News & Multimedia

Where Are They Now? Ernie Irvan

Note: This is the second of a series about drivers who competed in the early years of the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard who no longer compete regularly in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

He came from the West Coast to Charlotte, N.C., with just the money in his pocket and little else.

But Ernie Irvan struggled up the ladder to make the NASCAR Cup series ranks and make a name for himself before two serious accidents at Michigan forced his retirement at age 40.

The first one, in 1994, was the most serious. His injuries were life-threatening. The second, in 1999, was less devastating but enough because both involved head injuries, which are being scrutinized today by every sport from racing to the NFL. These came in the prime of his career after winning the Daytona 500 in 1991.

“I feel fine,” Irvan said recently from his Charlotte-area home. “I can go out and do anything I want to do. I would love to race, but that’s past. My son, Jared (14), is racing a Ford Focus on a quarter-mile. He’s leading the points this year and won the championship last year.”

Irvan made his mark on the Brickyard 400. He finished second to Dale Jarrett in 1996 and won the pole in 1997 and 1998 among his five Brickyard starts.

“I had every vision in the world of winning the race (in ‘96), and I was in the lead but got beat by DJ,” said Irvan, 53. “It’s an unbelievable racetrack. With everything that’s happened, everything I’ve known about the history, I feel very fortunate to have run what we call the Brickyard.”

In all, Irvan led four of the five races he ran at Indy for 114 laps and recorded three top-10 finishes.

And now, the second generation of Irvans is headed up the ladder on the long road to Indy.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Where Are They Now? Ernie Irvan
 
Where Are They Now? Ernie Irvan
This is the second of a series about drivers who competed in the early years of the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard who no longer compete regularly in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Read More
Related Media
Kyle Busch
 
Busch, Toyotas Fill Top of Brickyard Grid as Dominant Run Continues
No other car manufacturer had celebrated a Brickyard 400 victory since Bill Elliott’s Dodge prevailed in 2002. Then all of that changed dramatically last year.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Kyle Busch Dominates in Repeat Lilly Diabetes 250 Win
The driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota repeated as a winner from the pole and won for the third time overall in XFINITY Series racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has led laps in all five races at IMS and led 62 of 63 laps on Saturday in a race that ended with a green-white-checkered finish.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Kyle Busch to Defend Title From the Pole on Sunday
Kyle Busch, last year’s winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will start from the pole for his title defense on Sunday at the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Warriors 400 at the Brickyard.
Read More
Cassadee Pope
 
Chart-Topping Country Star Cassadee Pope to Sing National Anthem at the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
ward-winning country music artist Cassadee Pope will sing the national anthem at Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.
Read More
Jimmie Johnson
 
Brickyard Hopefully The Elixir for Struggling Hendrick Motorsports
That’s what happens when an entire four-car team synonymous with NASCAR success sputters in an improbable slump. Owner Rick Hendrick’s four cars have failed to finish in the top 10 in the past three races entering Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 696
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
@brian_wiggins We can't wait to welcome you home! #Brickyard400
about 4 hours ago