Mike Groff

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Mike Groff
Nationality American
Born (1961-11-16) November 16, 1961 (age 52)
Van Nuys, California
Retired 1999
Related to Robbie Groff
Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
Years active 1996-1998
Teams A. J. Foyt Enterprises
Walker Racing
Byrd-Cunningham Racing
Starts 12
Wins 0
Poles 0
Best finish 6th in 1996
Mike Groff
CART Championship Car
Years active 1990-1994, 1996
Teams Euromotorsport
A. J. Foyt Enterprises
Walker Racing
Rahal-Hogan Racing
Starts 54
Wins 0
Poles 0
Best finish 16th in 1991
Previous series
1986-1989
1985
American Racing Series
American Formula Super Vee
Championship titles
1989 American Racing Series champion

Michael Dennis Groff (born November 16, 1961 in Van Nuys, California) is a former race car driver who competed in CART and the IRL IndyCar Series and was the 1989 Indy Lights champion. His younger brother Robbie was also a CART and IRL driver from 1994 to 1998.

Racing career[edit]

Formula Super Vee and Indy Lights[edit]

Groff made his professional debut in 1984 competing in the Valvoline/Robert Bosche Formula Super Vee series. He finished third in the series in 1985 and second in 1986. In 1986 he also made his American Racing Series debut (later renamed Indy Lights). Driving for a family team, he captured wins at the Milwaukee Mile and Road America and finished third in points. In 1987 he won at Nazareth Speedway and finished fifth in points. In 1988 he only competed in three Indy Lights races for three different teams, but finished second at Nazareth. In 1989 he competed full-time for Leading Edge Racing and captured four wins on his way to the championship.

CART Champ Car[edit]

Groff attempted to make his CART Champ Car debut in the 1990 Indianapolis 500 for Euromotorsport but failed to qualify. He made his debut three weeks later at the Detroit Grand Prix with the same team and completed the season with them. In 12 starts he had a best finish of seventh at Nazareth and finished 17th in points.

In 1991 Groff initially returned to Euromotorsport but switched to A. J. Foyt Enterprises for the final five races of the season. his best finish was eighth (three times) and he finished 16th in points. He also competed in his first Indianapolis 500.

Groff entered 1992 without a full-time ride. He qualified a second car for Walker Racing in the 1992 Indianapolis 500 but when regular driver Scott Goodyear failed to qualify, he replaced Groff. Groff made six starts that season for Euromotorsport (2 races), Walker (1 race), and Foyt (3 races) and finished 23rd in points.

In 1993 Groff joined Rahal-Hogan Racing for the 1993 Indianapolis 500 but the team could not get its bespoke Rahal-Hogan chassis up to speed and both Groff and team owner Bobby Rahal failed to qualify. Groff made six starts in 1993 for Rahal-Hogan with a best finish of ninth at Portland International Raceway. He finished 23rd in points.

1994 saw Groff return to Rahal-Hogan full-time. The team had since abandoned their bespoke chassis but were the first team to experiment with Honda's new CART engine package. The team struggled with the package throughout the season and had to purchase Ilmor-powered cars from Team Penske to make the 1994 Indianapolis 500. Despite a full-season with a well-funded team, Groff only finished 20th in points. Rahal managed a slightly more respectable tenth.

In 1995 Groff's only on-track activity was practice laps for the 1995 Indianapolis 500 with Chip Ganassi Racing, but he did not make an attempt to qualify.

IRL IndyCar[edit]

In 1996 Groff joined the new IRL IndyCar Series with Foyt Enterprises. Groff finished sixth in the series' first race and third at the second race at Phoenix International Raceway. He then was hired by Walker to race in the CART race at Nazareth where he finished 14th and qualified 11th for the 1996 Indy 500 but was sidelined by a fire after 122 laps, also driving for Walker (which was one of the few teams to participate in both CART and the IRL in 1996). Groff finished sixth in the 1996 IRL championship.

For the 1996-1997 Indy Racing League season Groff joined Byrd/Cunningham/McCormack Motorsports and captured 3 straight top-five finishes to start the season including a third at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a second at Walt Disney World Speedway (the first with the series new naturally aspirated cars). He finished 12th in the 1997 Indianapolis 500 and finished fourteenth in the championship. Groff returned to Byrd-Cunningham Racing in 1998. After finishes of 7th, 15th, and 15th to start the season, he was replaced at the Texas Motor Speedway race by John Paul, Jr.. He was out of a ride for the rest of the season.

