Rick Mears

Last updated
Rick Mears
Rick Mears 2011 Indianapolis.JPG
Mears at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in March 2011
NationalityAmerican
BornRick Ravon Mears
December 3, 1951 (1951-12-03) (age 67)
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Awards 1979, 1984, 1988, 1991 Indianapolis 500 Winner
Champ Car career
179 races run over 14 years
Years active 19791992
Team(s) Penske Racing
Best finish1st (1979, 1981, 1982)
First race 1979 Arizona Republic Jimmy Bryan 150 (Phoenix)
Last race 1992 Marlboro 500 (Michigan)
First win 1979 Indianapolis 500 (Indianapolis
Last win 1991 Marlboro 500 (Michigan)
WinsPodiums Poles
266838
Mears' 1991 Penske PC-20 Indy Car RickMearsMonterey1991.jpg
Mears' 1991 Penske PC-20 Indy Car

Rick Ravon Mears (born December 3, 1951 in Wichita, Kansas), also known by the nickname "Rocket Rick", is a retired American race car driver. He is one of three men to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991), and is the current record-holder for pole positions in the race with six (1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991). Mears is also a three-time Indycar series/World Series champion (1979, 1981 and 1982).

Wichita, Kansas City and county seat in Kansas, United States

Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas and the county seat of Sedgwick County. As of 2017, the estimated population of the city was 390,591. Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 644,610 in 2015.

Nickname informal name of a person, place, or thing, for affection or ridicule

A nickname is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place, or thing - commonly used for affection.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Mears was raised in Bakersfield, California, and began his racing career in off-road racing. He switched to Indy Car racing in the late 1970s, making his debut for the small Art Sugai team, driving an Eagle-Offenhauser. His speed attracted the attention of Roger Penske. Although at the time Penske Racing had the services of Mario Andretti and Tom Sneva, Andretti was also racing in Formula One with Lotus, and Penske wanted another young driver who would focus exclusively on American racing. For 1978, Mears was offered a part-time ride in nine of the 18 championship races, filling in when Andretti was overseas. The arrangement also included a ride at the Indianapolis 500.

Bakersfield, California City in California, United States of America

Bakersfield is a city in and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 sq mi (370 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is around 380,000, making it the 9th-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale, and Rosedale, has a population of over 520,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.

Off-road racing format of racing

Off-road racing is a form of motorsports consisting of specially-modified vehicles racing in off-road environments.

Roger Penske racecar driver

Roger Searle Penske is an American businessman and entrepreneur involved in professional auto racing and formerly a professional auto racing driver himself. He is most famous for his ownership of Team Penske, DJR Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, and other automotive-related businesses.

In his rookie appearance at Indy, Mears qualified on the front row, and was the first rookie to qualify over 200 mph. When the race began, Mears discovered his helmet was not strapped on tight enough and he had to pit to get it safely secured. He did not lead a lap and retired at 104 laps with a blown engine. He ended up sharing "Rookie of the Year" honors with Larry Rice. Two weeks later, at the Rex Mays 150, he won his first race. He added another win a month later at Atlanta and rounded off the year with his first road course win at Brands Hatch.

Larry Rice was an American racing driver in the USAC and CART Championship Car series. He was the 1973 USAC National midget driver's champion and won the USAC Silver Crown series in 1977 and 1981. He was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1993.

The Atlanta 500 Classic was an Indy Racing League event held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway from 1998 until 2001.

Brands Hatch race track

Brands Hatch is a motor racing circuit in West Kingsdown, Kent, England. First used as a grasstrack motorcycle circuit on farmland, it hosted 12 runnings of the British Grand Prix between 1964 and 1986 and currently hosts many British and International racing events. The venue is owned and operated by Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision organisation.

1979

In 1979 the National Championship sanction changed from the USAC to CART. At Indianapolis he won his first "500", staying at the front of the field, taking advantage when Bobby Unser fell out of contention with mechanical trouble. Three wins and four second places in the eleven CART-eligible races won Mears his first championship. His worst finish in the season was seventh in Trenton's second heat.

Champ Car Defunct North American open wheel auto racing organization

Champ Car was the trade name for Open Wheel Racing Series Inc., a sanctioning body for American open-wheel car racing that operated from 2003 to 2008.

Bobby Unser American racecar driver

Robert William "Bobby" Unser is an American former automobile racer. He is the brother of Al Unser, Jerry Unser and Louis Unser, the father of Robby Unser and the uncle of Al Unser Jr. and Johnny Unser. He is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times and one of only two to have won the 500 in three different decades. Bobby has also been a spokesman and advocate of many commercial products.

