1985 CART PPG Indy Car World Series

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1985 CART season
PPG Indy Car World Series
Races 15
Start date April 14
End date November 10
Drivers' champion United States Al Unser
Constructors' Cup United Kingdom March
Manufacturers' Cup United Kingdom Cosworth
Nations' Cup United States United States
Rookie of the Year Netherlands Arie Luyendyk
Indianapolis 500 winner United States Danny Sullivan
← 1984
1986 →

The 1985 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season was the 7th national championship season of American open wheel racing sanctioned by CART. The season consisted of 15 races. Al Unser, Sr. was the national champion, and the rookie of the year was Arie Luyendyk. The 1985 Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, but counted towards the CART points championship. Danny Sullivan won the Indy 500, in dramatic fashion, a race that became known as the "Spin and Win."

In the fall of 1984, Rick Mears suffered serious leg injuries in a crash at Sanair. Mears drove only a part-time schedule in 1985, racing at Indianapolis, and subsequently on ovals only. Al Unser, Sr. took Mears' full-time seat at Penske Racing as a substitute for the season. Unser, Sr. had one win, ten top fives, and one other top ten, en route to the championship, a battle that climaxed in dramatic fashion in the final race of the season.

Defending series champion Mario Andretti won the season opener, finished 2nd at Indy, and won the next two races, jumping out to the early points lead. A mid-season slump, however, saw him have only one top five finish the remainder of the year. He then broke his collarbone in a crash at Michigan, and was forced to sit out one race. The driver of the season became Al Unser, Jr., who won the next two races (Meadowlands and Cleveland), and finished the year with nine finishes in the top 4.

At the midpoint of the season, Mario Andretti's points lead had dwindled, while Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser, Sr., and Al Unser, Jr. were all closing in. At the Pocono 500, Rick Mears triumphantly returned to victory lane after his leg injuries. Finishing second and third were Al Jr. and Al Sr., respectively, with Al Sr. now taking the points lead. Unser, Jr. ate away at the points lead over the next four races, and the Unsers were neck-and-neck approaching the season finale. Meanwhile, Bobby Rahal was making a championship run of his own, winning 3 of 5 races, and closing within 13 points of the points lead.

With two races to go, Unser, Jr. led Unser, Sr. by 3 points. Father and son finished 1st-2nd at Phoenix, and the standings were flipped. Al Sr. led Al Jr. by 3 points going into the finale at Miami. Rahal finished a distant 6th at Phoenix, and was mathematically eliminated from the championship.

The season finale at Tamiami Park ended in dramatic fashion. Danny Sullivan and Bobby Rahal finished 1st-2nd, but the attention of the day was focused on the Unsers. Late in the race, Al Unser, Jr. was running third, and Al Unser, Sr. was running 5th. At the moment, Al Jr. was leading the hypothetical title race by one point. Unser, Sr. caught and passed Roberto Moreno for 4th place in the closing laps, and thus won the championship by 1 point over his son. Unser, Sr. afterwards expressed some regret about snatching the championship title from his son, but felt it was his responsibility to his own team and his own sponsors to race to his ability all the way to the end, and it was also in the best interests of sportsmanship to all competitors not to give favor to his son. Unser, Sr. also knew his days were numbered as a competitive driver on the circuit, while he knew Unser, Jr. had many years ahead to have another chance at the title (Al Jr. would indeed win the championship twice - 1990 and 1994).

The 1985 season saw two controversies at two separate races. The Michigan 500 had to be postponed for a week due to tire issues. In September, the race at Sanair came to a bizarre conclusion when the pace car, leading the field on the final lap under caution, suddenly veered into the pits on the final turn. Leader Johnny Rutherford was not informed, and second place Pancho Carter accelerated past him and beat him to the finish line. Officials initially awarded the victory to Carter, and Rutherford protested. After review, Rutherford was eventually restored the victory.

Drivers and Teams[edit]

The following teams and drivers competed in the 1985 Indy Car World Series season. All cars used Goodyear tires.

