Rick Ravon Mears 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, is the current record-holder for pole positions in the race with six. Mears is a three-time Indycar series/World Series champion. Mears was raised in Bakersfield 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 racing in Formula One with Lotus, Penske wanted another young driver who would focus 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 included a ride at the Indianapolis 500. In his rookie appearance at Indy, Mears qualified on the front row, 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 retired at 104 laps with a blown engine, he ended up sharing "Rookie of the Year" honors with Larry Rice. Two weeks at the Rex Mays 150, he won his first race, he added another win a month at Atlanta and rounded off the year with his first road course win at Brands Hatch. 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. In 1980 the ground effect Chaparral was technologically more advanced than the other chassis, 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 1980 Mears had tested a Formula One Brabham and he declined an offer. 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 failed to secure the win; the photo-finish would stand for 10 years as the closest finish to an Indy 500. The photo-finish muffled out the controversial pace-lap crash with teammate Kevin Cogan who appeared to have spun out for no apparent reason. 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 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. 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 finished only 3rd, he won the 1987 Pocono 500. 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 he took a record-setting fifth pole position at Indy, but retired from the race with mechanical problems.
Emerson Fittipaldi took the 500 and beat Mears to the Championship in the last race at Laguna Seca Raceway, despite Mears winning that race. 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, Jim Hall re-entered Indycar. In 1991 during a practice session Mears hit the wall at Indianapolis for the first time in his career; the next day, he 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
Cosworth is a British automotive engineering company founded in London in 1958, specialising in high-performance internal combustion engines and electronics. Cosworth is based in Northampton, with American facilities in Indianapolis, Shelby Charter Township and Mooresville, North Carolina. Cosworth has collected 176 wins in Formula One as engine supplier, ranking second with most wins behind Ferrari; the company was founded as a British racing internal combustion engine maker in 1958 by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth. Its company name:'Cosworth', was derived as a portmanteau of the surnames of its two founders. Both of the co-founders were former employees of Lotus Engineering Ltd. and Cosworth maintained a strong relationship with Colin Chapman. When the company was founded in 1958, Duckworth left Lotus, leaving Costin at the company; until 1962, Costin worked on Cosworth projects in his private time, while being active as a key Lotus engineer on the development of Lotus 15 through 26, as well as leading the Team Lotus contingent at foreign races, as evidenced by the 1962 Le Mans Lotus scandal.
Initial series production engines were sold to Lotus and many of the other racing engines up to Mk. XII were delivered to Team Lotus; the success of Formula Junior engines started bringing in non-Lotus revenues, the establishment of Formula B by the Sports Car Club of America allowed the financial foundation of Cosworth to be secured by the increased sales of Mk. XIII, a pure racing engine based on Lotus TwinCam, through its domination of the class; this newly found security enabled the company to distance itself from the Lotus Mk. VII and Elan optional road engine assembly business, allowed its resources to be concentrated on racing engine development; the first Cosworth-designed cylinder head was for SCA series. A real success was achieved with the next gear-driven double overhead camshaft four-valve FVA in 1966, when Cosworth, with a help from Chapman, convinced Ford to purchase the rights to the design, sign a development contract – including an eight-cylinder version; this resulted in the DFV, which dominated Formula One for many years.
From this time on, Cosworth was supported by Ford for many years, many of the Cosworth designs were owned by Ford and named as Ford engines under similar contracts. Another success by the BD series in the 1970s put Cosworth on a growing track. Cosworth went through a number of ownership changes. After Duckworth decided he didn't want to be involved with the day-to-day business of running a growing company, he sold out the ownership to United Engineering Industries in 1980, retaining his life presidency and day-to-day technical involvement with Cosworth, becoming a UEI board director. In 1998, Vickers sold Cosworth and Pi Research to Ford. In September, 2004 Ford announced that it was selling Cosworth and Pi Research, along with Cosworth Racing Ltd, its Jaguar Formula One team. On 15 November 2004, the sale of Cosworth was completed, to Champ Car World Series owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, the current Cosworth Group; the road car engine aspect of the business was split from the racing division, following the sale of the engineering division of Cosworth to Volkswagen / Audi Group in September 1998, renamed Cosworth Technology, before being subsequently acquired by Mahle GmbH in 2005.
