News & Multimedia

Brickyard Pioneers: Where are They Now? Danny Sullivan

Note: This is the fifth 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.

Trivia time.

Five Indianapolis 500 winners have participated in at least one Brickyard 400. A.J. Foyt, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Sam Hornish Jr. are four of them.

The fifth? Former taxi driver, Formula One driver and 1985 “spin and win” Indianapolis 500 champion Danny Sullivan, who started the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 in a rare NASCAR appearance.

“It wasn’t great, but it was OK,” Sullivan said of his NASCAR experience at IMS. “I drove Talladega in an ARCA car and tried to qualify at Atlanta and Rockingham. We were outsiders, but I like my friends down there. I like NASCAR. They did a good job. I’m glad I did it, but it could’ve been fine if I could’ve been competitive.”

He got a last-minute assistance from an old friend to qualify for the historic race in 1994 at IMS.

“My old buddy RP (Roger Penske), I went down and borrowed some shocks from Rusty Wallace,” Sullivan said. “In practice, I couldn’t get a clean lap. When I went out and qualified, I went quicker.”

He said his qualifying run caused some head-scratching in the NASCAR tech area. But his ability to race was compromised early.

“On the opening lap, the Plexiglas on the right-side window blew out,” Sullivan said. “I wanted to go on without it, but NASCAR said to stop and fix it, so we lost some laps.”

Sullivan was running at the finish in 33rd place, eight laps down, in a Chevrolet.

There was a big difference between Indy cars and stock cars at the Brickyard.

“When you were so used to driving an Indy car and trying to go flat, it was hard to roll out of it in the corners,” Sullivan said. “The Indy car is so much faster. They’re so precise and quick. I think Darrell Waltrip said it (about stock cars), ‘When they’re good, they’re bad.’ They have about three times the weight, don’t have the same tires, don’t have as much downforce.”

Sullivan, 62, is only minimally involved in racing today and has turned his attention to aviation.

“I work for Tempus Jets and do government contracts,” Sullivan said. “We have planes in Afghanistan and other not-so-nice parts of the world. We started out with one airplane and 10 people 4 ½ years ago and right now we have 200 people and 37 aircraft. We have a lot of business with oil, gas and mining companies. Lately, I’ve been involved in discussions in Africa.”

Sullivan doesn’t spend much time at his Pebble Beach, Calif., home, but still keeps involved in racing when he can.

“I have a couple historic cars in England, and we race them,” he said. “I’m also an FIA steward at Formula One races twice a year. I’ll do Hungary and the USGP at Austin this year. We’re still trying to compete. I kind of keep my hand in.”
                                                          ***
Super Weekend tickets: Tickets are on sale now for the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard on July 26-29 at IMS.
All ticket orders can be made at www.imstix.com and through the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday. For more information, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.
Children 12 and under will receive free general admission when accompanied by an adult with a Kroger Super Weekend ticket or general admission ticket.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Brickyard Pioneers: Where are They Now? Danny Sullivan
 
Brickyard Pioneers: Where are They Now? Danny Sullivan
Five Indianapolis 500 winners have participated in at least one Brickyard 400. A.J. Foyt, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Sam Hornish Jr. are four of them.
Read More
Related Media
Tony Kanaan
 
Past Champs Kanaan, Dixon Not to be Overlooked From the Middle of the Grid
Although his No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet qualified 18th for Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Kanaan finished Monday’s final extended practice No. 2 on the speed chart.
Read More
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award
 
Five Drivers to Battle for Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award
After the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil this Sunday, one driver from a field of five “500” newcomers will become the 63rd winner of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, along with its new trophy and $50,000 prize.
Read More
PennGrade Motor Oil
 
From 'Sneaking In' to a Seat in the Pagoda, PennGrade's Miller Takes Emotional Journey to 100th Running
In the early morning hours of May 30, 1969, a father and his 15-year-old daughter drove through a north Indianapolis Motor Speedway gate and parked a 1966 blue Ford Falcon in the dark.
Read More
101st Running of the Indy 500 Logo
 
New Indy 500 Logo and 'Race to Renew' Campaign to Set Pace for Exciting 2017
The buildup for the 101st Running starts with “Race to Renew.” Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 30, fans will have 500 hours to purchase their tickets for the 2017 Indy 500. Those who do so will be able to lock in their current seats at the most recent price or be first in line for upgrades.
Read More
Panasonic Pagoda
 
Historic Sellout Marks 100th Running of the Indy 500 Local TV Delay Suspended for 2016
Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced the first sellout in the history of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race today. All suites, reserved seating and infield General Admission tickets for the 100th Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil are sold out.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,225
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
The Steady March for Progress Accelerated with @TonyKanaan https://t.co/MsChuvwxuf https://t.co/j9ZmJrtiEU
about 28 minutes ago