Legendary 80-year-old ‘Green Mamba’ jet car drag racer Doug Rose dies in crash

1 Comment

Editor’s note: For a touching story about Doug Rose, his legacy, the triumphs and tragedies of his career — including losing both feet and ankles in a crash over 50 years ago, as well as his car being stolen over 10 years ago — click here for a great tribute by AutoWeek’s Steven Cole Smith.

NORWAY, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a longtime drag racer died after crashing his jet engine-powered car at a track in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Iron Mountain Daily News and WLUC-TV report 80-year-old Doug Rose, driver of the Green Mamba, died Friday evening at the Norway Speedway. Rose, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania, crashed into a guardrail and flipped during an exhibition run.

The newspaper reports Rose drove the Green Mamba for more than 35 years. The car with an engine from a fighter plane could drive in excess of 300 mph (483 kph).

Michigan State Police say the crash is under investigation. Races were suspended Friday and resumed Saturday.

Will Power, Roger Penske collect Indy 500 trophies

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

DETROIT (AP) Last year, Will Power finally broke through and won the Indianapolis 500, so he can cross that accomplishment off the list.

Now 37, Power is reaching an age when it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll keep at it.

“I’m really enjoying my racing. I’ve never been so motivated. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, mentally on the game,” Power said. “I think once you get to this part of your career, you realize that you’re not going to be doing this forever. So you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to go for it when you’ve got it, because, you know, probably only another five years at maximum, and you’re retired.”

Whenever Power’s career does wind down, his 2018 Indy 500 win will remain a moment to remember. He was in Detroit on Wednesday night with team owner Roger Penske for a ceremony in which they received their “Baby Borg” trophies for winning last year’s race. The Baby Borgs are replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy that honors the Indy 500 winner.

Power finished second at Indy in 2015, and his victory last year made him the race’s first Australian winner. It was Penske’s 17th Indy 500 win as an owner, part of a banner year for him. Penske also won a NASCAR Cup title with driver Joey Logano.

“When you think about 2018, we had 32 race wins, 35 poles. I think we led almost 5,400 laps, with all the series,” Penske said.

On Wednesday, Penske collected another significant trophy, and he’ll be celebrated again in a couple weeks. He’s being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that a guy from the north can get into the Hall of Fame in the south,” Penske joked. “No, it’s special. … NASCAR has helped us build our brand over the years, certainly, with the reputation it has, and the notoriety we get, being a NASCAR team owner.”

Penske’s most recent Indy 500 title came courtesy of Power, who long preferred road courses to ovals but certainly looked comfortable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

“The 500 was one record that he didn’t have, and I think you saw the excitement he and his wife, and the whole team, when he was able to win the race,” Penske said. “He’s probably the best qualifier we’ve ever had, as a road racer, and no question his expertise. He didn’t like ovals to start with, but I think today, he loves racing on ovals.”

Power seems content with all aspects of his racing life at the moment. The aftermath of an Indy 500 victory can be a whirlwind, and it would be understandable for a driver to be weary of it eight months later, but for Power, it’s a new experience.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event for a few months now, to actually get the Baby Borg. You have the face on it – I didn’t realize that, you actually get your own face on it,” Power said. “It makes you realize the significance of the event, when you think about all the things that come with winning the 500.”

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister