC2
United States
WTG
United States
TRT3
United States
ONT
United States
MIC3
United States
ATL3
United States
PHX2
Pts
1 United States Rick Mears 2 5 2 1 5 7 4 5 2 1 2 3 1 3 4,060
2 United States Bobby Unser 5 7 4 5 1 1 Ret 1 1 2 1 1 3 2 3,820
3 United States Gordon Johncock 1 4 9 6 3 5 1 4 3 Ret Ret Ret 2 4 2,211
4 United States Johnny Rutherford 3 1 1 18 Ret 3 3 Ret Ret 5 4 4 Ret 6 2,163
5 United States Al Unser 4 6 3 Ret 2 Ret 13 3 5 6 5 Ret 5 1 2,085
6 United States Danny Ongais Ret Ret 6 4 7 6 Ret Ret 4 Ret 6 DNQ Ret Ret 1,473
7 United States Tom Sneva Ret 3 5 15 6 Ret Ret 2 Ret 3 Ret 2 8 5 1,360
8 United States Tom Bagley 8 8 7 9 8 4 6 6 6 7 Ret 5 9 1,208
9 United States Wally Dallenbach 7 11 8 Ret 4 2 5 Ret Ret 4 Ret 6 4 12 1,149
10 United States Mike Mosley 6 Ret Ret 3 Ret DNS 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 10 1,126
11 United States Mario Andretti 3 DNQ 700
12 United States Lee Kunzman 9 2 Ret Ret Ret DNS 14 Ret 9 490
13 United States Pancho Carter Ret 9 11 Ret 10 8 7 Ret Ret DNQ Ret 8 Ret 7 452
14 Australia Vern Schuppan Ret 12 12 Ret Ret DNS 7 7 DNS Ret 449
15 United States Bill Alsup 11 Ret Ret DNQ 12 9 9 Ret 9 10 Ret 9 10 11 400
16 United States Joe Saldana 13 Ret 13 16 Ret Ret 10 8 Ret 8 Ret DNQ 6 Ret 368
17 United States Spike Gehlhausen Ret Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 8 343
18 United States Salt Walther 12 10 10 12 8 7 Ret Ret 314
19 United States Steve Krisiloff Ret Ret DNS 11 9 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 6 279
20 United States Tom Frantz 14 DNQ 11 Ret Ret 9 Ret Ret 236
21 United States Jerry Sneva Ret Ret 155
22 United States Tim Richmond Ret DNS 8 Ret Ret Ret 112
23 United States Larry Rice 10 14 19 Ret 10 105
24 United States Herm Johnson 7 13 98
25 United States John Mahler Ret Ret 11 11 12 Ret 74
26 United States Al Loquasto DNQ Ret 9 Ret 70
27 United States Larry Cannon DNQ Ret Ret DNS Ret Ret 56
28 United States Dick Ferguson DNQ 15 Ret Ret DNQ 35
29 United States Billy Scott DNQ Ret 20
30 Italy Phil Caliva Ret 10
- United States A.J. Foyt 2 -
- United States Howdy Holmes 7 -
- United States Billy Vukovich II 8 -
- United States Don Whittington, Jr. 8 -
- Canada Frank Weiss DNQ 9 -
- United States Bill Whittington Ret -
- United States Roger McCluskey 13 -
- United States Tom Bigelow 14 -
- United States Phil Threshie 17 -
- United States John Martin DNQ Ret -
- Canada Eldon Rasmussen Ret -
- United States Larry Dickson Ret -
- United States Dick Simon Ret -
- United States Sheldon Kinser Ret -
- United States Bob Harkey DNQ Ret -
- Canada Cliff Hucul Ret Ret -
- Australia Dennis Firestone Ret -
- United States Johnny Parsons Ret Ret -
- United States George Snider Ret -
- United States Janet Guthrie Ret -
- United States Jim McElreath Ret -
Pos Driver United States
PHX1
United States
ATL1
United States
ATL2
United States
INDY
United States
TRT1
United States
TRT2
United States
MIC1
United States
MIC2
United States
WTG
United States
TRT3
United States
ONT
United States
MIC3
United States
ATL3
United States
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
DNS Any driver who qualifies
but does not start (DNS)
Rookie of the Year
Rookie

Driver Breakdown[edit]

Pos Driver Team/Car Owner Starts Wins Podiums Top 5s Top 10s Poles Points
1 United States Mears United States Team Penske 14 3 9 13 14 2 4,060
2 United States B. Unser United States Team Penske 14 6 9 12 13 7 3,820
3 United States Johncock United States Patrick Racing 14 2 5 9 11 2 2,211
4 United States Rutherford United States Team McLaren 14 2 5 8 9 2 2,163
5 United States A. Unser United States Chaparral Cars 14 1 4 8 10 1 2,085
6 United States Ongais United States Interscope Racing 13 0 0 2 6 0 1,473
7 United States T. Sneva United States Jerry O'Connel Racing 14 0 2 6 8 0 1,360
8 United States Bagley United States Longhorn Racing 13 0 0 2 12 0 1,208
9 United States Dallenbach United States Patrick Racing 14 0 1 5 8 0 1,149
10 United States Mosley United States All American Racers 12 0 2 2 3 0 1,126
11 United States Andretti United States Team Penske 1 0 1 1 1 0 700
12 United States Kunzman United States Conqueste Racing Team 8 0 1 1 3 0 490
13 United States Carter United States Morales Motorsports 13 0 0 0 6 0 452
14 Australia Schuppan United States Wysard Racing 8 0 0 0 2 0 449
15 United States Alsup (R) United States WASP Racing/Team Penske/Gehlhausen Racing 13 0 0 0 6 0 400
16 United States Saldana United States Hoffman Racing 13 0 0 0 4 0 368
17 United States Gehlhausen United States Gehlhausen Racing/Bob Fletcher Racing 14 0 0 0 2 0 343
18 United States Walther United States Walmotor 8 0 0 0 4 0 314
19 United States Krisiloff United States Bob Fletcher Racing/Patrick Racing/Longhorn Racing 10 0 0 0 2 0 279
20 United States Frantz United States Frantz Racing 7 0 0 0 1 0 236
21 United States J. Sneva United States Hodgdon Racing 2 0 0 0 0 0 155
22 United States Richmond United States Mach 1 Racing/S&M Electric 5 0 0 0 1 0 112
23 United States Rice United States S&M Electric 5 0 0 0 2 0 105
24 United States Johnson United States Mergard Racing 2 0 0 0 1 0 98
25 United States Mahler United States Intercomp 6 0 0 0 0 0 74
26 United States Loquasto United States Gehlhausen Racing 3 0 0 0 1 0 70
27 United States Cannon United States Canon Racing 4 0 0 0 0 0 56
28 United States Ferguson United States Hoffman Racing 3 0 0 0 0 0 35
29 United States Scott United States Wheel Center 1 0 0 0 0 0 20
30 Italy Caliva United States Gehlhausen Racing 1 0 0 0 0 0 10

References[edit]

See also[edit]