He began working on Indy cars in 1991 for Jim Hall, then moved to Chip Ganassi and A.J. Foyt before settling in with Barry Green and then the off-spring of that team – Andretti/Green and finally Andretti Autosport. He’s spent three decades at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a crew chief for Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, James Hinchcliffe and Fernando Alonso.
But as much as Dave Popielarz loves IndyCar racing, he may have found the perfect job.
Beginning today, Poppy will be a restoration technician at IMS, and for an old-school guy who loves history, famous cars and eras gone by, it may not get any better.
“I’ve had a great career in IndyCar and I’ll always be thankful I could make a living doing what I loved. But I wanted to get off the bus, and when this stop came along, I couldn’t get out the door fast enough,” said the 56-year-old native of Brownsburg. “I love museums and history, but I never thought about something like this as a potential job.
“But when Nelson (Cabrerra, former Andretti mechanic) got the job I told him to call me if he ever quit. Well, he did, and here I am.”
Poppy will be restoring old Indy cars and he’s had plenty of experience as a fabricator, but isn’t as well-versed in engines.
“We never got a chance to work on engines with leases, so I know that’s an area I’ll need help with, but it’s exciting to be at the Speedway everyday and help put together some of its history.”