Pat Patrick, one of the longest-standing and most influential car owners in the IndyCar paddock, died on January 5, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 91 years old.
Ueal Eugene “Pat” Patrick was born on March 10, 1929 in Kentucky, with his family soon after moving to Michigan. Patrick found his start in the oil business, starting up Patrick Petroleum in 1962 and working alongside a man named Walt Michener. Michener may have been the reason Patrick got into racing, because he was using the business to field IndyCar teams. His first sponsorship came in 1967.
But sponsorship wasn’t quite enough for Patrick. Three years later, in 1970, he became co-owner of his own team, Patrick Racing. His driver, Johnny Rutherford, only just missed out on pole position at the Indy 500 that year despite the fact that the team was running an old, modified Eagle.
Patrick has been an influential player in American open-wheel racing ever since. His team won the Indianapolis 500 in 1973, 1982, and 1989—with Emerson Fittipaldi taking home the title for Patrick Racing that year. In 2000, the last year Patrick’s cars served as frontrunners, his drivers Adrian Fernandez and Roberto Moreno finished second and third in the overall championship.
And with all that money from Patrick Petroleum, he became a key player in the USAC-CART split in 1979. He and Roger Penske used their own money to found CART. Later, Patrick did the same thing with what is now known as the Indy Lights series, the feeder series to IndyCar.
Patrick Racing was home to countless incredible drivers and legends of the sport: Gordon Johncock, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Chip Ganassi, Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Johnny Rutherford, and more.
Because of his contributions to the sport, he was voted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Pat Patrick is survived by two sons and one daughter, all of whom are in our thoughts today.