Team Chassis Engine No* Drivers Notes
Team Penske March 85C Cosworth 4 (5) United States Danny Sullivan
5 (1) United States Rick Mears Raced by Mears at Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Michigan (both races) and Pocono. Raced by Unser at all other races.
United States Al Unser
Doug Shierson Racing Lola T900 Cosworth 30 United States Al Unser, Jr.
Truesports Co. March 85C Cosworth 3 (10) United States Bobby Rahal
8 Canada Ludwig Heimrath, Jr. Mid-Ohio only.
Newman/Haas Racing Lola T900 Cosworth 1 (3) United States Mario Andretti Andretti was injured at Michigan (1) and missed Road America. Jones replaced Andretti at Road America.
Australia Alan Jones
Patrick Racing March 85C Cosworth 20 Italy Bruno Giacomelli Giacomelli: Long Beach, Portland, Meadowlands, Cleveland, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Sanair, Laguna Seca and Miami. Johncock: Indianapolis. Swindell: Michigan (1) and Pocono. Whittington: Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Michigan (2), Phoenix.
United States Gordon Johncock
United States Sammy Swindell
United States Don Whittington, Jr.
40 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi
60 United States Rich Vogler Indianapolis Only.
All American Racers Eagle 85GC/Lola T900 Cosworth 2 United States Tom Sneva Raced an Eagle 85 for Long Beach, Indianapolis and Milwaukee, a Lola T900 for Portland, Sanair, Laguna Seca and Phoenix, and an Eagle 85GC for the remainder of the races.
Lola T900 97 United States Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. Indianapolis Only.
Eagle 85GC/Lola T900 98 United States Ed Pimm Raced an Eagle 85 at Long Beach and Indianapolis, a Lola T900 at Milwaukee, and an Eagle 85GC for the remainder of the races. Did not appear at Cleveland.
Kraco Racing March 85C Cosworth 18 United States Kevin Cogan
99 United States Michael Andretti
Alex Morales Racing March 85C Cosworth 21 United States Johnny Rutherford
Machinists Union Racing March 85C Cosworth 55 Mexico Josele Garza
59 United States Pete Halsmer Halsmer: Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Meadowlands, Cleveland, and Michigan (2). Keegan: Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca and Miami. Ganassi: Michigan (1).
United Kingdom Rupert Keegan
United States Chip Ganassi
Galles Racing March 85C Buick/Cosworth 6 United States Pancho Carter Carter raced at Long Beach, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Cleveland, Michigan (both), Pocono, Sanair, and Phoenix. Moreno raced at Meadowlands, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca, and Miami. Buick engine for Long Beach and Indianapolis only.
Brazil Roberto Moreno
Cosworth 7 Australia Geoff Brabham
Team Cotter March 85C Cosworth 9 Colombia Roberto Guerrero DNS at Meadowlands due to practice wreck
Forsythe Racing Lola T900 Cosworth 32/33 United States Howdy Holmes Holmes in with No. 33 at all races except Laguna (accident), Phoenix and Miami. Lammers at Laguna (#32), Phoenix (#32) and Miami (#33).
Netherlands Jan Lammers
Pace Racing March 84C/Lola T900 Cosworth 36 Australia Dennis Firestone A March 84C was raced in the first six races, and a Lola T900 was raced in the remainder. Firestone raced the car in the first 13 rounds, Bigelow relieved Firestone at Michigan (1), and Crawford raced the car in the final two rounds.
United States Tom Bigelow
United Kingdom Jim Crawford
Dick Simon Racing March 85C Cosworth 22/23 Brazil Raúl Boesel No. 22 raced by Simon on ovals and Boesel on road/street circuits. No. 23 raced by Simon at Meadowlands, and Boesel at Indianapolis and Michigan (1).
United States Dick Simon
Leader Card Racing March 84C/March 85C Cosworth 24 United States Rocky Moran Moran raced at Long Beach (84C), and DNQ'd at Portland (85C) and Meadowlands (84C).
March 84C/March 85C United States Tom Bigelow Bigelow was listed on the Indianapolis (85C) entry, and raced the car at Milwaukee (85C), Michigan (1)(84C) and Pocono (85C).
March 84C United States Phil Krueger Krueger DNQ at Cleveland
