United States Auto Club
The United States Auto Club (USAC) is one of the sanctioning bodies of auto racing in the United States. From 1956 to 1979, USAC sanctioned the United States National Championship, and from 1956 to 1997 the organization sanctioned the Indianapolis 500. Today, USAC serves as the sanctioning body for a number of racing series, including the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series, National Midget Series, HPD Midget Series, .25 Midget Series, and Traxxas TORC Series.
- 1 History
- 2 Active series
- 3 Former series
- 4 References
- 5 External links
When the American Automobile Association (AAA) withdrew from auto racing after the 1955 season, citing the Le Mans disaster and the death of Bill Vukovich at Indianapolis as contributing factors, both the SCCA and NASCAR were mentioned as its potential successor. Ultimately, USAC was formed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman. It became the arbiter of rules, car design, and other matters for what it termed championship auto racing, the highest level of USAC racing. For a while there was a separate series of specifications for championship cars designed to be run on dirt, rather than paved, tracks.
USAC's long history as an open-wheel racing sanctioning body continues today with the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series, National Midget Series, Ignite Ethanol Fuel Series, Quarter Midgets, and TORC Series. NASCAR drivers including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, and Kasey Kahne honed their skills and captured championships while competing in various USAC series.
The "triple crown is earned in USAC racing when a driver claims all three national championships (silver crown, sprint car, and midget car). Only two drivers, Tony Stewart (1995) and J.J. Yeley (2003), have achieved the triple crown in a single season. Three other drivers, Pancho Carter (1972–78), Dave Darland (1997–2001), and Jerry Coons, Jr. (2006–08), have claimed each of the three championships at least once in their careers. In 2012 Mike Curb and Cary Agajanian became the only car owners to win the triple crown by winning all three championships in the same year.
USAC had awarded a national championship until A. J. Foyt won his seventh title in 1979. It has announced that it will begin awarding a national championship starting in 2010. A driver's finishes in their 25 best races are counted toward the championship and the 2010 winner received $40,000. Points are accumulated in the three national series: sprints, midgets, and silver crown. Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Indiana claimed the inaugural championship, topping runner-up, Levi Jones, by 14 points.
USAC national drivers champions
- 2010 – Bryan Clauson; Noblesville, IN
- 2011 – Bryan Clauson; Noblesville, IN
- 2012 – Bryan Clauson; Noblesville, IN
1978 plane crash
- Ray Marquette, USAC's vice-president of public affairs and a former sportswriter for The Indianapolis Star
- Frank Delroy, chairman of USAC technical committee
- Shim Malone, starter for USAC races and head of its midget racer division
- Judy Phillips, graphic artist and publication director of USAC's newsletter
- Stan Worley, chief registrar
- Ross Teeguarden, assistant technical chairman
- Don Peabody, head of the sprint division
- Dr. Bruce White, assistant staff doctor
- Don Mullendore, owner and pilot of the plane.
The effect on USAC, and for open-wheel racing in the United States, was devastating, especially since it closely followed the death of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman.
End of championship car sanctioning
The plane crash came at a time when Indy car owners and drivers were demanding changes from USAC. Aside from the Indianapolis 500, USAC events were not well attended, and the owners felt that USAC poorly negotiated television rights. The owners also wanted increases in payouts, especially at Indy. Though some think the plane crash was used as an opportunistic way to force change in the sport, it was merely an unfortunate coincidence. The seed of dissent had been growing for several years before the accident, and claims the crash was an immediate cause for the 1979 CART/USAC "split" are considered for the most part unfounded.
Also unpopular were the attempts of USAC to keep the aging Offenhauser engine competitive with the newer, and much more expensive, Cosworth DFV engine using boost-limiting "pop off valves" and limiting the amount of fuel that could be used.
Finally, most car owners banded together to form Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1978, with the first race to be run in 1979. USAC tried unsuccessfully to ban all CART owners from the 1979 Indianapolis 500, finally losing in court before the race began. Both the USAC and CART ran race schedules in 1979.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway president John Cooper was instrumental in forming a joint body of CART and USAC with the creation of the Championship Racing League in March 1980. However, in mid 1980, Cooper forced USAC to renounce their agreement with the CRL if they wanted to keep officiating the Indy 500. After USAC's attempt at a 500-mile races at Pocono Raceway – which was boycotted by the CART teams, forcing USAC to fill the field with silver crown cars – USAC and CART eventually settled into a relatively peaceful co-existence, with USAC continuing to sanction the Indianapolis 500, and CART including the race in its schedule.
