USA Today Special Edition of the 100th Running

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USA Today Special Edition of the 100th Running
usatoday.com
SPECIAL
EDITION
ON SALE THROUGH JUNE 13, 2016
.
100TH INDY 500
The faces, finishes and lure
of a racing institution
AMERICA’S
RACE
uHow Indy toys
with drivers’ legacies
uRace-by-race review, uReflections from
evolution of the car
former champions
$4.95
2
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
INSIDE
3
22
Indy’s opportunity: Even
as the iconic race reaches No. 100
and perhaps a draw of more
than 300,000 fans, it faces a crossroads as to whether its popularity
can be sustained.
Women’s challenges:
Danica Patrick’s arrival to IndyCar
inspired change, but financial
obstacles remain.
8
100 most influential:
We list an assemblage of track
owners, drivers, media members
and other important figures.
uRace winners, Page 54
12
Evolution of the car: A
graphical look at the transformation and enhancement of the race
car over 100 years.
Finding a legacy: Drivers
strive for consistency, but mastering the Indy 500 might be their
ultimate challenge.
uThe biggest winners, Page 31
Building a dream:
Founder Carl Fisher put his faith in
the promise of cars and American
ingenuity into a site and race that
have become a national treasure.
uTrack and race details, Page 10
16
Andrettis’ agony:
Disappointment followed Mario
and his sons after his one Indy
500 victory. Still, the name remains
synonymous with success.
uMario’s memorabilia, Page 46
18
Penske’s passions: In
his 50th year in motor sports, the
team owner and magnate has a
love for the nautical life and drive
to keep winning.
20
Pop culture: The 500
assumes a firm presence across
the entertainment landscape.
24
28
32
Through the years:
From the highlights and lowlights,
controversies and exhilarating
finishes, we take an extensive look
at the previous 99 races.
43
Victory lane: Reflections from past winners.
uBobby Unser: ‘Unserville’ is alive
with memories, Page 43
uHelio Castroneves considers his
future, Page 52
u Ryan Hunter-Reay takes a leap
of faith, Page 53
COVER CREDIT
The Pagoda (background) and
the Borg-Warner Trophy are
shown before the 2015 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. By Thomas J. Russo,
USA TODAY Sports.
Corrections & clarifications
USA TODAY is committed to accuracy. To reach us, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones at 800-872-7073 or e-mail
[email protected] Please indicate whether you’re responding to content online or in the newspaper.
RACE CELEBRATES
MAJOR MILESTONE
Stephen Borelli and Mike Brehm, issue editors
Special edition
John Zidich, Publisher
Dave Morgan, President, Sports Media Group
David Meeks, Managing editor
Josh Barnett, Assistant managing editor
Motor sports editors: Heather Tucker, Ellen J. Horrow
Designers: Leslie Spalding, Joyce Richards
Graphics: Greg Hester
Photo editors: David Cooper, Sean Dougherty, Tim Loehrke,
Jud McCrehin
Copy desk chief: Joe Rayos
Copy editors: Florence Brown, Lou Cortina, Matt Fogleson,
Mark Hayes, Brad Windsor
Staff writers: Brant James; Curt Cavin, Dana Hunsinger Benbow
and Zak Keefer of The Indianapolis Star
Contributing writers: Mike Hembree, Jeff Olson
BRIAN SPURLOCK, USA TODAY SPORTS
Drivers are on the grid at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
before last year’s Indy 500. The 100th running of “The
Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is May 29.
ISSNO734-7456
A USA TODAY publication, Gannett Co. Inc.
USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the
trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights
reserved. Copyright 2016, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett
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USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
MARK J. REBILAS, USA TODAY SPORTS
The grandstands at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are expected to be packed with 235,000-plus fans this year for the 100th running of the Indy 500.
SPEEDWAY’S FUTURE:
FULL SPEED AHEAD?
Building fan base beyond milestone race is challenge
Brant James
@brantjames
USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS The speedway is
at a brick-paved crossroads.