March 85C United States Herm Johnson Johnson raced at Road America and Mid-Ohio
March 85C United States Gary Bettenhausen Bettenhausen raced at Sanair, Phoenix and DNS at Michigan (2).
March 84C/March 85C United States Dominic Dobson Dobson DNS at Meadowlands (84C), and raced at Laguna Seca (85C) and Miami (85C).
Part-time entries
Canadian Tire Racing March 85C Cosworth 67 United Kingdom Jim Crawford Sanair only.
76 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Villeneuve at all races except Indianapolis, Michigan (both) and Pocono. Parsons at Indianapolis.
United States Johnny Parsons
Provimi Racing Lola T900 Cosworth 61 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk All races except Michigan (WD), Pocono and Mid-Ohio (wreck in practice).
Wysard Racing Lola T900 Cosworth 34 United Kingdom Jim Crawford Crawford at Long Beach, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Meadowlands and Cleveland, Brassfield at Miami. Canadian Tire sponsorship at Indianapolis only, Malcolm Konner sponsorship at Meadowlands only.
United States Darin Brassfield
Arciero Racing Lola T900/March 85C Cosworth 12 United States Bill Whittington Whittington at all races except Michigan 1, Pocono, Sanair and Phoenix, Lanier at Phoenix. Lola T900 at all races except Michigan (2) and Miami.
United States Randy Lanier
Lola T900 57 Long Beach, Indianapolis, Portland, Meadowlands, Cleveland, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca and Miami.
Hemelgarn Racing Lola T900/March 85C Cosworth 71 Republic of Ireland Michael Roe Roe at Long Beach, Indianapolis, Portland, Meadowlands, Cleveland, Gehlhausen at Milwaukee and Michigan 1, Mansilla at Road America, Mid-Ohio, Sanair, and Brayton at Laguna Seca, Phoenix and Miami. Lola T900 at all races except Sanair.
United States Spike Gehlhausen
Argentina Enrique Mansilla
United States Scott Brayton
Brayton Racing March 85C Cosworth/Buick 37 United States Scott Brayton Buick engine at Indianapolis and Milwaukee, Dreisbach & Sons sponsorship at Long Beach and Michigan (2), Hardee's sponsorship at Indianapolis and Milwaukee, and Jolly Rancher sponsorship at Portland, Meadowlands, Cleveland, Michigan (1) and Pocono.
Interscope Racing March 85C Cosworth 25 United States Danny Ongais Long Beach, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Michigan (both), Pocono, Phoenix and Miami only
AMI Racing March 85C Cosworth 43 United States John Paul, Jr. Paul Jr. at Indianapolis and Cleveland, Lammers at Portland and Meadowlands.
Netherlands Jan Lammers
Gohr Racing March 85C Chevy 56 United States Steve Chassey Raced at all rounds except Long Beach and Sanair
Circle Bar Racing Lola T900 Cosworth 38 United States Chet Fillip Indianapolis (DNQ), Milwaukee, Cleveland and Michigan (1) only
Menard Cashway Lumber March 85C Cosworth 8 United States Herm Johnson Indianapolis only (DNQ).
Tom Hess Racing Lola T800 Cosworth 27 (29) United States Dick Ferguson Long Beach only.
Lola T900 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly Indianapolis only.
United States Jeff Wood Cleveland only.
United Kingdom Ian Ashley Miami only.
Purcell Racing March 83C Cosworth 50 United States Tom Bigelow Indianapolis only, neither car qualified.
United States Phil Krueger
United States Jerry Karl
Gilmore Racing March 85C/Lola T900 Cosworth 14 United States A. J. Foyt Entered at Indianapolis, Meadowlands, Cleveland, Michigan (1), Pocono, Sanair, Phoenix and Miami. Ran Sanair with Lola T900.
March 84C 41 United States Mike Nish Indianapolis (DNQ) and Phoenix (DQ, Practice) only.
March 85C Chevy 44 United States George Snider Indianapolis only
Cosworth 84 United States Chip Ganassi Indianapolis only
Dale Coyne Racing Lola T800 Chevy 19 United States Dale Coyne Entered all rounds except Indianapolis and Sanair
Theodore Racing Theodore Cosworth 15 Brazil Chico Serra Portland only.
  • - The number in parenthesis is the number the car used at the Indianapolis 500, if a different number was used.

