Star Racing/G-Squared’s George Bryce sure knows how to celebrate his birthday. Bryce, who is exactly the same age as the NHRA US Nationals,52, has now won the prestigious event a total of eight times. Bryce first won in Indy as a rider in 1984 aboard his turbo-charged Funny Bike.
As a team owner and crew chief Bryce won the race with the late John Myers in 1989, 1996 and 1997, Angelle Sampey in 2001 and 2002, double-amputee Reggie Showers in 2003, and most recently Matt Smith in 2006. Bryce’s tremendous success may stem from his nonchalant psychological approach to the race.
“Indy is the biggest race of the year, but the bike doesn’t know that. The track doesn’t know that. The timing system, the parts, and the gasoline don’t know that. Only the rider knows that. And if you can pretend it’s just another race or just another test session you can win,” Bryce said. “Effort equals results and if I’m not happy with my results I can always trace it back to effort.”
Bryce says Smith subscribed to his formula of not letting the hype affect him. “For the first time in Matt’s career he didn’t even know who was in the other lane,” Bryce said. “I teach all of my riders that the fact that you aren’t intimidated by what you are doing, intimidates the hell out of others. The best guy in the world at that was Dale Earnhardt Sr. They used to take the driver’s heart rate before a race and Earnhardt would always be nice and low around 68 before they even said “gentleman start your engines.” That scared the hell out of people.”
Bryce’s Top Five Indy Wins
1) 1989 with John Myers – “That win changed everything. We were overdrawn in our checking account and struggling to make it. By the end of the weekend John got his very first win and we landed a sponsorship from the Wax Shop.”
2) 1997 with John Myers – “My baby daughter was only six weeks old and we got to take her to the winner’s circle. She has that Wally in her bedroom. It was John’s last Indy win before his death.”
3) 2003 with Reggie Showers – “Reggie made the most amazing statement in the winner’s circle. He said, “Yesterday I was just a crippled kid trying to race but today I’m a champion.”
4) 2001 with Angelle Sampey – “She had tried so hard to win it for so many years and finally did it. She said that she never felt more like a champion than she did at that time.”
5) 2005 and 2006 with Matt Smith – “We won it two years in a row but only got one trophy. How great is that?”