1977 Trentonian 200 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1977)

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1977trenton2001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1977 Trentonian 200 (also known as the 1977 Trenton 200) was the fourth race of the 1977 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 30th April at the Trenton Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Wally Dallenbach, after overtaking fellow Wildcat-DGS driver Gordon Johncock with six laps remaining.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1977 Trentonian 200 was the 16th running of the event, with the annual race lasting just over 200 miles.[1] The only 1977 USAC Championship Car Season race to commence at Trenton Speedway following the cancellation of the Machinists Union 150 because of rain,[2][3] the speedway would host IndyCar races until 1979 before being dropped from the schedule, with the circuit being demolished in 1980.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with previous year's winner and McLaren-Cosworth driver Johnny Rutherford winning the pole position with a speed of 168.961 mph.[1] Directly behind him was McLaren-Offenhauser's Mario Andretti, with Tom Sneva lining up third in a McLaren-Cosworth.[1] Wally Dallenbach qualified seventh out of 17 competitors.[5][1] The race was to occur on 24th April, but rain postponed it until the 30th.[6][7][1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1977 Trentonian 200 commenced on 30th April.[1] Andretti shot into the lead on the first lap, holding it for the next 29 before Rutherford moved back into the first position on lap 30.[1] Rutherford then remained in front for 45 laps, Andretti meanwhile retiring after 37 due to an engine failure.[1] Rutherford would then be passed by Johncock, the latter leading for 11 laps, with Rutherford moving by again on lap 86 before Johncock retook it two laps later.[1] Johncock then controlled the next 41 laps, with Rutherford exiting the race after completing 104 laps following an engine failure that also triggered a caution period between laps 105-107.[1]

Johncock remained in front on the restart, but Dallenbach had climbed the order and proved to be the main challenger for the lead.[5][1] After being cut off by Johncock a few times on the straightaway, he ultimately achieved the final lead change on lap 129, when Johncock was forced to concede to avoid an accident on Turn 1.[5][1] Dallenbach successfully defended it for the final six laps to claim victory and $14,000 in prize money.[5][1] Johncock took second, with Eagle-Offenhauser's Mike Mosley finishing third.[5][1] Post-race, Dallenbach admitted his qualifying result might have limited his chances, stating "Starting that far back, I didn't think I had a chance."[5] He also detailed his gameplan against Johncock, explaining "Racing Gordy is sort of like having a four‐pound bass on the line, you just have to hope you can wear him down a little bit."[5] This also marked Dallenbach's first USAC Championship victory since winning the 1973 California 500.[5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, the race received live coverage from ABC, with an airing originally being planned for 24th April prior to the postponement.[7] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]