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
Helio Castroneves
 
Field Offers Glance of a Potentially Great Race Day with Racy Monday Practice
Josef Newgarden considered Monday’s final extended practice session a strong indication of what to expect come Sunday in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Read More
Josef Newgarden
 
Newgarden Fastest as Teams Switch Focus to Race Setups
The drivers in this year’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil got a taste for the race in today’s practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
James Hinchcliffe
 
A Day Later, Hinchcliffe and Family Continue to Savor 'Spectacular' Pole Win
As the pictures were taken of Hinchcliffe, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, reality came more into focus.
Read More
Front Row Shot
 
'Fun Front Row' Emerges from Pole Day, Led by First-Time Pole Sitter Hinchcliffe
Three cars from different teams, separated by a scant .0758 of a second, two Honda engines and one Chevrolet, a Canadian and two Americans, a driver who has never been on a Verizon IndyCar Series pole, a runner-up who has never started second at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a 2014 Indy 500 champion who is a former teammate and good buddies with the fastest qualifier.
Read More
Florence Henderson
 
Florence Henderson to Serve as Grand Marshal for 100th Running
Florence Henderson, a beloved part of Indianapolis 500 Race Day for a quarter-century, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,215
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
.@pwilson24 sits down for a few minutes with Johnny Rutherford on today's #SpeedRead - https://t.co/iajBKOpyPM https://t.co/E0SA9zM87Y
about 6 hours ago