1980

In 1980 the ground effect Chaparral was technologically more advanced than the other chassis, and Johnny Rutherford drove it to his 3rd Indianapolis 500 win, going on to dominate the season. Mears finished in fourth place in the points with one win, scored at Mexico City.

In car design, ground effect is a series of aerodynamic effects which have been exploited to create downforce, particularly in racing cars. This has been the successor to the earlier dominant aerodynamic theory of streamlining. American racing IndyCars employ ground effects in their engineering and designs. Similarly they are also employed in other racing series to some extent; however Formula One and many other racing series, primarily across Europe, employ regulations to limit its effectiveness on safety grounds.

Chaparral Cars was a pioneering American automobile racing team and race car developer that engineered, built, and raced cars from 1963 through 1970. Founded in 1962 by American Formula One racers Hap Sharp and Jim Hall, it was named after the roadrunner, a fast-running ground cuckoo also known as a chaparral bird.

Johnny Rutherford American racecar driver

John Sherman "Johnny" Rutherford III, also known as "Lone Star JR", is an American former automobile racing driver. He is one of ten drivers to win the prestigious Indianapolis 500 mile race at least three times, winning in 1974, 1976, and 1980.

In 1980 Mears had tested a Formula One Brabham and he declined an offer.

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

Brabham is the common name for Motor Racing Developments Ltd., a British racing car manufacturer and Formula One racing team. Founded in 1960 by two Australians, driver Jack Brabham and designer Ron Tauranac, the team won four Drivers' and two Constructors' World Championships in its 30-year Formula One history. Jack Brabham's 1966 FIA Drivers' Championship remains the only such achievement using a car bearing the driver's own name.

1981–1982

The 1981 and 1982 seasons saw two more championships for Mears. Despite facial burns during a pit fire in the 1981 Indianapolis 500, Mears' ten race victories in the two-year span were enough for another two Indycar championship titles. At the 1982 Indianapolis 500 he came within 0.16 of a second of adding a second Indy win. With less than 20 laps to go, during Mears' final pit stop, the crew filled the entire tank rather than giving him only the amount he needed to finish. The delay left him more than 11 seconds behind Gordon Johncock. Mears made up the difference when Johncock suffered handling problems, but failed to secure the win. The photo-finish would stand for 10 years as the closest finish to an Indy 500. The photo-finish also muffled out the controversial pace-lap crash with teammate Kevin Cogan who appeared to have spun out for no apparent reason; fellow drivers such as Gordon Johncock, Johnny Rutherford, and Bobby Unser, charged Mears with causing the crash by bringing the field down at a slow pace.

1983–1984

For 1983 the Penske team would acquire the Pennzoil sponsorship with its yellow paint scheme. Teammate Al Unser took that year's title. The team switched to the March chassis for the 1984 Indianapolis 500 after the Penske chassis proved unsuccessful in the first two races of the year. Mears scored his second Indy win that May but suffered severe leg injuries later in the year in a crash at Sanair Super Speedway. The March chassis, like most contemporary open-wheel racing cars, sat the driver far forward in the nose, with little protection for the legs and feet.

1985–1987

After the Sanair crash, Mears was slowed by the injuries to his right foot that affected him throughout the remainder of his career. Over the next three seasons, he won only two races. He completed a comeback from his injuries by winning the 1985 Pocono 500. In 1986, he won the pole position for the Indy 500, but finished only 3rd. He also won the 1987 Pocono 500.

1988–1990

In 1988, after several years using the March chassis, the Penske team utilized a new car, the PC-17, with a Chevrolet racing engine. Mears used the new car to win the Indy 500. A year later, he took a record-setting fifth pole position at Indy, but retired from the race with mechanical problems. Emerson Fittipaldi took the 500 and also beat Mears to the Championship in the last race at Laguna Seca Raceway, despite Mears winning that race. Also, that last race of 1989 set Mears apart from all other Indycar racers as he broke a tie with Bobby Rahal for race wins and became the most successful Indycar racer of the 1980s. In his winner's circle interview, when asked about breaking his road course dry spell when his specialty has been ovals through the years, he replied to Jack Arute, "Well, I guess there is hope for us old circle track drivers after all."

Fittipaldi joined Mears at Penske for 1990, but the year belonged to Al Unser, Jr., who scored six wins. 1990 would be Mears' last in the Pennzoil paint scheme as Marlboro took over as sponsor of the team, and Jim Hall re-entered Indycar.