In one direction is the path to
the future vitality of Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, its continued
place as one of America’s great
sporting cathedrals. In another, a
road to ruin. Or so goes the anec-
dotal theory percolating through
the Hoosier State.
The prospect of one or both
occupies those charged with taking care of the speedway’s present
and future and those whose indelible memories of the place help
form its glorious past.
No doubt, the 100th running of
the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 is
a hallmark moment in the history
of the 105-year-old track at 16th
and Georgetown. But the 101st
might be more important as an
indicator of whether it becomes a
revitalized center of a revitalized
sport or a fading icon. The turnstiles will decide it.
“A hundred years is sort of a
tent-pole year, and that’s why
we’ve all along tried to position it
as, ‘This isn’t an ending point, this
is just one more in what has so far
been 99 really important events,’ ”
IMS President Doug Boles told
USA TODAY Sports. “The hun-
dredth will be an important one.
So will the 101st.”
Theory on the future of IMS is
like religion in Indiana, because
connections with the 21⁄2-mile
track are so personal for devotees
tracing bloodlines back decades to
afternoons under blue skies, pork
loin sandwiches, whatever was in
the cooler and (Back Home Again
in) Indiana raising goose bumps
on skin just beginning to sunburn.
Everywhere there is seemingly
an anecdotal uncle from Bloomington or Terre Haute who fell in
love with the racing when Parnelli
Jones and Mario Andretti were
forging legends and who has attended every race since the 1960s
religiously. He trudges toward the
100th running like some elephant
graveyard, whereupon he can
finally rest, either too old or too
infirm or just too outpriced and
disgusted with the hassle of it all.
Boles said that repeat customers are the main driver of the
audience each year, and he has
spoken with a few subscribers
who said they would not return
after this running. A mass exodus
of longtime subscribers, each
eliminating multiple-ticket accounts from the stands, could
produce a stark reduction in attendance from the 2016 expectation to whatever 2017 generates.
Boles’ hope is that fans who do
not renew will pass the race as a
family tradition on to the next
generation as it had been to them.
“When I talk to folks, especially
ones who have been long term,
there are people who are getting
to the point where coming with
400,000 people in a venue and
parking and walking is taxing,”
Boles said. “But those are the
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
MATT DETRICH, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Michael Cartellone performs May
25, 2012, during the Carb Day show.
MUSICIANS GET IN ON ACT
DURING RACE WEEKEND
Some consider Indianapolis Motor Speedway a concert venue.
Bringing big acts in on race weekends is a fairly recent development.
The first headline act for Carb Day was the Hamilton Brothers in
1998. Since then, rock acts have become the norm (The Black
Crowes, Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd) while Legends Day has
started to feature country acts (Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean).
Even a former Indianapolis 500 driver, Kenny Brack, took the
stage as a Carb Day warm-up act a couple of times.
This year’s headliner on Carb Day, held May 27, is Journey. The
Legends Day headliner on May 28 is Blake Shelton.
The Indianapolis Star
CHARLIE NYE, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Helio Castroneves leads the pack in 2009, when Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the
100th anniversary of its opening. Castroneves went on to win the race for the third time.
same folks who have introduced
their kids and grandkids to the
event. And those tickets, as people
decide they’re done, typically they
have that next generation of the
family that picks them up and
continues to move forward.”
But it never hurts to work the
phones. Since January, Boles has
tried to make about 10 calls daily
to some of the 235,000-plus who
have purchased grandstand
tickets, targeting those who
bought the same day, several who
have renewed tickets for seven to
15 years and then long-term
buyers.
“It’s interesting, especially to
someone who is brand new, the
excitement around it, and how
they want to be here for the hundredth and they followed IndyCar
racing but never felt that magnet
of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go see this
one,’ ” Boles said. “And then I
think there are a lot of conversations where there are people who
have gone for 20, 30, 40 years and
then quit going for whatever
reason. Life change, kids, whatever. For them to come back is
exciting.
“So we have to deliver that
experience when they get here,
both on track and off, that makes
them say, ‘You know what? This is
what I am going to continue to do
on Memorial Day weekend.’
