1971 Marlboro 300 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1971)

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1971marlboro3001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1971 Marlboro 300 (also known as the 1971 Trenton 300) was the 11th race of the 1971 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 3rd October at the Trenton Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Bobby Unser in an Eagle-Offenhauser, after having led 190 of the 200 laps. Joe Leonard also became the 1971 USAC Champion after finishing third in a Colt-Ford.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1971 Marlboro 300 was the third running of the event, with the annual race lasting 300 miles.[1] It was one of two 1971 USAC Championship Car Season races to commence at Trenton Speedway, the other being the Trentonian 200,[2] which occurred on 25th April and was won by Mike Mosley in a Watson-Ford.[3] Trenton would continue hosting IndyCar races until 1979 before it was dropped from the schedule, with the circuit being demolished in 1980.[4]

Initially, qualifying commenced for a race start on 26th September.[5] It was here that Bobby Unser broke the qualifying record at Trenton, posting a speed of 161.420 mph.[5] While this ultimately was allowed to stand, Unser and the other drivers were forced to re-qualify as the race was postponed a week because of rain.[5] When qualifying resumed, Unser again won the pole position, this time with a speed of 158.781 mph.[6][1] Directly behind him was McLaren-Offenhauser's Mark Donohue, with Colt-Offenhauser driver Al Unser lining up third out of 28 competitors.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1971 Marlboro 300 commenced on 3rd October.[1] Unser maintained his lead from the start, ultimately proceeding to dominate the majority of the race.[6][1] The only instance where he dropped the first position was between laps 71-80, where he was forced to pit, enabling his brother Al to assume the lead.[6][1] Bobby quickly passed Al for the lead on lap 81, with the latter retiring after 134 laps because of a broken radiator.[1]

Unser led the remaining 120 laps, and was two laps ahead of McNamara-Ford's Mario Andretti when a crash involving King-Offenhauser's Steve Krisiloff necessitated a caution period.[6][1] Unser therefore claimed victory and $16,911 in prize money.[1][6] His average speed of 140.771 mph broke the 300-mile Trenton average speed record of 134.381 mph set by Andretti in 1969.[6][1] Andretti finished second, while Joe Leonard finished three laps down in third, his result being enough for him to claim the 1971 USAC Championship Car title.[7][6][1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the race originally was meant to receive live flag-to-flag coverage from ABC as part of its Wide World of Sports on 2nd October.[8] However, as rain again delayed the race start, 45 minutes of live footage were instead shown live the next day, alongside the World Figure Skating Championships.[8] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Image[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]