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Can-Am 1973-74

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#1 brickyard

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 21:57


in 1973 and 1974, there were two races per event: a "Sprint Race" and a "Cup Race".
The qualification times made the starting line for the Sprint Race, but AFAIK, the race that counts for the Championship was the Cup Race.

Can someone tell me how does that worked? What was the purpose of the Sprint Race; it was a no points race? And how was the grids for the Cup Race made? With the finishing order of the Sprints? :drunk: :confused:

Thank you.



#2 RA Historian

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 22:56

In order to spice up the action the Can Am races, formerly 200 miles in length, were changed to a two heat affair. The Sprint event was usually titled just that, the Sprint. I do not recall the term "Cup" ever being used in connection with the main event. Tracks labeled this in various ways. Main Event, Feature Race, Can Am race, etc. were used. If any track used the Cup name, let me know.

The two heat format was handled in different ways. Most tracks ran a shorter sprint race as a qualifier for the main, with the starting grid for the main usually based on the finishing order of the sprint. Non finishers in the sprint were added to the main, but usually at the back of the grid. Points were only given in the main, but the prize money was usually allocated to both events, with the majority being paid for the main.

Usually the sprint was at a lesser distance than the main. For example, 75 miles for the sprint and 125 miles for the main, retaining at least a semblance of the former 200 mile distance.

Road Atlanta in 1973, for one, utilized a format where they ran 100 miles on Saturday, with the Sunday 100 miles considered a continuation of Saturday's race.

Road America ran both the sprint and the main at 100 miles each in 1973.

The 'energy crisis' of 1974 saw a reduction of length in the races, generally by about 10%. For example, in 1974 the Road America round saw the sprint run at a distance of 68 miles and the main at 112 miles.

I am sure that Pete Lyons can give a more definitive ( and probably more accurate) analysis of this, and hopefully he will chime in here.


#3 Duc-Man

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 08:30

I was wondering about this two-race-thing as well and how it worked.
One reason for that split into two races I heard or read about was also the thirst of the Porsche 917 turbo 'Panzer'. I have no idea if that is true or not.
From the safety view it makes sense because in order to finish a 200 mile distance they had to carry about 200 (US)gallons of fuel aboard.

#4 kayemod

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 11:46

These were fairly desperate measures to try to resuscitate a series that was dying on its feel. The joke at the time was that CanAm began with lots of cars and hardly any rules, and it finished with lots of rules and hardly any cars. The amount of fuel they were carrying was certainly one factor in the decision, both on safety grounds, and because of the effects on the cars' handling. The first 73 race at Road Atlanta was run as a single race split over two days, but by Elkhart they'd changed the format to Cup and Sprint races, with the Sprint being for little more than setting grid positions for the points scoring Cup race. Mark Donohue won the Series of course, with more than double the points of the runner-up. I think that for 74 they changed the rules yet again, though the two race format stayed. The only noteworthy thing about the final season was that Shadow 'team mates' Follmer and Oliver clearly hated each other, and their on-track behaviour got pretty scary at times. I think that's correct but as RA Historian said, "Calling Mr Lyons..."

#5 Pete Lyons

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:24

In truth, I've learned more from you guys on this topic than I ever knew. My last full Can-Am season was 72, then I went off chasing F1.
I wasn't even around to ever hear before that great line about "CanAm began with lots of cars and hardly any rules, and it finished with lots of rules and hardly any cars." Wish I'd said that!