Cosworth Technology was renamed as MAHLE Powertrain on 1 July 2005. Since 2006, Cosworth has diversified to provide engineering consultancy, high performance electronics, component manufacture services outside of its classic motorsport customer base. Current publicised projects range from an 80 cubic centimetres diesel engine for unmanned aerial vehicles, through to an engineering partnership on some of the world's most powerful aspirated road car engines, including upcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie 1000+bhp V12. Cosworth supplied its last premier class racing engines to one F1 team in 2013, the Marussia F1 Team; the following is the list of initial products, with cylinder heads modified, but not designed by Cosworth, on Ford Kent engine cylinder blocks. The exceptions were Mk. XVII and MAE, which had intake port sleeves for downdraft carburetors brazed into the stock cast iron cylinder head, in place of the normal side draft ports, thus could be considered Cosworth designs. In addition to the above, Cosworth designed and provided the assembly work for Lotus Elan Special Equipment optional road engines with special camshafts and high compression pistons.
The final model of the above initial series was the MAE in 1965, when new rules were introduced in Formula 3 allowing up to 1,000 cubic centimetres engines with 36mm intake restrictor plate. MAE used one barrel of a two barrel Weber IDA downdraft carburetor with the other barrel blanked off; the domination of this engine was absolute as long as these regulations lasted until 1968. As Cosworth had a serious difficulty
1986 Indianapolis 500
The 70th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana on Saturday, May 31, 1986. After being rained out on May 25–26, the race was rescheduled for the following weekend. Bobby Rahal was the winner, becoming the first driver in Indy history to complete the 500 miles in less than three hours. Nearly the entire race unfolded as a three-way battle between polesitter Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, Kevin Cogan. Cogan, a key fixture in the controversial crash on the opening lap of the 1982 race, took the lead in dramatic fashion with 13 laps to go, he appeared to be on his way to victory, career redemption, but his lead evaporated when a caution came out on lap 194. With two laps to go, the green flag came back out, second place Bobby Rahal got the jump on the restart and grabbed the lead. Rahal pulled away and won the race, with car owner Jim Trueman, stricken with cancer, cheering him on in the pit area. Trueman died eleven days after the victory; the race was sanctioned by USAC, was included as part of the 1986 CART PPG Indy Car World Series.
For the first time ABC Sports televised the race live "flag-to-flag" on network television in the United States. The race celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first 500, but there was little fanfare of the milestone outside of the cover art of the official program; the highlight of offseason improvements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the construction of a new, state of the art garage area. Just days after the 1985 race, the old Gasoline Alley garage area, most of which had stood since the 1940s, was dismantled and demolished. Official groundbreaking for the new facility occurred on August 26, 1985; the new concrete garages increased to 96 units, each stall provided 30% more working room than their predecessors. The green and white wooden barn doors were replaced with overhead steel garage doors, the layout was changed from east-west to north-south; the access lanes were widened improving ingress and egress, improving drainage, various vendor and support units were part of the new complex.
Lastly, a refueling complex was constructed in the southeast corner, including two underground tanks, one each for methanol and gasoline fuels. Most of the work was completed in April, some of the finishing touches were still being completed during the first week of on-track activity. Though the new garages were universally praised for their increased space and function, they were criticized for lack of aesthetics, for breaking tradition; the plain precast concrete walls resembled the cookie-cutter stadiums of the era that were criticized in baseball and football. The design was a sharp and striking contrast to the previous garage complex, which led some to call them overtly plain or "antiseptic." Changing the layout to north-south based was a thinly-veiled attempt by the management to further scale back the oft-rowdy "Snakepit" area located inside the turn one infield. The interiors were spacious and without walls, allowing teams the flexibility to erect partitions as they saw fit, as well as layout their work area however they desired.