USAC Silver Crown Series
|Category||Sprint car racing|
|Drivers' champion||Chris Windom|
|Official website||USAC Silver Crown Series|
Beginning in 1971, all dirt races were split from the National Championship. From 1971 to 1980, the series was named National Dirt Car Championship, then renamed Silver Crown Series in 1981.
|National Dirt Car Championship|
|1972||3||A. J. Foyt||Foyt|
|Silver Crown Series|
|2002||9||J. J. Yeley||Stewart/East|
|2003||9||J. J. Yeley||Stewart/East|
|2008||29||Jerry Coons, Jr||RW|
|2014||63||Kody Swanson||DePalma Motorsports|
|2015||63||Kody Swanson||DePalma Motorsports|
|2016||98||Chris Windom||Fred Gormly/RPM|
|2017||Season Begins April 2, 2017|
USAC Sprint Car Series
|Category||Sprint car racing|
|Drivers' champion||Brady Bacon|
|Official website||AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series|
From 1956–1960 USAC National Sprint Car Championship was divided into two divisions, Midwest and East.
|1956||9||Midwest: Pat O'Connor||Estes|
|1||East: Tommy Hinnershitz|
|1957||21||Midwest: Elmer George||Hulman|
|East: Bill Randall|
|1958||25||Midwest: Eddie Sachs||Cheesman|
|3||East: Johnny Thomson||Traylor|
|1959||4||Midwest: Don Branson||Estes|
|4||East: Tommy Hinnershitz||Pfrommer|
|1960||51||Midwest: Parnelli Jones||Fike|
|2||East: A.J. Foyt||Watson|
|1968||4, 27||Larry Dickson||Smith, Stapp|
|1998||2, 12||Tony Elliott||Walker/Vance, Conroy|
|2001||76||J. J. Yeley||GT|
|2003||20||J. J. Yeley||Stewart|
|2008||69||Jerry Coons, Jr||Hoffman|
|2015||12||Robert Ballou||Ballou Motorsports|
|2017||Season Begins February 23, 2017|
USAC National Midget Series
|Category||Midget car racing|
|Drivers' champion||Rico Abreu|
|Teams' champion||Curb Racing #97|
|Official website||Honda USAC National Midget Series|
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
|1996||91||Kenny Irwin, Jr.||Lewis|
|2003||9||J. J. Yeley||Lewis|
|2006||11||Jerry Coons Jr.||Wilke|
|2007||11||Jerry Coons Jr.||Wilke-Pak|
|2014||97||Rico Abreu||Curb Racing|
|2015||24||Tracy Hines||Parker Machinery|
|2017||Season Begins March 18, 2017|
USAC HPD Midget Series
The HPD Midget Series is a regional division of USAC. Utilizing cars identical to the midgets seen in the National Midget Championship, with the exception of the engine, drivers as young as 12 years old can compete. As of 2014, the sealed crate engine used by the series is a 2.4L 4-cylinder Honda K24 engine from Honda Performance Development, although the previous-generation Ford 2.0L 4-cylinder based on the engine found in the Ford Focus ZX3 and built by Roush Yates Engines is grandfathered in some classes.
The HPD Midget Series National Champion has been determined in a variety of ways. The inaugural championship, 2005, was decided by a two-race series (one dirt, one pavement). Subsequent national champions were determined by a single "national championship race" held at various locations. This format was used until 2010. In 2011, a points system was instituted to determine the national champion. Counting only a drivers twelve best finishes, the system allowed drivers from multiple regions to compete under a common points structure for a season-long championship. The 2012 season did not award a national champion, however the respective regional champions were honored at USAC Night of Champions.
USAC HPD Midget Series Midget National Champions
- 2005: Robbie Ray; Davenport, IA;
- 2006: Michael Faccinto; Hanford, CA ; Scelzi #4x
- 2007: James Robertson; Indianapolis, IN; Steele #1
- 2008: Alex Bowman; Tucson, AZ; Bowman #55
- 2009: Kyle Hamilton; Danville, IN; Steele #1
- 2010: Nick Drake; Mooresville, NC; Cline #55
- 2011: Nick Drake; Mooresville, NC; Cline #55
TORC: The Off-Road Championship presented by AMSOIL
TORC: The Off Road Championship was founded in 2009 by motocross racer Rick Johnson and it was managed the race operations and officiated the events. USAC took over complete management of the series in 2010. The complete management ended in August 2013 season when it was sold to The Armory. USAC returned to offication / race control and the series was renamed "TORC: The Off Road Championship" for 2014.