That’s how we try to keep that
momentum going. It’s a great
opportunity for us.”
OLD FANS, NEW FANS
No doubt, the sold-out reserved
grandstand seats will be
crammed. The Indianapolis Star
estimates IMS holds 235,000
grandstand seats after downsizing
in recent years. Boles has spoken
optimistically of an infield crowd
in excess of 100,000. The expected
throng would be the largest since
the sport’s apex before the acrimonious CART-Indy Racing
League split in the mid-1990s.
IMS typically does not release
official attendance figures, but
Boles has dabbled the prospect of
a crowd in excess of 300,000,
generating euphoria and skepticism from different camps.
There will be an opportunity
there, Zak Brown, Group CEO,
CSM Sport & Entertainment, told
USA TODAY Sports.
“IndyCar is growing,” he said.
“Attendance and television (ratings are) up. and competition is
great. And with the 100th running
of the Indy 500, they have a real
opportunity to convert new fans.
Demand is the highest I’ve ever
seen it at Indy since I’ve been in
the business.”
But this milestone is not the
only potential indicator of the
speedway’s momentum.
A lengthy “Centennial” period,
which began in 2009 with commemorations of the anniversary
of the opening of the speedway, is
concluding.
The final NASCAR season for
transplanted Hoosier and fourtime Sprint Cup champion Jeff
Gordon spiked sales for the Brickyard 400 last July, as he was central to the track’s marketing
campaign. Native son Tony Stewart will enter his final edition of
the Cup race this season, albeit in
a more understated manner,
removing one more natural hook
for a local fan base that has become increasingly tepid toward
what once was a marquee event.
“When you think about it from
the Brickyard standpoint, our
ticket sales were better than they
had been for a long time (in 2015),
and we attribute a lot of that to
Jeff Gordon,” Boles said. “We got
a little bit of that with the Tony
Stewart effect. I think Tony not
running all season (because of an
injury) made it a little harder for
us to grab that moment and surround that particular event.”
Track officials say there isn’t
any evidence of a potential ticketbuying hangover for the 500.
They should know much more
about that soon after the race.
Boles said traditionally 70% to
80% of ticket subscribers renew
for the following year and most do
it in the two weeks after the event.
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman &
Company, which owns IndyCar
and IMS, said he had heard anecdotes of older fans not renewing
but added, “That’s not a big number, and most of those people are
such hardcore fans I think they’ve
already converted their kids and
their grandkids.”
Boles said, “(Non-renewals) is a
risk, but I’ve had very few conversations with people who have
said to me, ‘I’ve come for 50 years,
and I’m going to be at the hundredth and I’m not going to come
back.’ As we start thinking about
how we continue to make sure the
500 is healthy, that’s one of those
targeted groups of people we want
to make sure, ‘Hey, you’ve been
for 50, but the 51st is going to be
just as important as the 50th.’
“It’s definitely something we’re
paying attention to, but in my
conversations I haven’t felt like
that’s an overwhelming consensus
of the long-term customer.”
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
Horse racing, golf, tennis,
baseball share in longevity
The Indianapolis 500 joins a
respected list of North American
sporting events to celebrate its
100th edition. A sampling:
KENTUCKY DERBY
AP
A.J. Foyt celebrates the second of his four Indy 500 wins in 1964.
‘TRADITION YOU CAN’T BUY’
A.J. Foyt knows a thing or two
about American classics. He was
the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, a record
shared with Al Unser Sr. and Rick
Mears. Foyt also won the Daytona
500 and the Rolex 24 twice. But
he said despite NASCAR’s advantages in market share and the
grandeur of revitalized Daytona
International Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 remains paramount.
Stunned that he lived to see the
100th edition of the race he said
made him, Foyt said the event’s
future was secure. It will continue
to define its time, he said.
“Indianapolis is like the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “You can
have the sorriest horse alive. If he
wins one race, if he wins the Derby, he’s a Kentucky Derby winner,
and that’s the same way with
Indianapolis. Daytona is great, it’s
beautiful, I enjoyed it, but it’s not
Indianapolis.
