"The Oval Office"
"Return to Victory"
"An Aussie At Indy"
"The Oval Office", "Return to Victory" and "An Aussie At Indy" are three vintage films on the 1981 500-mile race, and all three are included in COLOR on a new 1 hour, 45-minute DVD from Rare Sportsfilms! "The Oval Office" is the most generic film, and includes soundbites with prominent drivers and racing personalities. "Return to Victory" shows the race from the perspective of the three-car STP racing team of Mario Andretti, Gordon Johncock and Gordon Smiley. "An Aussie at Indy" is about 3rd place finisher Vern Schuppan of Australia, and covers the month of May with Vern, wife Jenny and the #33 Red Roof Inns Theodore Racing Cosworth. Even as they all show the 1981 Indy 500, 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!
Beginning with "The Oval Office" the DVD shows lots of pre-race with interesting sound bites of Gary Bettenhausen, A.J. Foyt, Pancho Carter, car-owner Jerry O'Connell, Dan Gurney, Tom Sneva, Kevin Cogan, Gordon Johncock and Linda Vaughn. Also shown are scenes of the annual downtown Festival Parade and the start of the mini-marathon to the track. Pre-race spinouts and crashes include those of rookie Pete Halsmer, John Mahler and Jim Buick, Tim Richmond, Joe Saldana, Spike Gehlhausen, Steve Kinser and Phil Krueger. Qualifying shows the cars of A.J. Foyt (first qualifier), Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser (pole winner), Pete Halsmer, Gordon Smiley, Danny Ongais, Mike Mosley, Gordon Johncock, Tom Sneva, Wally Dallenbach (Andretti's STP #40), Al Unser, Josele Garza, Jeff Brabham and of course, Vern Schuppan. The starting front row is Bobby Unser, Mike Mosley and A.J. Foyt. All three films cover the excitement and pageantry of race day and for the first time, Mari George gives the starting command. Bobby Unser leads 5th place starter Johnny Rutherford by a full second at the end of the first lap, with Foyt 3rd and 2nd place starter Mosley 4th but fading. All three films cover the race well and track incidents and wrecks shown include those of Don Whittington, Danny Ongais, Pete Halsmer, Josele Garza, Gordon Smiley and the Rick Mears pit fire caused by spilled fuel. Each film captures the accidents differently! During the race, pit stops are shown of Al Unser, Gary Bettenhausen, Smiley, Ongais, Foyt, Bobby Unser, Sneva, Andretti, Cogan, Johncock, Bill Alsup, and Sheldon Kinser. The controversial finish is covered on all three films, however since the Schuppan film was not released until fall, it's the only one which correctly has Bobby Unser as the winner!
"Return to Victory" covers the race from the perspective of the 3-car Pat Patrick STP team. Only nine drivers secure starting spots before rain washes out qualifying for the rest of the weekend. Still waiting in the qualifying line is Andretti, who has committed to race in the Belgian Gran Prix the next weekend, so Wally Dallenbach is selected to qualify for him. Wally's run a week later is good for 12th fastest time, however Indy rules say Mario must start in the last row for the race. Gordon Smiley is out after his crash at 141 laps, but Mario and Johncock are both strong all day until Gordy, running second to eventual winner Bobby Unser, loses his engine with only 6 laps to go! Third place Andretti, having been dueling with his teammate, is now second, but cannot catch Unser. After starting 32nd, his day-long charge has resulted in a second-place finish! However, since the ¾ mark in the race, controversy has been brewing. Both Andretti and Johncock had watched Bobby Unser pass several cars under yellow as Bobby (with Mario right behind) exited the pits. Andretti immediately radioed crew chief Jim McGee, who then complained to speedway officials. In the film, you'll see McGee stating his case to an official, then planning a protest with car owner Pat Patrick A wary Bobby Unser, alerted that his win is being protested, is shown celebrating his great run in Victory Lane. Meanwhile, an unhappy Andretti is shown post-race with his crew, fully believing he should be the winner. By next morning, the official race results have been posted and Unser has been penalized one lap for passing under the yellow - the victory has been awarded to Mario! The STP film ends with Mario being traditionally photographed on the main straightaway as the winner of the 65th Indianapolis 500!
"An Aussie At Indy" is the story of Vern Schuppan, only the third Australian to race in the 500 and how he and his crew went quietly about recording a spectacular third place finish! This is the longest of the three films and was made as a documentary for TV! It begins with a brief history of the speedway, then Vern talks about his racing career up to the time Dan Gurney gave him his chance to race at Indy. The film shows eventual 1976 Indy Rookie-of-the-Year Vern, removing his rookie stripes from the #9 Jorgensen Eagle! There is a section about safety and shown are the tragedies of the 1973 500 as well as Vern's own horrible crash when his steering locked at Riverside. Of course, in this film, Schuppan is given more coverage, as he makes his way steadily forward from 18th starting position to finish third. Bobby Unser's pass of other cars under caution can actually be seen in this film, and since it was released late in the year, the correct winner, Bobby Unser, is named.
This is the longest and most expensive restoration we have ever done for any single year of the 500! Any serious Indy fan will want to add this DVD to his collection!
To get your own 1-hour, 43-minute DVD containing all three of these historic films, send only $29.95 plus $4.00 shipping. (Illinois residents must add $3.20 state sales tax). Add $10 extra for BLU-RAY! (Highly recommended if you have a BLU-RAY player!)
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