Mark Donohue’s Final Indy 500 Ride Coming to the Glen

1973 Eagle-Offy Will Be On Display and Take Part in Tribute Laps

WATKINS GLEN, NY (April 08, 2009) – Historic Watkins Glen International will be the place to be for any Mark Donohue fan during Opening Day on Sunday, April 26th.  The 1973 Eagle-Offy that Donohue drove in several Indy Car events, including his final Indianapolis 500, will be on display and is scheduled to be one of eight legendary cars participating in the weekend-long Mark Donohue Tribute.  The cars will make several tribute laps of the historic road-course at noon on April 26th.  Opening Day is also the last day to take advantage of the advance sale ticket prices for any 2009 racing event held at the racetrack this summer.

In 1973, Donohue was the defending Indy 500 champion but following a Goodyear tire test he found that his new McLaren chassis was no match for the Eagle chassis. He and owner Roger Penske made the decision to switch to the Eagle-Offy combination in the hopes of retaining the Indy 500 crown.  Donohue qualified third for the 1973 Indy 500 with a four-lap average of 197.412 mph but unfortunately that success did not translate to the race as his engine broke a piston on lap 92 which ended dreams of a repeat.  This would be his final appearance in the Indianapolis 500. Donohue used the Eagle Chassis and Offenhauser (Offy) engine combination for only one season and met with little success but it is still considered a significant car in his career.

Donohue piloted the car two more times during the 1973 season.  The first was during the Pocono 500.  He qualified 23rd for the race but once again the Penske entry was bitten by bad luck as a burned piston brought the car to the pits for good just after the half-way mark.  Donohue’s final appearance in the Eagle-Offy came during the Ontario 500 in September.  The team suffered yet another mechanical failure as the crankshaft broke on lap 22 but even more significant than the DNF was the fact this would be Donohue’s final USAC start.

Opening Day at WGI will feature a full day of on-track activity and the official release of the new Mark Donohue biography titled Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence at Speed from

David Bull Publishing authored by Michael Argetsinger.  Two versions of the new book will be available to purchase at the track, including the publisher’s edition for $99.95, and the regular edition for $39.95.  The eight Donohue cars currently scheduled to appear are two 1967 Lola T70 Can-Am cars, 1973 Eagle-Offy Indy Car, 1967 Trans-Am Camaro, 1961 Elva Courier, 1967 Shelby GT 350R SCCA B production car, 1973 Porsche 917-30 Can-Am car, and rare Penske PC-1 Formula 1 car.

For only $20, fans can drive three laps around the same turns as Mark Donohue and many legends of Motorsports on Opening Day.  Gates will open at 9:00am with laps starting at 10:00am and ending at 3:00pm including a half hour break for the Mark Donohue Tribute Laps at noon.   Proceeds from Opening Day will benefit the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC). Additional information on the weekend’s activities can be found either at the Center’s website or the Watkins Glen International website,

Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now!  For tickets and information, please contact the WGI ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can be all purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen, Open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4, Closed Sunday; 607-535-2338.

– Watkins Glen International, Press Release