Art Pollard Racing in 1969

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L-R: Al Unser, Gordon Johncock, Mario Andretti and Art goofing on tire brands prior to the Phoenix race. Photo courtesy of Mike Pollard

March 30, 1969 – Teaming up with Mario Andretti (shown below at Indy) in Andy Granatelli’s day-glo red STP cars for the 1969 season, Art got off to a slow start at the season opening Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix. Art qualified the #20 STP Gerhardt Offy in the 13th starting spot but was forced to retire after only 27 laps due to an overheating problem. Art finished 19th and was awarded $238.00 in prize money. George Follmer won the race.

Photo courtesy of John Darlington. Contact John about Sales of this print,

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April 13, 1969 – More hardluck at Hanford in the California 200. Art started in the 9th spot but finished 15th after his #20 STP Gerhardt Offy caught fire. Art won $801.00 and his STP teammate Mario Andretti led every lap of the race lapping the entire field.

Photo courtesy of Mike Pollard

May 30, 1969 – The Indy 500. Art went with intentions of racing the #20 STP Gerhardt Super-Wedge with Plymouth power, it proved to be not fast enough in practice. Art climbed into a the #20 STP Lotus but could not get a handle on the car and on May 17th Art brought out the 10th caution of the entire month when he spun the car all the way around in turn three and drove it back to the pits (below).

Photo courtesy of Bob Pollard

Art’s next adventure came when he was behind the wheel of the #57 car assigned to Carl Williams and was following teammate Mario Andretti’s 4WD Lotus when Andretti’s rear hub broke slamming Mario hard into the wall. Art Pollard sent his car into a 180 degree spin to avoid the crashing Andretti. Art slid a total of 280 feet and did not make contact with either Andretti or the wall. On the Friday prior to pole qualifying Art got into the #40 STP Lotus (shown below) with a turbocharged Offy for the first time this year. That afternoon at 5:45 Art spun the #40 Lotus all the way around in turn one after something locked up in the rear-end, there was again, no wall contact. Rain postponed qualifying for an entire week in 1969. If Art’s previous misfortunes weren’t enough near misses with the Speedway’s walls, when Art went out to qualify on Pole Day he spun all the way around again in turn 1 on his warm up lap and drove it into the pits without ever taking the green flag, therefore the car was not charged with a qualification attempt. Art did however eventually qualify on the outside of the fourth row in 12th starting position.

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Art only ran 7 laps before a broken torque gear took him out of the race. Art finished a disapointing 31st and walked away with $10,816.00 of the purse. The inscription on the photo below reads “Sorry I didn’t win this one for you Mom – Art Jr.” which Art presented to his Mom after the 500. Teammate Mario Andretti went on to win his first and only Indy 500.

Photo courtesy of Bob Pollard

Photo courtesy of Bob Pollard

June 8, 1969 – The STP team showed up at Milwaukee with Greg Weld in the #57 STP Gerhardt Offy and it was a good thing. A 10 car pile up on the opening lap eliminated Art and the #40 car. After 1 lap, Art replaced Weld in the #57. He sliced and diced his way up through the field and took the lead from STP teammate and Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti. He never looked back. Art went on to win his first Champ Car race after a wild start (shown above). He earned 300 points and $17,362.00. ($117,009.92 in 2017 dollars).

USAC certificate courtesy of Mike Pollard

June 15, 1969 – A rainy day at Langhorne forced a red flag after only 28 laps. The race was to be completed the following weekend.

June 22, 1969 – After starting 6th in the #57 STP Gerhardt Offy a week ago, Art ended up in 2nd on the same lap as winner Bobby Unser. Art received 240 Championship points and $6,395.00.

July 6, 1969 – A short day for Art in the #20 STP Lotus 4WD Plymouth when the brakes failed after only 2 laps. Art started 6th but was credited with an 18th place finish. Art took home only $297.00 and Gordon Johncock beat out Dan Gurney for the road course win.

