With NASCAR set to come to the Kentucky Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series this summer I think it’s about time for Sports legends of the Ville to highlight a great driver from the derby city.
The 1985 Indianapolis 500 featured legends like Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, and Al Unser but the victor was Louisville’s own Danny Sullivan.
Before that Indy 500 Sullivan cut his teeth really in the 1982 season overseas when Tyrell Formula One signed the young driver after that team went looking for a new American driver. Particularly in ’83 when Sullivan finished strong in the Monaco Grand Prix, World Drivers’ Championship, and the Race of Champions he showed his early potential.
Still he was released from his contract at the end of that 1983 season unable to demonstrate his full potential, but the experience that he received with Tyrell led him to his time with Indy Car, which is really where his career began to flourish.
Bouncing around racing teams the only steady for Sullivan seemed to be his solid performance, winning outright seventeen of his races and being crowned champion in the 1988 Indy Car World Series.
Taking a hiatus from racing in 1994, Sullivan like so many athletes moved to the broadcasting desk working as a color commentator for ABC and ESPN. Sadly, the following year tragedy struck Sullivan after returning to racing he found himself in a serious injury, an injury which led to his official retirement.
Today Sullivan works as a racing businessman more than anything but his racing career was honored this year when he along with Andretti were honored with an induction into the Motorsports Walk of Fame in April.
By the way, the Sprint Series kicks off at the Kentucky Speedway July 9th and is the first race of the sprint cup series for this year.
Image courtesy of ESPN
Sullivan's famed "Spin and Win"