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Jim Hurtubise Bump Day protest - 1978

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  • Jim Hurtubise Bump Day protest - 1978

    I've heard Donald Davidson talk about this but have never seen it until now
    Never Drink and Drive, Use a 3-Iron...

    "Call Tony George, sell him your assets and save money, if not open-wheel racing." - Robin Miller to CCWS

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  • #2
    USAC said you have to run 180 to get your final sticker to be eligible to qualify. Hurtubise hadn't, neither had Eldon Rassmusson or Lee Kunzman and they didn't run on to the track to protest.

    The Mallard was obsolete by 15 years and totally uncompetitive. I still don't know what letting Hurtubise gobble up qualifying time running 10 mph or more off the bubble speed would have accomplished.
    The Ayn Rand of Indycar

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    • #3
      If the 180 thing was not on the entry blank, they had no right to change the regulations part-way through practice. Just let him do four slow laps, three times, and be done with it. Remember 180mph was within about 30 seconds of making the field in 1983. And if you didn't think he was going to be fast enough to make it, why accept the entry?

      The whole thing symptomized how USAC was completely losing the plot.
      "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ensign14 View Post
        If the 180 thing was not on the entry blank, they had no right to change the regulations part-way through practice. Just let him do four slow laps, three times, and be done with it. Remember 180mph was within about 30 seconds of making the field in 1983. And if you didn't think he was going to be fast enough to make it, why accept the entry?
        Even if the 180 minimum was not on the entry blank, USAC in the past would make modifications to procedures as circumstances dictated. There was a lot of rain in '78 and qualifying time was cut in half. Letting Hurtubise yutz around at 174mph would have taken valuable time away from actual competitive entrants and letting Hurtubise pretend it was still 1960 was not a good enough reason to let him take up the time, In 1983 allowable boost was nearly half of what it was in 1978, the Mallard would have done well to hit 170. As for accepting the entry, you don't know if a car will be fast enough or not until it runs.
        The Ayn Rand of Indycar

        No one had to badge the Offy.

        Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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        • #5
          They let Vukovich yutz around at 175 as the last qualifying attempt...and they must have known at the start of 1978 how fast the Mallard was likely to be.
          "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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          • #6
            His book has some good pics of him getting chased around by security, all of whom seem to be laughing or at least trying not to.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ensign14 View Post
              They let Vukovich yutz around at 175 as the last qualifying attempt...and they must have known at the start of 1978 how fast the Mallard was likely to be.
              The car Vucky attempted in practiced over 180 (as had Vucky in his original car) with another driver and those were the first laps he ran in that car. In 1978 if you paid your entry fee you got a garage space and if the car actually existed you were allowed to practice.
              The Ayn Rand of Indycar

              No one had to badge the Offy.

              Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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              • #8
                In Bob Gates’ bio of Herk, he says that afterwards Joe Cloutier admitted no memo saying 180 was required for the sticker was ever sent.
                “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
                I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
                I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jandj View Post
                  In Bob Gates’ bio of Herk, he says that afterwards Joe Cloutier admitted no memo saying 180 was required for the sticker was ever sent.
                  Still doesn't justify what Hurtubise did. As I stated above, Kunzman and Rassmusson didn't sit in someone else's car and then run on to the track.
                  The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                  No one had to badge the Offy.

                  Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                  • #10
                    I don't think he should have done it. But USAC should not have barred him from running. He was not unsafe on track to qualify. If he were unsafe in a race they could black-flag him. I assume Kunzman and Eldon just gave it up as a hopeless job so were not overly bothered. It should not count against Herk that he was going to give it a go, no matter how hopeless.
                    "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DaveL View Post

                      Even if the 180 minimum was not on the entry blank, USAC in the past would make modifications to procedures as circumstances dictated. There was a lot of rain in '78 and qualifying time was cut in half. Letting Hurtubise yutz around at 174mph would have taken valuable time away from actual competitive entrants and letting Hurtubise pretend it was still 1960 was not a good enough reason to let him take up the time.
                      And IIRC, Donald touched on another facet. Back at that time, they had three warm up laps. And the first lap was often taken very slowly in order to bring the engine up to temperature. So maybe a 3 minute warm-up lap, followed by two 1 minute warm-up laps, plus a qualifying run took 3+ minutes, and at least 1 minute cool down lap before they dispatched the next qualifier. One qualifying attempt might take 10+ minutes. Scrolling through the Daily Trackside Report, it was pretty normal for one car per ten minute span.

                      In 1978, the entire first weekend was rained out. On Saturday (3rd Day) they lost the final hour due to rain, and on Sunday (Bump Day) they still had 13 spots left to fill. The schedule was tight.

                      USAC seemed to have a standing feud going on with Hurtubise. And it appears they basically tweaked the rules along the way....which they were not immune to doing. They didn't want him to waste everyone's time, and he took it too far.
                      Doctorindy.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DaveL View Post

                        Still doesn't justify what Hurtubise did. As I stated above, Kunzman and Rassmusson didn't sit in someone else's car and then run on to the track.
                        It doesn’t, but I’m guessing Jim blew a gasket and ran amuck.
                        The whole deal was just another example of USAC being USAC and making a bad situation worse by making/ignoring rules on the fly.
                        Wasnt the first or last time.
                        “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
                        I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
                        I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

                          And IIRC, Donald touched on another facet. Back at that time, they had three warm up laps. And the first lap was often taken very slowly in order to bring the engine up to temperature. So maybe a 3 minute warm-up lap, followed by two 1 minute warm-up laps, plus a qualifying run took 3+ minutes, and at least 1 minute cool down lap before they dispatched the next qualifier. One qualifying attempt might take 10+ minutes. Scrolling through the Daily Trackside Report, it was pretty normal for one car per ten minute span.

                          In 1978, the entire first weekend was rained out. On Saturday (3rd Day) they lost the final hour due to rain, and on Sunday (Bump Day) they still had 13 spots left to fill. The schedule was tight.

                          USAC seemed to have a standing feud going on with Hurtubise. And it appears they basically tweaked the rules along the way....which they were not immune to doing. They didn't want him to waste everyone's time, and he took it too far.
                          Yep. Throw in tech taking much longer at the time and letting Hurtubise in line and on the track for a pointless attempt would have gobbled up a chunk of valuable time when there was not much time to begin with.
                          The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                          No one had to badge the Offy.

                          Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                          • #14
                            Two things-
                            1) Qualifying on Sunday could have been extended. It had been done before.
                            2) Knowing they were pressed for time, the speed issue could have been addressed before the first car took to the track.
                            None of that excuses what Jim did, but the whole thing probably could have been avoided with some foresight, something USAC at that time had little experience with.
                            “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
                            I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
                            I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Extending qualifying so Hurtubise could waste everyone's time is not a good enough reason.
                              The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                              No one had to badge the Offy.

                              Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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