A classic Ongais pose in Interscope's Parnelli-Cosworth Indy car, at
Brands Hatch in 1978.
A tip of the cap to the "Flying Hawaiian," Danny Ongais, who turns 70 today.
In a career that spanned the 1960s to the 21st century, Danny Ongais captivated fans in IndyCars, Formula 1, drag racing cars and sports cars with his flamboyant, win-or-bust style. He scored six Indy car wins, but led many others before his car failed under him, unable to match his relentless pace, while a series of grinding crashes in Indy cars in the early '80s put a damper on his career.
Still the only native Hawaiian to race at Indy, Ongais started out racing motorcycles in the early '60s, and in '64 won the American Hot Rod Association AA Gas Dragster Championship and in 1965 he added the National Hot Rod Association AA Dragster championship title.
His best-known success came in the '70s after teaming up with Ted Field to form Interscope Racing, which campaigned in Indy cars, Formula 5000 and sports cars and also sponsored Ongais for six F1 races with the Shadow team in 1977.
In 1996 at the age of 54, Ongais agreed to make a comeback as the substitute driver for Scott Brayton in the Indy 500 who had died in a practice crash shortly before the race. Starting last, Danny finished seventh in what was his final 500. He also made a limited comeback in Grand-Am in 2002.