It’s a big day for four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears, who celebrates his 70th birthday Friday, Dec. 3.
While “The Rocket” marks a significant numerical milestone in his life today, it’s time to look back at some of the incredible numbers he produced in his INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 500 career.
Career INDYCAR SERIES starts: 202
Career INDYCAR SERIES championships: Three (1979, 1981, 1982)*
Career INDYCAR SERIES victories: 29
Career INDYCAR SERIES poles: 40
Career Indianapolis 500 starts: 15
Career Indianapolis 500 victories: Four (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991)**
Career Indianapolis 500 victories from pole: Three (1979, 1988, 1991)***
Career Indianapolis 500 poles: Six (1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991)***
Career Indianapolis 500 front-row starts: 11 (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)***
* - Also won three USAC Gold Crown championships (1983-84, 1987-88, 1990-91)
** - Ties event record
*** - Event record
Happy birthday, Rocket Rick!
Testing, testing: While the weather turns colder in northern climates, drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will be busy next week testing in warmer locations.
Four NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams are testing Monday, Dec. 6 at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.
Mercedes EQ Formula E teammates Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries will participate in evaluation tests with Arrow McLaren SP and Meyer Shank Racing, respectively. Ed Carpenter Racing also will evaluate FIA Formula 2 race winner and one-time Formula One race starter Jack Aitken on Monday at Sebring.
Juncos Hollinger Racing will continue its progress toward the 2022 season debut by testing full-time driver Callum Ilott at Sebring.
The “short course” at Sebring will heat up Tuesday, Dec. 7 and Wednesday, Dec. 8 with 13 cars testing from four teams – Abel Motorsports, Andretti Autosport, HMD Motorsports and TJ Speed Motorsports. Drivers scheduled to test include Jacob Abel, Christian Bogle, Matthew Brabham, Ernie Francis Jr., Danial Frost, Hunter McElrea, Benjamin Pederson, Artem Petrov, Christian Rasmussen, Sting Ray Robb, James Roe, Kyffin Simpson and Manuel Sulaiman.
VeeKay To Race in Rolex 24: 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay will make his second Rolex 24 At Daytona start in January 2022, sharing an LMP2 prototype fielded by Racing Team Nederland.
VeeKay, from the Netherlands, will share the No. 29 ORECA LMP2 car with team owner-driver Frits van Eerd, former Formula One driver Giedo van der Garde and American Dylan Murry.
2021 GMR Grand Prix winner VeeKay finished 10th in the LMP2 class with DragonSpeed in his Rolex 24 debut last January.
Help artist Warrick’s family: Many racing fans are familiar with the work of talented racing artist Roger Warrick, whose creations have adorned canvases painted live at racetracks, been used as car-toons by many NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers for their official merchandise and were featured on many T-shirts and sweatshirts worn by late journalist Robin Miller after Miller commissioned the work from Warrick.
Warrick’s wife, Whitney, is undergoing a significant health challenge that is preventing her from working, and the family’s income has been cut in half. The Warrick’s are facing the loss of their home as expenses mount.
Race fans are encouraged to help the Warrick family by contributing to a GoFundMe to assist with their expenses and keep them in their home. The GoFundMe can be found here.