2-Time "500" Champion Mechanic Joins USAC Staff Owen Snyder III has worked extensively in high forms of open-wheel racing. Now, he hopes to apply his vast knowledge and experience to the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series, Valvoline ...
2-Time "500" Champion Mechanic Joins USAC Staff
Owen Snyder III has worked extensively in high forms of open-wheel racing. Now, he hopes to apply his vast knowledge and experience to the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series, Valvoline National Sprint Car Series and National Midget Car Series.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 winning chief mechanic, whose experience includes car construction and setups as well as driver communication and team organization, joined the USAC staff on Monday and will work alongside Vice-President /Technical Operations and Director of Competition Mike Devin. Snyder will key on technical and safety areas as well as special projects.
"I'm looking to bring my experience to create equal competition as well as making the cars safer," Snyder said. "I've worked in many different higher forms in racing, and I'm looking to bring those experiences to USAC and apply them."
Snyder has nearly 25 years of practice in several aspects of racing. A native of Janesville, Wisc. who grew up in Indianapolis, Snyder tinkered with sprint cars for Siebert Oldsmobile throughout the 1970's, working alongside stepfather Jim McQueen and with drivers Bubby Jones, Rich Vogler, Steve Kinser, Lealand McSpadden and Bob East. In 1980, Snyder moved to Albuquerque, N.M. to work with three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Unser's son, Bobby Jr.
Snyder moved back to Indianapolis in November 1980 and accepted a position with Indycar team Patrick Racing, a post he would hold for five seasons. During that stint, Snyder worked his way to chief mechanic, spending time with Mario Andretti and Johnny Rutherford. He moved to Galles Racing in 1986 as chief mechanic and worked with Roberto Moreno and Geoff Brabham before car owner Rick Galles hired Al Unser Jr.
Together, Galles, Unser and Snyder formed one of the toughest teams in Indycar racing. The trio finished second in the 1989 Indianapolis 500, then won six races in 1990 en route to the series championship.
The team won the 1992 Indianapolis 500, edging Scott Goodyear by .043 seconds in the closest finish ever in the May classic. Snyder was also responsible for working with Adrian Fernandez and Davy Jones before leaving Galles' team for SRS Racing in May 1997, where he became brother-in-law Kinser's chief mechanic for the 500.
Snyder revisited the Brickyard's victory lane as a race engineer and chief mechanic for Cheever Racing in 1998 when Eddie Cheever won his only Indianapolis 500 as a driver and car owner. Snyder and the Cheever Racing team went onto three more wins in Indy Racing League competition, giving Snyder a total of 19 Indycar wins in his various roles.
USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling expects Snyder to have a significant role in USAC's day-to-day operations as well as track activity.
"Owen brings additional depth to the USAC team," Helmling said. "He shares a tremendous passion for the sport and has literally grown up in open-wheel racing. His experience and expertise in not only Indycars but also with all USAC cars is invaluable. All of us at USAC welcome Owen's arrival and his addition will significantly contribute to all of USAC as we grow to new levels in open-wheel racing."
Snyder resides in Greenwood, Ind. with his wife Linda and two daughters Christy, who plays soccer for the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars, and Steffi, a senior at Center Grove High School in Greenwood.