News & Multimedia

An Exclusive Interview with Rick Mears

Rick Mears smiles broadly as he recalls two race cars that helped make him famous. They were both beautiful – the March chassis from 1984 and the Penske chassis from 1988 – and both won the Indianapolis 500. But what Mears remembers most vividly about those cars is what almost everyone else recalls first.

The color.

“That was the great thing – and the most troublesome thing – about those cars,” Mears says. “Nobody missed you in that bright yellow car, but that was also the problem. Nobody missed you. It was a gorgeous color and two gorgeous race cars, but if I made a mistake in that color, everybody noticed it.”

There’s more behind Mears’ smile than memories of two of his four Indy 500 winners. He’s also thrilled that the Pennzoil brand is returning to IndyCar racing and Team Penske. Shell-Pennzoil announced last week that it would sponsor Helio Castroneves car for the 2011 Indy 500. Castroneves has won the race three times.

Mears is not only rooting for Castroneves to break the record of four shared with A.J. Foyt and Al Unser, he’s helping him; Mears is a consultant for Team Penske, serving as a driver coach.

“I joked with Helio when we saw the new car that if he had the setup I had when I drove the Pennzoil cars, he’d easily win his fourth and fifth,” Mears said. “He liked that idea.”

The new paint scheme isn’t nearly as loud as Mears’ banana-yellow cars of ’84 and ’88, but it is just as striking. Incorporating silver, red and black with the Pennzoil yellow, Castroneves’ entry will make its run at tying the all-time record when practice for the 100th anniversary Indy 500 begins May 13. All four of Mears’ Indy 500 victories – 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991 – came with Roger Penske’s race team. In ’84, he won by more than two laps. In ’88, he came from a lap down to win. Penske has won the race a record 15 times as a team owner, and he brings an iconic brand back for his attempt at No. 16.

“Roger loves putting a deal together,” says Mears, who also coaches drivers in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. “Just watching him for all these years, I’ve come to realize that he’s a straight shooter. A deal is only a good deal for Roger when it’s a good deal for both parties. He understands that, and that’s one of the reasons he’s had the opportunities. Roger’s always understood that if it’s not good for both parties, it’s not going to work for either one.”

This deal appears to be working our perfectly for both. Castroneves gets a shot at Indy history, Pennzoil gets back in the drivers’ seat, and Mears gets to recall two bright moments in his historic career. “Pennzoil coming back is just great,” Mears says. “I drove for them for seven or eight years. It’s a great company to work with, a great partner for racing. They always helped us put together good cars, and this one will be good, too. And it’s gorgeous.” Mears pauses and smiles again. “But it’s bright,” he says. “I reminded Helio of that. If you make a mistake, everybody will see it.” And if you win?

The world will know it.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
An Exclusive Interview with Rick Mears
 
An Exclusive Interview with Rick Mears
An exclusive interview with four-time Indy 500 winner, Rick Mears, on what Pennzoil's partnership with Penske Racing will mean for Helio Castroneves this season.
Read More
Related Media
Conor Daly
 
Daly To Contest Indy 500 in Third SPM Entry
Conor Daly has been seeking -- no, striving for -- such an opportunity since May 2013, when the Noblesville, Ind., native made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut for AJ Foyt Racing in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Read More
The Rolling Stones
 
Global Live Created; Hits Ground Running with Rolling Stones’ Visit to Indianapolis
Global Entertainment, the content creation arm of Ashley Tabor’s U.K.-founded Global, The Media and Entertainment Group, has announced its newest division – Global Live.
Read More
Juan Pablo Montoya
 
Pruett's Preview: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Team Penske’s Juan Montoya not only leads the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings heading into this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, he also leads an interesting group of drivers who have taken over the top three spots in the championship.
Read More
Townsend Bell
 
Bell to Attempt His Ninth Indianapolis 500
Bell, 39, will compete in his ninth Indy 500 with the Robert Graham Special, a Chevrolet- powered Dallara chassis with the new Chevrolet Speedway body kit. Bell previously drove for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2008.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Dixon Lands 36th Career IndyCar Win at Long Beach
Dixon's first victory at Long Beach was his 36th overall, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car list. Al Unser is fourth with 39 victories. It was the 98th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 917
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
Exactly one week from Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!! Check out the rest of the schedule here: http://t.co/meeomnyFsW
about 3 hours ago