1981 CART PPG Indy Car World Series

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1981 CART season
PPG Indy Car World Series
Season
Races 11
Start date March 22
End date October 31
Awards
Drivers' champion United States Rick Mears
Constructors' Cup United States Penske
Manufacturers' Cup United Kingdom Cosworth
Nations' Cup United States United States
Rookie of the Year United States Bob Lazier
← 1980
1982 →

The 1981 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season, the third in the CART era of U.S. open-wheel racing, consisted of 11 races, beginning in Avondale, Arizona on March 22 and concluding at the same location on October 31. The PPG Indy Car World Series Drivers' Champion was Rick Mears. Rookie of the Year was Bob Lazier. After the disagreement with the USAC during the previous season, the 65th Indianapolis 500 was not part of the Series, however no competing race was scheduled and most CART teams and drivers did take part.

Drivers and constructors[edit]

The following teams and drivers competed for the 1981 CART World Series.

Team/Car Owner Chassis Engine # Drivers Rounds
United States Chaparral Cars Chaparral Cosworth 1 United States Johnny Rutherford All
United States Jerry O´Connell Racing Phoenix Cosworth 2 United States Tom Sneva 1
32 United States Kevin Cogan 2-3, 5-7
United States Bignotti-Cotter Racing March (5-11)

Phoenix (2)

Cosworth 2 United States Tom Sneva All except 1 and 3-4
Phoenix 21 United States Salt Walther 5
United States Team Penske Penske Cosworth 3 United States Bobby Unser All
6 United States Rick Mears All except 2
7 United States Bill Alsup All except 1 and 8-9
United States Morales Motorsports Penske (all except 2, 9)
Lightning (2, 9)
Cosworth 5 United States Pancho Carter All
Lightning 75 United States Steve Chassey 4
United States Longhorn Racing Longhorn (All except 8)

Eagle (8)

Cosworth 8 United States Al Unser All
United States Rhoades Competition Wildcat Cosworth 12 Australia Dennis Firestone 3
United States Gary Bettenhausen 5, 7
United States Gordon Smiley 6, 10-11
United States Gilmore Racing Coyote Cosworth 14 United States A. J. Foyt 5
United States Tempero Racing McLaren Chevrolet 15 United States Bill Tempero All except 2
United States Bettenhausen Racing McLaren (1-6)

Longhorn (7)

Phoenix (8-11)

Cosworth 16 United States Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. All except 1
United States Leader Card Racing Watson Cosworth (All except 7-8)

Offenhauser (7-8)

22 United States Dick Simon All except 3-4.
United States Spike Gehlhausen 3-4
United States Patrick Racing Wildcat Cosworth 20 United States Gordon Johncock All
40 United States Mario Andretti 1-4, 8-9, 11
United States Steve Krisiloff 5, 7
United States Brayton Racing Penske Cosworth 21 United States Mike Mosley 11
United States Chip Ganassi 12
37 United States Scott Brayton All
United States McElreath Racing Eagle Offenhauser

(1, 9-11)Chevrolet (8)

23 United States Jim McElreath 1, 8-11
United States Luxury Racers Kingfish Chevrolet 24 United States Wally Pankratz 6
65 United States Wally Pankratz 11
United States Buick Racing Eagle Chevrolet 26 United States Jim Buick 1
86 United States Jim Buick 2-5
United States Menard Racing Lightning (1-8)

Eagle (9-11)

Chevrolet 28 United States Herm Johnson All except 1-2, 4, and 8
United States Beaudoin Racing McLaren Cosworth 29 United States Billy Engelhart 2, 5, 7
United States Machinists Union Racing Penske Cosworth 31 United States Larry Dickson All except 1
United States Theodore Racing McLaren (5, 10-11)

March (6)

Cosworth 33 Australia Vern Schuppan 5-6, 10-11
United States Wysard Racing Eagle Cosworth 34 United States Hurley Haywood 6, 9-10
United States Johnny Parsons 11
United States Bob Fletcher Racing Penske (1-6)

March (7-11)

Cosworth 35 United States Bob Lazier All
United States Karl Racing McLaren (1)

Karl (2-7, 9-10)

