The USAC Stock Car Series

The United States Auto Club (USAC) began to sanction auto racing in the United States in 1956, after the withdrawal of AAA following the death of Bill Vukovich at the 1955 Indianapolis 500 and a tragic crash that claimed the lives of several spectators at the 24 Hours of LeMans just weeks later. Much like NASCAR's Grand National (now Nextel Cup) circuit at the time, the schedule was comprised mainly of short-track races, both paved and dirt. Several races were also held each year at the Milwaukee Mile.

USAC had an on-again, off-again affair with road racing, with events at Riverside International Raceway in California, Donnybrooke Speedway in Minnesota, Continental Divide Raceway in Colorado, Mid-America Raceway in Missouri, Shelby County International Raceway in Tennessee, Sears Point International Raceway in California, one go-around on the road course at Phoenix International Raceway before switching to the oval track, several races at Indianapolis Raceway Park on the 2.5 mile road course, and, on the international front, at Mosport in Canada.

Eventually, USAC found its way to the big tracks, holding numerous events at Ontario Motor Speedway in California (a clone of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway), Texas World Speedway, and Michigan International Speedway. Events at these tracks were often held along with Indy car races, with several drivers competing in both races on the same track on the same day, usually in 200 mile efforts each. USAC also sanctioned the first four 500-mile stock car races at Pocono, before NASCAR began to compete there. 500-mile stand-alone races were also held at Texas World Speedway.

Several drivers from the USAC ranks eventually found their way into NASCAR. Paul Goldsmith, for example, started out in NASCAR, switched to USAC for a few years, won two championships, and then returned to NASCAR. Fred Lorenzen made the jump after winning his two championships. Drivers in recent memory with origins in USAC include Joe Ruttman (who actually ran two NASCAR races at Riverside in the 60s while still in his teens, then stuck to local tracks for several years before making his national return in the late 70s), Rusty Wallace, and Ken Schrader. There was a fair amount of crossover from the Indy car side as well; A.J. Foyt won 41 races and three championships in his years in the series, while Roger McCluskey picked up two stock car titles before winning the Indy car championship in 1973. Parnelli Jones also grabbed a title in 1964, while Joe Leonard (1971 and 1972 Indy car champion) and Al Unser (1970 Indy car champion in USAC, as well as 1983 and 1985 CART champion) won Rookie of the Year honors in 1964 and 1967, respectively.

Once CART took over the sanctioning of Indy car races in 1980, the stock car series began to lose its lustre. Most of the superspeedway races dropped from the schedule, and USAC began to cosanction many of their races along with ARCA. In 1984, the final season, only two races were held, on the dirt tracks in Springfield and DuQuoin, both open to ARCA competitors as well. A third race, scheduled as part of the annual 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora, was rained out and never held. Many of the former USAC competitors migrated to other midwest-based organizations, including ARCA, ASA, and ARTGO. USAC did replace the stock cars with a short track late model series (mostly dirt tracks, but a few paved ovals thrown in as well) that ran from 1985 through 1988. After the demise of that series, USAC continued to hold one late model event each fall at the 4-Crown Nationals through 1995; In 1996, the fourth crown became the UMP modifieds and USAC late model racing was no more.

From 1956 through 1984, USAC held a total of 451 stock car races. I have obtained complete results of all races from 1971 through 1984, and have full results of a few others prior to 1971. I also have several partial results of earlier races. (In some cases, those results rather depressingly contain only the name of the winning driver.) I now have a complete listing of all races in series history. Click here for a list of USAC Stock Car race results in the database.


USAC Stock Car Championship History

YEAR Champion 2nd Place 3rd Place Rookie of the Year
1956 National Johnny Mantz Marshall Teague Les Snow  none until 1963
1956 Pacific Coast Sam Hanks Marshall Teague Les Snow  none until 1963
1956 Short Track Troy Ruttman George Seeger Eddie Gray  none until 1963
1957 Jerry Unser Ralph Moody Sam Hanks   none until 1963
1958 Fred Lorenzen Mike Klapak Norm Nelson   none until 1963
1959 Fred Lorenzen Mike Klapak Nelson Stacy   none until 1963
1960 Norm Nelson Paul Goldsmith Tony Bettenhausen   none until 1963
1961 Paul Goldsmith Norm Nelson Elmer Musgrave   none until 1963
1962 Paul Goldsmith Don White Norm Nelson   none until 1963
1963 Don White A.J. Foyt Norm Nelson  Sal Tovella
1964 Parnelli Jones Norm Nelson Don White  Joe Leonard
1965 Norm Nelson Paul Goldsmith Don White  Billy Foster
1966 Norm Nelson Don White Billy Foster  Butch Hartman
1967 Don White Parnelli Jones Jack Bowsher  Al Unser
1968 A.J. Foyt Roger McCluskey Don White  Dick Trickle
1969 Roger McCluskey A.J. Foyt Don White  Verlin Eaker
1970 Roger McCluskey Norm Nelson A.J. Foyt  Billy Reis
 1971 Butch Hartman Jack Bowsher Roger McCluskey

 Joe Booher
 Bud Schroyer

 1972 Butch Hartman Roger McCluskey Paul Feldner  Chuck McWilliams
 1973 Butch Hartman Ramo Stott Bay Darnell  Irv Janey
 1974 Butch Hartman Norm Nelson Ramo Stott  Ken Rowley
 1975 Ramo Stott Butch Hartman Sal Tovella  Len Gittemeier
 1976 Butch Hartman Ramo Stott Sal Tovella  Wayne Watercutter
 1977 Paul Feldner Ramo Stott Sal Tovella  Dave Watson
 1978 A.J. Foyt Terry Ryan Bay Darnell

 Joe Ruttman

 1979 A.J. Foyt Bay Darnell Rusty Wallace  Rusty Wallace
 1980 Joe Ruttman Rusty Wallace Bay Darnell  Ken Schrader 
 1981 Dean Roper Sal Tovella Ken Schrader  Rick Hanley
 1982 Dean Roper Bay Darnell Rick O'Brien

 Jeff Schwister
 Jiggs Lindhorst

 1983 Dean Roper Butch Garner Rick O'Brien  Roger Drake
 1984 David Goldsberry Ken Rowley Jim Hall  David Goldsberry