INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indianapolis 500 crew chief and team principal Sal Incandela died Monday, Oct. 3 in Las Vegas. He was 61.
Born in Italy, Incandela was raised in France but spent the majority of his adult life working for racing teams based in England and then the United States. He was part of at least two Formula One world championship-winning efforts. He was a mechanic for McLaren when James Hunt won the world title in 1976 and again for Brabham when Nelson Piquet won his second world title in 1983.
In 1980, Incandela was part of the Toleman team, which finished one-two in the Formula Two championship with drivers Brian Henton and Derek Warwick.
One of many former F1 mechanics drawn to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Incandela spent 1986 with Dick Simon and Raul Boesel before stints with Vince Granatelli (driver Roberto Guerrero), Frank Arciero and Bernard Jourdain.
Incandela formed an Indy Lights team, Indy Regency, for 1991 and two years later entered the Indianapolis 500 with Formula One driver Olivier Grouillard. The Frenchman was bumped from the starting field in his only attempt, but the following year Arie Luyendyk qualified in the middle of the third row for Indy Regency. Luyendyk dropped out with engine failure after 179 laps, having run as high as fourth during in the early stages. The final Indianapolis 500 run for Indy Regency was with Native American Cory Witherill in 2001.
The multi-talented Incandela wrote a highly regarded technical book "The Anatomy and Development of the Formula One Racing Car from 1975," which was first published in 1983. With forewords by old friends Patrick Tambay and Gordon Murray, the book was twice updated and later translated into French.
Incandela is survived by his wife, Lesley, son, Daniel (director of online strategy for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), and daughters, Chantal and Stephanie.
Services in Las Vegas will be private, but the family is planning a celebration of life in Indianapolis sometime in the future. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Sal Incandela be made to the Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA) organization, www.caracharities.org.