Lastly, the new complex improved safety. The old wooden buildings were criticized as potential "fire traps," and management did not want a repeat of the devastating 1941 fire; the concrete construction was more fire-resistant, water spigots were provided in every stall, the wider lanes provided easier fire escape. A new victory lane area was constructed for the 1986 race. From 1971-1985, the winner drove up the checkerboard ramps into the "horseshoe" area below the Master Control Tower. A hydraulic platform was now used, located in the actual pit area, in line with the pit stalls; the car would drive onto the platform, it would raise into the air, slowly spin 360° for the fans to see the winner. This victory lane was popular, but could only a hold a small number of people when raised, it would be used through 1993. On August 19, 1985, after years of being shown tape delayed, ABC Sports signed an initial three-year deal to cover the Indianapolis 500 live flag-to-flag starting in 1986. Longtime anchor Jim McKay was moved to the host position, play-by-play would be handled by Jim Lampley and Sam Posey.
The Daytona 500 had been shown live flag-to-flag on CBS since 1979, ABC officials had wanted to do the same for Indianapolis for several years. ABC's landmark telecast was scheduled to feature 32 cameras, three RaceCams, an hour-long live pre-race. Defending Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan returned to Penske Racing, the rest of the team saw a shake-up from the previous year. Rick Mears returned to full-time driving. After his serious crash at Sanair in 1984, Mears only drove a partial schedule in 1985. Al Unser, Sr. who drove full-time for Penske in 1985, won the 1985 CART championship, dropped to part-time. Unser would race only the three 500 milers, along with Tamiami. Unser was assigned the duty of being the first driver to roll out the brand new PC-15/Ilmor Chevy Indy V-8 265A. Kevin Cogan moved over from the Kraco Team to Patrick Racing. Cogan joined Emerson Fittipaldi to make the team a two-car effort. Fittipaldi's new livery for 1986 featured a new sponsor to the sport, which would become a big part of the sport for over two decades.
Bobby Rahal won three of the last six races of 1985, finished third in the points. Despite a heavy crash at Michigan in August, a testing crash in the fall at Indy, Rahal was hot off the finish of the 1985 season, returning with Truesports, a favorite entering the season. For the month of May 1986, the Borg-Warner Trophy celebrated its 50th annivers
The Milwaukee Mile is an one mile-long oval race track in the central United States, located on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb west of Milwaukee. Its grandstand and bleachers seated 37,000 spectators. Paved 65 years ago in 1954, it was a dirt track. In addition to the oval, there was a 1.8 mile road circuit located on the infield. As the oldest operating motor speedway in the world, the Milwaukee Mile’s has hosted at least one auto race every year from 1903 to 2015; the track has held events sanctioned by major bodies, such as the AAA, USAC, NASCAR, CART/Champ Car World Series, the IndyCar Series. There have been many races in regional series such as ARTGO. Famous racers who have competed at the track include: Barney Oldfield, Ralph DePalma, Walt Faulkner, Parnelli Jones, A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Jim Clark, Darrell Waltrip, Alan Kulwicki, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Allison, Davey Allison, Nigel Mansell, Rick Mears, Michael Andretti, Alex Zanardi, Harry Gant, Rusty Wallace, Walker Evans, Dario Franchitti and Bernie Eccelstone as well as current racing stars Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jeff Gordon, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Hélio Castroneves, A. J. Foyt IV, Simona de Silvestro, Colin Braun, Kyle Nicholas, James Davison, Paul Newman, Jay Drake, Nick Bussell, Josh Underwood, Kenny Stevens, a 5 year-old child, Sage Karam and many others.
On December 16, 2009, Wisconsin State Fair Park officials confirmed that the Milwaukee Mile would not host any NASCAR or IndyCar races in 2010. NASCAR confirmed that their June Nationwide Series date would remain in Wisconsin for 2010, as they announced they would hold a race at Road America for the first time since the Grand National Series raced there in 1956. NASCAR announced on January 20, 2010 that the Milwaukee date for the truck series would be moved to August; the track hosted two ASA Late Model Series races in 2010. IndyCar returned to the track in 2011, but the Mile was left off of the preliminary 2012 schedule after a poorly attended 2011 event that resulted in part from an inexperienced promoter. In February 2012, it was announced that IndyCar would return to the Mile on the weekend of June 15–16; the event was promoted by Andretti Sports Marketing, owned by former Indy driver Michael Andretti, was billed as the Milwaukee IndyFest. The event included open-wheel racing featuring the IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights, as well as a driver question period and autograph sessions and other attractions.
