1979 Gould Grand Prix (lost footage of SCCA/CART IndyCar Series race; 1979)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1979 Gould Grand Prix was the 12th race of the 1979 SCCA/CART IndyCar Series. Occurring on 15th September at the Michigan International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by polesitter Bobby Unser in a Penske-Cosworth, after leading 49 laps of the 75-lap event.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1979 Gould Grand Prix was the seventh running of the event, with the annual race lasting 150 miles.[1] It was one of three 1979 SCCA/CART IndyCar Series races to commence at Michigan International Speedway, the others being the Norton Twin 125s,[2] which both occurred on July 15th and were won by Gordon Johncock in a Penske-Cosworth and Bobby Unser respectively.[3][4] 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.[5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Unser winning the pole position with a speed of 204.001 mph.[1] Directly behind him were two other Penske-Cosworths driven by Rick Mears and Johncock, in second and third respectively out of 15 competitors.[1] Penske-Cosworth's Mario Andretti and Parnelli-Cosworth's Danny Ongais both withdrew prior to the start of the event.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1979 Gould Grand Prix commenced on September 15th.[1] Unser maintained his lead from the start, holding it for nine laps before dropping it to Johncock on lap 10. Johncock held the first position for 19 laps, briefly losing it to McLaren-Cosworth's Tom Sneva before regaining it a lap later on lap 30.[1] Johncock defended his lead before suddenly retiring after 36 laps following an engine failure.[6][1] This enabled Unser to regain the first position, which also transpired to be the final lead change of the event.[1] He defended it for the remaining 40 laps to claim victory and $14,210 in prize money.[7][6][1] Sneva finished second, with Mears a lap down in third despite running out of fuel.[6][1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The race is known to have been broadcast based on a 1979-2007 YouTube playlist detailing all available CART/Champ Car broadcasts.[8] It was most likely televised by ABC, as the previous event was broadcast by it.[9] The broadcast has yet to resurface, however, and no footage of the event is currently publicly available.[8]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]