- 2009 Pro 4x4: Rick Huseman, Pro 2WD: Rob MacCachren
- 2010 Pro 4x4: Johnny Greaves, Pro 2WD: Ricky Johnson
- 2011 Pro 4x4: Ricky Johnson, Pro 2WD Bryce Menzies
- 2012 Pro 4x4: Ricky Johnson, Pro 2WD Bryce Menzies
- 2013 Pro 4x4: Johnny Greaves, Pro 2WD: Bryce Menzies
- 2014 Pro 4x4: Johnny Greaves, Pro 2WD: CJ Greaves
USAC Championship Car Series
|USAC Championship Car Season Champions|
USAC Gold Crown Series
Starting in 1981, USAC scaled back their participation in Indy car racing outside of the Indianapolis 500. The preeminent national championship season was instead being sanctioned by CART. USAC developed a split-calendar season, beginning in June, and ending in May with the Indy 500. After 1983, however, the Gold Crown schedule would consist of only one event per season (Indy 500), and the Gold Crown title would be regarded largely as ceremonial. The winner of the Indianapolis 500 would be the de facto Gold Crown champion, as it was the lone points-paying event.
|USAC Gold Crown Series Champions|
|1991-92||Al Unser, Jr.||season|||
|1993-94||Al Unser, Jr.||season|||
USAC Stock Cars
USAC featured a stock car division from 1956 to 1984.
USAC Road Racing Championship
|1958||Dan Gurney||Ferrari 375 Plus
Ferrari 290 MM
|1959||Augie Pabst||Ferrari 625 TR
Scarab Mk. II-Chevrolet
|1960||Carroll Shelby||Maserati Tipo 61
Scarab Mk. II-Chevrolet
|1961||Ken Miles||Porsche 718 RS 61||season|
|1962||Roger Penske||Cooper T53-Climax||season|
- USAC Information insmkt.com. Retrieved on August 19, 2007.
- "AAA cuts ties with U.S. auto racing". The Michigan Daily. Ann Arbor, Michigan. Associated Press. August 4, 1955.
- "Substitute seen for auto racing sponsor vacancy". St. Petersburg Times. International News Service. August 5, 1955.
- "USAC takes over AAA's place". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. March 8, 1956.
- Waltz, Keith (February 23, 2010). "A True USAC National Championship". National Speed Sport News. Archived from the original on April 17, 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- Indiana plane crashes indystar.com, published May 1, 2002.
- The battles wage on and off the tracks automedia.com.
- The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 10, 2007
- The CART-USAC War: part 1 oreopolis.com. Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly – January 25, 1996.
- The CART-USAC War: part 2 oreopolis.com. Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly – January 25, 1996.
- ""SALT CITY 78" CAPS SWANSON'S SILVER CROWN TITLE!". USAC. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
- ""2016 SILVER CROWN SEASON CONCLUDES; WINDOM BANKS 4-CROWN AND SILVER CROWN TITLE". USAC. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- "BACON, GARDNER EARN NATIONAL, CRA TITLES". USAC. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
- "BACON BECOMES TWO-TIME USAC SPRINT CHAMP; HOFFMANS HOIST 11TH OWNERS' TITLE TROPHY". USAC. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- "Tracy Hines Wins 2015 Honda USAC Midget Series Title to Join Triple Crown Club". Retrieved 2017-01-03.
- "THORSON WEATHERS STORMY START TO CLAIM 2016 USAC NATIONAL MIDGET TITLE". Retrieved 2017-01-03.
- "TRAXXAS Off Road Championship Under New Direction". Traxxas TORC Series. March 12, 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- "1981–82 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1982–83 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1983–84 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1984–85 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1985–86 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1986–87 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1987–88 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1988–89 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1989–90 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1990–91 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1991–92 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1992–93 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1993–94 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- "1994–95 Gold Crown Championship". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- Krejci, Martin. "USAC Road Racing Championship". World Sports Racing Prototypes. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
Jim Dittemore 1971 Lola/Chevrolet T192
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to United States Auto Club.|
- USACracing.com official website