By: Spencer Neff
May 10, 2020 | 7:20 AM
Friday evening, longtime IndyCar team member Larry Curry passed away at age 68.
As the IndyCar community mourns Curry’s passing, Open-Wheels takes a look back at his lasting legacy on motorsport.
Moving up the Ranks
In the 1970s, Curry began his career as a mechanic for the likes of Gus Hoffman and Rattlesnake Racing.
During his time with this team, Curry worked with famed drivers like Dick Simon and Scott Brayton. Later on, it would be Brayton who saw some of his biggest achievements with Curry.
In 1995, Brayton and Curry earned the pole for the Indianapolis 500 with a four-lap average of 231.604 mph. Despite their effort, Brayton would finish 17th on race day, 10 laps down.
The next year saw Team Menard change drastically in the inaugural campaign of the Indy Racing League.
Although Team Owner John Menard admitted weariness of rookies, Curry successfully convinced his car owner to take a chance on first-year driver Tony Stewart.
Teamming with Brayton and Stewart for the season would be Eddie Cheever Jr., while Mark Dismore made an emotional comeback following a devastating crash five years earlier.
For the second straight year, Brayton won the pole and did so with a track record 233.718 mph. Five days later, Brayton was fatally injured during a practice crash and Stewart would start on the pole.
On race day, Stewart led 44 of the first 82 laps before dropping out with an engine issue.
After starting 33rd as Brayton’s substitute, Danny Ongais finished seventh in his first “500” since 1986. On Lap 78, Cheever set the fastest race lap in history at 236.103 mph and would finish 11th, while Dismore finished 19th.
In 1997, Stewart and Curry captured the series championship. Two years later, the pair moved on to NASCAR. After a two-year prison sentence from 2001-2002, Curry joined Vision Racing in 2005.
Later, Curry would spend five years managing Dreyer and Reinbold’s team. Following his time with DRR, Curry went on to manage the Indianapolis Speedrome race track.
In 2017, Harding Racing named Curry its manager in its new effort with Gabby Chaves. In their first race, the team finished ninth at the 2017 Indianapolis 500.
Larry’s son, Matt, has followed in his father’s footsteps as a longtime IndyCar engineer. In 2013, the younger Curry was part of KV Racing Technologies’ Indianapolis 500 winning entry with Tony Kanaan.
Open-Wheels would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Larry Curry. We thank him for his contributions to IndyCar and the racing community.
Header Image By Ron McQueeney/INDYCAR