The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 27, 1985 · Page 1
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 1

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Monday, May 27, 1985
Page 1
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Tme Indianapolis Star MONDAY, MAY 27, 1985 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty' II Cor. 3:17 ft ft ft ft cZ25 Cents spins and s wins 9 second victory eludes Mario Sullivan till By ROBIN MILLER STAR ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR For a fleeting instant Sunday, Danny Sullivan came perilously close to becoming another dark spot on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway walls. But instead of leaving a mark on the concrete, Sullivan left his in the record books. Sullivan recovered from a spin, overhauled Mario Andretti and scored a most memorable victory in front of an estimated 400,000 paying customers at the 69th Indianapolis 500. In only his third appearance here, the talented Louisville native became the first driver to ever pull off the unique Indy-car daily double of spin and win. It was the fifth time one of Roger Penske's cars rolled into Victory Lane. After executing a 360 degree loop on lap 120, Sullivan gathered in his Miller American March 85CCosworth, began turning the day's fastest laps and beat Andretti to the checkered flag by 2.477 seconds. Sullivan, Andretti and third place finisher Roberto Guerrero were the only men to go the full 200 laps. The 35 year-old victor averaged only 152.982 mph because the yellow light was on for 77 minutes of the 3:16.06 it took to cover the distance. Rich Vogler, John Paul Jr., Bill Whittington and Tom Sneva all pounded the fence. Vogler sustained a concussion, Paul a possible broken left hand, Whittington chest pains and Sneva mild whiplash. However, the caution period that won't soon be forgotten involved the eventual winner. With all four wheels under the tine, Danny dove under Andretti to take the lead going through the first turn of lap 120. Coming off the corner, he wiggled and his car snapped around. Sullivan did his 200 mph pirouette somehow missing the outside short chute wall and came out of his own tire smoke heading the right direction with the engine still running. "I thought that was all she wrote," he admitted later. "It just spun around, didnt hit anything and all of a sudden the smoke cleared and I was facing towards Turn 2. "I just stuck it down in gear and took off." Andretti also consulted the gods to miss his competitor. "I stayed off the brakes so I wouldn't spin and kept my car as straight as possible," he said. "I hoped inertia would keep him out of my way and it did." Sullivan, who also confessed that he made his bold move because he thought there were only 12 laps remaining, drove back to the pits (right behind Andretti), got four new tires and rejoined the hunt only losing one spoL He stayed second until he reeled in Andretti for the second time on lap 140. "I knew I had a few more laps to pass him and I wasn't going to screw it up again," said Sullivan, who finished third at Long Beach last month after running out of fuel. "I wanted to get by clean and I knew I could take him. "I also didn't let him push me down on the apron this time." j9 W & mm fyS'HJ ( " - -m'M l C, - M h "i . 4r- ; ... '1 4 STAFF PHOTO KEITH PRITCHARD Race leader Danny Sullivan spins in the short chute during Sunday's "500". Second-place Mario Andretti maneuvers to avoid hitting him, recapturing the lead. From that point, the former New York City taxi cab driver never relinquished the top spot as he turned laps from 200 to 204 and built up a 15-second advantage. Of course when Whittington whacked the Turn 3 wall on lap 193, Andretti still had a chance. When the green waved again to begin lap 198, only two cars separated them. - But Sullivan quickly put distance between himself and Mario to become the only driver to ever start eighth and finish first here. "I didn't want to see that last yellow," declared Danny, who led 67 laps. "But I knew I only had to get through three more laps and not make a mistake." Andretti, who set the pace in his Beatrice Lola T- 900 for 107 laps, was anything but pleased with his ' runner-up role. "Second means nothing, especially here," said the veteran whose first and only triumph here came 16 years ago. "I'm very disappointed." While Mario ran strong early and Sullivan struggled, the tables were reversed the second half of the race. "I ran as hard as I could all day and my crew did everything I could possibly ask for," continued Andretti, who started fourth. "But my car stayed the same the entire race and we could never make it better. I saw him (Sullivan) coming on before he spun and I knew they had found something." Guerrero, who spun twice in 1984 and still ran second, brought the Master Mechanic March 85C home safely in third but never challenged for first. "I was driving as fast as I could," said Guerrero, who started 16th. "It just wasn't fast enough today." Three-time Indy winners Al Unser Sr. and Johnny Rutherford wound up fourth and fifth, respectively. Unser ran strong in the early going but was penalized a lap for running over an air hose in the Hertz March 85C, while Rutherford made the day's best charge by coming from 30th in the Vermont American March 85C. Rookie Arie Luyendyk also did a nice job