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
Legends Day Honoring Al Unser presented by Firestone
 
Four-Time "500" Winner Al Unser to be Honored at Legends Day on May 23
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Firestone will honor four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser during the 45th anniversary of his first Indianapolis 500 victory on Saturday, May 23, 2015, at “Legends Day Honoring Al Unser presented by Firestone.”
Read More
2015 Rolex 24 Victory Podium
 
INDYCAR Drivers Continue 24-Hour Race Wins Streak
Victory in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona will be quite the preseason confidence boost to Kanaan and teammate Scott Dixon, who co-drove the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.
Read More
Indianapolis 500 Parade of Bands
 
Indianapolis 500 Parade of Bands Recognized by Indianapolis House/Senate Resolution
The 90th anniversary of the annual Parade of Bands that will precede the 2015 Indianapolis 500 was recognized by the Indiana House and Senate in a concurrent resolution during the General Assembly at the Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis on Monday, Jan. 26.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
Sharing 'Super Tex' Stories on a Special 80th Birthday
Anthony Joseph “A.J.” Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the only driver to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona and Le Mans, turns 80 today. We asked a few veteran motorsports journalists and broadcasters to share tributes and stories about the man universally known as “Super Tex.”
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Hunter-Reay Presented With Baby Borg Trophy
The trophies are keepsakes for the winning driver and team owner. The 14-inch-tall, sterling silver Championship Driver’s Trophy – a replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy -- rests on a 4-inch by 8-inch beveled black marble base that includes a three-dimensional sterling silver image of the winning driver’s face hand-crafted by noted American sculptor William Behrends, and an inscription of the winning team and year of victory.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 879
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 Phil Sparks at (317) 492-6463 or email at psparks@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
#TBT: @jpmontoya's rookie #Indy500 win in 2000. A virtually an unheard-of feat in the modern era. More on The Blog: http://t.co/woUHbWtO6U
about 7 hours ago