Four-time Indy 500 winner and three-time National Champion Rick Mears was honored at the Road Racing Driver’s Club annual West Coast dinner with the Phil Hill Award by Hill’s widow Alma and son Derek.
The award, an Al Brinkworth model of Hill’s 1961 World Championship-winning Ferrari 156, recognizes not only Hill’s masterful accomplishments on the track, but also his contributions as an ambassador for the sport. It was presented for the first time on the West Coast as part of the RRDC dinner honoring Roger Penske, for whom Mears drove during most of his career.
Mears characteristically tried to slip away without much fanfare, but couldn’t. “I thought I was going to slide out,” offered a humble Mears. “I just have to say thank you very much. I was honored to just be here to honor Roger tonight, and to get this award is unbelievable.”
Derek Hill noted that a definite link existed between the two since Mears had won an Indycar race at Brands Hatch in 1978, 11 years after Derek’s father registered the final victory of his career there in his very last race.