The Dale Jr. Download

381 - Rick Mears: A Quiet Desire

381 - Rick Mears: A Quiet Desire

The Dale Jr. Download - May 10, 2022 - 2:42:38

When a Motorsports icon walks into the room, that room changes. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis welcome four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears to the table for a fascinating discussion about his storied racing career.From the streets of Bakersfield came a young man, with a motorcycle and a thirst for competition. The sensible influence of a mother, added two more wheels underneath Rick Mears. Little did she know that it would lead to being one of the fastest racers on the planet. First, young Rick honed his skills on the dirt of Ascot Park, jumping and sliding around in Sprint Buggies. The world of off-road racing took young him to the desert, where races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000 introduced Mears to some of the giants of Motorsport. As his reputation grew, so did opportunity. Bill Simpson plucked Mears from the dirt into open-wheeled racecars. Two years later, this quiet Californian was attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.His first 500 attempt came with failure. The experience of not making the 33-car field came with learning opportunities and a random meeting that would change the course of Mears' life. Enter Roger Penske. The famed racing team owner tabbed the virtually unknown racer to pilot one of his open-wheeled beasts. The duo blossomed into what became one of the most successful driver-car owner combinations in the sports' history.Mears' style was calm and calculated. Rick admits that his demeaner led to an embarrassing and potentially dangerous moment in the opening laps of his first Indy 500. It was so bad, that he didn't even want to cue the radio to tell Roger Penske. It's a story you have to hear to believe.Rick says that "being strapped to a bomb," inside of an Indycar, will teach a racecar driver to go to the limit of speed and not go over. How did a young Mears deal with the ever-present factory of fear and develop the uncanny ability to walk a car to the edge of disaster so successfully?While his early career was pretty clean, disaster did strike Mears eventually. He admits to Dale Jr. and Mike that the horrific crash at San Air in Canada that left his feet shattered, was caused by driver error. Mears survived the crash but endured through most of his career feeling the pain caused by the incident. Mears became a four-time Indy 500 Champion, a feat only accomplished by three other drivers in the 104th running of the world's most famous race. But during some of those wins, Mears viewed Indy as just another race. It wasn't until later in his racing life, that he learned to appreciate what Indianapolis truly meant.Out of a curiosity created by filming the tv show "Lost Speedways" Mike Davis inquires about Rick Mears' take on the USAC / CART split in 1979. This question leads to Mears revealing that he had once tested a Formula-1 car and even had a signed contract with Bernie Ecclestone. Why did Mears stay the course in American open-wheel racing rather than a move overseas to the world of F1?Mears opens up about his disastrous 1992 Indy crash and the change in his mindset that led to hanging up the helmet. While many wanted him to go for an unprecedented 5th Indy 500 win, Mears knew it was his time to walk away.OPEN SEGMENT Before Mears entered the Bojangles Studio, the DJD gang took a fresh new swing at the "Open Segment" of the show to talk about: Kyle Busch leaving his racecar on pit road and walking away to the garage at Darlington. Joey Logano's controversial last lap contact with William Byron for the win. Is Joey doing it right? How should Byron handle it moving forward? Dale Jr. and Rutledge Wood's role in the Kentucky Derby broadcast and the awkwardness of interviewing Jack Harlow and Drake. What should the "Open Segment" of the show be called anyway? ASKJR presented by XfinityHannah Newhouse serves up fan questions about: Miami's F1 Weekend Strange Things Dale has autographed. North Wilkesboro Speedway News Dale's Rich Strike moment and more!

Previous Episode

380 - Ricky Carmichael: The GOAT

May 3, 2022 - 2:02:44
"The GOAT" Ricky Carmichael sits down with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis for a fascinating discussion about his decorated...

Next Episode

382 - Doug Yates: Win with Advantages

May 17, 2022 - 2:22:42
Yates, a name synonymous with power. Master engine builder Doug Yates, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Robert Yates, comes to "the table of...

About The Show

NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt and co-host Mike Davis raise the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.