1991–1992

In 1991 during a practice session Mears hit the wall at Indianapolis for the first time in his career. The next day, he climbed into his backup car and claimed his record 6th career pole position. Twenty laps from the end of the 500, it looked like Mears was set to be the runner-up behind Michael Andretti. However, when a subsequent yellow flag period erased Andretti's 15-second lead, Mears gained the lead as Andretti opted to pit for fuel. It would be a short-lived lead as Andretti passed Mears around the outside into the first turn. A lap later Mears regained the lead, using the same move Andretti had. Turning up his turbocharger, he then pulled away to win a fourth Indy 500, making him one of only three individuals to do so. In August 1991, at Michigan, he won his last race. At the 1992 Indy 500 Mears broke a wrist in a crash during practice and then crashed out of the race for the first time in his career as he could not avoid Jim Crawford's spinning car in turn 1. He raced only four more times in 1992, and then announced his retirement from racing Indycars at the Penske team's Christmas party. No one except Penske himself and Rick's wife, Chris, knew of his plans to retire. He had just turned 41 years old.

As of 2016, Rick Mears continues to work as a consultant and spotter for Hélio Castroneves and Penske Racing, the team with which he won all of his Indycar races.

Personal life

Mears is the brother of Roger Mears, father of off-road and open-wheel racer Clint Mears, and the uncle of former NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver Casey Mears, also born in Bakersfield.

Awards

Motorsports career results

American Open-Wheel racing

USAC

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

YearTeamChassisEngine123456789101112131415161718RankPoints
1976 Bill Simpson Eagle 72 Offenhauser L4 t PHX TRE INDY MIL POC MCH TWS TRE MIL ONT
8
MCH 16th390
Art Sugai TWS
9
PHX
9
1977 Art Sugai Eagle 72 Offenhauser L4 t ONT
24
PHX
DNQ
TWS
15
TRE INDY
DNQ
MIL 20th555
Theodore Racing McLaren M16C/D POC
30
MOS MCH
6
TWS
7
MIL
5
ONT
26
MCH
8
PHX
1978 Team Penske Penske PC-6 Cosworth DFX V8 t PHX
5
ONT TWS TRE INDY
23
MOS
2
MIL
1
POC MCH
22
ATL
1
TWS
9
MIL
2
ONT
9
MCH TRE SIL
2
BRH
1
PHX 9th2171