Season Summary[edit]

Race results[edit]

Rd Date Event Name Circuit Location Pole Position Winner
1 April 14 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Streets of Long Beach (S) Long Beach, California United States Mario Andretti United States Mario Andretti
2 May 26 Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (O) Indianapolis, Indiana United States Pancho Carter United States Danny Sullivan
3 June 2 Dana Rex Mays Classic Milwaukee Mile (O) West Allis, Wisconsin United States Mario Andretti United States Mario Andretti
4 June 16 Stroh's/G. I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway (R) Portland, Oregon United States Danny Sullivan United States Mario Andretti
5 June 30 Meadowlands United States Grand Prix Meadowlands Sports Complex (S) East Rutherford, New Jersey United States Mario Andretti United States Al Unser, Jr.
6 July 7 Budweiser Cleveland Grand Prix Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport (S) Cleveland, Ohio United States Bobby Rahal United States Al Unser, Jr.
7 July 28 Michigan 500 Michigan International Speedway (O) Brooklyn, Michigan United States Rick Mears Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi
8 August 4 Provimi Veal 200 Road America (R) Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin United States Danny Sullivan Canada Jacques Villeneuve Sr.
9 August 18 Domino's Pizza 500 Pocono Raceway (O) Long Pond, Pennsylvania United States Rick Mears United States Rick Mears
10 September 1 Escort 200 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (R) Lexington, Ohio United States Bobby Rahal United States Bobby Rahal
11 September 8 Molson Indy 300 Sanair Super Speedway (O) Saint-Pie, Quebec United States Bobby Rahal United States Johnny Rutherford
12 September 22 Detroit News 200 Michigan International Speedway (O) Brooklyn, Michigan United States Bobby Rahal United States Bobby Rahal
13 October 6 Stroh's 300K Laguna Seca Raceway (R) Monterey, California United States Bobby Rahal United States Bobby Rahal
14 October 13 Dana 150 Phoenix International Raceway (O) Avondale, Arizona United States Al Unser United States Al Unser
15 November 9 Beatrice Indy Challenge Tamiami Park (S) Miami, Florida United States Bobby Rahal United States Danny Sullivan

(R) Dedicated road course, (O) Oval/Speedway, (S) Temporary street circuit

  • Indianapolis was USAC-sanctioned but counted towards the CART title.

Drivers points standings[edit]

