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
Juan Pablo Montoya
 
Pruett's Preview: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Juan Montoya has been chasing his second win at Mid-Ohio since he was an IndyCar rookie in 1999. The assortment of numbers involved with the 40-year-old Colombian’s chase for a follow-up victory at the awesome 2.3-mile road course make for an interesting open-wheel time capsule:
Read More
Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational
 
SVRA Schedules "Open Wheel World Challenge" at IMS in 2017
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced an expansion of its events with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the “The SVRA Open Wheel World Challenge,” for June 8-11, 2017. The event, planned to occur one week prior to the 2017 Brickyard Invitational, is expected to showcase as many as 500 cars. SVRA officials describe it as an homage to the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford racing. In addition to Formula Ford, any open wheel car, including Formula One, Formula 5000, Indy cars, Indy Lights, Formula Vee, and Formula Junior will be invited. Specific race groups will be established that combine cars of similar speed and will focus on rules for Monoposto, FIA, and SCCA race cars.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
No Catching Dominant Busch at Prolonged Brickyard
Never before had a driver in this NASCAR race been so dominant, but the defending Sprint Cup Series and Brickyard 400 champion had to endure a series of four restarts beginning on Lap 153 that prolonged a 160-lap race 10 additional laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart
 
Two Hoosiers, One Final Memorable Moment at The Brickyard
Tony Stewart couldn’t imagine a better farewell, aside from winning, than to invite Jeff Gordon for one more 2.5-mile drive at the track that has meant so much to both NASCAR rivals. Sunday was supposed to be Stewart’s final Brickyard 400. Last year was supposed to be Gordon’s swan song.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Kyle Busch Wins 2016 Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver dominated Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard, leading 149 of 170 laps from the pole and surviving four restarts late in his No. 18 Skittles Toyota. He joined Jimmie Johnson (2008-09) as the only driver to repeat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,289
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
RT @FamilyFeudABC: In case you're wondering how the @IndyCar men drive for so long! #CelebrityFamilyFeud https://t.co/F1z6FaStQd
about 1 hour ago