Getty Images

Former IndyCar driver Jerry Sneva, younger brother of Tom Sneva, dead at 69

Leave a comment

Jerry Sneva, younger brother of 1983 Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva, passed away January 27 at the age of 69 in Indianapolis, according to a statement Monday from Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials.

Sneva, who was raised in Spokane, Washington before relocating to Indianapolis, was a racer himself, earning Rookie of the Year honors for the 1977 Indianapolis 500.

Sneva made 21 starts in the AAA/USAC Champ Car Series from 1975 to 1983, with his best finishes being fourth at Pocono and fifth at Milwaukee, both in 1979.

Sneva also made 11 career starts in the CART Series, with a best finish of 8th at Milwaukee in 1980.

Lastly, he made five career starts in the Indianapolis 500, earning a best finish of 10th in 1977, his first race at the Brickyard, earning him Rookie of the Year honors.

Jerry Sneva was also a notable off-road driver in his native Pacific Northwest. He took part in a supermodified series known as the Canadian-American Modified Racing Association that included a number of notables who also went on to race in the Indy 500, including his brother Tom, Art Pollard, Billy Foster, Jim Malloy, Dick Simon, Eldon Rasmussen and Cliff Hucul.

Jerry Sneva made his USAC debut on Aug. 26, 1973 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, substituting for his brother Tom in a sprint car race. He not only qualified for the race, he ultimately finished in second place.

Sneva is survived by brother Tom; his wife, Kathy; and children TJ and Shelby.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
Leave a comment

Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.