Pos Driver LBH United States INDY United States MIL United States POR United States MEA United States CLE United States MIC1 United States ROA United States POC United States MDO United States SAN Canada MIC2 United States LAG United States PHX United States MIA United States Pts
1 United States Al Unser 5 4 4 3 3 2* 7 3 27 13* 12 2 1* 4 151
2 United States Al Unser Jr. 9 25 7 2* 1* 1 15 17* 2* 4 3 23 3 2 3 150
3 United States Bobby Rahal 27 27 9 20 25 28 6 4 4 1* 10 1* 1* 6 2* 133
4 United States Danny Sullivan 3 1 4 27 18 27 14 13 5 2 5 8 8 4 1 126
5 United States Mario Andretti 1* 2* 1* 1 26 14* 10 7 7 15 21 11 3 27 114
6 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 2 13 8 3 2 8 1 5 6 8 25 13 24 8 26 104
7 United States Tom Sneva 8 20 2 24 6 11 3 21 8 15 7 5 19 19 21 66
8 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 7 DNQ 22 23 21 4 1 3 11 25 13 17 54
9 United States Michael Andretti 19 8 19 28 4 7 27 2 13 14 19 25 9 5 25 53
10 United States Rick Mears 21 3 30 1 2 51
11 United States Johnny Rutherford 10 6 23 9 14 15 4 DNS 14 22 1 9 21 26 19 51
12 Mexico Josele Garza 28 31 7 12 27 6 19 18 26 11 6 6 7 10 9 46
13 United States Ed Pimm 12 9 21 19 DNS 5 11 20 9 8 3 14 9 12 45
14 United States Kevin Cogan 23 11 16 5 7 9 7 25 17 21 9 4 17 22 24 44
15 Australia Geoff Brabham 6 19 12 14 24 2 29 15 19 13 4 16 10 12 22 41
16 United States Pancho Carter 13 33 5 13 16 16 12 2 10 7 37
17 Colombia Roberto Guerrero 26 3 6 15 DNS 19 13 19 18 18 23 24 4 21 28 34
18 Netherlands Arie Luyendyk  RY  17 7 17 21 10 5 Wth 6 DNS 18 15 22 25 7 33
19 Italy Bruno Giacomelli  R  18 10 5 10 22 6 16 6 14 32
20 United Kingdom Jim Crawford 4 16 DNS 9 13 20 15 16 16
21 United States Bill Whittington 16 14 DNS 26 16 24 24 5 17 DNQ 8 15
22 United States Scott Brayton 11 30 DNQ 6 15 25 8 16 22 26 18 DNQ 15
23 Australia Alan Jones 3 14
24 United States Danny Ongais DNQ 17 20 22 7 14 6 14
25 United States Howdy Holmes 14 10 11 17 13 22 9 10 21 16 21 18 DNS 12
26 Netherlands Jan Lammers 16 12 5 20 13 11
27 Republic of Ireland Michael Roe  R  21 DNQ 7 8 26 11
28 Brazil Roberto Moreno  R  28 16 25 16 5 10
29 United States Johnny Parsons 5 10
30 Brazil Raul Boesel  R  20 18 11 11 12 28 8 23 20 23 10
31 Argentina Enrique Mansilla 9 10 12 8
32 United States Pete Halsmer DNQ 15 8 19 11 7
33 Australia Dennis Firestone 22 DNQ 20 18 DNQ 21 11 20 9 17 14 DNS 23 6
34 United States Steve Chassey DNQ DNS DNQ 20 DNS 12 26 11 12 14 15 11 DNQ 6
35 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan  R  19 12 10 4
36 United States Dick Simon 26 13 17 25 10 17 19 DNQ 3
37 United States Chet Fillip DNQ 10 18 17 3
38 United States Dominic Dobson DNS 18 11 2
39 United States Herm Johnson DNQ 12 24 1
40 Republic of Ireland Derek Daly 12 1
41 United States Randy Lanier 24 DNQ 22 22 20 14 20 13 17 15 0
42 United States Spike Gehlhausen 14 18 0
43 United States John Paul, Jr. 15 17 0
44 United States Phil Krueger DNQ DNQ 21 15 0
45 United States Rocky Moran  R  15 DNQ DNQ 0
46 United States Gary Bettenhausen 22 DNS 16 0
47 United States Tom Bigelow DNQ 18 26 23 0
48 United Kingdom Ian Ashley 18 0
49 United States A. J. Foyt 28 23 24 24 23 20 0
50 United States Don Whittington, Jr. 24 DNQ 20 24 0
51 United States Chip Ganassi 22 22 0
52 United States Dale Coyne DNQ DNS DNQ DNQ DNS 24 23 27 28 DNS 27 DNQ DNQ 0
53 United States Sammy Swindell 23 25 0
54 United States Rich Vogler 23 0
55 United States Jeff Wood 23 0
56 United States Dick Ferguson 25 DNQ 0
57 Brazil Chico Serra 25 0
58 Canada Ludwig Heimrath, Jr.  R  26 0
59 United States Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. 29 0
60 United States George Snider 32 0
United States Darin Brassfield  R  DNQ -
United States Frank Chianelli  R  DNQ -
United States Tom Gloy DNS -
United States Gordon Johncock Wth -
United States Jerry Karl DNQ -
United States Mike Nish  R  DNQ EX -
United States Willy T. Ribbs  R  Wth -
United States Ken Schrader DNP -
Pos Driver LBH United States INDY United States MIL United States POR United States MEA United States CLE United States MIC1 United States ROA United States POC United States MDO United States SAN Canada MIC2 United States LAG United States PHX United States MIA United States Pts
Color Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green 4th-6th place
Light Blue 7th–12th place
Dark Blue Finished
(Outside Top 12)
Purple Did not finish
Red Did not qualify
Brown Withdrew
Black Disqualified
White Did not start
Blank Did not
Race not held
Not competing
In-line notation
Bold Pole position
Italics Ran fastest race lap
* Led most race laps
 RY  Rookie of the Year
 R  Rookie

Saniar controversy[edit]

In the Sanair race (Molson Indy Montreal), Roberto Guerrero had a strong lead until he lost control and spun. Late in the race Jacques Villeneuve collided with leader Bobby Rahal in attempt to challenge for the lead, taking both out. The race finished under a yellow flag, but the safety car entered pit lane on the final lap, and thinking there would be a final restart, Pancho Carter passed Johnny Rutherford after the safety car entered pit lane and before the finish line. CART initially declared Carter the winner, but an appeals panel later overturned the decision and confirmed Rutherford's victory. In many codes of motorsport (typically FIA Code) the safety car enters pit lane as the field is on the final lap, and the cars cross the checkered flag together without the safety car on course. However, this practice is not accepted in North America, where the safety car leads the leaders to the finish line if the safety car situation exists.


See also[edit]