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
Justin Wilson
 
Justin Wilson 1978-2015
INDYCAR announced that driver Justin Wilson, who enjoyed success in multiple motorsports series during a two-decade professional career, died today from a head injury suffered in the Verizon IndyCar Series race Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. He was 37.
Read More
Justin Wilson
 
IMS Statement Regarding Justin Wilson
A statement from Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles about the passing of Indianapolis 500 and United States Grand Prix veteran Justin Wilson:
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Pruett's Preview: Going For It at Pocono
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon sits third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. The three-time title winner is accustomed to being at the sharp end of the standings with the season drawing to a close, and with this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono’s tri-oval offering a chance to move up to first or second in points, the New Zealander says his game plan is incredibly simple.
Read More
Marco Andretti
 
Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Take Test Laps, Look Ahead to 100th Indy 500
On Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a half-dozen Verizon IndyCar Series drivers took part in a test on the 2.5-mile oval. Some were specifically testing Firestone tires while others were testing for their own teams.
Read More
Tony Kanaan
 
IndyCar Veterans Slated to Test at IMS on Wednesday, Aug. 12
The 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET session will incorporate a Firestone tire test to be conducted with Marco Andretti in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, along with four drivers participating in team testing on the 2.5-mile oval.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,014
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
.@TrentEWhite, "Next year is the 100th Running for the “500.” Which five years was there no “500” & why?" #AskDonald http://t.co/HO9bOc6U5L
about 11 seconds ago