USAC Champ Car Series

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USAC Champ Car Series.jpg


Series Overview
Alternatively Known As: USAC Championship Car Series (1956-1970, 1972-1979); USAC Marlboro Championship Trail (1971); Championship Racing League (1980); USAC Gold Crown Series (1981-1995)
Series Founded: 1956 Series Disbanded: 1995
Car Style: Open-wheel Region: United States
Quick Stats
Most Wins: Most Titles: A.J. Foyt (7)
Number of Races: 383 Number of Drivers:
Project Status: COMPLETE
The Third Turn finished backfilling the complete history of this tour by November 2020.


This series evolved directly from the AAA Championship Car Series, following AAA's decision to cease its sanctioning of auto racing at the end of the 1955 season.

The 1980 season was scheduled as an entirely co-sanctioned unification with CART under the Championship Racing League banner; after five races the arrangement was dissolved, with USAC immediately awarding its championship and CART continuing with the full season as scheduled.

Following the 1980 season, the renamed Gold Crown Series ran on a "split-season" basis that was intended to always have the Indianapolis 500 as its conclusion (resulting in the 1981-1982 season including two Indy 500s); the seasons were officially regarded as being 1981-1982, 1982-1983, and so forth. Due to technical limitations The Third Turn, as is our policy for all motorsport sanctions that run seasons in this manner, lists these seasons under the year the season ended in.

Following the 1983-1984 season the Gold Crown Series consisted solely of the Indianapolis 500 for the remainder of its existence, rendering the title essentially a ceremonial additional award for the Indy 500 champion. The series was however officially scored and a championship officially awarded, so those seasons are included in our database. Note that while USAC continued to sanction the Indianapolis 500 in 1996 and 1997, those years were run solely as part of Indy Racing League seasons.

Note that in 2006 the USAC Silver Crown Series introduced a new style of car that is sometimes referred to as "Gold Crown", and following the 2007 season when the new car was abandoned a seperate ownership group attempted to start its own "Gold Crown Championship" using these cars, and then developing an entirely new car for a series intended to begin running in 2012. These have no connection to the 1956-1995 Indy-based series and it appears that the latter never progressed any further than demonstration laps at Toledo Speedway in October 2010.

Season Races Champion Margin Most Wins
1956 12 Jimmy Bryan +360 Jimmy Bryan (4)
1957 13 Jimmy Bryan +180 Rodger Ward (3)
1958 13 Tony Bettenhausen +190 Johnny Thomson (4)
1959 13 Rodger Ward +970 Rodger Ward (4)
1960 12 A.J. Foyt +290 A.J. Foyt (4)
1961 12 A.J. Foyt +390 A.J. Foyt (4)
1962 13 Rodger Ward +510 A.J. Foyt & Rodger Ward (4)
1963 12 A.J. Foyt +740 A.J. Foyt & Rodger Ward (5)
1964 13 A.J. Foyt +772 A.J. Foyt (10)
1965 18 Mario Andretti +610 A.J. Foyt (6)
1966 16 Mario Andretti +640 Mario Andretti (8)
1967 21 A.J. Foyt +80 Mario Andretti (8)
1968 28 Bobby Unser +11 Bobby Unser & Al Unser (5)
1969 24 Mario Andretti +2425 Mario Andretti (9)
1970 18 Al Unser +2870 Al Unser (10)
1971 12 Joe Leonard +695 Al Unser (5)
1972 10 Joe Leonard +1260 Bobby Unser (4)
1973 16 Roger McCluskey +1085 Wally Dallenbach & Gordon Johncock (3)
1974 14 Bobby Unser +1220 Bobby Unser & Johnny Rutherford (4)
1975 13 A.J. Foyt +2020 A.J. Foyt (7)
1976 13 Gordon Johncock +20 Johnny Rutherford & Al Unser (3)
1977 14 Tom Sneva +935 Johnny Rutherford (4)
1978 18 Tom Sneva +122 Danny Ongais (5)
1979 7 A.J. Foyt +1550 A.J. Foyt (5)
1980 5 Johnny Rutherford +770 Johnny Rutherford (3)
1982 6 George Snider +85 No repeat winners
1983 4 Tom Sneva +200 No repeat winners
1984 2 Rick Mears +200 No repeat winners
1985 1 Danny Sullivan +200 Danny Sullivan (1)
1986 1 Bobby Rahal +200 Bobby Rahal (1)
1987 1 Al Unser +200 Al Unser (1)
1988 1 Rick Mears +200 Rick Mears (1)
1989 1 Emerson Fittipaldi +200 Emerson Fittipaldi (1)
1990 1 Arie Luyendyk +200 Arie Luyendyk (1)
1991 1 Rick Mears +200 Rick Mears (1)
1992 1 Al Unser, Jr. +200 Al Unser, Jr. (1)
1993 1 Emerson Fittipaldi +200 Emerson Fittipaldi (1)
1994 1 Al Unser, Jr. +200 Al Unser, Jr. (1)
1995 1 Jacques Villeneuve +200 Jacques Villeneuve (1)