“It’s tradition you can’t buy.”
Foyt’s analogy works on more
levels than he might realize, some
that could worry the IndyCar
community.
The Kentucky Derby has survived for 142 installments as the
nation grew from an agrarian to a
mechanized society and horses
became more of a nostalgic remembrance of a bucolic past than
a relevant part of the present.
Horse racing as a sport and an
industry captures the American
fancy for generally no more than
the first Saturday in May, except
when a 3-year-old reaches the
Belmont Stakes with the opportunity to win a Triple Crown.
Similarly, open-wheel racing —
its prestige ravaged by fractious
politics that resulted in the creation of a rival but diminished
series, until reunification in 2008,
and the opportunistic ascendancy
of NASCAR — captivates the
mainstream at the end of May.
But it struggles for relevance
thereafter. Being a part of Americana is a wonderful thing, except
when formulating a sustainable,
12-month business plan.
“Highlighting its history and
tradition matters, but so, too, does
the overall positioning of the
sport the other 364 days a year,
especially given the clutter this
time of year with so much going
on,” said David Carter, executive
director of the Sports Business
Institute at the University of
Southern California. “Successfully
leveraging its history, when complemented by the positioning and
featuring of the drivers as the
sport utilizes new forms of media
to captivate (young) fans, is vital.”
Television ratings have improved relative to poor showings
in recent years, but they have yet
to match the earnest insistence of
competitors and series officials
that IndyCar’s product is as worthy as it has ever been.
“I think its opportunity
couldn’t come at a better time,
because I think we’re in a position
as a series to take advantage of it,”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan coowner Bobby Rahal said. “I look at
this as our opportunity to use this
as a springboard to the future, not
as, ‘This is it. It’s not going to be
this good again.’ ”
Prospects of a return to grand
times — with his son and driver
Graham part of it — made the
1986 Indy 500 winner smile.
“I know it’s going to be nuts,
crazy, huge,” Rahal said. “But I’m
probably understating it.”
The moment and the opportunity.
First event: 1875
100th event: 1974
The Kentucky Derby is the
longest-running uninterrupted
sporting event in America. Cannonade won the 100th race by
21⁄4 lengths, competing in a record field of 23 horses in 1974. The
centennial event set a record for
largest crowd in Churchill Downs
history — until it was broken in
2012 — with 163,628 fans.
U.S. OPEN (TENNIS)
First event: 1881
100th event: 1980
First contested as the men’sonly U.S. National Championship
in Newport, R.I., America’s
Grand Slam tournament eventually moved to New York and
allowed women to participate. In
the 100th U.S. Open, John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg in a
marathon five-set final, and Chris
Evert-Lloyd won her 14th career
Grand Slam title beating Hana
Mandlikova. Billie Jean King
(women’s doubles) won her 39th
and final Grand Slam title and
Stan Smith (men’s doubles) won
his seventh and final one.
BOSTON MARATHON
First event: 1897
100th event: 1996
Inspired by the marathon at
the first modern Olympic Games
in Athens in 1896, Boston instituted its long-distance race the
following year. The 100th marathon attracted 36,748 starters
and had 35,868 official finishers,
which stood as the largest field of
finishers in the history of the
sport until the 2004 New York
City Marathon. Germany’s Uta
Pippig picked up her third consecutive victory, and Kenya’s
Moses Tanui earned the first of
his two wins.
U.S. OPEN (GOLF)
First event: 1895
100th event: 2000
The first tournament was held
in Newport, R.I., moved around
and took breaks because of
World War I and World War II.
In 2000, Tiger Woods shot a
12-under 272 in Pebble Beach,
ERIC RISBERG, AP
Tiger Woods won the 100th U.S. Open in 2000 by 15 strokes,
the largest margin of victory in golf’s four majors.
Calif., to beat Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez by 15 strokes,
the largest margin of victory in
the four men’s golf majors.
