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Danny Ongais
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Auto Racer
    (May 21, 1942- )
    Born in Kahului, Maui Island, Hawaii
    Nicknames are 'The Flyin'-Hawaiian' and 'On-Gas'
    Formula One car driver, Indy car driver and drag racer
    Inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in the drag racing category (2000)
    His last name is pronounced On-GUY-ass.
    Another nickname was 'The Silent Hawaiian' for his lack of verbal expressiveness.
    He started four Grand Prix World Championship races (1977-78) without winning.
    He competed in 11 Indianapolis 500 races without winning.
    After a 1987 qualifying Indy crash forced him out, Al Unser, Sr. stepped in and proceeded to win the Indy 500.
    In 2002, at the age of 60, he was coaxed out of retirement to race in the Grand Am series, then re-retired afterward.
    He started racing motorcycles at age 14 and found he could drive 'anything put in front of him.'
    He won the American Hot Rod Association AA Gas Dragster Championship titles in 1963 and 1964.
    He won the National Hot Rod Association AA Dragster Championship title in 1965.
    He was the first native Hawaiian to compete in an Indy 500.
    A horrific crash at the 1981 Indy 500 nearly cost him his life (see pic).
    After Scott Brayton was killed qualifying for the 1996 Indy 500, he was asked to step in (at age 54 and nine years retired), and despite starting last (33rd place) finished a respectable 7th place.
    He is the first driver to have earned professional level victories in drag racing, oval track racing, and road racing.
    He is a sports hero and legend in his native Hawaii.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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