1971 Michigan 200 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1971)

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1971michigan2001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1971 Michigan 200 (also known as the 1971 Michigan Twin 200's) was the eighth race of the 1971 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 18th July at the Michigan International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Mark Donohue in a McLaren-Offenhauser, achieving a double victory after winning a Trans-American race at the circuit the previous day.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1971 Michigan 200 was the third running of the event, the annual race lasting 200 miles.[1] The only 1971 USAC Championship Car Season race to occur at Michigan International Speedway,[2] the track would continue hosting IndyCar races until being dropped from the schedule from 2007 onwards after failing to reach a deal with IndyCar's organisers.[3]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Bobby Unser winning the pole position in an Eagle-Offenhauser with a record speed of 193.444 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Mark Donohue, who was seeking to achieve a Michigan double having won a Trans-American race the day prior.[4][5][1] Lining up third out of 26 competitors was the McNamara-Ford of Mario Andretti.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1971 Michigan 200 commenced on 18th July.[1] Unser maintained his lead from the opening lap, holding onto it for the first 15.[5][1] However, Donohue moved into the first position on lap 16, maintaining it for 27 consecutive laps.[5][1] Unser would never regain the lead as after 35 laps, his Eagle's Offenhauser engine blew.[5][1] Donohue then made a pit stop on lap 43 that enabled Coyote-Ford's A.J. Foyt to take first place.[1] However, on lap 51, Foyt retired from the lead because of a broken turbocharger, allowing Brabham-Offenhauser driver Billy Vukovich Jr. to take over.[1]

He did not maintain the lead for long, however, as Donohue regained it on lap 53.[1] He successfully protected the first position for the remaining 48 laps, crossing the line with a lead margin of over 20 seconds to claim the Michigan double and $16,025 in prize money.[1][5] Vukovich Jr. finished second, with Roger McCluskey taking third in a Kuzma-Ford.[1][5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to nascarman History's Top 10 Lost IndyCar Broadcasts, the race was televised by the TVS Television Network. But of twelve IndyCar races to have been televised by TVS, none are currently publicly available.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

nascarman History's Top 10 Lost IndyCar Broadcasts detailing TVS Television Network's IndyCar broadcasts (0:20-0:59).


See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]