WORLD SERIES
First event: 1903
100th event: 2004
The 100th World Series would
have taken place in 2003 if a
strike hadn’t canceled the remainder of the 1994 season.
Perhaps it was fitting. The Boston Americans (later renamed
the Red Sox) beat the Pittsburgh
Pirates in 1903. In the 2004
Series, Boston broke the “Curse
of the Bambino” and ended an
86-year drought.
STANLEY CUP
First event: 1893
100th event: 1993
The Stanley Cup, the oldest
trophy competed for in North
American professional team
sports, was first awarded to Montreal A.A.A, which won the Canadian amateur hockey championship after the 1892-93 season.
The NHL assumed control of
Stanley Cup competition after
1926. In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles
Kings for their 24th title.
ROSE BOWL
First event: 1902
100th event: 2014
The 1902 Tournament of Roses football game was the first
postseason football game in the
nation. Michigan routed Stanford 49-0, dampening enthusiasm for the game, which did not
return until 1916. The 100th Rose
Bowl also featured Stanford and
a team from Michigan. Michigan
State won, but at least the score
was closer, 24-20.
Ellen J. Horrow
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
FAIR OR NOT,
500 SHAPES
LEGACIES
‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’
can turn drivers into legends
Brant James
[email protected]
USA TODAY Sports
It was as if Scott Dixon was
attempting to distance himself
from this newly established label
of “legend.”
Sitting at a small table in a
glass-walled room atop the Petersen Automotive Museum in
Los Angeles in April, conducting
interviews and awaiting a banquet
in which he and the most successful drivers in open-wheel racing
would be hailed, the four-time
Verizon IndyCar Series champion
pondered a question.
How much does performance in
the Indianapolis 500 color a driver’s legacy?
“Yeah,” he said in contemplative tone. “It’s very important.”
But is that emphasis fair, especially compared to other wins and
championships?
“They’re very different. A
championship, the obvious factor
is you’ve got a whole year to sort it
out,” Dixon explained. “They’re
very tough to win but very tough
in a different way. The 500, to try
and get everything right in a
three-hour period, it’s almost
impossible.”
He grinned, as if thinking back
to the 12 he didn’t win.
“The 500 is funny, man.”
Cruelly funny, to some more
than others.
A winner of 39 open-wheel
races over 16 seasons, which ties
him with Al Unser Sr. for fourth
all time and places him three
behind Michael Andretti, 13 behind Mario Andretti and a distant
28 behind A.J. Foyt, Dixon has
one Indianapolis 500 victory, in
2008, to burnish an otherwise
sterling career.
As is his bent when considering
his accomplishments in the moment, Dixon was self-deprecating,
but there was evidence in the
room for and against his premise.
Unser, a three-time champion,
will become a milepost behind
Dixon on the wins list but will be
forever immortalized with his
resemblance four times affixed on
the Borg-Warner Trophy. Foyt
cemented his place as arguably
America’s greatest racing son by
doing the same. Rick Mears, a
three-time series champion, won
only 29 open-wheel races but with
four Indianapolis wins has been
gilded with Foyt and Unser since
1991.
Mario Andretti, generally the
counterpoint to any debate over
Foyt’s place in the American racing pantheon, despite a lifetime of
ordeal, won just the 1969 Indianapolis 500 in 29 attempts.
Michael Andretti went 0-for-16
despite leading in nine starts (for
160 laps in 1992) and at times
dominating. But his best finish
was second in 1991, as Mears
passed him to win in the final 13
laps.
While Mario Andretti’s legacy
is unquestioned, as he is the only
driver to win a Formula One
championship, the Daytona 500
and the Indianapolis 500, he
laments how the month of May
has defined his son’s career.
“I always said that it’s unfair
because your career in many ways
is judged by your performance
there,” Mario Andretti said. “I
hate to say it, but look at Michael.
How many multi-winners have
dominated that race like he has?
Because of that you might look at
his career as if it wasn’t as successful as, say, Al Unser Sr. or
someone like that. But he was.
