1990 Indy 500-Winning Team Owner Shierson Dies at 62
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 28, 2004 -- Douglas James "Doug" Shierson, who owned the car Arie Luyendyk drove to victory in the 1990 Indianapolis 500, died May 26 at his Mooresville, N.C., home. He was 62.
Shierson's advice to Bobby Rahal in 1977 prevented the young Rahal from quitting racing. Rahal went on to win the Indy 500 in 1986 and now is owner of the car Buddy Rice placed on the MBNA Pole for this year's race May 30.
Shierson entered cars at Indy from 1982-90. All were sponsored by Domino's Pizza.
In 1990, Luyendyk won the fastest Indianapolis 500 in history, averaging 185.981 mph. It was the first of his two victories.
Rahal drove for Shierson in Formula Atlantic in 1976 and won at Mosport, Canada. But Rahal experienced so many non-finishes during the rest of the season that he seriously considered leaving the sport. Another Formula Atlantic ride was offered for 1977, and Rahal called Shierson for advice on what to do.
"You can't quit," Shierson told him. "You have too much talent. You will succeed. Believe me. You have to have faith."
Shierson first came to Indianapolis in 1982 with driver Howdy Holmes, who finished 10th and then sixth in 1983. Danny Sullivan returned from a season in Formula One to drive for Shierson in 1984. He placed 29th, falling out with a broken wheel.
Al Unser Jr. was Shierson's driver the next three years, finishing 25th, fifth and fourth from 1985-87, respectively. Unser also was edged, 151-150, for the CART championship by his father, Al Unser, in 1985. Brazilian Raul Boesel drove to seventh place at Indy for Shierson in 1988 and then to third in 1989. Luyendyk's victory capped Shierson's career as a car owner.
Shierson was born Aug. 29, 1941, in Ann Arbor, Mich.. He graduated from the University of Michigan and went to work with his family's business, The Beacon Oil Company, in Adrian, Mich.
He became involved in auto racing in 1965.
Survivors include: Wife, Fern; daughters Molly Medlin of Los Angeles, Sarah Dumser of Mooresville, N.C., and Dr. Rebeccah Shierson of Atlanta; one granddaughter; mother, Jan, and sister Martha Harding of Cleveland.
A funeral will take place June 2 in Adrian, Mich. A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. (EDT) June 8 at the Davidson College Presbyterian Church in North Carolina. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Charlotte or the charity of the donor's choice.