The series again left after the 2015 season and since 2015 the track has hosted no major professional races. The track was a 1 mile private horse racing track by 1876. In 1891, the site was purchased by the Agricultural Society of the State of Wisconsin to create a permanent site for the Wisconsin State Fair; the first motorsports event was held on September 11, 1903. William Jones of Chicago won a five lap speed contest, set the first track record with a 72-second, 50 mph lap. There were 24-hour endurance races in 1907 and 1908. Louis Disbrow won the first 100-mile event in 1915. Barney Oldfield's success at the Mile helped make him a legend, he set the track record in 1905 and raised his speed in 1910 to 70.159 mph in his "Blitzen Benz". In 1911, Ralph DePalma won the first Milwaukee Mile Championship car race, four years before his Indianapolis 500 win. Oldfield drove a gold car built by Harry Miller that enclosed the driver, in June 1917 he beat DePalma in a series of 10 to 25-mile match races.
The July 17, 1933 race was rained out. Wilbur Shaw and the other drivers convinced the track promoters to run the race the following day and the term "rain date" was born. Huge new grandstands were installed with seating for 14,900 people, they replaced the original grandstands that were built in 1914. A roof was placed over the grandstands in 1938; these grandstands stood until new aluminum grandstands were installed in September 2002. The 1939 race was the first AAA Championship race; the 1937 non-championship AAA event was best known for running 96 laps due to a scoring error. It was won by Rex Mays, who continued his domination throughout the 1940s by winning in 1941 and the next race in 1946; the tradition of hosting the "race after the Indianapolis 500" began in 1947. In the 1969 film, starring actor and race driver Paul Newman, the character he plays remarks, “Everybody goes to Milwaukee after Indy.” The Milwaukee Mile held more national championship midget and Indy car races than any other track in the country between 1947 and 1980.
The infield of the quarter-mile dirt infield track at the Mile near the current media center was the location of a football stadium, informally known as the Dairy Bowl. It hosted the NFL's Green Bay Packers from 1934 through 1951, including the NFL championship game in 1939, a 27–0 shutout of the New York Giants on December 10 to secure a fifth league title; the Packers played several games a year in Milwaukee from 1933 through 1994. The team played at Borchert Field in 1933, Marquette Stadium in 1952, moved to County Stadium when it opened in 1953. In 1940 and 1941, the Dairy Bowl served as the home of the Milwaukee Chiefs of the third American Football League; the 50-yard line sat where the start-finish line is located. The city's own entry in the NFL, the Milwaukee Badgers, lasted just five seasons, from 1922 to 1926, played at Athletic Park, renamed Borchert Field in 1928. In 1954 the 1-mile track was paved, and
Hélio Alves de Castro Neves, better known as Hélio Castroneves, is a Brazilian auto racing driver competing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Prior to IMSA, Castroneves competed in the IndyCar Series, gaining 23 wins and 38 poles, placed second in the season standings four times, third three times, fourth five times. Castroneves competed in the CART championship, with a highest championship points finish of fourth. Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 in 2001, 2002, 2009, making him one of only nine drivers, the only active driver, to have won at least three times, he finished second at Indy in 2003, 2014, 2017. Castroneves has won four pole positions for the Indy 500, including back-to-back poles in 2009 and 2010, the first driver to do so since Scott Brayton in 1996, he is one of only five drivers – along with Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, Al Unser being the other four – and the only active driver to win the Indy 500 in back-to-back races. Born in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, South America, Castroneves started his career in karting, raced for the Paul Stewart Racing team, finished third in the 1995 British Formula 3 Championship.
