John Please do your homework before posting a blog that is wrong. Gordon Johncock was born August 5th not August 25 1936
Rick Mears has always paid Gordon Johncock the ultimate compliment when talking about their classic duel at the 1982 Indianapolis 500.
When the two veterans went side-by-side into Turn 1, thrilling the hundreds of thousands at IMS, Mears said he was comfortable. In that most treacherous of track positions, he could trust Johncock.
Johncock, of course, won that incredible race, decided by a then-record .16 of a second at the Yard of Bricks. The triumph was a nice bookend to his first “500” win in 1973, a race remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Today, the two-time champion is 80 years old, joining Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser and A.J. Foyt in the club of octogenarian Indy winners.
Johncock raced in four decades at the Speedway, breaking in behind the wheel of a roadster in 1965. He finished fifth as a rookie and is on a short list of drivers who finished in the top 5 in roadsters and rear-engine Indy cars. His 24 starts are tied with Johnny Rutherford for fourth all-time, and he was the second-oldest champion when he won in ’82, at age 45.
Aside from his wins, arguably his most impressive effort was a sixth-place in 1991 at age 54 as a late pilot to a Lola-Cosworth owned by Ron Hemelgarn. The owner had offered the car to Al Unser and Johnny Rutherford, but both turned it down, so he called Johncock, who had been on a tractor that May day.
The Michigan native took the ride, qualified it 33rd and then, saddled with a flu that had the team wonder if a relief driver would be needed, drove all day and finished sixth.
“Typical Johncock,” IMS historian Donald Davidson recalled. “A bulldog.”