Danny Ongais

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Danny Ongais
Ongais, Danny (1984).jpg
Danny Ongais in 1984
Born (1942-05-21) May 21, 1942 (age 72)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United States American
Active years 1977-1978
Teams Ensign; non-works Penske & Shadow
Races 6 (4 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1977 United States Grand Prix
Last race 1978 Dutch Grand Prix

Danny Ongais (born May 21, 1942 in Kahului, Maui Island, Hawaii[1]) is a former racecar driver from the United States.

He is the only native Hawaiian to compete at the Indianapolis 500. A motorcycle, sports car, Formula One, and drag racing competitor, in 1963 and 1964 Ongais won the American Hot Rod Association AA Gas Dragster Championship and in 1965 he added the National Hot Rod Association AA Dragster championship title.

A flamboyant figure on the racing circuit, Danny's nickname was "On-Gas" for his 'balls to the wall' driving style. He was also known as the "Flyin'-Hawaiian".

He was a Formula One driver who participated in six Grands Prix, debuting on October 2, 1977, and recorded a best result of seventh. In 1996 at the age of 54, Ongais agreed to be the substitute driver for Scott Brayton in the Indy 500 who had died in a practice crash shortly before the race. Starting last, Danny finished 7th in what was his final 500.

In 1981 he had a severe accident in the Indy 500, which almost cost his life. Several arm and leg fractures as well as internal injuries were the result. Then in 1985 at the Michigan 500, he spun on the exit of turn two and barrel-rolled down the back straight, during a race which had several crashes throughout its duration.

Early life and career[edit]

Ongais was born in Kahului, Hawaii. When he was aged 14, he tested out motorbike racing with some success. In the late 1950s, Ongais enlisted in the United States Army as a paratrooper stationed in Europe. He was later discharged and returned to Hawaii for motor racing. Ongais became the Hawaiian motorcycle champion in 1960 and was in the top three positions in the expert class from 1960 to 1962.[2]

CART career[edit]

Ongais made his CART debut during the 1979 season driving the #25 Panasonic/Interscope Racing Parnelli 6C-Cosworth DFX. He first raced at the Arizona Republic/Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix International Raceway where he qualified 4th and led for several laps only to drop out after 128 laps due to engine problems. He then competed at the Gould Twin Dixie 125 however bad luck hit Ongais in both races. At the Indianapolis 500 Ongais crashed in practice and this put Ongais in jeopardy of not being able to compete. Ongais qualified 27th and finished 4th. As the season progressed the Parnelli 6C (which was already a two year old car) started to struggle due its age. Ongais scored another 4th place finish at the Kent Oil 150 at Watkins Glen International and finished in 6th place in points.

For the 1980 season Interscope was intending to use their own chassis with a Porsche V6 engine. The car was disallowed and Interscope brought out their Parnelli 6C-Cosworth DFX. At his first race of the season, the Indianapolis 500 Ongais started 16th and finished 7th. Ongais endured a tough season highlighted by a 3rd place finish at Watkins Glen. Ongais also made a single start for AMI Racing driving the #43 Armstrong Mould Orbiter 80C-Cosworth DFX at the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, finishing 11th. Ongais ended the season in 15th place in points.

Ongais next drove in CART during the 1983 CART/PPG World Series season, first driving at the 1983 Indianapolis 500 driving the #65 Interscope Racing March 83C-Chevrolet V6 however, the car was replaced with the #25 March 83C-Cosworth DFX and he started in 21st place and retired with mechanical problems. Ongais replaced an injured Johnny Rutherford in the #40 Sea Ray Boats Wildcat Mk 9-Cosworth DFX. Later in the season Interscope Racing set up a partnership between themselves and Patrick Racing giving Patrick Racing March 83C-Cosworth DFXs. Ongais scored a best finish of 5th place at the Escort Warning Radars 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Ongais finished in 20th place in points.

1984 Champ Car

For the 1984 season Ongais took over as owner of Interscope Racing fielding the #25 Interscope Racing March 84C-Cosworth DFX. Ongais finished in 3rd place at the Detroit News Grand Prix at Michigan International Speedway. He also finished in 10th place in points.

For the 1985 season Ongais scored a best finish of 6th at the Beatrice Indy Challenge at Tamiami Park and finished in 24th place in points. Ongais also survived a spectacular barrel roll at the Michigan 500 at Michigan International Speedway when he ran into the slower car of Phil Krueger on the backstretch.

For the 1986 season Ongais only ran the 1986 Indianapolis 500 for Interscope Racing. Fielding the #25 GM Goodwrench/Panavision March 86C-Buick V6, Ongais dropped out with a mechanical failure.

For the 1987 season Interscope Racing teamed up with Team Penske getting Ongais in the #25 Panavision Penske PC-16-Ilmor-Chevrolet Indy V8 for the Indianapolis 500, however Ongais crashed in practice and suffered a concussion. The car went to Al Unser Sr who went on to win a record-tying 4th Indianapolis 500. Ongais later attempted to race at the Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway, the Nissan Indy Challenge at Tamiami Park and the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth Speedway. He would retire at Michigan and Miami and fail to qualify at Nazareth.

