Danny Ongais Biography: Danny Ongais was a racing driver from the United States. The only native Hawaiian to compete in the Indianapolis 500 was Ongais. He professionally raced motorcycles, sports cars, CART, IndyCar, Formula One, and dragsters.
Danny Ongais Biography
Danny Ongais Biography: Danny Ongais was born in Kahului, Hawaii, on May 21, 1942. He tried out motorbike racing at the age of 14 and had some success. Ongais joined the United States Army as a paratrooper stationed in Europe in the late 1950s. He was later released and returned to Hawaii to race cars. Ongais won the Hawaiian motorcycle championship in 1960 and finished in the top three in the expert class from 1960 to 1962.
He began competing in drag racing in the early 1960s. In 1963 and 1964, he won the American Hot Rod Association A.A. Gas Dragster Championship; in 1965, he won the National Hot Rod Association A.A. Dragster Championship. At the 1966 HHRA Nationals Top Fuel semifinals, he defeated Don Prudhomme. In 1969, he won the NHRA Spring Nationals and NHRA U.S. Nationals in the Funny Car class while driving for Mickey Thompson in a Ford Mustang.
Danny Ongais Wiki
|Date Of Birth||May 21, 1942|
|Birth Place||Kahului, Hawaii|
|Died||February 26, 2022|
Danny Ongais Career
In the 1970s, Ongais moved to circuit racing, advancing through the ranks of American racing through SCCA road racing with the assistance of Ted Field. 1976 saw Ongais and Field transition from regional series and Formula 5000 to USAC and Indy cars under the supervision of Interscope Racing. After crashing in the 1976 California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway, he finished 28th in his first Indy car race.
Ongais drove his first entire season in Indy cars in 1977. He finished seventh at Ontario and fifth at Phoenix before claiming his first Indy car victory at Michigan International Speedway. Throughout the season, he qualified well, gaining three pole positions, and he finished 12th in the standings. That same year, he entered Formula One with the Interscope team, competing in the U.S. and Canadian Grands Prix in a Penske PC4 that was one year old. In what would be his highest F1 finish, he finished seventh in Canada despite crashing out on a wet track at Watkins Glen after an early charge.
In 1978, the most successful year of his Indy car racing career, Ongais won five additional races at Ontario Motor Speedway, Texas World Speedway, Mosport, the Milwaukee Mile, and Michigan. He also claimed eight qualifying pole positions. The victory at Michigan in 1978 was going to be Ongais’ final Indy car victory. Although Ongais won more Indy car races than any other driver in 1978, he finished eighth in the USAC Indy car championship due to mechanical issues and poor finishes in other races. Nonetheless, these five victories—three on the large superspeedways at Ontario, Texas, and Michigan, one on the short Milwaukee Mile oval, and one on the road course at Mosport—illustrated Ongais’ versatility as a driver.
In 1978, he also made his last F1 attempt. He began the season with the Ensign team in a one-year-old N177 chassis and was forced to retire in Argentina and Brazil due to brake issues. Interscope soon purchased a new Shadow chassis for him to race, but he failed to qualify at Long Beach and the Netherlands later in the season.
Ongais and Field continued to drive sports cars successfully, primarily in the IMSA Camel GT competition, for the decade and the remainder of their careers. During this period, the highlight of their sports car efforts was a victory in the 1979 24 Hours of Daytona, in which Ongais, Field, and Hurley Haywood shared an Interscope Porsche 935.