Danny Ongais - CART Career

CART Career

Ongais made his CART debut during the 1979 SCCA-CART/PPG World Series season driving the #25 Panasonic/Interscope Racing Parnelli 6C-Cosworth DFX. He first raced at the 1979 Arizona Republic / Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix International Raceway where he qualified 4th and led for several laps only to drop out after 128 laps due to engine problems. He then competed at the Twin Dixie 125s however bad luck hit Ongais in both races. At the 1979 Indianapolis 500 Ongais crashed in practice and this put Ongais in jeopardy of not being able to compete. Ongais qualified 27th and finished 4th. As the season progressed the Parnelli 6C (which was already a two year old car) started to struggle due its age. Ongais scored another 4th place finish at Watkins Glen International and finished 6th in points.

For the 1980 CART/PPG World Series season Interscope was intending to use their own chassis with a Porsche V6 engine. The car was disallowed and Interscope brought out their Parnelli 6C-Cosworth. At his first race of the season, the 1980 Indianapolis 500 Ongais started 16th and finished 7th. Ongais endured a tough season highlighted by a 3rd place finish at Watkins Glen International. Ongais also made a single start for Armstrong Mould driving the #43 Armstrong Mould Orbiter 80C-Cosworth DFX at the Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, finishing 11th. Ongais ended the season 15th in points.

Ongais next drove in CART during the 1983 CART/PPG World Series season, first driving at the 1983 Indianapolis 500 driving the #65 Interscope Racing March 83C-Chevrolet V6 however, the car was replaced with the #25 March 83C-Cosworth DFX and he started 21st and retired with mechanical problems. Ongais replaced an injured Johnny Rutherford in the #40 Sea Ray Boats Wildcat Mk 9-Cosworth DFX. Later in the season Interscope Racing set up a partnership between themselves and Patrick Racing giving Patrick Racing March 83C-Cosworth DFXs. Ongais scored a best finish of 5th at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Ongais finished 20th in points.

For the 1984 CART/PPG World Series season Ongais took over as owner of Interscope Racing fielding the #25 Interscope Racing March 84C-Cosworth DFX. Ongais finished 3rd at the Detroit News Grand Prix at Michigan International Speedway. He also finished 10th in points.

For the 1985 CART/PPG World Series season Ongais scored a best finish of 6th at the Grand Prix of Miami and finished 24th in points. Ongais also survived a spectacular barrel roll at the Michigan 500 at Michigan International Speedway when he ran into the slower car of Phil Krueger on the backstretch.

For the 1986 CART/PPG World Series season Ongais only ran the 1986 Indianapolis 500 in a factory effort by March Engineering with Interscope Racing as the enrant. Fielding the #25 GM Goodwrench/Panavision March 86C-Buick V6, Ongais dropped out with mechanical failure.

For the 1987 CART/PPG World Series season Interscope Racing teamed up with Team Penske getting Ongais in the #25 Panavision Penske PC-16-Ilmor-Chevrolet Indy V8 for the 1987 Indianapolis 500, however Ongais crashed in practice and suffered a concussion. The car went to Al Unser Sr who went on to win a record-tying 4th Indianapolis 500. Ongais later attempted to race at the Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway, the Grand Prix of Miami, and Nazareth Speedway. He retired at Michigan and Miami and failed to qualify at Nazareth.

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