Four time Indy 500 winner and three time Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Rick Mears has been inducted into the Team Penske Hall of Fame along with legendary mechanic Karl Kainhofer.
Mears, who won the Verizon IndyCar Series title with Team Penske in 1979, 1981 and 82 as well as the Indianapolis 500. Mears now works with Team Penske as a driver coach working with their five drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series, reigning series champion, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, (who returns to the Indianapolis 500 this weekend having being replaced full-time by Newgarden).
Speaking about the announcement during Team Penske’s media day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday prior to this weekend’s 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Mears commented by saying:
To be honored as one of the early members inducted into the Team Penske Hall of Fame is one of the highlights of my career. “I like to think I played a part in the history of this organization, but I was just a part. There have been so many talented people who have been involved in Roger’s organization – from drivers to mechanics to front office personnel. To join Roger, Mark and Karl and to be recognized is humbling.
Mears is joined in the Hall of Fame by fellow inductee, long time Penske mechanic Karl Kainhofer who was the team’s first full time employee and spent 32 years with the team before his retirement in 1997.
Speaking about his inductions, Kainhofer who played a crucial role in Mark Donoghue’s Indianapolis 500 win stated:
This is a great honor. “I’m just happy to be here and to have played a role in what Team Penske has become today. I’ve made a lot of good memories over the years and had the chance to experience a lot of amazing moments. Today is just another one of those.
Mears and Kainhofer join team founder Roger Penske and the team’s first Indianapolis 500 winner Mark Donoghue in the Team Penske Hall of Fame.