The Indy Car Wars

The 30-Year Fight for Control of American Open-Wheel Racing

The world of championship auto racing had changed. As cars became more sophisticated, the cost of supporting a team had skyrocketed, making things difficult for team owners. In an effort to increase purses paid by racing promoters and win lucrative television contracts, a group of owners formed Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1978. Soon after, CART split from its sanctioning body, United States Auto Club (USAC).


Though championship cars ran on numerous tracks, the Indianapolis 500 was the payday supporting most teams through the season. From the beginning, CART had most of the successful teams and popular drivers, and they focused on driving a wedge between the track owners and USAC.  Over the next 30 years, the tension between CART and USAC ebbed and flowed.


Championship racing was the dominant form of racing in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Although all parties knew that damage was being done, the inability to come together for the benefit of the sport took its toll resulting in NASCAR becoming the dominant racing organization. This book details the rise of CART, the various attempts at reunification, and ultimately the realization that the sport was in dire straits which lead to the reunification.