Chevrolet 38 United States Jerry Karl All except 8 and 11
United States Alsup Racing Penske Cosworth 41 United States Bill Alsup 1, 8-9
McLaren Chevrolet 47 Italy Phil Caliva 3-7, 11
United States Frey Racing Eagle Offenhauser 42 United States Bob Frey 1
71 United States Bob Frey 2, 5
United States Rattlesnake Racing Watson Offenhauser 42 United States Billy Vukovich II 5-6, 8, 10
United States AMI Racing Armstrong Cosworth 43 United States Greg Leffler 11
Lola 45 United States Harry MacDonald 5
United States Rager Racing Wildcat Chevrolet 44 United States Roger Rager 11
66 United States Roger Rager 5-9
Mexico Orio Trice 10
United States All American Racers Eagle Chevrolet 48 United States Mike Mosley 2-3, 5, 7-8, 11
Australia Geoff Brabham 6, 10
United States Rocky Moran 9
United States Space Racing Eagle Cosworth 49 United States Chip Mead 5, 11
Mexico Garza Racing Penske Cosworth 54 Australia Geoff Brabham 1
Mexico Josele Garza 2
55 Mexico Josele Garza All except 2
United States Gohr Racing Penske Chevrolet 56 United States Tom Bigelow 3, 5, 7-8, 11
United States Metro Racing McLaren Offenhauser 57 Canada Cliff Hucul 2, 5, 8
United States Hamilton Racing Riley Chevrolet 63 United States Ken Hamilton 6, 11
United States Jet Engineering Eagle Chevrolet 64 United States Steve Chassey All except 4 and 10
United States Mergard Racing McLaren (2, 9)

IAM (10)

Chevrolet (2, 9)

Donovan (10)

67 United States Phil Threshie 2
Belgium Teddy Pilette 9-10
United States Hodgdon Racing Penske Cosworth 72 United States Michael Chandler 5
74 United States Michael Chandler 6, 10-11
United States Davis Racing Wildcat Offenhauser (3-4, 7-9, 11)

Chevrolet (6)

77 United States Ross Davis 3-4, 6-9, 11
United States Joe Hunt Magneto Eagle Chevrolet (1, 6, 10)

Offenhauser (11)

89 United States Phil Krueger 1, 6, 10-11
United States Intercomp Penske Offenhauser (2, 6-7)

Chevrolet (11)

92 United States John Mahler 2, 6-7, 11
Mexico Grupo-Acypsa Penske Offenhauser 93 Mexico Michel Jourdain 10
United States Whittington Bros. Racing March Cosworth 94 United States Bill Whittington 5
United States Cannon Racing Wildcat Offenhauser 95 United States Larry Cannon 1
United States Herm Johnson 4
96 United States Tom Frantz 1
United States Dick Ferguson 5
99 United States Larry Cannon 2-5
United States Dick Ferguson 6-7, 10-11
United States Vetrock Racing Eagle Chevrolet X United States Dean Vetrock 2
United States Ohio Racing Associates Longhorn Cosworth X United States Steve Krisiloff 8

Notable team and driver changes:[edit]

Season Summary[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Rd Date Name Circuit Location
1 March 22 United States Kraco Car Stereo 150  O  Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, Arizona
NC May 24 United States Indianapolis 500  O  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis, Indiana
2 June 8 United States Gould Rex Mays Classic  O  Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wisconsin
3 June 21 United States Kraco Twin 125  O  Atlanta Motor Speedway Hampton, Georgia
4
5 July 25 United States Norton Michigan 500  O  Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Michigan
6 August 30 United States Los Angeles Times 500  R  Riverside International Raceway Riverside, California
7 September 5 United States Tony Bettenhausen 200  O  Milwaukee Mile West Allis, Wisconsin
8 September 20 United States Detroit News Grand Prix  O  Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, Michigan
9 October 4 United States Watkins Glen 200  R  Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, New York
10 October 26 Mexico I Copa México 150  R  Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Mexico City, Mexico
11 November 8 United States Miller High Life 150  O  Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, Arizona

- The Detroit News Grand Prix was supposed to run for 150 miles, but was shortened due to a scoring error.

O Oval/Speedway
R Road Course/Street Circuit

Race Results[edit]

Rd Race Pole Position Winning driver Winning team Race time
1 United States Kraco Car Stereo 200 United States Bobby Unser United States Johnny Rutherford Chaparral 1:17:08
NC United States Indianapolis 500-Mile Race United States Bobby Unser United States Bobby Unser Team Penske 3:35:42
2 United States Gould-Rex Mays 150 United States Gordon Johncock United States Mike Mosley All American Racers 1:19:03
3 United States Kraco Twin 125 United States Johnny Rutherford United States Rick Mears Team Penske 0:51:29
4 United States Rick Mears United States Rick Mears Team Penske 0:45:20
5 United States Norton Michigan 500 United States Tom Sneva United States Pancho Carter Alex Foods 3:45:45
6 United States Los Angeles Times 500 Australia Geoff Brabham United States Rick Mears Team Penske 2:43:40
7 United States Tony Bettenhausen 200 United States Johnny Rutherford United States Tom Sneva Bignotti-Cotter 1:41:41
8 United States Detroit News Grand Prix United States Rick Mears United States Rick Mears Team Penske 1:10:30
9 United States Watkins Glen 150 United States Mario Andretti United States Rick Mears Team Penske 1:52:17
10 Mexico II Copa Mexico 150 United States Bobby Unser United States Rick Mears Team Penske 1:24:48
11 United States Miller High Life 150 United States Bobby Unser United States Tom Sneva Bignotti-Cotter 1:20:10
  Non-championship event

