30 years ago Americas greatest IndyCar series was born

The best memory Gordon Johncock has from that historic day was that "we beat Penske with his own car."

But, 30 years ago this month at Phoenix International Raceway, Johncock's victory almost ran second to the event itself. You see, that was the beginning of Championship Auto Racing Teams and the beginning of the end for the United States Auto Club as the main sanctioning body for Indy cars.

Tom Sneva (McLaren Cosworth) leads Johnny Rutherford (McLaren Cosworth) and Wally Dallenbach (Wildcat Cosworth) at CART's first-ever event, held at Phoenix in 1979. (LAT) » More Photos
It also started 30 years of civil war among North America's open wheel racing fraternity.

Born out of frustration over rules, purses and lack of growth, CART came to life after Dan Gurney laid out all of USAC's shortcomings and his fellow owners' concerns in a six-page manifesto that came to be known as the "White Paper."

Gurney's observations and suggestions were spot on (and still ring true today in most cases) and following a half-assed attempt by the USAC board to avoid war, CART launched its offensive.

With Roger Penske and Pat Patrick taking the reins, CART secured deals to run longtime USAC bastions like Trenton, Michigan, Ontario and Phoenix while adding Watkins Glen and Atlanta. More at SPEEDTV.com

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