US racing category nominee #8: Rick Mears
The remarkable Mr Mears
Vol LXIIX No.2 – February 1993
Indycar racing may have gained Nigel Mansell and entranced Ayrton Senna, but its true King has just abdicated
Amidst all the euphoria of Mansell and Senna and their transatlantic crossings, Rick Rayon Mears stepped from the spotlight last December. As ever, when he announced his intention to retire it was done quietly. Like his driving, there was minimal fuss. There was no hoopla, no public fanfare nor gnashing of teeth, but the departure of Mr Mears from the cockpit of his Penske aroused in American circles far more genuine regret than, say, Mansell’s departure from Formula One.
Behind him he leaves a stunning legacy. He stayed loyal to the same team for 15 full years, something virtually unheard of in today’s motorsport arena but nicely reminiscent of Jim Clark. As Penske managing director Nick Goozee recently remarked, not once did he say anything against his team or his team-mate, not even during the days when the team failed to give him competitive equipment. “He struggled to overcome all problems on behalf of the team, and his frustrations were always kept private and among those who sought to help each other,” said Nick, a man with 30 years’ experience of the sport.
Read the full story from February 1993