Apr 13, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Danny Sullivan says being introduced as an Indianapolis 500 winner “never loses its luster,” though he wishes it could be altered to “multiple Indy 500 winner.”
“People talk about the (1985) win, but (drivers) think about the ones that got away,” said Sullivan, whose “spin and win” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a perennial video clip highlight.
In August, Sullivan will be introduced as a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He leads a group of 12 that also includes sprint car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer – grandfather of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold.
Eligibility for induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame is extended to any person who has driven, piloted, owned, designed, built, supported, maintained, prepared or promoted motorized vehicles in pursuit of speed, distance or other records. Members include pioneers from Amelia Earhart and Shirley Muldowney to Eddie Rickenbacker and Louis Chevrolet.
Sullivan made 12 Indianapolis 500 starts between 1982 and ’95. He started eighth in the No. 5 Miller American car (a March/Cosworth) and led 67 laps in holding off Mario Andretti by 2.4 seconds. Overall, he compiled five top-10 finishes. SULLIVAN'S INDY 500 STATS
Sullivan, the 1988 CART champion for Penske Racing, in 2010 was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame. He won the race in 1992 and attended the ceremony April 12 as his car owner that year, Rick Galles, joined the list of inductees.
Sullivan recounted that his goal following a course at the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School at the Snetterton circuit wasn’t necessarily Indy car racing.
“My goal, because I went to a driving school in England, was to get to Formula One,” he said. When I came back to race in the States and Indy car grew, Formula One looked less likely that it would happen. I got into Indy car and never looked back.
“Being recognized by the Hall of Fame is a great honor. It puts a nice exclamation point on your career that says you accomplished something that was recognized by your peers. I wish my dad would have still been around to see it because he would have loved it.”
He said it: Queston for Ryan Hunter-Reay: You were a past winner back at Long Beach. What is it about Long Beach that is a special place for you?
“Well, off the track it's special for many reasons. It's where I had my first big start in racing in the Atlantic Series. It's where I met my wife, where we got engaged. It was my mom's favorite race of the year, was for sure Long Beach, and in 2010 winning it.
“Other than that, I absolute love it. The track is awesome. From a driver perspective it couldn't get much better. The fan attendance and atmosphere at the race is second to none.”
Of note: Effective May 1, Terry Angstadt, previously president of INDYCAR's commercial division, will assume the role of executive vice president and general manager of Green Savoree Racing Promotions and will be given the day-to-day reins of Green Savoree Sports and Entertainment, a newly created subsidiary devoted to managing the sales and marketing activities of Green Savoree properties along with the evaluation and acquisition of new opportunities. ... Motegi Racing is the primary sponsor on the No. 22 Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car driven by Oriol Servia for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. … Lotus HVM Racing driver Simona de Silvestro, who suffered burns on her hands last May from a practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, met with a young burn victim from the Children’s Burn Foundation. De Silvestro presented the Children's Burn Foundation with a signed endplate that will be auctioned on its website.