Sunday, June 23, 2019

1968 – Johncock Outduels Unser to Win ‘Horne Race’

Gordon Johncock is interviewed in victory lane after winning the 150-miler at Langhorne.

Langhorne, Penn. (June 23, 1968) – Gordon Johncock took the prestige and the first-place money after winning the United States Auto Club 150-mile national championship car race at Langhorne Speedway.

He also took home a whale of a sore neck.

“This has to be the toughest track on the circuit – my neck hurts from all of those sharp turns,” said Johncock of Hastings, Mich., after outdueling Bobby Unser in sweltering heat Sunday. 

Johncock and Unser, the winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, were the only leaders during the grueling test. The winner said his neck was sore, he had to drive the last 50 miles with one hand on the steering wheel and the other supporting his chin. 

“It’s physically easier to drive in the Indianapolis 500 than this track,” Johncock added. He explained that the longer straightaways made Indy look like a superhighway. 

Johncock, driving a rear-engine turbo Offenhauser, hooked up in a down-to-the-wire finish with Unser, of Albuquerque, N.M., before taking the race by 12 seconds.

The winner was timed in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 59 seconds for an average speed of 103.464 miles per hour.

The 85 degree heat didn’t bother him. “It was cooler in my car, than outside,” he remarked.

In time trials, Johncock broke his own world mark for one mile with 126.908 miles per hour. Last July, he set the old mark of 125.914 miles per hour.

Johncock led from the start to the 41st lap and the lead changed hands several times before he robbed it from Unser on the 102nd turn.

Gary Bettenhausen, of Tinley Park, Ill., was third; Mike Mosley, of Indianapolis, fourth, and Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, fifth.

A crowd of more than 34,660 watched the race. Johncock received about one-fourth of the $35,200 purse and $7,000 in accessory money.

Results –

1. Gordon Johncock
2. Bobby Unser
3. Gary Bettenhausen
4. Mike Mosley
5. Larry Dickson
6. Sonny Ates
7. Max Dudley 
8. Bill Puterbaugh
9. Roger McCluskey
10. Chuck Booth
11. Bruce Walkup
12. Al Unser
13. Bob Harkey
14. Billy Vukovich
15. Wally Dallenbach
16. Sam Sessions
17. Mario Andretti
18. Art Pollard
19. Bud Tinglestad
20. Jim Malloy
21. Lloyd Ruby
22. Bruce Jacobi
23. Gig Stephens

No comments:

Post a Comment