By: Spencer Neff
January 6, 2021
On Tuesday, longtime IndyCar Car Owner U.E. “Pat” Patrick passed away at age 91. For nearly four decades, Patrick was involved with IndyCar racing, first as a sponsor in 1967 on Walt Michner’s team.
By 1970, Patrick ventured into car ownership with business partner LeRoy Scott. Three years later, Gordon Johncock would deliver the team their first Indianapolis 500 win, albeit under tragic circumstances following a devastating crash involving his teammate Sweede Savage.
During the aftermath, Graham McRae’s crew member Armando Teran was struck by an emergency vehicle and alter succumbed to his injuries. Five weeks later, Savage passed away following his accident.
In 1976, Johncock earned the team’s first IndyCar title with two victories in the 1976 USAC ChampCar season.
Six years later, Johncock again took the Patrick Racing team to Victory Lane at Indianapolis. In what was the closest finish to date, Johncock held off Rick Mears by .16 of a second to win their second Indianapolis 500.
By 1985, Patrick Racing helped bring two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi his first victory in the Michigan 500. The next year, Kevin Cogan took his lone career victory at Phoenix and finished second at the Indianapolis 500.
In another thrilling finish, Fittipaldi earned his first of two Indianapolis 500 wins during the 1989 race after tangling with Al Unser Jr. on the last lap. It would be the first of five wins for Patrick’s Co-Owner, Chip Ganassi. In 1990, Ganassi started his own IndyCar team.
After a long winless streak and three years out of the sport (92-94), Scott Pruett earned his first win at the 1995 Michigan 500. It was also Firestone’s first victory as a tire supplier since 1974.
Between Pruett, Adrian Fernadez and Roberto Moreno, Patrick Racing earned nine more victories from 1997 to 2001. By 2004, Patrick Racing ventured to the Indy Racing League from CART. In their last Indianapolis 500 appearance, Al Unser Jr. started and finished 17th, one lap down in the rain-shortened race.
In 2005, Patrick sold the team assets and stepped away from the sport. IndyCar1909 would like to thank Pat Patrick for his contributions to the sport and we offer condolences to his friends and family.
Header Image By Ron McQueeney