Richie Hearn is an American former racing driver who recorded 84 starts in North American open-wheel competitions (Champ Car, Indy Car), scoring one victory.
His most successful period in a career was 1995-1996. In 1995, he was Formula Toyota Atlantic champion, in May 1996 he finished third at Indianapolis 500 and then, in September 1996, he clinched his only Indy Car victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hearn currently works as driving instructor in Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, owned by former racer Ron Fellows.
Richie Hearn currently works for Spring Mountain Motorsports
Two seasons in the Toyota Atlantic Championship
Born in January 1971 in Glendale, California, Richie Hearn started his open-wheel career in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 1994, immediately becoming one of the front-runners. He won four races (Long Beach, Montreal, Toronto, Laguna Seca) to finish second in the final standings, just two points behind champion David Empringham.
In the 1995 Toyota Atlantic Championship season, Richie Hearn was a race winner three times (Toronto, Trois-Rivieres, Mid-Ohio) but it was good enough to take the championship title ahead of last year's winner David Empringham.
Richie Hearn started his Indy Car career with Della Penna Motorsports
Third place at 1996 Indianapolis 500
For the 1996 season, Hearn joined Della Penna Motorsports. It was the year of the split between the CART and Indy Racing League and the team decided to participate in both championships. In the PPG CART Indy Car World Series, Hearn was driving the #44 Lola-Cosworth in three events, finishing best in the tenth place at Long Beach.
In the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League, Hearn was driving the #4 Reynard-Cosworth in all three rounds. He retired at Wald Disney World Speedway, finished fourth at Phoenix International Raceway and took a podium at Indianapolis 500, finishing third behind Buddy Lazier and Davy Jones.
Celebrating victory at Las Vegas
Victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
In summer 2006, Hearn participated with Della Penna Motorsports in two opening rounds of the second Indy Racing League season, at New Hampshire and Las Vegas. Driving the #4 Reynard-Cosworth, he scored his first and only Indy Car victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, beating Michel Jourdain Jr.
He didn't return to Indy Racing League that season, focusing on CART World Series instead from 1997.
Budweiser sponsored Hearn in 1998 and 1999
Three seasons in the CART Championship Series
In the 1997 CART World Series season, Hearn was driving the #21 Lola-Cosworth for Della Penna Motorsports, finishing 21st in the points. His best result was the ninth place in two races. In the 1998 FedEx Championship Series, Hearn improved his performances in the #10 Swift-Cosworth, recording eight Top 10 finishes to end a season 16th in the points.
The 1999 FedEx Championship Series season was his last with Della Penna Motorsports. He started the season in the #10 Swift-Toyota, switching to Reynard-Toyota from the sixth round. He was in the Top 10 just four times, finishing the season 22nd in the points.
In his last attempt at Indianapolis 500, Hearn was driving the #91 Honda
Seven more participations at Indianapolis 500
The season 1999 was Hearn's last season on a full-time schedule. From 2000, he was regularly returning to Indianapolis 500, recording seven attempts until 2007. In 2000, he stopped after 97 laps in #75 Pagan Racing's Dallara-Oldsmobile. In 2001, Hearn didn't race, he was a relief driver for Tony Stewart who raced in the same day at Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.
In 2002, Hearn finished sixth at Indianapolis 500 in the #20 Dallara-Chevrolet of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. In 2003, he rejoined Sam Schmidt Motorsports to drive the #99 G-Force (Toyota), crashing out on lap 61. The third attempt with Sam Schmidt Motorsports followed in 2004 when Hearn finished 20th in the #33 G-Force (Toyota). At 2005 Indianapolis 500, Hearn was driving the #70 Panoz-Chevrolet for Sam Schmidt, crashing out on lap 114.
Richie Hearn recorded his last Indianapolis 500 participation in 2007, driving the #91 Dallara-Honda for Hemelgarn Racing. He finished 23rd, three laps behind a race winner.
Hearn recorded 14 race starts with Sam Schmidt Motorsports
A season with Sam Schmidt Motorsports
The most of his Indianapolis attempts between 2000 and 2007 Hearn had with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Besides racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he joined the team in two events in 2001 and eight more events in the 2002 Indy Racing League season. He also made one start with AJ Foyt Enterprises at Nazareth. Hearn's best result in 2002 was the fourth place at Nashville and he finished the season 15th in the points.
In 2003, Hearn recorded three IRL starts beside Indianapolis 500, driving for Team Menard at Chicagoland and for Hemelgarn Racing at Fontana and Texas. He was on a pole at Chicagoland Speedway, finishing the race in 14th place.