And you look at the laps he led
and all that.”
The father applies the same
salve to his Indianapolis history,
including 1987, with that little
detail of a race win the only missing facet of another otherwise
impeccable month that year.
“My consolation is also that,”
he said of racing well at Indianapolis. “I’m looking at the laps
that I led, that at least I had that,
MARK J. REBILAS, USA TODAY SPORTS
Juan Pablo Montoya hopes to join the 10 drivers who have won the Indy 500 three or more times.
you know? So you only had one
win, but I dominated at times.
You look at ’87, you look at the
record, ’87, every single day I was
on the track I was quickest. I was
on the pole. I even won the pit
stop competition. And I led pretty
much every lap — except for stops
— and I was over a lap in the lead,
23 laps to go ... .”
And his engine surrendered
because of a reported harmonic
imbalance caused by insufficient
revs. So Andretti left with a ninthplace finish after leading 170 of
200 laps, memories of excellence
unrequited. His legacy assured
from other deeds, he presents it as
if that will suffice. It must.
“Those were satisfying moments even though I don’t have
the trophy to show for it. And I’m
good with that,” he said.
There is the sense that Juan
Pablo Montoya was good with his
legacy before he won the Indianapolis 500 for the second time last
year, establishing the longest gap
(15 years) between victories. A
repeat would make him the eighth
with three victories in the race,
including Team Penske teammate
Helio Castroneves, and doing so
in the 100th installment would
seal his image as an iconic one for
perpetuity.
That’s not to say he or any of
his peers could possibly want this
one more, he said.
“It’s, yeah, cooler, yes,” he conceded. “(But) if you think you can
do something different, do better,
that means you haven’t been
doing your job.”
Dario Franchitti had been
doing his exceedingly well, legendarily well, before back injuries
and a concussion suffered in a
crash in Houston in 2013 prompted his retirement. A friend and
former teammate of Dixon’s at
Ganassi Racing, the Scot has 31
wins. But Dixon doesn’t sound as
if he’s out front. Perhaps if he
reaches it, winning two more Indy
500s, Dixon can eventually be
personally satisfied with the legacy he’s not yet allowed himself to
consider in depth.
“Dario won quite important
things, with four championships
and three Indy 500s,” Dixon said.
“Right there, that’s petty stout.”
Which makes this Indianapolis
500 important on multiple levels.
“Yeah,” Dixon repeated. “It’s
very important.”
FOLLOW REPORTER
BRANT JAMES
@brantjames for motor sports
breaking news and analysis
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Ray Harroun won the initial Indianapolis 500 in 1911,
averaging just under 75 mph in the Marmon Wasp.
AP
Fans flock from all over the world, filling the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway grandstands on race day.
Johnnie Parsons, left, running ahead of Mauri Rose, won
the 1950 race, which was cut short because of rain.
AP
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
George Souders crosses the finish line in a Duesenberg to win the Indy 500 in 1927, the year famed World War I pilot Eddie Rickenbacker bought the speedway.
ICONIC TRACK
ROSE FROM
HUMBLE START
Founder Fisher couldn’t possibly
have dreamed what was to come
Zak Keefer
@zkeefer
USA TODAY Sports
The idea behind
the whole thing sprouted in a
world of dirt roads and big
dreams. America was restless at
INDIANAPOLIS
the turn of the 20th century, a
curious, defiant and ambitious
nation chasing the most human of
desires: more. Life was speeding
up. America wanted further.
America wanted faster. So Carl
Fisher gave it to them.
It started with six words. He
was furious that day, sulking on
the side of one of those dirt roads,
somewhere outside the tiny town
of Dublin, Ind., in the fall of 1908.
Fisher’s car had broken down on
the way home from Dayton, Ohio.
Tire failure. Again. And that’s
when his friend, Lem Trotter,
asked the question that would
change auto racing forever.
“Why don’t you build that
track?”
The man had a point. Fisher
had talked for years about constructing a massive testing track
to show off the nation’s new phenomenon — the automobile — but
had yet to follow through. His
goals: spark interest, stimulate
advancement and sell some cars.
