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Tom Sneva Golfs on Bump Day 1991

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  • Tom Sneva Golfs on Bump Day 1991

    With over three hours of qualifying to go, Pancho Carter qualifies which moves Tom Sneva to the bubble. With less than an hour left, Willy T. Ribbs bumps Sneva. Sneva can bump his way back in, but Sneva's team owner, Dave Mann, can't find him. Eventually, Mann is able to track Sneva down at a golf course, 25 minutes from the Speedway. Do I have this right?

  • #2
    I think you have it right. I do believe that Sneva's qualifying run was with a Menard car. So perhaps Dave Mann had a car and wanted to put Sneva in it. Sneva was a great race car driver but seemed to lose the edge after about 1989.

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    • #3
      He contended in a few races in 1986, but had a terrible 1987 and really didn't have a quality ride after that.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by preacher View Post
        I think you have it right. I do believe that Sneva's qualifying run was with a Menard car. So perhaps Dave Mann had a car and wanted to put Sneva in it.
        Mann wanted to try with Sneva but as noted Tom was golfing.

        Mannn then approached Johnnie Parsons after Parsons was bumped, but Johnnie was already in his street clothes by then and there was very little time left.
        The Ayn Rand of Indycar

        No one had to badge the Offy.

        Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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        • #5
          Seems like even after Tom lost the top quality rides he wanted to win in equipment that did not support that very well which led to a pretty high crash ratio as i recall. He was one of many that lost it in the cold in 92 at the 500, pretty hard hit.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 1969FIRST500 View Post
            Seems like even after Tom lost the top quality rides he wanted to win in equipment that did not support that very well which led to a pretty high crash ratio as i recall. He was one of many that lost it in the cold in 92 at the 500, pretty hard hit.
            Someone noted that Sneva's downturn in results coincided with the switch to radial tires.

            He wrecked three times in 1987, again in 1988, and 1992.

            He supposedly retired after the 1992 race (I heard it said he was 'sick of crashing'), but in fact he did show up at the track 1993 wandering the garage area hoping for a ride. But nothing materialized.
            Doctorindy.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

              Someone noted that Sneva's downturn in results coincided with the switch to radial tires.

              .....
              That's exactly what happened. No one was able to run higher stagger setups with bias ply tires than Sneva at Indianapolis. And he was able to run the cars on the ragged edge of swapping ends faster and longer than just about anyone for many years.

              When radial tires came along the high stagger numbers were no longer available (and couldn't be changed by increased tire pressure because of tire construction) so one of his main speed advantages was gone. He may have been trying harder after that which led to some of his later incidents.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

                Someone noted that Sneva's downturn in results coincided with the switch to radial tires.

                He wrecked three times in 1987, again in 1988, and 1992.

                He supposedly retired after the 1992 race (I heard it said he was 'sick of crashing'), but in fact he did show up at the track 1993 wandering the garage area hoping for a ride. But nothing materialized.
                Add in crashes in '85 and '86 (on the parade lap) and I would imagine owners were sick of him crashing their cars by then.
                The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                No one had to badge the Offy.

                Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                • #9
                  Ironically, when he crashed in 88 he had just taken the lead due to the pit stops but because he crashed he never got credited with leading the lap.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DaveL View Post

                    Add in crashes in '85 and '86 (on the parade lap) and I would imagine owners were sick of him crashing their cars by then.
                    I believe he holds the record for most crashes during the 500.
                    Real drivers don't need fenders!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DaveL View Post

                      Add in crashes in '85 and '86 (on the parade lap) and I would imagine owners were sick of him crashing their cars by then.
                      Not too long go I heard a new account of the infamous 1986 pace lap crash. Not sure if there is any validity to the story, the last time I saw Tom a couple years ago I just couldn't ask...I thought it was inappropriate.

                      Anyway, Sneva was late leaving the grid after the starting command. It was said they might have been having problems getting the steering wheel properly attached. He did pull away, but the story says it still wasn't right. And on the parade/pace lap he started fiddling with the steering wheel in the car and it came loose or something, sending him into the inside wall.

                      Is that a story that "grew legs" as Donald would say...perhaps. There's very little video to watch about it. The theory that he was just warming his tires rather aggressively may be the simplest explanation. There's one thing I do know, and that is the smoke bomb on the backstretch was not a "warning" about Sneva's car being crashed (one of Sam Posey's most asinine conjectures). In fact, we knew the Safety Patrol worker that had to go fetch it in the grass.
                      Doctorindy.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

                        There's one thing I do know, and that is the smoke bomb on the backstretch was not a "warning" about Sneva's car being crashed (one of Sam Posey's most asinine conjectures). In fact, we knew the Safety Patrol worker that had to go fetch it in the grass.
                        Especially considering the smoke bomb was at the entrance to Turn 3 and Tom wrecked coming out of 2 at the other end of the back stretch.
                        The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                        No one had to badge the Offy.

                        Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                        • #13
                          Never once, in the history of the 500, has the field ever been signaled by a smoke bomb. That was really dumb. The smoke bomb was courtesy of a drunk from the infield who won a bet or thought he was being funny.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Eric Paddon View Post
                            Ironically, when he crashed in 88 he had just taken the lead due to the pit stops but because he crashed he never got credited with leading the lap.
                            If he made it to the S/F line he would have gotten credit for leading, but he wiped out in turn four and ended up at pit entrance.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Eric Paddon View Post
                              Ironically, when he crashed in 88 he had just taken the lead due to the pit stops but because he crashed he never got credited with leading the lap.
                              He was actually moving through the field in 1988 like a hot knife through butter. He had a car under him that day had he not made the error entering the pits. His last real competitive race at the speedway.

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