Jerry Sneva, ’77 Indy 500 Top Rookie, Dies At 68

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Verizon IndyCar Series 0 Comments

Jerry Sneva, seen here in 1977 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, died Sunday. (IMS Archives photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – 1977 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Jerry Sneva passed away on Sunday at the age of 68.

The younger brother of Tom Sneva, Jerry made a total of five starts at ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’, competing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway every year from 1977 to 1980 and returning to the field again in 1982 after failing to make the 1981 race.

Sneva’s best finish at the 500 was a 10th place run during his rookie appearance in 1977, driving a 1972 McLaren and adding to a special month for the family, after his brother Tom won the pole and ran second to race winner A.J. Foyt that same year.

His only two top-five finishes in Indy car competition came in back-to-back races in 1979, when he ran fifth at The Milwaukee Mile and fourth at Pocono Raceway the next time out. Both races were under USAC sanction and the Pocono race marked his best-career finish in American open wheel racing.

Sneva is survived by wife Kathy (the two were married 35 years), daughter Shelby and son Trevor.

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