USAC Racing At The Milwaukee Mile; A VERY Rich History

WEST ALLIS, WI: With the return of the United States Auto Club to the historic Milwaukee Mile for the first time since 2006, the time is right to reflect on the past USAC winners who have conquered the one mile paved oval located at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

For the past 55 years, IndyCars, Mini-IndyCars, stock cars, midgets and the “Silver Crown” cars of today have competed at the Milwaukee Mile under USAC sanction, staging at total of 177 events. Twenty-seven different drivers have scored two or more victories at the Mile during that time, including the era’s greatest chauffeurs; a virtual snapshot of American racing history during the past five decades.

As the USAC Silver Crown cars and midgets prepare to perform at Milwaukee during this weekend’s IZOD Milwaukee 225 IndyCar event this weekend, let’s check the roster of racers who lead the way in victories at the Milwaukee Mile:

1. Don White-14 stock car wins: The little man from Keokuk, Iowa never ventured far from the USAC stock car ranks, and didn’t need to. Don was a two-time USAC stock car champ, and is the all time winner at the Mile. It’s a shame more people don’t remember what a great racer Don White was.

2. Parnelli Jones-11 wins(8 stock car, 2 IndyCar, 1 sprint, 1 midget)It’s easy to see that Parnelli, the best overall racer I ever saw, had no problem scoring in every division that USAC ran at Milwaukee. In one of the most incredible winning streaks in motorsports history, Parnelli won six consecutive USAC stock car races at Milwaukee between July, 1964 and June, 1965 in an era when most of the Indy 500 veterans had stock car rides! During his third victory in the string, Parnelli’s Mercury blew up early; he replaced teammate Rodger Ward during at pit stop, and proceeded to un-lap himself in a car he had never driven, chase down leader AJ Foyt and win going away! All these years later, it’s still hard to believe what Parnelli Jones accomplished at the Milwaukee Mile.

3. AJ Foyt-10 wins(6 stock car, 4 Indy). Foyt’s story has been told many times, and continues to be written as an IndyCar owner. AJ was always the man to beat at the Mile (unless Parnelli was entered!).

4. Rodger Ward-9 wins(7 IndyCar, 1 stock car, 1 midget). Jolly Rodger was a legend at State Fair Park; he often said that Milwaukee was his favorite track. Anyone who ever saw him run the Mile would understand why he felt that way. Ward and Milwaukee were made for each other.

5. Butch Hartman-9 stock car wins. A 5-time USAC stock car champion, Butch was definitely “the man” in the ’70’s.

6. Norm Nelson-8 stock car wins. Practically a home-town boy, Racine, WI’s Norm Nelson was always a favorite to upset the “Indy Boys” in stock cars at Milwaukee. Crowd favorite Jim Hurtubise called Nelson, “the best stock car racer I ever saw”. Good enough for me!

7. Roger McCluskey-7 wins(5 stock car, 2 IndyCar). In his younger days, McCluskey was a killer sprint car racer; then he turned his attention to stock cars. The results were immediate: two stock car championships and a reputation as the guy to beat at Milwaukee. He wasn’t too shabby in an IndyCar, either.

8. Bobby Unser-7 wins(4 IndyCar, 3 stock car). Some of Bobby’s rides at the Mile were the stuff of legends. If he had been able to win every race at Milwaukee that he led, Bobby U. would be the all time winner!

9. Tony Bettenhausen 5 wins(3 stock car, 2 midget)Tony was a hero to anyone lucky enough to have seen him race, and was a true legend at the Mile. It was said that if Tony had ever decided to run for mayor of Milwaukee, he would have won in a landslide. That, you can believe.

10. Jack Bowsher-5 stock car wins. Ohio’s Bowsher was another stock car specialist who had a winning relationship with the Milwaukee Mile. If you hit Jack Bowsher, you WOULD get hit back!

The remainder of Milwaukee’s multiple USAC winners are as follows:

Al Unser(4 IndyCar, 1 stock car), Dave Watson (4 stock car), Gordon Johncock(3 IndyCar, 1 stock car), Ramo Stott(3 stock car), Fred Lornezen(3 stock car), Ralph Moody(3 stock car), Johnny Rutherford(3 IndyCar), Mario Andretti(3 IndyCar), Joe Leonard(3 IndyCar), Lloyd Ruby(3 IndyCar), Sal Tovella(2 stock car), Jimmy Bryan(1 IndyCar, 1 stock car), Mike Mosley(2 IndyCar), Pat Flaherty(1 IndyCar, 1 stock car), Eddie Sachs(2 stock car), Paul Goldsmith(2 stock car), Joe Ruttman(2 stoch car).

If you’re looking for an all-star line-up of United Stated Auto Club racer, look no further!

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