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Ongais, Danny (1984).jpg
Danny Ongais
Born 21 1942 (1942-Template:Pad2digit-Template:Pad2digit) (age 75)
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Died {{{death_date}}}
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Formula One career
Nationality USAflagsmall American
Years 1977-1978

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 careerEdit

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 careerEdit

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.

File:DannyOngais1984IndyCar.jpg

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.

IndyCarEdit

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]

AwardsEdit


Racing recordEdit

Complete Formula One resultsEdit

(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 resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

USACEdit

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
INDY
22
NC -

CARTEdit

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
Ret
ATL1
Ret
ATL2
6
INDY
4
TRE1
7
TRE2
6
MIS1
Ret
MIS2
Ret
WGL
4
TRE3
Ret
ONT
6
MIS3
DNS
ATL3
Ret
PHX2
Ret
6th 1473
1980 Interscope Racing ONT1 INDY
7
MIL1
Ret
POC
Ret
MDO
Ret
MIS1
Ret
WGL
3
MIL2 ONT2
Ret
MEX
Ret
PHX 15th 601
Armstrong Mould
Interscope Racing
MIS2
11
1983 Interscope Racing ATL INDY
Ret
20th 14
Patrick Racing MIL
12
CLE
Ret
MIS1
Ret
ROA
Ret
POC
Ret
RIV
Ret
MDO
5
MIS2 LVG LS PHX
1984 Interscope Racing LBH
DNQ
PHX1
5
INDY
9
MIL
10
POR
Ret
MEA
Ret
CLE
Ret
MIS1
Ret
ROA POC
5
MDO SAN
Ret
MIS2
3
PHX2
5
LS
Ret
LVG
Ret
10th 53
1985 Interscope Racing LBH
DNQ
INDY
Ret
MIL POR MEA CLE MIS1
Ret
ROA POC
Ret
MDO SAN MIS2
7
LS PHX
14
MIA
6
24th 14
1986 March Engineering PHX1 LBH INDY
Ret
MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MIS1 POC MDO SAN MIS2 ROA LS PHX2 MIA NC 0
1987 Team Penske LBH PHX INDY
Inj
MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MIS
Ret
POC ROA MDO NAZ
DNQ
LS MIA
Ret
42nd 0

Indy Racing LeagueEdit

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 NH2 LV2 42nd 22
1998 Team Pelfrey WDW PHX INDY
DNQ
TXS NHM DOV CLT PPI ATL TX2 LVS NC

Indianapolis 500Edit

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.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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