1972 Best Western Motels 150 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1972)

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1972bestwestern1501.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1972 Best Western Motels 150 was the final race of the 1972 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 4th November at the Phoenix International Raceway, the race would ultimately be won by Bobby Unser in an Eagle-Offenhauser, after having led 96 of the 150 laps.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1972 Best Western Motels 150 was the 23rd running of the event, with the annual race lasting 150 miles.[1] It was one of two 1972 USAC Championship Car Season races to commence at Phoenix International Raceway, the other being the Phoenix 150,[2] which occurred on 4th November and was won by Bobby Unser.[3] While renamed to reflect the Best Western Motels sponsorship, the race was still in memory of AAA driver Bobby Ball,[4] The race has ties with Phoenix events like the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, before Phoenix races were dropped from the IndyCar schedule after 2018 following low attendance.[5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Mark Donohue winning the pole position in a McLaren-Offenhauser with a speed of 141.732 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Parnelli-Offenhauser's Mario Andretti, with Unser lining up third out of 24 competitors.[1] Having won the Phoenix 150, Unser was seeking to achieve a Phoenix double by winning this race.[3]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1972 Best Western 150 commenced on 4th November.[1] Andretti shot into the lead on the first lap, holding it for the first 53 laps.[1] Unser overtook him on lap 54, maintaining the lead for 46 consecutive laps.[1] Meanwhile, polesitter Donohue retired after 90 laps due to a broken turbocharger.[1] Mike Mosley then moved into the first position on lap 100 in an Eagle-Offenhauser, but Unser retook it a lap later.[1] This proved to be the final lead change of the race, with Unser defending the first position for the final 50 laps from Mosley and Andretti to claim the Phoenix double and $9,496 in prize money.[1] Mosley finished second, while Andretti was a lap down in third.[1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the race received live flag-to-flag coverage from ABC as part of its Wide World of Sports.[6] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available. Nevertheless, photos of the event can be found online.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Image[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]