- Its 250-mile race distance, which required Champ Car refueling for the first time at Hanford.
- The West Coast debut of the eerily quiet turbine-powered four-wheel drive Lotus that would later gain infamy at Indianapolis. Joe Leonard and Art Pollard drove turbines in this race, and Leonard shattered the qualifying record with at 163 mph.
Sadly, the race program offers little to get excited about, falling far short of those for the first two Champ Car races at Hanford. Outside of one verified Hanford photo, the rest of the images are generic car shots that could have come from anywhere. And the fact the program repeatedly listed "tubro" engines is evidence that someone was asleep at the wheel.
Of the few interesting notes:
- Drivers making their Hanford debuts included Formula 1 veteran Ronnie Bucknum and Mike Mosley.
- There were more unique chassis-engine pairings than in the two previous races. Here's an index of the various car types (all were rear-engined except for two Lysowski Turbo Offys entered for drivers Jerry Daniels and Greg Weld):
- Brawner Turbo Offy
- Coyote Ford V8s
- Eagle Turbo Offy
- Finley Turbo Offy (
- Gerhardt Offy
- Gerhardt Turbo Offy
- Laycock Turbo Offy
- Lola Ford V8
- Lotus Turbine
- Lysowski Turbo Offy
- Shrike Chevy V8
- Shrike Offy
- Smith Offy
- Special Chevy V8
- Vollstedt Ford V8
- Vollstedt Turbo Ford
- Watson Turbo Offy
- Watson Turbo Rambler
- There are several great ads for:
- The Aggie 98 Mini Bike and the Aggie 98 Safety Helmet, both named after Hanford promoter J.C. Agajanian. The mini bike was a two-speed 5-horsepower model designed by Agajanian's "own staff of engineers."
- A 30-lap USAC Sprint Car race at Clovis Speedway the next week.
RELATED STORIES: Read more about Marchbanks Speedway and Hanford Motor Speedway in my Marchbanks section, including this regularly updated "History of Marchbanks Speedway, aka Hanford Motor Speedway."
Reader Dave Wraight caught a mistake, which I've corrected above.
Dave wrote: "One slight correction regarding the 1968 Fall USAC race - Ronnie Bucknum's Formula 1 career was already history by the time he raced at Hanford. He was the driver Honda (!) chose to debut their works effort in F1 in 1964 and made sporadic starts for them over the next 2 years."
I had written that Bucknum had yet to race in F1 when he debuted at Hanford. Thanks, Dave, for correcting my bad.
Interesting that Bucknum died in nearby San Luis Obispo in 1992 at age 57. Small world.