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CART'S MARLBORO 500 / CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY | Track Record

Indy Car Races Old Hat to Area

October 28, 1998|SHAV GLICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Indy car races in the Inland Empire are nothing new. As long ago as 1913, there were races in Corona, and counting those held at Riverside International Raceway, Ontario Motor Speedway and last year's inaugural Marlboro 500 at Fontana's California Speedway, Sunday's will be the 32nd in the area.

The first was run Sept. 9, 1913, when the Corona road race was part of the AAA national championship schedule. It was run on Grand Boulevard, a street laid out in a perfect three-mile circle.

Indy car history books record two races that day, but the two, both won by Earl Cooper in a Stutz, were run simultaneously. One, of 250 miles, was for cars with engine displacement up to 450 cubic inches. Cars with unlimited displacement went 51 miles more.

When Cooper won them both, he was credited with two wins in the AAA books, helping him to the first of his three national championships.

The next year, Eddie Pullen, in a Mercer, beat Barney Oldfield's Mercedes after Cooper's Stutz lost a wheel, causing it to careen into a palm tree.

No race was run in 1915, but the Citrus Belt Racing Assn. held a non-sanctioned race in 1916 that killed racing in the region for another 40 years. Bob Burman, who had run 129 mph at Brighton Beach, N.Y., in a land-speed attempt, led most of the race in a blue Peugeot before a broken wheel sent his car careening over the curb and into a pole.

Burman, his riding mechanic and a track guard were killed and five spectators were injured. Eddie O'Donnell won the race in a Duesenberg, but there were no more races in the Inland Empire until a track was built in the dusty hills east of Riverside.

There were six Indy car races at Riverside between the 1967 Rex Mays 300, won by Dan Gurney, and the 1983 L.A. Times-California 500, won by Bobby Rahal.

During the 10 years the Ontario Speedway's 2 1/2-mile track existed, there were 21 Indy car races, 11 of which were 500 milers. The Unser brothers, Bobby and Al, won six of the 11, Bobby four and Al two.

The 1973 California 500 at Ontario was won by Wally Dallenbach, who will be chief steward of Sunday's race.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Through the Years

Indy car winners in the Inland Empire, with date of race, winner, car, average speed and distance:

CORONA (3)

* Sept. 9, 1913, Earl Cooper, Stutz, 75.0 mph, 250 miles.

* Sept. 9, 1913, Earl Cooper, Stutz, 74.6, 301 miles.

* Nov. 26, 1914, Eddie Pullen, Mercer, 87.8, 301 miles.

*

RIVERSIDE (6)

* Nov. 26, 1967, Dan Gurney, Eagle-Ford Weslake, 107.170 mph, 300 miles.

* Dec. 1, 1968, Dan Gurney, Eagle-Ford Weslake, 111.689, 300 miles.

* Dec. 7, 1969, Mario Andretti, Hawk-Ford, 105.797, 300 miles.

* Aug. 8, 1981, Rick Mears, Penske-Cosworth, 108.280, 313.5 miles.

* Aug. 29, 1982, Rick Mears, Penske-Cosworth, 115.944, 313.5 miles.

* Aug. 13, 1983, Bobby Rahal, March-Cosworth, 113.678, 313.5 miles.

*

ONTARIO (21)

* Sept. 6, 1970, Jim McElreath, Coyote-Ford, 160.106 mph, 500 miles.

* Sept. 5, 1971, Joe Leonard, Colt-Ford, 152.354, 500 miles.

* Sept. 3, 1972, Roger McCluskey, McLaren-Drake Offy, 151.540, 500 miles.

* Aug. 26, 1973, Wally Dallenbach, Eagle-Drake Offy, 179.910, 100 miles.

* Aug. 26, 1973, Johnny Rutherford, McLaren-Drake Offy, 164.161, 100 miles.

* Sept. 2, 1973, Wally Dallenbach, Eagle-Drake Offy, 157.660, 500 miles.

* March 3, 1974, A.J. Foyt, Coyote-Foyt, 176.873, 100 miles.

* March 3, 1974, Johnny Rutherford, McLaren-Drake Offy, 172.673, 100 miles.

* March 10, 1974, Bobby Unser, Eagle-Drake Offy, 157.017, 500 miles.

* March 2, 1975, A.J. Foyt, Coyote-Foyt, 177.085, 100 miles.

* March 2, 1975, Wally Dallenbach, Eagle-Drake Offy, 150.305, 100 miles.

* March 9, 1975, A.J. Foyt, Coyote-Foyt, 154.344, 500 miles.

* Sept. 5, 1976, Bobby Unser, Eagle-Drake Offy, 143.346, 500 miles.

* March 6, 1977, A.J. Foyt, Coyote-Foyt, 154.073, 200 miles.

* Sept. 4, 1977, Al Unser, Parnelli-Cosworth, 154.687, 500 miles.

* March 26, 1978, Danny Ongais, Parnelli-Cosworth, 162.810, 200 miles.

* Sept. 3, 1978, Al Unser, Lola-Cosworth, 145.158, 500 miles.

* March 25, 1979, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli-Cosworth, 154.279, 200 miles.

* Sept. 2, 1979, Bobby Unser, Penske-Cosworth, 146.794, 500 miles.

* April 13, 1980, Johnny Rutherford, Chaparral-Cosworth, 162.016, 200 miles.

* Aug. 31, 1980, Bobby Unser, Penske-Cosworth, 156.372, 500 miles.

*

CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY (1)

* Sept. 28, 1997, Mark Blundell, Reynard-Mercedes, 166.575, 500 miles.

Winner's Circle

A look at all of the races in California Speedway's history:

1997

* June 21: Ken Schrader won Auto Club 200 Winston West race in a Chevrolet, averaging 110.311 mph. Mark Martin won International Race of Champions over Bobby Labonte, who was subbing for injured Robby Gordon. Martin averaged 164.384 mph. All IROC drivers were in Pontiac Firebirds.

* June 22: Inaugural California 500 presented by NAPA was won by Jeff Gordon in the DuPont Chevrolet. There were 21 lead changes among 12 drivers. Gordon, the Winston Cup champion, averaged 155.012 mph to edge teammate Terry Labonte by one second.

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