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
Ed Jones
 
Jones Shows Wisdom, Speed Beyond Years in Impressive Rookie Performance This May
Before he continued to be impressively fast in practice Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ed Jones visited Sebastien Bourdais at IU Health Methodist Hospital. Jones, the 22-year-old understudy, was there to check on the health of his 38-year-old Dale Coyne Racing mentor, Bourdais, who is recuperating from pelvis and hip surgery after a scary qualifying crash Saturday.
Read More
Oriol Servia
 
Servia's Career Continues To Sing Along 'His Way' with Strong May Performance
Known for years in the Verizon IndyCar Series as an experienced and capable driver, Oriol Servia has also distinguished himself as an entertaining karaoke king. “Ask him to sing ‘My Way,’” said Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal.
Read More
Max Chilton
 
Chilton Tops Practice as Teams Zero In on Race Setups
British driver Max Chilton turned a top lap of 228.592 mph in the No. 8 Gallagher Honda to lead a four-hour practice under sunny skies on the 2.5-mile oval, the last chance for cars to work in traffic on multiple, extended runs on full tanks of fuel. The only on-track activity remaining for the “500” field before Race Day this Sunday is a one-hour practice Friday morning on Miller Lite Carb Day.
Read More
Angela Brown
 
Renowned Soprano, Hoosier Native Angela Brown To Sing 'God Bless America' at '500'
World-renowned opera singer and Indianapolis native Angela Brown will sing “God Bless America” during pre-race ceremonies for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, a beloved patriotic tradition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Read More
Nicky Hayden
 
Hayden Remembered as Fan Favorite, Talented World Champion at IMS
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden never won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but “The Kentucky Kid” still was one of the most popular, talented and respected racers on two or four wheels to compete at the Racing Capital of the World in the last decade.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,595
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 IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21