July 19, 1969 – Non qualifying due to a broken drive shaft on the #40 STP Gerhardt Offy was the story of the weekend for Art at Trenton this time.

July 27, 1969 – In the first heat race on the roadcourse at IRP, Art started 16th but finished 25th after the U joint broke after only 10 laps. In the second heat race the #57 STP Gerhardt Plymouth bottomed out after 16 laps. Art finished 16th and took home $378.00. A young Peter Revson won this heat race beating out Art’s STP teammate Mario Andretti. Dan Gurney, winner of heat one, was the overall event winner.

August 17, 1969 – In the Tony Bettenhausen 200 at Milwaukee, Art started the #57 STP Gerhardt Offy 10th and finished 6th, 5 laps down to race winner Al Unser. It was worth 160 Championship points and $2,039.00.

USAC certificate courtesy of Mike Pollard

August 24, 1969 – On the high banks of the Monster Mile at Dover Downs in the first ever Delaware 200, Art claimed his second victory of the season. Art started the #57 STP Gerhardt Plymouth 10th and led the final 72 laps to win over Gordon Johncock. The victory was worth 400 Championship points and $10,690.00.

September 1, 1969 – The #77 Dayton Steel Wheel Silnes Offy dirt car proved to be too slow to make the field at DuQuoin for the Ted Horn Memorial race. Al Unser was the race winner.

September 6, 1969 – The Hoosier Hundred. Art qualified his #60 STP King Plymouth dirt car in 3rd but was forced out after 5 laps due to poor handling. A.J. Foyt won the race and Art won $1,104.00.

Art Pollard, 1969 Hoosier Hundred, Robin Miller Collection

September 14, 1969 – The records I have found show that in the first heat race at Brainard, Art started the #57 STP Gerhardt Plymouth 14th and finished 18th with 0 laps due to engine failure. I need help finding any additional information on this event. The race was won by Gordon Johncock and also marks Swede Savage’s first Champ Car start. Art won $430.00.

September 21, 1969 – Art qualified the #57 STP Gerhardt Offy for the Trenton 300 in the 11th spot and finished 14th. Art was awarded $1,140.00. STP teammate Mario Andretti won the event.

September 28, 1969 – Dirt tracking again in Sacramento. Art qualified the #80 STP King Plymouth 5th and finished 10 laps down in the 14th spot. Art was awarded $404.00 and the race was won by Al Unser.

October 19, 1969 – The race at Kent, Washington was the first ever USAC Champ car race in the rain, Art started the #57 STP Gerhardt Plymouth 14th and finished 18th after a crash on the 7th lap. With a repaired car for the second heat race, Art completed 40 laps before he spun off course, yet he still managed to finish in the points with a 12th place overall. Al Unser was the overall winner and Art walked away with 10 points and $550.00.

November 15, 1969 – In the Bobby Ball 200 at Phoenix, Art qualified the #57 STP Gerhardt Offy 14th (splash photo at top of page) and finished 19th after his right front wheel came off on lap 91. Art received $900.00 and Al Unser was again the race winner.

December 7, 1969 – The 3rd Annual Rex Mays 300 at Riverside. Art qualified the #57 STP Gerhardt Plymouth 15th and finished in the 16th spot more than 25 laps down to race winner and STP teammate Mario Andretti. Art walked away from the roadcourse with $800.00 in winnings and a quite successful and safe 1969 season behind him.

1969 Video Gallery


1. Robin Miller’s 2016 Christmas Gifts Suggestions including Art Pollard: The Life and Legacy of a Gentleman Racer by Bob Kehoe

2. The 53rd Indianapolis 500-1969

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Contact Brad Pollard

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Contact Judy Pollard Dippel

Judy is an author, speaker and publishing consultant. She is the daughter of Art Pollard.

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Contact Bob Kehoe, author of Art Pollard:
The Life and Legacy of a Gentleman Racer.
Request an autographed copy.

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