CART Series

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

YearTeamChassisEngine1234567891011121314151617RankPoints
1979 Team Penske Penske PC-7 Cosworth DFX V8 t PHX
2
ATL
5
ATL
2
MCH
4
MCH
5
TRE
1
ONT
2
MCH
3
ATL
1
PHX
3
1st4060
Penske PC-6 INDY
1
TRE
5
TRE
7
WGL
2
1980 Team Penske Penske PC-7 Cosworth DFX V8 t ONT
21
4th2866
Penske PC-9 INDY
5
MIL
5
POC
12
MDO
9
MCH
4
WGL
2
MIL
2
ONT
3
MCH
3
MEX
1
PHX
7
1981 Team Penske Penske PC-9B Cosworth DFX V8 t PHX
4
MIL ATL
1
ATL
1
MCH
3
RIV
1
MIL
2
MCH
1
WGL
1
MEX
1
PHX
8
1st304
1982 Team Penske Penske PC-10 Cosworth DFX V8 t PHX
1
ATL
1
MIL
3
CLE
4
MCH
15
MIL
12
POC
1
RIV
1
ROA
5
MCH
25
PHX
2
1st294
1983 Team Penske Penske PC-11 Cosworth DFX V8 t ATL
8
INDY
3
MIL
3
CLE
7
MCH
4
ROA
17
6th92
Penske PC-10B POC
3
RIV
19
MDO
9
MCH
1
CPL
13
LAG
21
PHX
17
1984 Team Penske Penske PC-12 Cosworth DFX V8 t LBH
21
PHX
18
5th110
March 84C INDY
1
MIL
2
POR
10
MEA
10
CLE
4
MCH
3
ROA
4
POC
2
MDO
5
SAN
DNS
MCH PHX LAG CPL
1985 Team Penske March 85C Cosworth DFX V8 t LBH INDY
21
MIL
3
POR MEA CLE MCH
30
ROA POC
1
MDO SAN MCH
2
LAG PHX MIA 10th51
1986 Team Penske March 86C Cosworth DFX V8 t PHX
19
INDY
3
MIL
3
POR
16
CLE
4
TOR
8
MCH
12
POC
8
8th89
Penske PC-15 Chevrolet 265A V8 t LBH
20
MEA
19
SAN
18
LAG
17
MIA
3
March 86C MDO
17
MCH
8
ROA
3
PHX
20
1987 Team Penske Penske PC-16 Chevrolet 265A V8 t LBH
9
PHX
20
POR
3
MEA
18
CLE
7
TOR
10
5th102
March 86C INDY
23
MIL
21
MCH
21
POC
1
ROA
9
MDO
4
NAZ
3
LAG
3
MIA
5
1988 Team Penske Penske PC-17 Chevrolet 265A V8 t PHX
22
LBH
8
INDY
1
MIL
1
POR
6
CLE
23
TOR
6
MEA
3
MCH
13
POC
23
MDO
3
ROA
12
NAZ
7
LAG
5
MIA
2
4th129
1989 Team Penske Penske PC-18 Chevrolet 265A V8 t PHX
1
LBH
5
INDY
23
MIL
1
DET
5
POR
8
CLE
5
MEA
4
TOR
5
MCH
7
POC
2
MDO
6
ROA
3
NAZ
2
LAG
1
2nd186
1990 Team Penske Penske PC-19 Chevrolet 265A V8 t PHX
1
LBH
6
INDY
5
MIL
2
DET
4
POR
5
CLE
8
MEA
2
TOR
12
MCH
14
DEN
7
VAN
4
MDO
7
ROA
3
NAZ
2
LAG
4
3rd168
1991 Team Penske Penske PC-20 Chevrolet 265A V8 t SRF
3
LBH
4
PHX
5
INDY
1
MIL
15
DET
5
POR
6
CLE
17
MEA
3
TOR
20
MCH
1
DEN
8
VAN
6
MDO
6
ROA
15
NAZ
15
LAG
5
4th145
1992 Team Penske Penske PC-21 Chevrolet 265B V8 t SRF
2
PHX
8
LBH
6
INDY
26
DET POR
7
MIL
16
NHA
4
TOR MCH
16
CLE ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG 13th47

Indianapolis 500 results

YearChassisEngineStartFinishNoteTeam
1977 Eagle 72 Offenhauser L4 t DNQDid not qualify Art Sugai
1978 Penske PC-6 Cosworth DFX V8 t 323Engine Failure Team Penske
1979 Penske PC-6 Cosworth DFX V8 t 11Running Team Penske
1980 Penske PC-9 Cosworth DFX V8 t 65Running Team Penske
1981 Penske PC-9B Cosworth DFX V8 t 2230Pit lane fire Team Penske
1982 Penske PC-10 Cosworth DFX V8 t 12Running Team Penske
1983 Penske PC-11 Cosworth DFX V8 t 33Running Team Penske
1984 March 84C Cosworth DFX V8 t 31Running Team Penske
1985 March 85C Cosworth DFX V8 t 1021Gear linkage Team Penske
1986 March 86C Cosworth DFX V8 t 13Running Team Penske
1987 March 86C Chevrolet 265A V8 t 323Ignition Team Penske
1988 Penske PC-17 Chevrolet 265A V8 t 11Running Team Penske
1989 Penske PC-18 Chevrolet 265A V8 t 123Engine failure Team Penske
1990 Penske PC-19 Chevrolet 265A V8 t 25Running Team Penske
1991 Penske PC-20 Chevrolet 265A V8 t 11Running Team Penske
1992 Penske PC-21 Chevrolet 265B V8 t 926Crash Team Penske

Indy 500 qualifying results

YearAtt #DateTimeQual
Day
Car #LapsQual
Time
Qual
Speed
RankStartComment
19778505-2216:024901Incomplete run; pulled off
9605-2217:214902Incomplete run; waved off
19781005-2012:1317142:59.93200.07843 
19793405-1316:391943:05.82193.73611 
1980105-1011:051143:12.01187.49076 
19813405-1613:41162Incomplete run; pulled off
5305-1615:5226843:05.55194.0181022 
1982205-1511:091142:53.91207.004111 and 4 lap track records
1983705-2111:391242:56.211204.30133 
1984205-1212:251642:53.204207.84733 
19852905-1117:101142:51.595209.7961010 
1986905-1012:401442:46.030216.828111 and 4 lap track records
1987305-0911:1918T42:50.239211.46733 
19882305-1413:581542:44.235219.198111 and 4 lap track records
19892005-1414:091442:40.797223.885111 and 4 lap track records
1990605-1316:571242:40.560224.21522 
19911605-1112:5113T42:40.633224.11321 
19922105-0917:481442:40.289224.594109 

International Race of Champions

(key) (Bold – Pole position. * – Most laps led.)

