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1992 Galmer-Chevrolet

Photo: IMS

To be honest, I’ve had a lot of great racecars in my career and it’s very difficult to select just one. I have fond memories of the 1983 Coors Light Silver Bullet Eagle, a car I drove in my first Indy 500. From a 5th-place grid position I finished an unfortunate 10th after running short of fuel, the only driver in the race with that chassis. My second win at Indy was with the Marlboro Penske powered by the Ilmor-prepared 209 cubic-inch pushrod Mercedes engine, now that was a great car. There are so many it’s extremely difficult to pick out just one.

However, in motor racing, many drivers look at their firsts when looking at cars, so, I look at the 1992 Valvoline Galmer-Chevrolet with which I won my first Indy 500 as a really great car. There is a great pressure, mostly self-inflicted, for an American to win the Indy 500. Over my years in the CART Series, where I’d been since 1982, and my Indy 500 appearances every year from 1983, the pressure was building. Would I ever win? Up to 1992, every time I finished well up the leader board it was a great day, but there can be only one winner each year—and I wasn’t winning. In Formula One racing, winning a home Grand Prix must be like me wanting to win the 500. Like the 500, a home Grand Prix only comes around once a year, so they get just one shot in their country—each one is like their Indy 500.

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