The problem was finding the right
slice of land. French Lick, the site
Fisher initially proposed,
wouldn’t do. Too hilly. So a day or
two after their disastrous trip
home from Dayton, Fisher and
Trotter drove out a few miles west
of Indianapolis and got out at the
corner of Crawfordsville Pike.
They gazed out at 320 acres of
flat-as-can-be farmland. Fisher
was sold.
He lured three businessmen —
Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler
and James Allison. They forked
over $72,000 for the land. The
Pressley Farm became Indianapolis Motor Parkway. A speedway
was born.
Built to serve as an automotive
testing ground — come see how
far our cars can go before blowing
up! — it instead became an automotive proving ground. But not
without a few casualties. The
deaths piled up in those early
years, mostly because of the
track’s shoddy surface, and the
calls came, one after another, for
Fisher to shut the place down.
“(These races) are an amusement
congenial only to savages and
should be stopped,” wrote The
AP
New York Times. “There is abundant legal warrant for doing so.”
But Fisher wouldn’t blink. He
improvised. He repaved his 2.5mile oval with bricks and
dreamed up “the grandest grind
ever,” an exhaustive competition
set for Memorial Day weekend
1911 that promised to test man
and machine like nothing else on
earth. Indianapolis would host a
500-mile race.
In a country ripe for amusement, Fisher’s race became an
inimitable spectacle. It became an
ode to America’s rebellious past,
yet an embodiment of the forward
thinking it was founded upon. It
became the relentless pursuit of
progress. The speed was alluring,
the danger real, the drama unrivaled. It was deadly. It was exhilarating. It was addictive.
It became a celebration of
American ingenuity, of American
audacity, of American triumph. It
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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became an American original. It
became 33 drivers scoffing at their
own mortality — “a most barbarous form of excitement” was how
the Times put it. No matter. This
is a country that loves cars, loves
building them, fixing them and
racing them. This is a country that
loves the Indianapolis 500.
Fisher’s track became a cathedral, the birthplace of American
motor sports, a Midwestern melting pot. His 500-mile race became
an institution, held at the same
time on the same day at the same
place every year, a toast to summer and sunshine and pork tenderloins and light beer and fast
cars. It became “a nnnewwww
trrrrracccckkk rrrrecordddd!” and
(Back Home Again in) Indiana
and “Gentlemen, start your engines!” and a bottle of milk and
the Borg-Warner Trophy and
kissing the bricks.
It became that spine-tingling
roar that arrives just after noon
on the last Sunday in May at 16th
Street and Georgetown Road as
33 cars tear down the most famous straightaway in motor sports
at 220-and-change mph while the
hair on the necks of a quartermillion people stands straight up.
“There was nothing else like it,”
says Donald Davidson, the track’s
venerable historian. “It just took
off. There was Christmas, there
was Easter and there was the
Indianapolis 500.”
No, Fisher couldn’t have seen
all that was to come. Not
some-400,000 fans packing his
speedway during its mid-1980s
peak. Not a Dutch driver named
Arie Luyendyk burning around
his oval at more than 236 mph (in
1996). Not the innovations his
track would pioneer, from the first
seat belt to the first use of fourwheel drive to countless engine
overhauls. It changed everything.
He changed everything.
“I don’t think Carl Fisher had
any clue as to what he was creating,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles says.
And to think, the man was just
trying to sell cars. His track is 107
years old. It has been abandoned,
expanded and renovated. The first
Indianapolis 500 was in the books
before the Titanic sailed. Fans
who didn’t arrive by train that day
did so by horse. Thousands of
hitching posts lined the outskirts
of the speedway. Bookmakers
took wagers on whether drivers
would win, lose or die.
The 100th running arrives
May 29. Fans will get updates on
the race leaders via their iPhones.
Fisher was a visionary. He
knew if he put these marvels of
machinery on display, interest in
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
AP
A.J. Foyt became the first to win four Indianapolis 500s in 1977.
