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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Mike Mosley


August 1983

Home:  Fallbrook, CA
Born:  Dec. 13, 1946 Oklahoma City
Height:  5-feet 7-inches
Weight:  140 pounds
Married:  Alice
Son:  Michael II

Mike Mosley, who drives the colorful yellow and blue KRACO Cosworth-powered March 83C number 18 car, has been racing since he was 13 years of age when he started in go-karts.  A hear later he went on to three-quarter midgets in South Gate, Ca.

In 1964 Mosley scored his first feature win in CRA Sprint Cars at Stockton's quarter-mile track and just two years later was second in the CRA point standings.

In his first USAC championship start in 1967, Mosley finished 7th in the Trenton 200, demonstrating his championship potential.  He also passed his drivers test at Indianapolis Speedway that year, but did not attempt to qualify.  In 1968 he made his first Indy 500 start, finishing 8th.

By 1970 Mosley was running the full USAC championship circuit, finishing 4th in the point standings and was named most improved championship driver.  He was 12th at Indy that year.

Mosley won his first Championship race in 1971 at the Trenton 200.  That same year he suffered the first of two bad accidents during Indy 500 races, when something "let go" as he was coming out of a turn on his 160th lap.  His car hit the outside wall, bounced across the track and into a disabled car.

In 1972 Mosley was leading the Indy race on the 57th lap when the right front wheel came off his car in a turn and he again crashed into the outside wall.  Once recovered, Mosley returned to racing with more determination than ever.

In 1974 Mosley became the first driver in USAC Championship history to start in last place and finish first.  That occurred in the Phoenix 150.

During the ensuing years Mosley proved to be a hard-charging driver, always capable of winning.  In 1979, the native of Oklahoma City ran the fastest lap at Indianapolis, recording a 193.216 mph clocking on the 184th lap.  Driving a Theodore Racing Eagle-Cosworth for Dan Gurney, he finished third in the race.

Mosley continued racing for Gurney the next two seasons and in 1981 sat in the middle of the front row at Indy, only to have engine failure put him out of the race on the 16th lap.  However, the very next race at Milwaukee, Mosley repeated his 1974 Phoenix feat.  After the motor broke during qualifying he was placed last in the field via the promoter's option, but managed to thread his way through the field to defeat young Kevin Cogan by a healthy margin in the Rex Mays 150.

During his Indy-car career, Mosley has driven in 146 Championship races and has recorded five victories.

Last year Mike joined the KRACO team in July following the Cleveland 500.  His first start at the Michigan 500 was in a virtually untested new March 82K.  Everything imaginable went wrong that day.  Pieces of new shell came loose, and while he was racing with the leaders his right front tire went flat.  Nevertheless Mosley nursed the ailing racer home in 8th place.  He was voted the Hilton Hotel "Hang Tough" award for his efforts.

Mosley raced just five times during the season, sharing the driving assignments with Australian Vern Schuppan, but was running at the end in four of them.


Michigan 500 8th
Milwaukee 200 7th
Pocono 500 16th
Michigan 150 7th
Phoenix 150 12th
19th overall in CART/PPG point standings

In the Michigan 150 Mosley did a skillful piece of driving.  A piece of A.J. Foyt's damaged racer flew through Mosley's windshield, slicing into his right hand, nearly severing a ligament, but the veteran driver kept right on racing.

"It didn't hurt much at first," said Mosley after the race.  "I knew something had happened because of the hole in the glass and my glove had stuffing showing through.  My hand felt funny and it sort of hampered my shifting, but I figured I had to go for it.  Actually I figure I was lucky.  If it didn't hit my hand, it might have struck me in the face or head."

That's the sort of gutty performance that has marked Mosley's racing career.  Now, looking forward to a full season with the KRACO team and with a busy off-season testing schedule behind him, Mosley is ready for business in 1983.

Besides his busy Indy-car season Mosley plans to run an occasional off-road race with his brother Jon as co-driver of a KRACO/Datsun truck.

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