Louis “Sonny” Meyer Jr. joined Meyer & Drake Engineering shortly after Dale Drake and Sonny’s father, Louis Meyer, purchased the “Offy” engine business from Fred Offenhauser in early 1946. In addition to his engineering duties, Sonny also served as an Indianapolis 500 crew member, becoming a chief mechanic for the first time in 1958 when Tony Bettenhausen finished fourth after leading the first Indianapolis 500 laps of his storied career.
When Louis Meyer sold out to Dale Drake in 1964 to become a distributor for Ford’s double-overhead-camshaft V8 racing engine, Sonny relocated to Indianapolis where he mentored many future chief mechanics during the next five years. In 1973, he was the engine man for Gordon Johncock’s Indianapolis 500 winning car at Patrick Racing, led by Sonny’s then brother-in-law George Bignotti. It is estimated that Sonny directly prepared 15 winning Indianapolis 500 engines. His tenure at Patrick Racing was followed by a stint at Vince Granatelli Racing and then several more years as development engineer on John Menard’s potent V6 turbocharged Buicks.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum