“Wheels Keep Rolling” and “Every Racer’s Dream” are two vintage films about the 1976 Indianapolis 500, and both are included in beautiful COLOR on a new 55-minute DVD from Rare Sportsfilms! “Wheels Keep Rolling”, produced by Championship Racefilms for Goodyear, is a generic film that has the best overall race coverage. “Every Racer’s Dream” by American Creative Works and sponsored by Monroe Equipment Company, shows the race with some emphasis on the three-car Agajanian-Grant King team of John Martin, Sheldon Kinser and Bob Harkey. Even as they both show the ’76 500-mile race, each film shows completely different footage of the race and the story of the month of May leading up to the spectacular classic on Memorial Day!
The DVD begins with “Wheels Keep Rolling”, which covers practice, qualifications and the race itself. During practice on the first day of qualifications, rookie Spike Gehlhausen spins the #19 Spirit of Indiana Special and hits the wall in the south chute, and another rookie, Billy Scott, also spins while taking evasive action! Shown qualifying or in close up qualifying shots are some of the greatest names in racing – Johnny Rutherford, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bill Puterbaugh, Bobby Unser, rookie Vern Schuppan, Johnny Parsons, Jr. and Jan Opperman. Take a lap around the track at speed in the car of John Martin while he talks about driving the course! The Al Loquasto crash and Mike Hiss spin are shown, as well as the horrific crash of rookie Eddie Miller. But the big story of the month is the attempt of the first woman ever to drive in the Indianapolis 500. Janet Guthrie is shown passing her rookie test in car owner Rolla Vollstedt’s #27. Although she didn’t qualify in ’76, she is also shown getting better speed out of A.J. Foyt’s backup car. Shown working in their shops over the winter are two of Indy’s most well-known car builders, Herb Porter and George Bignotti. Other racing figures shown include Parnelli Jones and Dan Gurney, plus many drivers and cars: Rick Muther in #99, Pancho Carter, Wally Dallenbach, Gordon Johncock, Steve Krisiloff, Salt Walther and Jerry Grant. Another feature of this film is the new museum, with curator Karl Kizer, owner Tony Hulman and racing filmmaker Bud Lindemann shown taking a tour and talking about the new facility.
Pole-sitter Johnny Rutherford takes the lead at the drop of the green flag, with Johncock, Tom Sneva and Foyt in order behind him coming out of turn two. Foyt passes Rutherford on lap four and holds the lead for the next 29 miles. On lap 13, Roger McCluskey crashes hard into the third turn wall after hitting an oil slick. On the yellow, both Rutherford and Foyt dash into the pits, Carter taking over the lead. McCluskey’s crash is the only major accident of the race, and there is some excellent side-by-side racing throughout, including nine lead changes. Andretti and Mike Mosley almost collide in the pits and pit stops of Foyt, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Rutherford are shown during the race. Other incidents include Johnny Parsons losing a front wheel and Jerry Grant stalling on the track during the 92nd lap. Foyt is leading as the race nears halfway, but a rainstorm approaches at the same time A.J. falls victim to slight handling problems. Rutherford, getting constant weather reports from his crew, determinedly tries to reel in Foyt before the storm hits and gets around Foyt for the final time just 15 miles before the rains come, ending the race at 255 miles. After waiting the rest of the afternoon for the race to become official, Johnny Rutherford becomes the first driver ever to “walk” into Victory Lane!
“Every Racer’s Dream” is a different style of race film. With emphasis on Monroe Shocks and the Monroe racing team of Stephen J. Linsenmeyer (Monroe Director of Racing), racing manager John Serbin and assistant Dick Arend, and racing engineer Mike Roy, the film is artsy and fast-paced, with many, many interviews and sound bites. You’ll get to hear the actual voices of Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Roger Penske, J.C. Agajanian, Grant King, Gary Bettenhausen, John Martin, David Hobbs, Pancho Carter, Lloyd Ruby, 1925 winner Peter DePaolo, Tom Sneva, Jan Opperman, Johnny Rutherford, Salt Walther, fastest rookie Billy Scott, McLaren team manager Tyler Alexander, rookie Vern Schuppan, Johnny Parsons Jr and Sr, Billy Vukovich, chief mechanic Phil Casey, Bob Harkey, Wally Dallenbach, Sheldon Kinser, George Bignotti, Marge and Spike Gehlhausen, chief mechanic Larry Burton of Gehlhausen’s #19, Al Unser, mechanic Peter Davis, flagman Pat Vidan and at the end of the race, a Johnny Rutherford interview by ABC’s Bill Fleming. Janet Guthrie tells how she came to drive for Rolla Vollstedt. All of these are worked into the film before, during and after the race. The race itself is shown, including typical preparations during the month of May, but all from a totally different perspective than in the first film. For example, clean-up of the McCluskey crash is shown in more detail. There is more emphasis on the Grant Hill 3-car team of John Martin’s #98 Genesee Beer Dragon, Sheldon Kinser’s #97 Bottom Half Dragon and Bob Harkey’s #96 McIntire car. Throughout, you’ll see-close up shots of many of the cars such as those of drivers David Hobbs, Johnny Parsons, Bill Puterbaugh, Vern Schuppan, Jan Opperman, Tom Bigelow, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Salt Walther, Wally Dallenbach, Gordon Johncock and Lloyd Ruby. The triumphal tour of new two-time winner Johnny Rutherford around the rain-soaked track in the pace car after the race ends this unique and very insightful film on the 1976 Indianapolis 500.
To get your own 55-minute DVD containing both of these historic films, send only $29.95 plus $4.00 shipping. (Illinois residents must add $2.00 state sales tax).
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