International Race of Champions results
SeasonMakeQ1Q2Q31234Pos.Points
1978–79 Chevy MCH MCH
7
RSD RSD ATL NA-
1979–80 MCH MCH
3
RSD RSD
4
ATL
2
3rd31
1986 Chevy DAY
9
MOH
12
TAL
8
GLN
9
12th25
1989 Chevy DAY
8
NZH
10
MCH
9
GLN
9
11th24

Books

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jerry Sneva
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year

1978
With Larry Rice
Succeeded by
Howdy Holmes
Preceded by
Al Unser
Indianapolis 500
Winner

1979
Succeeded by
Johnny Rutherford
Preceded by
Tom Sneva
Indianapolis 500
Winner

1984
Succeeded by
Danny Sullivan
Preceded by
Al Unser
Indianapolis 500
Winner

1988
Succeeded by
Emerson Fittipaldi
Preceded by
Arie Luyendyk
Indianapolis 500
Winner

1991
Succeeded by
Al Unser, Jr.
Preceded by
None
PPG Indycar World Series
Champion

1979
Succeeded by
Johnny Rutherford
Preceded by
Johnny Rutherford
PPG Indycar World Series
Champion

1981-1982
Succeeded by
Al Unser

Related Research Articles

Al Unser American racecar driver

Alfred "Al" Unser is an American automobile racing driver, the younger brother of fellow racing drivers Jerry and Bobby Unser, and father of Al Unser Jr. Now retired, he is the second of three men to have won the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race four times, the fourth of five to have won the race in consecutive years, and won the National Championship in 1970, 1983, and 1985. He is the only person to have both a sibling (Bobby) and child as fellow Indy 500 winners. Al's nephews Johnny and Robby Unser have also competed in that race.

Gordon Johncock American racecar driver

Gordon Johncock is an American former racing driver, best known as a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the 1976 USAC Marlboro Championship Trail champion. Johncock was most often simply referred to as "Gordy."

Tom Sneva American racecar driver

Thomas E. "Tom" Sneva is a retired American race car driver, the winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 1983. He primarily raced in Indy cars, and was named to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2005.

1982 Indianapolis 500

The 66th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Sunday, May 30, 1982. Gordon Johncock, who had previously won the rain-shortened 1973 race, was the winner. Rick Mears finished second by a margin of 0.160 seconds, the closest finish in Indy 500 history to that point.

1994 Indianapolis 500

The 78th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Sunday, May 29, 1994. Al Unser, Jr. won from the pole position, his second Indy 500 victory. Much to the surprise of competitors, media, and fans, Marlboro Team Penske arrived at the Speedway with a brand new, secretly-built 209 in³ displacement Mercedes-Benz pushrod engine, which was capable of nearly 1,000 horsepower (750 kW). Despite reliability issues with the engine and handling difficulties with the chassis, the three-car Penske team dominated most of the month, and practically the entire race.

1992 Indianapolis 500

The 76th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, on Sunday, May 24, 1992. The race is famous for the fierce battle in the closing laps, as race winner Al Unser, Jr. held off second place Scott Goodyear for the victory by 0.043 seconds, the closest finish in Indy history. Unser, Jr. became the first second-generation driver to win the Indy 500, following in the footsteps of his father Al Unser, Sr. He also became the third member of the famous Unser family to win the race.

1991 Indianapolis 500

The 75th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, on Sunday, May 26, 1991. Rick Mears won from the pole position, becoming the third four-time winner of the Indy 500, joining A. J. Foyt and Al Unser. During time trials, Mears also established an Indy record by winning his sixth career pole position. The month of May for Mears was tumultuous, as he suffered his first ever crash at Indy since arriving as a rookie in 1977. The wreck during a practice run totaled his primary car, and broke a bone in his right foot. Mears kept the injury mostly secret, and later admitted that the pain he experienced during the race was so bad, he had to cross his legs in the car and push the accelerator pedal down with his left foot.

1988 Indianapolis 500

The 72nd Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, on Sunday May 29, 1988. Team Penske dominated the month, sweeping the top three starting positions with Rick Mears winning the pole position, Danny Sullivan at the center of the front row, and Al Unser, Sr. on the outside. Mears set a new track record, becoming the first driver to break the 220 mph barrier in time trials. On race day, the Penske teammates proceeded to lead 192 of the 200 laps, with Rick Mears taking the checkered flag, his third-career Indy 500 victory. The race represented the milestone 50th victory in Championship car racing for owner Roger Penske and Penske Racing.

