Thursday, June 1, 2017

"1983 Indy 500 Winner" Tom Sneva Born - June 1, 1948

June 1, 1948
Tom Sneva
Born in Spokane, Washington, USA.
A former math teacher, Sneva's win at the Indianapolis 500 in 1983 followed several runner-up finishes and notable crashes. Sneva showed his versatility by competing in eight NASCAR Winston Cup events in his career, spanning from 1977 to 1987. He earned one top-ten, a 7th in the 1983 Daytona 500.

Nicknamed "The Gas Man," he was an outstanding qualifier, winning the pole position three times (1977, 1978, 1984). He was also the fastest qualifier on a fourth occasion in 1981, but because of qualifying rules did not start the race from the pole position. At Indianapolis in 1977, Sneva drove his famed Norton Spirit McLaren M24/Cosworth racer for car owner Roger Penske, and became the first driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 at a speed at 200 mph or more. His one-lap track record was 200.535 mph. In 1984, Sneva became the first to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 over 210 mph in his Texaco Star March 84C/Cosworth driving for the new Mayer Motor Racing team. His one and four lap track records were 210.689 mph and 210.029 mph.

Sneva won two consecutive USAC National Championships. He won 2 races in 1977 and became the first driver in Team Penske history to win a championship. In 1978, Sneva didn't win a race but with 5 second place finishes and 16 top fives, Sneva still won the championship. He primarily raced in Indy cars, and was named to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2005.

 His father Edsol was a local racer in the Spokane region. Sneva was the eldest of five brothers, all racers; the next oldest was Jerry, who also competed at Indy. After Sneva retired from driving, he was a color commentator for ABC television network's Wide World of Sports program and called several Indy 500s. He is also heavily involved in the golf course business where he resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

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