|1971 USAC Championship Car season|
|USAC Marlboro Championship Trail|
|Start date||February 28|
|End date||October 23|
|National champion||Joe Leonard|
|Indianapolis 500 winner||Al Unser|
The 1971 USAC Championship Car season consisted of 12 races, beginning in Rafaela, Argentina on February 28 and concluding in Avondale, Arizona on October 23. The USAC National Champion was Joe Leonard and the Indianapolis 500 winner was Al Unser. For 1971 it was decided that there should be three separate points championships, for paved ovals, dirt ovals, and road courses.
The existing Championship Car championship was then restricted to only paved ovals, and two new championships were created. The National Dirt Car Championship (which would become the modern Silver Crown Series in 1981) was run over four races, and won by George Snider. The Road Racing championship was originally to be run over between 8 and 10 races, however a lack of interest lead to just two races being held on the same day, on the 7th of August at Seattle International Raceway. Continental Championship cars were allowed, and made up the majority of the grid, with just 5 USAC specification cars entered. Jim Dittemore won the series in a Formula 5000 specification Lola T192-Chevrolet. The Road Racing championship did not continue in 1972.
Schedule and results
All races running on Oval/Speedway. On February 18, the non-championship races at Rafaela were transformed into a points-paying double round, due to a request from race organizers. On June 9, the Langhorne round was cancelled after the drivers refused to race at the outdated venue, and on June 30, USAC cancelled the race at the new Mountaineer Speedway, which was never built to completion. The 1971 season was the first time the 500 mile triple crown was on the schedule with the addition of Ontario Motor Speedway's California 500 the previous year & the Pocono 500 added in this season.
Final points standings
Note1: Donnie Allison, Carlos Parietti, Denny Hulme, David Hobbs and Jim Hurtubise are not eligible for points.
Note2: John Mahler qualified 21st at Indianapolis. His car was driven in the race by Dick Simon who started 33rd as a result of the driver change.
- Åberg, Andreas. "USAC National Championship 1971". Driver Database. Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- Harms, Phil; Ferner, Michael; Measures, Gerry; Brown, Allen. "Indy 500 and USAC racing 1971". OldRacingCars.com.
- "1971 USAC Marlboro Championship Trail". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Harms, Phil. "1971 Championship Driver Summary" (PDF). Motorsport.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
- http://media.indycar.com/pdf/2011/IICS_2011_Historical_Record_Book_INT6.pdf (p. 230-231)
- Waltz, Keith. "Sweeping Changes For USAC After 1970 Season". Speed Sport. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- Braddock, Bill (15 November 1970). "$300,000 Marlboro Auto Slate Hits Paved Oval Trail in 1971". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- Klopfer, Wolfgang (2004). Formula A and Formula 5000 in America. p. 79. ISBN 383340566X.