1987 Indianapolis 500

The 71st Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, on Sunday May 24, 1987. After dominating practice, qualifying, and most of the race, leader Mario Andretti slowed with mechanical problems with only 23 laps to go. Five laps later, Al Unser Sr. assumed the lead, and won his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory. During the month of May, an unusually high 25 crashes occurred during practice and qualifying, with one driver in particular, Jim Crawford, suffering serious leg injuries.

1984 Indianapolis 500

The 68th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Sunday May 27, 1984. Rick Mears, who previously won in 1979, won his second Indy 500 driving for Penske. Contenders Tom Sneva and Mario Andretti dropped out of the race in the second half, leaving Mears alone two laps ahead of the field, and he cruised to the victory. Three months after the race, however, Mears would suffer severe leg injuries in a practice crash at Sanair.

Firestone Indy 400

The Firestone Indy 400 was an IndyCar Series race held at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The event was most recently held in 2007. From 1981 to 2001, the event was better-known as the Michigan 500, and was held in high prestige. During its heyday of the 1980s, the race was part of Indy car racing's 500-mile "Triple Crown".

1979 SCCA/CART Indy Car Series

The 1979 SCCA/CART Indy Car Series was the inaugural season for the CART Indy car series. It was the first national championship season of American open wheel racing sanctioned by CART. The season consisted of 14 races. Rick Mears was the national champion, and the rookie of the year was Bill Alsup. The 1979 Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, but counted towards the CART points championship. Rick Mears won the Indy 500, his first of four victories in the event.

ABC Supply 500

The ABC Supply 500 is an IndyCar Series race held at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The first Indy car at Pocono was held in 1971. The race was sanctioned by USAC from 1971–1981, and then by CART from 1982–1989, and was known as the Pocono 500. The race was removed from the CART calendar following the 1989 running, due to poor track conditions, as well as poor revenue for the promoter.

1980 CART PPG Indy Car World Series

The 1980 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season was the second in the CART era of U.S. open-wheel racing. It consisted of twelve races, beginning in Ontario, California on April 13 and concluding in Avondale, Arizona on November 8. The PPG Indy Car World Series Drivers' Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner was Johnny Rutherford. Rookie of the Year was Dennis Firestone. The entire season, including the 64th Indianapolis 500, was to be co-sanctioned by both the USAC and CART under the banner of the Championship Racing League (CRL). However, USAC withdrew from the arrangement after five races.

The 1985 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season was the 7th national championship season of American open wheel racing sanctioned by CART. The season consisted of 15 races. Al Unser, Sr. was the national champion, and the rookie of the year was Arie Luyendyk. The 1985 Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, but counted towards the CART points championship. Danny Sullivan won the Indy 500, in dramatic fashion, a race that became known as the "Spin and Win."

1987 CART PPG Indy Car World Series

The 1987 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season was the 9th national championship season of American open wheel racing sanctioned by CART. The season consisted of 16 races, and one non-points exhibition event. Bobby Rahal was the national champion, winning his second-consecutive title. The rookie of the year was Fabrizio Barbazza. The 1987 Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, but counted towards the CART points championship. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500, his record-tying fourth victory at Indy.

The 1988 CART PPG Indy Car World Series season was the 10th national championship season of American open wheel racing sanctioned by CART. The season consisted of 15 races, and one non-points exhibition event. Danny Sullivan was the national champion, winning for Team Penske. The rookie of the year was John Jones. The 1988 Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned by USAC, but counted towards the CART points championship. Rick Mears won the Indy 500, his third victory at Indy.

The 1981–82 USAC Championship Car season consisted of six races, beginning in Speedway, Indiana, on May 24, 1981, and concluding at the same location on May 30, 1982. The USAC National Champion was George Snider. The season included two Indianapolis 500 races. The 1981 winner was Bobby Unser, while the 1982 winner was Gordon Johncock. The schedule included dirt courses for the first time since 1970.

2013 Pocono IndyCar 400

The 2013 Pocono IndyCar 400 fueled by Sunoco, the twentieth running of the event, was an IndyCar Series race held on July 7, 2013, at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The race was the eleventh in the 2013 IndyCar Series season. The event made a return to the IndyCar schedule after a 23-year hiatus. Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport won the pole position, while Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon won the race.