Indianapolis, IN — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is counting down to the May 2 opening of “Rocket Rick Mears presented by Racemaker Press,” a new feature exhibit honoring an Indianapolis 500 living legend. It runs through March 2022.
The exhibit will offer context on Mears’ formative years and what molded him as a driver and humble champion, as well as his early struggles to gain a foothold in Indy Car racing and his comebacks from serious injuries in 1980 and 1984 — plus the artifacts and race cars central to his career:
— Indy-winning cars: the 1979 Gould Charge Penske PC6; the 1984 Pennzoil Z7 March 84C; the 1988 Pennzoil Penske PC17 and the 1991 Marlboro Penske PC20
— the 1982 Gould Charge PC10, part of the famous 1982 Indy 500 race-ending duel between Mears and Gordon Johncock, who beat Mears by only .16 of a second
— the 1977 Eastside Café Special Eagle — the car in which Mears first attempted to qualify at Indianapolis
— Mears’ 1976 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb-winning car and several examples of Roger and Rick’s championship off-road racing vehicles
Adding to the display are video, photographs and artifacts from the IMS Museum collection, plus items loaned by Mears, the Penske collection and other collectors.
When Mears earned his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in 1991 after dueling with Michael Andretti in the waning laps, he joined A.J. Foyt and Al Unser in the four-timer winners club. Mears’ other victories at Indy were in 1979, 1984 and 1988.
Mears earned victory number four in only his 14th “500” start, while Foyt earned his historic fourth win in his 20th Indy start, and Unser achieved four-time glory in his 22nd start. And 30 years after earning his final Indianapolis 500 pole position, Mears still holds the record for the most-career “500” poles, with six (1979, ’82, ’86, ’88, ’89, ’91).