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IndyCar / USAC : 1963-1969
Indy/USAC : 1963-1969
1-DVD (130 minutes)
Continuing our film series on the Indy 500 and USAC, here we have another three classic
Indy 500 reels, a rare USAC race, and a special film on the Novi Racing Team!
1963 Indianapolis 500 (color – 21 min)
Parnelli Jones wins despite his car (nicknamed “Calhoun”) spewing oil from a broken tank for many laps. Officials
put off black-flagging him until the oil level drops and the trail stops. Colin Chapman, whose English built,
rear-engined Lotus Ford, finishes second in the hands of Scotsman Jim Clark, and Chapman subsequently accuses the
officials of being biased towards the American driver and car. A very clear, color film!
1964 Indianapolis 500 (color – 25 min)
The 1964 Indy 500 was won by A.J. Foyt, but is primarily remembered for a fiery seven-car accident that resulted in the
deaths of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. The crash was well documented in film and still images, and shown
worldwide. For the first time in its history, the Indianapolis 500 was stopped because of an accident. Partially in response
to media pressure, USAC mandated that cars carry less fuel and crafted the rules to effectively eliminate the use of gasoline,
effective for the 1965 season. This resulted in a change to methanol, a less volatile fuel. Another response to the crash was
the 1965 introduction of the Firestone “RaceSafe” fuel cell, with technology used in military helicopters. This is also the
last race won by a front-engined “roadster”, as all subsequent races have been won by rear-engined cars.
Novi Racing – 1964 Indianapolis 500 (b&w – 15 min)
A fantastic b&w film on Andy Granatelli’s 1964 Novi Racing Team. The Novi powered Indy cars were stuff of legend,
and anyone who saw them run will never forget the Novi sound. That’s because they were so loud they would leave
the spectators ears ringing long after the race was over. The Novi powerplant was unique, and incredibly powerful.
They became a fan favorite, yet over the years the various Novi’s ran at Indy, they never won a race. In 1964, Andy
Granatelli brought his STP sponsorship (and yes, those weird STP pajamas) to the Novi race team, along with a
revolutionary 4-wheel drive chassis. Entering three Novi race cars, driven by Jim McElreath, drag racer Art Malone,
and a young Bobby Unser, all 3 cars qualified for the Indy 500, but 2 of them suffer mishaps during the race, while a
third places 11th. This b&w film was originally titled “Way Of A Champion”.
1966 Langhorne 100 (color – 22 min)
The track in Langhorne PA was a dirt track for several decades, but in 1965, they finally succumbed to pavement. One of the
first races held on the new surface was an unusual one to say the least. At a time when front-engined cars had rapidly
disappeared from USAC racing, yet remained the only driveline arrangement used on many USAC dirt tracks (USAC still ran
dirt tracks as part of their Championship Points up until the ewarly 1970’s), this strange event called the Langhorne 100 pitted
dirt track cars alongside the new low-slung, cigar-shaped, rear-engined cars that had been dominating Indy and F1. A rookie
named Mario Andretti was the featured driver, wielding the same car he put on pole for the 1966 Indy 500. Andretti would
dominate the race, leading from start to finish, with McElreath taking 2nd, Joe Leonard 3rd, and Don Branson bringing his
front-engined car home in 4th. This is an old ESPN2 broadcast (watermark in corner), with Chris Economaki on commentary.
1969 Indianapolis 500 (color – 47 min)
Mario Andretti crashes in practice and suffers burns two weeks before the race, but he hops into a back-up car and
wins going away. Car owner Andy Granatelli had been trying for years to put a car into the winner’s circle at Indy, and
finally, after abandoning his turbine cars for 1969, he finally wins with driver Mario Andretti. Quality of this film is
excellent. This is the original broadcast from ABC’s Wide World Of Sports, with commentary by Jim McKay.