1977 Texas Grand Prix (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1977)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1977 Texas Grand Prix (also known as the 1977 Texas 200) was the third race of the 1977 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 2nd April at the Texas World Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Tom Sneva in a McLaren-Cosworth, following a late duel with Parnelli-Cosworth's Al Unser.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1977 Texas Grand Prix was the third running of the event, with the race lasting 200 miles.[1] It was one of two 1977 USAC Championship Car Season races to commence at Texas World Speedway, the other being the American Parts 200,[2] which commenced on 31st July and was won by Johnny Rutherford in a McLaren-Cosworth.[3] USAC races would continue to commence at the speedway before it was completely removed from the IndyCar schedule when the 1980 race was cancelled following the USAC-CART conflict.[4]

No time trials were conducted to decide the starting order for the race.[1] Instead, the order was decided by lots, with Rutherford lining up in the pole position, Wildcat-DGS' Gordon Johncock taking second, and Unser starting third.[1] Tom Sneva would line up eighth out of 19 competitors.[5][1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1977 Texas Grand Prix commenced on 2nd April.[1] Johncock shot into the lead on the opening lap, but lost it to Coyote-Foyt's A.J. Foyt on lap 2.[1] Aside from briefly losing the lead to Wildcat-DGS' Wally Dallenbach during a pit stop under caution, Foyt would control proceedings until he was passed by Eagle-Offenhauser's Pancho Carter on lap 45.[1] He would regain it a lap later, only for Carter to again move back into the first position on lap 50.[1] Carter held the lead until lap 60, with Foyt retiring after 58 laps because of a broken radiator.[5] A long caution period occurred from laps 60-73, and when the race finally resumed, Johncock emerged in front, with him controlling the next 18 laps.[1]

On lap 89, Unser passed Johncock, with the latter retiring two laps later following a radiator failure.[1] Unser would lead the next four laps, but following another caution period, Sneva would emerge in front.[1] They would engage in a late duel, with Unser quickly passing Sneva once the race resumed on lap 96.[5][1] However, on lap 98, Sneva pulled off what was ultimately the final lead change of the event on Turn 2.[5][1] Despite intense pressure from Unser, Sneva remained in front for the final three laps to claim victory and $13,179 in prize money.[5][1] Unser finished second, and while despite facing a black flag on lap 73 for overtaking under yellow flags, Dallenbach took third.[5][1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, 45 minutes was televised live by CBS as part of its CBS Sports Spectacular, alongside a retrospective of the Masters Golf Tournament.[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]