Indy legend Sonny Meyer has died at age 89
He was a grasp engine builder, innovator, chief mechanic and behind-the-scenes wizard on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for greater than 5 a long time. However Louis “Sonny” Meyer, Jr. (at left in picture above, with constructor David “Quin” Epperly), who handed away Saturday on the age of 89, by no means bragged about his many accomplishments and was at all times content material to mix in with the surroundings and let the outcomes converse for themself.
It’s estimated that Meyer was instantly concerned in getting ready the profitable engine at Indianapolis a complete of 15 instances.
“Sonny was a rattling good mechanic, glorious engine man and good man,” stated A.J. Foyt, who labored with Meyer on Ford engines within the 1960s. “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.”
The son of Indy’s first three-time winner, Louis Sr. (“Louie”), younger Meyer bought an early begin in motorsports when his father bought the Offenhauser engine enterprise in 1946. Studying the whole lot there was to know concerning the Offy, Sonny confirmed a fantastic mechanical aptitude and have become coveted in Gasoline Alley.
Father and son launched the supercharged midget engine to Indy in 1949-’50 with Tony Bettenhausen, and Sonny labored on Invoice Vukovich’s crew within the early 1950s earlier than changing into a chief mechanic for Bettenhausen in 1958. That was additionally the 12 months Meyer launched pneumatic air jacks to Indy automobiles.
He was crew chief at Indy in 1962 when Troy Ruttman charged from 30th to second; helped Joe Huffaker with the MG Liquid Suspension automobiles; then dove into the Ford program when his dad bought it in 1964. Ford powered Foyt to his third Indy win in 1967.
The Meyer-Drake engine turned a significant participant within the 1970s as Sonny arrange store at Patrick Racing and cranked out huge horsepower in between combating each day with chief mechanic George Bignotti.
“We tolerated one another and it wasn’t at all times simple; however we managed to outlive,” recalled Meyer with a smile a couple of years in the past.
In 1973, Gordon Johncock captured Indy for Patrick in a automobile and engine constructed in-house off West 38th Road. Sonny fueled the Wildcat on pit stops after placing collectively the profitable engine.
“I used to be fortunate sufficient to work on the identical workforce with Sonny, and if you happen to have been round him for 5 minutes and saved your mouth shut you have been going to extend your racing information ten-fold,” stated Tim Coffeen, who labored with Patrick, Machinists Union and Newman-Haas throughout his 30 years in IndyCar.
“He was sensible and only a humble, great man.”
Following his tenure at Patrick, Meyer went to Vince Granatelli after which John Menard to develop the V-6 Buick.
He was inducted into the IMS Corridor of Fame in 2013.
Sonny is survived by spouse Sue, daughter Pam, son Butch and stepson Scott Balch.