After being misidentified by US media as "Hélio Neves" he at first changed the spelling to Hélio Castro-Neves and to Hélio Castroneves. He has Katiucia. Castroneves was first recognised while driving for Steve Horne's Tasman Racing team in Indy Lights, as teammate to fellow Brazilian and future IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan. After showing potential but lacking reliability while with the Bettenhausen and Hogan teams, Castroneves was signed by Penske Racing in CART in 2000 following the deaths of Greg Moore and Gonzalo Rodríguez during the last races of the 1999 season. Moore had signed on with Penske but never had the opportunity to race with the team. Castroneves became a regular front-runner winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2001, the first of three wins where he again performed the crowd pleasing act of climbing the fence at the start finish line in celebration, something he would continue to do after winning races, he switched with the team to the rival IRL for 2002, remained with Penske, teamed with Gil de Ferran, Sam Hornish Jr. and Ryan Briscoe during his tenure through the 2008 season.
During the 2002 season, Castroneves tested with Formula One team Toyota Racing at Circuit Paul Ricard. In January 2009, Team Penske temporarily replaced him with Will Power, citing the difficulties of remaining competitive while Castroneves prepared for trial on federal tax evasion charges. Castroneves missed the first race of the 2009 season while the trial was ongoing, but returned to racing at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Racing fans have given Castroneves the nickname "Spider-Man" because of his victory celebration, in which he climbs the trackside debris fence. On 24 May 2009, Castroneves became Indy's 9th three-time winner, by taking the checkered flag for the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves is considered to be the greatest IndyCar driver never to have won the championship. Castroneves holds IRL IndyCar Series records for most top-ten finishes. In 2009 he reset the all-time record for most wins and starts by a driver who has not won the National Championship, taking these records from Bill Holland at Indianapolis and compatriot Raul Boesel at Richmond respectively.
His 23rd career win, at Barber Motorsports Park in 2010, broke a tie with his former manager Emerson Fittipaldi for most IndyCar wins by a Brazilian driver. Aside from success in racing, Castroneves won the fifth season of the American reality TV show Dancing with the Stars with partner Julianne Hough, he has appeared on truTV's The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest... as a frequent commentator—mainly on episodes that feature the "World's Dumbest Drivers". He lives in Ft. Lauderdale. Castroneves returned to Dancing with the Stars for its 15th season for a chance to win another mirrorball trophy; this time he was partnered with Chelsie Hightower. They were voted off in the third week of the competition during a double elimination. Castroneves has one daughter with Adriana Henao; the girl was born on 28 December 2009, is named Mikaella. Castroneves lives in Fort Lauderdale. On 2 October 2008, Castroneves was charged with conspiracy and six counts of tax evasion by a grand jury for purportedly failing to report to the IRS about $5.5 million in income between 1999 and 2004, according to court documents.
Each count carried a maximum five-year prison sentence. His business manager and sister Kati, his lawyer Alan Miller were charged with assisting Castroneves in the supposed scheme. All three defendants surrendered to authorities in Florida on Friday, 3 October 2008. Castroneves pleaded not guilty to these charges on 3 October, was ordered released on $10 million bail. Castroneves was replaced by Will Power during the duration of his tax evasion court case; the IRS claimed. A guilty verdict would have ended Castroneves' racing career; this issue was related to the initial contract signed by Castroneves with Penske Racing in the fall of 1999. Greg Moore had signed on to join Penske Racing for 2000, but was killed during the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway on 31 October 1999. During the trial, it was revealed that Castroneves' first contract with Penske was signed with Moore's existing contract - with Moore's name scratched out and Castroneves' name handwritten in ink; the deal was signed by Moore's
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a race track in Daytona Beach, United States. Since opening in 1959, it has been the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR. In addition to NASCAR, the track hosts races of ARCA, AMA Superbike, USCC, SCCA, Motocross; the track features multiple layouts including the primary 2.5-mile high-speed tri-oval, a 3.56-mile sports car course, a 2.95-mile motorcycle course, a 1,320-foot karting and motorcycle flat-track. The track's 180-acre infield includes the 29-acre Lake Lloyd; the speedway is operated by International Speedway Corporation. The track was built in 1959 by NASCAR founder William "Bill" France, Sr. to host racing, held at the former Daytona Beach Road Course. His banked design gave fans a better view of the cars. Lights were installed around the track in 1998, today it is the third-largest single lit outdoor sports facility; the speedway has been renovated four times, with the infield renovated in 2004 and the track repaved in 1978 and 2010.
On January 22, 2013, the fourth speedway renovation was unveiled. On July 5, 2013, ground was broken on "Daytona Rising" to remove backstretch seating and redevelop the frontstretch seating; the renovation was by design-builder Barton Malow Company in partnership with Rossetti Architects. The project was completed in January 2016, cost US $400 million, it emphasized improved fan experience with five expanded and redesigned fan entrances, as well as wider and more comfortable seats, more restrooms and concession stands. After the renovations were complete, the track's grandstands had 101,000 permanent seats with the ability to increase permanent seating to 125,000; the project was finished before the start of Speedweek in 2016. NASCAR founder William France Sr. began planning for the track in 1953 as a way to promote the series, which at the time was racing on the Daytona Beach Road Course. France met with Daytona Beach engineer Charles Moneypenny to discuss his plans for the speedway, he wanted the track to have the highest banking possible to allow the cars to reach high speeds and to give fans a better view of the cars on track.
Moneypenny traveled to Detroit, Michigan to visit the Ford Proving Grounds which had a high-speed test track with banked corners. Ford shared their engineering design of the track with Moneypenny, providing the needed details of how to transition the pavement from a flat straightaway to a banked corner. France took the plans to the Daytona Beach city commission, who supported his idea and formed the Daytona Beach Speedway Authority; the city commission agreed to lease the 447-acre parcel of land adjacent to Daytona Beach Municipal Airport to France's corporation for $10,000 a year over a 50-year period. France began working on building funding for the project and found support from a Texas oil millionaire, Clint Murchison, Sr. Murchison lent France $600,000 along with the construction equipment necessary to build the track. France secured funding from Pepsi-Cola, General Motors designer Harley Earl, a second mortgage on his home and selling 300,000 stock shares to local residents. Ground broke on construction of the 2.5-mile speedway on November 25, 1957.
To build the high banking, crews had to excavate over a million square yards of soil from the track's infield. Because of the high water table in the area, the excavated hole filled with water to form what is now known as Lake Lloyd, named after Joseph "Sax" Lloyd, one of the original six members of the Daytona Beach Speedway Authority. 22 tons of lime mortar had to be brought in to form the track's binding base, over which asphalt was laid. Because of the extreme degree of banking, Moneypenny had to come up with a way to pave the incline, he connected the paving equipment to bulldozers anchored at the top of the banking. This allowed the paving equipment to pave the banking without rolling down the incline. Moneypenny subsequently patented his construction method and designed Talladega Superspeedway and Michigan International Speedway. By December 1958, France had begun to run out of money and relied on race ticket sales to complete construction; the first practice run on the new track was on February 6, 1959.
On February 22, 1959, 42,000 people attended the inaugural Daytona 500. Its finish was as startling as the track itself: Lee Petty beat Johnny Beauchamp in a photo finish that took three days to adjudicate; when the track opened it was the fastest race track to host a stock car race, until Talladega Superspeedway opened 10 years later. On April 4, it hosted a 100 mi Champ Car event which saw Jim Rathmann beat Dick Rathmann and Rodger Ward, at an average speed of 170.26 mph, at the time the fastest motor race ever. It was sadly the occasion of Daytona's first fatality: George Amick, attempting to overtake for third late in the race, hit a wall and was killed. April 5, a scheduled 1,000 km sports car event was won by Roberto Mieres and Fritz d'Orey, who shared a Porsche RSK, which proved more durable than more potent competition. Lights were installed around the track in 1998 to run NASCAR's July race, the Coke Zero 400 at night; the track was the world's largest single lighted outdoor sports facility until being surpassed by Losail International Circuit in 2008.
Musco Lighting installed the lighting system, which took into account glare and visibility for aircraft arriving and departing nearby Daytona Beach International Airport, costs about $240 per hour when in operation. Daytona's tri-oval is 2.5 mile
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 established an Indy record by winning his sixth career pole position; the month of May for Mears was tumultuous, as he suffered his first crash at Indy since arriving as a rookie in 1977. The wreck during a practice run totaled his primary car, broke a bone in his right foot. Mears kept the injury secret, 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; the race was noteworthy in that it featured the first African American driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, Willy T. Ribbs, it saw its first Japanese driver, Hiro Matsushita. The pre-race attention going into the month focused on A. J. Foyt, expected to retire from driving after the event.