Final driver standings[edit]

Pos Driver PHX1 United States MIL1 United States ATL1 United States ATL2 United States MIC1 United States RIR United States MIL2 United States MIC2 United States WTG United States MXC Mexico PHX2 United States Pts
1 United States Rick Mears 4 1 1* 3 1* 2 1 1 1 8 304
2 United States Bill Alsup 5 8 8 4 3 11 4 3 5 17 175
3 United States Pancho Carter 7 20 5 5 1* 10 10 18 15 6 5 166
4 United States Gordon Johncock 6 16 4 4 36 2 6 5 10 3 3 142
5 United States Johnny Rutherford 1* 6 2* 3 22 21 4 20 2 26 21 120
6 United States Tony Bettenhausen Jr. 12 7 11 2 DNS 14 10 8 11 19 107
7 United States Bobby Unser 2 21 13 6 16 9 3 7 17 15* 2 99
8 United States Tom Sneva 3 4 23 24 1* 19 21 20 1* 96
9 United States Bob Lazier  RY  12 13 17 9 10 5 16 13 4 4 13 92
10 United States Al Unser 17 5 6 7 11 14 5 3 14 2 2 90
11 United States Mario Andretti 11 3 3 2 2* 16* 4 81
12 United States Tom Bigelow 9 5 24 9 11 60
13 United States Scott Brayton  R  15 11 9 10 7 8 21 24 20 23 DNQ 57
14 United States Larry Dickson 10 10 12 9 16 12 8 7 22 DNQ 49
15 United States Gary Bettenhausen 6 19 42
16 United States Dick Simon 10 7 31 6 22 25 11 25 20 38
16 United States Herm Johnson 22 22 17 33 7 13 9 8 9 38
18 United States Mike Chandler 27 4 16 DNQ 37
19 United States Mike Mosley 1* DNS 18 DNS 26 7 24 32
20 United States Steve Chassey DNQ 24 23 22 20 15 15 12 5 DNQ 31
21 Mexico Josele Garza 21 14 12 18 19 12 8 23 24 18 6 30
22 United States Phil Caliva 19 15 8 DNS DNS DNQ 27
23 United States Kevin Cogan 2 16 28 11 23 23
24 United States Dick Ferguson 30 18 6 10 7 20
25 United States Steve Krisiloff 17 7 17 18
26 United States Rocky Moran  R  6 16
27 Australia Geoff Brabham  R  9 19 9 14
28 United States Jerry Karl 8 23 21 21 14 22 25 19 19 13
29 United States Billy Engelhart 8 35 9 11
30 United States Larry Cannon 20 15 11 20 12 10
30 United States Roger Rager 13 13 18 21 DNQ DNQ 10
32 United States Bill Tempero 18 15 14 34 28 17 15 23 12 DNQ 7
33 United States Phil Krueger  R  14 20 14 16 6
33 United States Bill Vukovich II 15 DNQ 14 27 6
35 United States Gordon Smiley 25 18 10 5
36 United States Jim McElreath 19 11 DNQ 13 DNQ 4
36 United States Ross Davis DNQ 19 DNQ DNS 16 13 DNQ 4
36 Australia Vern Schuppan 24 17 21 15 4
36 United States Jim Buick  R  16 19 20 16 DNS 4
40 United States Hurley Haywood 26 12 17 3
41 United States Bob Frey 13 17 DNQ 2
41 United States Spike Gehlhausen 14 13 2
41 United States John Mahler 25 27 20 DNQ 2
44 United States Jerry Sneva DNS 12 1
44 United States Chip Mead 29 14 1
44 Australia Dennis Firestone 18 1
44 United States Johnny Parsons 18 1
44 United States Phil Threshie 18 1
Pos Driver PHX1 United States MIL1 United States ATL1 United States ATL2 United States MIC1 United States RIR United States MIL2 United States MIC2 United States WTG United States MXC Mexico PHX2 United States Pts
Color Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green 4th & 5th place
Light Blue 6th-10th place
Dark Blue Finished
(Outside Top 10)
Purple Did not finish
(Ret)
Red Did not qualify
(DNQ)
Brown Withdrawn
(Wth)
Black Disqualified
(DSQ)
White Did not start
(DNS)
Blank Did not
participate
(DNP)
Not competing
In-line notation
Bold Pole position
Italics Ran fastest race lap
* Led most race laps
 RY  Rookie of the Year
 R  Rookie

See also[edit]

References[edit]