by bringing the Dutch Treats Lola T-900 in sixth. Bobby Rahal, Al Unser Jr., Rick Mears, Tom See SPIN Page 6S Checkered ride Ex-cabbie Sullivan finishes luckiest fare . r i? vvy -ft. "5- 'mil imimi ,1B't ''v " STAFF PHOTO VERN ATKINS '500' winner Danny Sullivan gets a taste of victory and Miller Beer while car owner Roger Penske looks on. By BILL BENNER STAR STAFF WRITER You might say Danny Sullivan went from a Checker Cab to the checkered flag by winning the Indianapolis "500." The 35-year-old native of Louisville, once a New York City taxi driver but now a prized hack for Roger Penske in the Miller American March Cosworth, had the meter and motor running Sunday on his way to claiming the biggest fare in all of motorsports. "Both have their treacherous moments," Sullivan said, responding to a question about the relative difficulty of negotiating Fifth Avenue and the 2 'i miles of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's paved oval. . There is no doubt that Sullivan faced some treacherous moments as he both outlasted and outraced 1969 Indy champion Mario Andretti. Two moments, in particular. The first came on the 120th lap. Sullivan had misunderstood a radio communication with his pit crew and, somehow, thought only 12 laps remained when there actually were 80 circuits left to complete. "That's why I was anxious to get by," he said. Almost too anxious. Attempting to overtake Andretti, Sullivan stuck the nose of his red No. 5 racer in front of Andretti's Beatrice machine as they went wheel-to-wheel through the first turn and into the short chute. In the next instant, Sullivan's machine was spinning. . "We had been running pretty good and I needed to get in front of him because the turbulence was quite bad and the car tended to push too much when I was behind him," Sullivan said. "I had him going down the straightaway, but not a real clean shot And going into (Turn) 1. he went ahead and took his line. We were kind of side by side. I went down on the apron with all four wheels and as I started to come back up I hit the paint stripes and just looped the car. "I thought that was all she wrote but it just spun around and I didn't hit anything. And all of a sudden, the smoke cleared and I was facing Turn 2. So I just stuck it down and took off." The yellow light came out from Sullivan's spin, enabling him to pit, replace his tires and maintain his position just behind Andretti. Four laps later, the green flag flew again. Sullivan, trailing Tom Sneva. barrelled into the first turn, only to see enough spinning, crashing machinery to make him think he was in the bumper-car ride at the State Fair. Rich Vogler and Howdy Holmes had mixed it up and were headed toward the Speedway's concrete. Sneva, trying to avoid the tangle, also had lost control of his Skoal Bandit. "Tom had to get on the brakes, spun it, and I was looking at him spinning right in front of me," Sullivan related. "It was one of those deals where you think, 'Do you get on the gas and hope you miss it or do you get on the brakes and hope it settles down so you can weave your way through it?'" Fortunately, Danny got on the brakes. "I just missed Sneva," he said. "After that. I thought it would either be a long day or I'd survive." Sullivan not only survived, he thrived. On the 140th circuit, Sullivan once more closed in on Andretti again going into the First Turn. "I knew I had a few more laps to pass him v this time and I wasn't going to screw it up again," said Danny. "I wanted to get by clean. I knew I could take him it was just a matter of setting him up. And I didn't let him push me down on the apron this time." Sullivan safely negotiated his way past Andretti and, once in front, never relinquished the lead. However, because of a late yellow light caused by Bill Whittington's crash, Sullivan had to prove himself and his machine one last time. Andretti was only a few car lengths behind when the green flag waved anew on the 197th lap. But Sullivan left little doubt that he was the best racer driving the best race car on this day. "I knew Mario was two cars back, so all I had to do was set the pace," said Sullivan. "And I knew at that stage that I had the measure of just about anybody on the track because of what had happened before. I had the same tires, the fuel load was light and I had a clean track in front of me. So all I had to do was get through those three laps and not make a mistake." No mistakes were forthcoming and. a short time later, Sullivan pulled into Victory Lane in his third "500" start. There, he was greeted by Penske and his See SULLIVAN Page 4S 1 Page Bob Collins column 2S . n Foyt's competitive fire still burning 2S I'ailCllO Carter Penalty perturbs Unser Sr 2S . Crash ousts charging Sneva 3S frustrated DV Rutherford rambles from 30th to fifth 3S J . Mario close but not close enough 3S quick race exit How they finished 4S 1 A rookie fan views race differently 6S Patients plentiful at infield hospital 6S t'age 2b Mears happy despite dismal finish 8S Steady Guerrero finishes 3rd 8S Luyendyk first among rookies 9S Pit Pass 9S State troopers clamp down on Snake Pit Page 12S ( All '500' race news is in this section All race related news is in the first section of today's Star for your convenience. Other news, sports and features are in the following sections. 4 v 1

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