1969 Trenton 200 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1969)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1969 Trenton 200 was the ninth race of the 1969 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 19th July at the Trenton Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by polesitter Mario Andretti in a Brawner-Ford, achieving a comeback from 12th after suffering a puncture early in the race.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1969 Trenton 200 was the eighth running of the event, with the annual race being expanded to run for 200 miles.[1] It was one of two 1969 USAC Championship Car Season races to occur at Trenton Speedway,[2] the other being the Trenton 300, which occurred on 21st September and was won by Mario Andretti.[3] Trenton would continue hosting IndyCar races until 1979 before it was dropped from the schedule and demolished in 1980.[4]

The race was originally scheduled to run in late-April.[5] However, rainfall resulted in soft spots being generated on the track, which was recently paved over.[5] Thus, the USAC decided to postpone the race for a week on safety grounds.[5] But while subsequent tests performed by Wally Dallenbach revealed optimism for the new track, which was expected to be "one of the finest tracks on the circuit", the USAC further delayed the race until 20th July, as the organisation believed that not enough competitors would be present to produce a full grid.[6] The race however, would be run on 19th July.[1]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Andretti winning the pole position with a speed of 153.044 mph.[7][1] Directly behind him was Al Unser in a Lola-Ford, with Eagle-Offenhauser's Bobby Unser lining up third out of 26 competitors.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1969 Trenton 200 commenced on 19th July.[1] A commitment with ABC led to the race being delayed until 4:40pm.[7] When it finally did start, Al Unser moved into the lead on the first lap after passing Andretti on the first turn, only for Andretti to re-take it a lap later.[7][1] Unser would then retire after 22 laps because of a broken turbocharger.[7][1] Andretti maintained his lead for the next 36 laps, but he suddenly suffered a right rear tyre puncture that necessitated a pitstop.[7] Thus, Dallenbach moved into the first position, maintaining position until A.J. Foyt in a Coyote-Ford briefly passed him on lap 98.[7][1] Dallenbach retook the lead a lap later however, with Foyt retiring after 119 laps as his turbocharger failed.[7][1]

After his unplanned pitstop, Andretti re-joined the race in 12th place.[7] But over the next 114 miles, Andretti moved his way up the field, eventually challenging for the lead.[7] Dallenbach pitted on lap 98 for fuel, but was now at a disadvantage, as Andretti had far less fuel on-board having pitted earlier for the aforementioned tyre pitstop.[7] Thus, Andretti was able to close the gap by about a second a lap, eventually achieving the final lead change on lap 112.[7][1] By the end, Andretti held a six-second lead, but almost ran out of fuel by doing so, as he estimated that by the time he crossed the line to claim victory, he had just one gallon of fuel left.[7][1] By winning this race, he claimed $13,400.[7] Dallenbach finished second, with Mike Mosley taking third in a Watson-Offenhauser, a lap down from Andretti.[1][7]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the race received live flag-to-flag coverage by ABC as part of its Wide World of Sports.[8] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available. Nevertheless, some photos of the event can be viewed online.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]