Groff attempted to qualify for the 1999 Indianapolis 500 for Team Xtreme Racing but failed to make the field. It would be his last IndyCar appearance.

Racing record[edit]

American open–wheel racing results[edit]

(key)

CART[edit]

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1990 Euromotorsport Lola T89/00 Ford Cosworth DFS PHX LBH IND
DNQ
MIL DET
Ret
POR
Ret
CLE
9
MEA
Ret
17th 17
Lola T90/00 TOR
11
MIS
11
DEN
14
VAN
Ret
MDO
10
ROA
Ret
NAZ
7
LS
15
1991 Euromotorsport Lola T91/00 Ford Cosworth DFS SRF
8
LBH
Ret
PHX
Ret
IND
Ret
MIL
Ret
DET
Ret
POR
11
CLE
10
MEA
11
16th 22
A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 265A TOR
8
MIS DEN
DNS
VAN MDO
Ret
ROA
8
NAZ LS
Ret
1992 Walker Racing Lola T91/00 Chevrolet 265A SRF PHX LBH IND
DNQ
DET
DNS
POR ROA
Ret
VAN 25th 5
Euromotorsport Ford Cosworth DFS MIL
14
NHA
13
TOR MIS CLE
A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 265A MDO
15
Lola T92/00 NAZ
Ret
LS
8
1993 Rahal-Hogan Racing Rahal-Hogan RH-001 Chevrolet 265C SRF PHX LBH IND
DNQ
MIL
Ret
DET
Ret
POR
9
CLE TOR MIS NHA
11
23rd 8
Lola T93/00 ROA
Ret
VAN MDO
Ret
NAZ LS
1994 Team Rahal Lola T93/00 Honda HRX SRF
8
20th 17
Lola T94/00 PHX
6
LBH
Ret
MIL
19
DET
Ret
POR
11
CLE
Ret
TOR
Ret
MIS
Ret
MDO
Ret
NHA
Ret
VAN
14
ROA
Ret
NAZ
11
LS
15
Penske PC-22 Ilmor 265C IND
Ret
1995 Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard 95i Ford XB MIA SRF PHX LBH NAZ IND
Rpl
MIL DET POR ROA TOR CLE MIS MDO NHA VAN LS NC -
1996 Walker Racing Reynard 96i Ford XD MIA RIO SRF LBH NAZ
14
500 MIL DET POR CLE TOR MIS MDO ROA VAN LS 34th 0

Indy Racing League[edit]

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Rank Points
1996 A. J. Foyt Enterprises Lola T95/00 Ford XB WDW
6
PHX
3
6th 228
Walker Racing Reynard 95i INDY
20
1996-1997 Byrd-Cunningham Racing Reynard 95i Ford XB NHM
4
LVS
3
14th 169
G-Force Infiniti WDW
2
PHX
6
IND
12
TXS
DNS
PPI NH2
DNS
LV2
Oldsmobile CLT
14
1998 Byrd-Cunningham Racing G-Force Oldsmobile WDW
7
PHX
15
INDY
15
TXS
Rpl
NHM DOV CLT PPI ATL TX2 LVS 30th 56
1999 TeamXtreme Dallara Infiniti WDW PHX INDY
DNQ
TXS PPI ATL DOV PP2 LVS TX2 NC -

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Tean
1990 Lola T89/00 Ford Cosworth DFS DNQ Euromotorsport
1991 Lola T91/00 Ford Cosworth DFS 18 24 Euromotorsport
1992 Lola T91/00 Chevrolet 265A Raced by S. Goodyear Walker
1993 Rahal-Hogan RH-001 Chevrolet 265A No Attempt Rahal
1994 Penske PC-22 Ilmor 265C 31 31 Rahal
1995 Reynard 95i Ford XB Raced by Bryan Herta Ganassi
1996 Reynard 95i Ford XB 11 20 Walker
1997 G-Force Infiniti 18 12 Byrd
1998 G-Force Oldsmobile 32 15 Byrd
1999 Dallara Infiniti DNQ TeamXtreme

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jon Beekhuis
American Racing Series Champion
1989
Succeeded by
Paul Tracy