My Formula 5000
Drag racer in potent Funny Cars and AA Fuel dragsters, a motorcycle
ace and Bonneville speed and endurance record champ and now up-
and-coming road racing star, Danny Ongais’ list of accomplishments
reads like a “who’s who” in motor sports. Ongais started his
competition efforts racing motorcycles in his native Hawaii in 1958,
finishing in the top three in the expert class from 1960 through 1962.
At the same time, he began his successful career in drag racing. He
came to the U.S. in 1962 to take delivery of a racing motor cycle and
stayed to drive for Jim Nelson of Carlsbad, Calif. In drag racing,
Ongais’ record reads as follows: 1963, won the AHRA Nationals top
eliminator title; 1964, captured the AHRA Winter-nationals, UDRA
Nationals and Winter Nationals, Hot Rod Magazine and NHRA Division
Championships, all in Top Gas category; 1965, recorded the first
European under-8 second run (7.99, 201 mph) and won the the UDRA
Winter Nationals and NHRA Division Championship in Top Fuel; 1966,
won the Top Fuel runner up spot at the NHRA Nationals; 1969,
dominated Funny Car racing at the wheel of Mickey Thompson’s
Mustang and was named DRAG NEWS Driver of the Year; 1970, won
the AHRA Grand Nationals and set a 243 mph speed record at Ontario
Motor Speedway, was named CAR CRAFT Funny Car Driver of the
Year. In 1968 Ongais teamed with Thompson to set 295 speed and
endurance records for Ford at the Bonneville Salt Flats and tried his
hand at USAC championship car racing, having his first ride at Hanford
(Calif.) Speedway. Ongais turned to road racing early in 1974 and by
mid-June had received his SCCA National competition license.
Entering professional road racing in 1975, Ongais quickly impressed
with his quiet first-year “not to overcook it” manner. He piloted his
Interscope Racing Team entry in seven 1975 series events, finishing
four. His best showing was at the season-end Riverside event where
he was running a strong third when he was bumped off the circuit on
the final lap, dropping him to seventh on the result sheet. Ongais’
other finishes in the Interscope/Bell Electric Lola T332/400 were l0th at
Road Atlanta, 12th at Pocono, and a pair of 15th-places at Mid-Ohio
and Laguna Seca. In his early road racing efforts, he won four National
races and placed second on one occasion in his Lola T300 to capture
the Northern Pacific Division’s 1974 Formula A (5000) title. This
brought him an automatic invitation to the Champion Spark Plug Road
Racing Classic where he placed second in Formula A at the wheel of
Mario Andretti’s F/5000 Lola T332, loaned to Danny for the event.  At
he 1975 Champion Classic, Ongais qualified second but withdrew
when the Interscope Lola T332  was found to be damaged from the
previous week’s Riverside shunt.
Date
Event
#
Car
Finish
1976
Mid-Ohio
63
Lola T332
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Danny Ongais
photo & profile 1976
Residents, Carlsbad, Calif
Born May 21, 1942
Danny does appear in the
1976 Mid-Ohio movie
Danny's Lola appears a couple of
times in "Roar In The City"  A collection
of photos taken during the Long Beach
Formula 5000 race.
Interscope Racing
Danny Ongasis
Jon Woodner