IndyCar[edit]

Ongais was asked by John Menard to fill in for Scott Brayton who was killed during Friday Practice for the 1996 Indianapolis 500. By starting 33rd, Ongais was the oldest driver to have competed in the field.[3]

Awards[edit]


Racing record[edit]

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1977 Interscope Racing Penske PC4 Cosworth V8 ARG BRA RSA USW ESP MON BEL SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA USA
Ret
CAN
7
JPN NC 0
1978 Team Tissot Ensign Ensign N177 Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
Ret
RSA NC 0
Interscope Racing Shadow DN9 USW
DNPQ
MON BEL ESP SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED
DNPQ
ITA USA CAN

American Open-Wheel racing results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

USAC[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Rank Points
1976 Interscope Racing PHX TRE INDY MIL POC MCH TWS TRE MIL ONT
28
MCH TWS PHX NC -
1977 Interscope Racing ONT
7
PHX
5
TWS
13
TRE INDY
20
MIL
17
POC
23
MOS
15
MCH
1
TWS
13
MIL
21
ONT
8
MCH
17
PHX
12
12th 935
1978 Interscope Racing PHX
12
ONT
1
TWS
1
TRE
4
INDY
18
MOS
1
MIL
16
POC
19
MCH
6
ATL
21
TWS
DNS
MIL
1
ONT
12
MCH
1
TRE
15
SIL
15
BRH
9
PHX
4
8th 2662
1979 Interscope Racing ONT TWS INDY
4
MIL POC
12
TWS MIL NC -
1981-82 Interscope Racing INDY
27
POC ILL DUQ ISF INDY
22
NC -

PPG Indycar Series[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1979 Interscope Racing PHX
15
ATL
14
ATL
6
INDY
4
TRE
7
TRE
6
MCH
18
MCH
12
WGL
4
TRE
13
ONT
6
MCH
DNS
ATL
15
PHX
17
6th 1473
1980 Interscope Racing ONT
INDY
7
MIL
24
POC
18
MDO
21
MCH
21
WGL
3
MIL
ONT
19
MCH
11
MEX
24
PHX
15th 601
1983 Interscope Racing ATL
INDY
21
20th 14
Patrick Racing MIL
12
CLE
28
MCH
23
ROA
18
POC
24
RIV
10
MDO
5
MCH
CPL
LAG
PHX
1984 Interscope Racing LBH
DNQ
PHX
5
INDY
9
MIL
10
POR
11
MEA
18
CLE
28
MCH
24
ROA
POC
5
MDO
SAN
23
MCH
3
PHX
5
LAG
21
CPL
17
10th 53
1985 Interscope Racing LBH
DNQ
INDY
17
MIL
POR
MEA
CLE
MCH
20
ROA
POC
22
MDO
SAN
MCH
7
LAG
PHX
14
MIA
6
24th 14
1986 March Engineering PHX
LBH
INDY
23
MIL
POR
MEA
CLE
TOR
MCH
POC
MDO
SAN
MCH
ROA
LAG
PHX
MIA
NC 0
1987 Team Penske LBH
PHX
INDY
Wth1
MIL
POR
MEA
CLE
TOR
MCH
17
POC
ROA
MDO
NAZ
DNQ
LAG
MIA
27
42nd 0
1 Injured, replaced by Al Unser

Indy Racing League[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Rank Points
1996 Team Menard WDW PHX INDY
7
29th 28
1996-1997 Chitwood Motorsports NHM LVS WDW
13
PHX
Rpl
INDY TXS PPI
CLT
NHM
LVS
42nd 22
1998 Team Pelfrey WDW
PHX
INDY
DNQ
TXS
NHM
DOV
CLT
PPI
ATL
TXS
LVS
NC

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Entrant
1977 Parnelli VPJ6B Cosworth 7 20 Interscope Racing
1978 Parnelli VPJ6B Cosworth 2 18 Interscope Racing
1979 Parnelli VPJ6C Cosworth 27 4 Interscope Racing
1980 Parnelli VPJ6C Cosworth 16 7 Interscope Racing
1981 Interscope 81 Cosworth 21 27 Interscope Racing
1982 Interscope 03 Cosworth 9 22 Interscope Racing
1983 March 83C Cosworth 21 21 Interscope Racing
1984 March 84C Cosworth 11 9 Interscope Racing
1985 March 85C Cosworth 17 17 Interscope Racing
1986 March 86C Buick 16 23 March Engineering
1987 Penske PC-16 Chevrolet Practice Crash1 Team Penske
1996 Lola T95/00 Menard-Buick 332 7 Team Menard
1998 Dallara Oldsmobile DNQ Team Pelfrey
1 Al Unser succeeded Ongais as driver in the car; Unser won the Indianapolis 500 with a March-Cosworth that had been a show car.
2 After Scott Brayton was killed in a practice crash with a backup car, Ongais drove the car Brayton qualified on the pole; under USAC rules, the car had to start last.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jenkins, Richard. "The World Championship drivers - Where are they now?". OldRacingCars.com. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  2. ^ "Danny Ongais Biography". F1 Rejects. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  3. ^ Herman, Steve (May 20, 1996). "Indy 500 lineup set; Ongais to take over Brayton's car". Point Pleasant Register. p. 5. 
  4. ^ "No. 39: Danny Ongais". NHRA. 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-30. [dead link]

External links[edit]