#TBT: Happy birthday, Rick Mears!

Published On December 3, 2015 » 2607 Views» By John Schwarb » #TBT, Blogs, IMS, IMS History, Indy 500

For more trips down Memory Lane, visit the #TBT archives here.

Can Rick Mears really be 64 years old? Happy birthday to the youngest member of the Indianapolis 500 four-time winners club, who remains the coolest man on the property every May when he returns as a consultant for Team Penske.

In his sparkling 15-year career at IMS, Mears tied the venerable all-time win mark and set the record for pole positions with six. His consistency was remarkable, as he had five top-5 finishes to go with the wins and didn’t hit a wall at Indy until a 1991 practice run — the day after which he simply got in a backup car and won that sixth pole. Did we mention he was the coolest guy out there?

And thanks, Rick, for having your day on “Throwback Thursday,” which allowed us to go into the vault for some great shots. Enjoy!

Mears' first appearance was in 1978 -- and he qualified on the front row.

Mears’ first appearance was in 1978 — and he qualified on the front row.

 

In 1979, Mears won his first "500" for owner Roger Penske. And there would be more to come.

In 1979, Mears won his first “500” for owner Roger Penske. And there would be more to come.

 

The day after his second win, in 1984, Mears had fellow Pennzoil spokesman Arnold Palmer join him for the winner's photo shoot.

The day after his second win, in 1984, Mears had fellow Pennzoil spokesman Arnold Palmer join him for the winner’s photo shoot.

 

A wave to the crowd after win No. 3 in 1988.

A wave to the crowd after win No. 3 in 1988.

 

No. 4, 1991.

No. 4, 1991.

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John Schwarb

I joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway communications team in July 2014 and love sharing stories from the World Capital of Racing, particularly its rich history. Most of my professional career has been in racing or golf, so if I'm not in the IMS media center, the office at 16th and Georgetown or milling around Gasoline Alley, maybe I'll be standing over a birdie putt at Brickyard Crossing. Follow us at @IMS or drop me a line at @JohnSchwarb and come back to the blog often for more stories.