During time trials, Foyt qualified on his record 34th consecutive Indy appearance. On race day, Foyt dropped out early due to suspension damage, he retracted his retirement plans, returned one final time in 1992. During time trials, a sudden rain shower halted pole qualifying, unexpectedly shutting out several contenders from a chance at the front row. A number of top drivers were forced to qualify on the second day of time trials. Gary Bettenhausen in a Buick-powered machine was the surprise fastest qualifier, albeit he was ineligible for the pole position. For the first time in Indy history, four members of the same family qualified for the same race. Mario, Michael and John Andretti competed together. Michael and John all finished in the top ten, while Jeff was named the Rookie of the Year. Michael Andretti led the most laps during the race and battled Rick Mears for the win in the closing laps. Andretti executed a daring pass for the lead on the outside of turn one on lap 187. Mears, made a similar pass one lap to re-take the lead, drove to victory.
Michael's second-place finish would be his career best finish at Indy. The race was sanctioned by USAC, was included as part of the 1991 CART PPG Indy Car World Series. Morning rain delayed the start of the race by about 55 minutes; the rain stopped, the track was dried, the race was run to completion without interruption. In the year, Rick Mears would win the Michigan 500, sweeping both 500-mile races for the season, the final two victories of his racing career. A. J. Foyt suffered a crash at Road America in September 1990, which injured his feet. Foyt went through rehab during the offseason, planned to race at Indy one final time in 1991 retire from driving. Few team/driver changes occurred during the off-season, most of the key fixtures from 1990 remained on the same teams. Among the few changes, Danny Sullivan departed Penske Racing, joined the Pat Patrick Alfa Romeo effort. Rick Mears' familiar Pennzoil Z-7 Special livery was gone for 1991, as the Penske team became a two-car team with Marlboro sponsoring both cars.
Doug Shierson Racing, who won the 1990 race with driver Arie Luyendyk, was sold to businessman Bob Tezak. The team was re-organized in a joint effort with Vince Granatelli, re-booted as UNO/Granatelli Racing; the car's sponsor Domino's Pizza left the sport, the livery was changed to the classic day-glow orange utilized by Granatelli entries over the years. Luyendyk's services were retained for 1991, RCA sponsored the fledgling entry car at Indy. John Andretti joined the newly rebooted Hall-VDS team. Andretti kicked off the season by winning his first career CART race at the season opener, the Gold Coast Grand Prix at Surfers Paradise. Al Unser, Jr. and Bobby Rahal returned together at Galles/KRACO Racing. Unser, the 1990 CART champion, won at Long Beach. Rahal started off the season finishing second at all three of the races prior to Indianapolis. After sitting out the 1990 season due to injury, Scott Pruett was back behind the wheel at Truesports; the team introduced its brand new "All-American" Truesports 91C chassis.
For the second year in a row, veteran Geoff Brabham was entered at Indy only for a second team car. Derrick Walker associated with the Penske and Porsche teams, entered rookie Willy T. Ribbs at Walker Racing. On a shoestring budget, the team was considered a long-shot to make the field; the pace car for the 1991 Indy 500 was chosen to be the Dodge Stealth. However, the UAW, along with fans and traditionalists, protested since the Stealth was a captive import built by Mitsubishi in Japan. Traditionally, the make of the pace car has always been a domestic American brand. In late February, the Stealth was downgraded to be the festival car; the pre-production Dodge Viper RT/10 replaced the Stealth as the official pace car when the track opened in May. Carroll Shelby served as the driver, thought to be the first person to drive the pace car after having a heart transplant, it was Shelby's second appearance at Indy. He had drove the pace car in 1987; the first two days of practice were rained out. The only on-track activity was brief.
A limited number of cars took "shake down" laps. The first hot laps were run on Monday May 6. Penske teammates Emerson Fittipaldi and Rick Mears led the speed chart. Rick Mears ran the fastest lap thus far at 226.569 mph. Gary Bettenhausen gained attention with a lap of 224.888 mph in the stock block Buick V-6. Jim Crawford hit 225.643 mph in a Buick on Wednesday May 8