UNDATED AP PHOTO
Founder Carl Fisher saw the
track as a ticket to sell cars.
the automobile would surge and
business would boom. In the early
1900s, Indianapolis was home to
dozens of auto manufacturers
large and small, from Marmon to
Cole to Overland (Stutz and Duesenberg would come quickly).
Yet the miracle a century later
isn’t that the Indianapolis 500
was born. It’s that it survived.
BUMPY START
First, it was saved by the bricks.
The mixture of tar and asphalt
that blanketed the speedway in its
infancy was such a disaster it
nearly cost the track its livelihood.
After five deaths in a 1909 race,
according to Charles Leerhsen’s
2011 book, Blood and Smoke,
America’s newspapers were ready
to bury the idea of auto racing.
Indy was to blame. “This is the
final straw,” wrote The Detroit
News. “The blood of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has probably rung the knell on track racing
in the United States.”
Families of the victims claimed
Fisher was culpable in the deaths.
A young driver out of Texas, Tobin
DeHymal, told The San Antonio
Light that Fisher’s speedway was
“a total and complete failure.”
And for a while that sure seemed
to be the case.
Fisher remained stunningly
undeterred. Enter: 3.2 million
bricks. Fisher commissioned a
repaving of his speedway in the
winter of 1909 and announced
plans for a 500-mile race, a grueling competition that would last
most of the day but still get the
paying customers home in time
for dinner.
It did just that. The inaugural
500 was a roaring success, despite
the fact that it took all of 13 laps
for the race to claim its first fatality (a 44-year-old mechanic
named Samuel Dickson). “I’m
tired,” race winner Ray Harroun
said after puttering to victory in
6 hours, 42 minutes. “May I have
some water and perhaps a sandwich, please?”
And so it went from there. A
year later, they named the town
Speedway. Just as Fisher imagined, technology improved, thus
the cars improved, thus the racing
improved. Speeds rose. Popularity
climbed. Legends were scripted.
Lives were lost.
In 1924, the race was heard on
the radio for the first time. In
1927, former driver and World
War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker bought the speedway and
saved the 500, pulling it through
the depths of the Great Depression. In 1936, Louis Meyer gulped
buttermilk in victory lane. By
1938, most of the oval was covered
in asphalt, save a stretch along the
front straightaway.
Then, the speedway went dark.
Then, Tony Hulman saved it.
By 1945 Fisher’s cathedral was
ready to die. It had been silenced
for four years by World War II. It
had become a crumbling, dilapidated, weed-infested ghost town.
It was set to be gutted and turned
into a shopping plaza.
And that’s when Anton Hulman
Jr. of Terre Haute bought the
speedway and turned the Indianapolis 500 into the “Greatest
Spectacle in Racing.”
More than anything, Hulman
sold the 500. He drove around the
state each spring, his trunk loaded
with posters, spreading the gospel
of speed. He reminded Hoosiers
about the Memorial Day classic
they’d fallen in love with all those
years ago and told them it was
back and that it was better than
ever.
He enchanted race day with
traditions that live on 70 years
later. In 1946, James Melton sang
(Back Home Again in) Indiana for
the first time. By the mid-1950s,
no race started without Hulman’s
iconic command: “Gentlemen,
start your engines.” The Indianapolis 500 was entering its golden
era.
Speeds soared. Engineers experimented. Cars evolved. Interest swelled. Held off local
television until 1986 — to this day
the race is never broadcast live in
Indianapolis — the romance of
the radio added to its unspeakable
allure. Fans from all over the
world tuned into the IMS Radio
Network to hear Sid Collins and
his crew.
“I remember getting letters
from fans in Antarctica and once
from a priest who was hiding out
in the Congo but found a way to
listen to the race on a transistor
radio,” says Paul Page, Collins’
handpicked successor.
Soon the speedway was flooded
with fearless drivers addicted to
speed who drove their roadsters
and rear-engine creations like
bats out of hell and risked everything for glory. They became
immortal. Bill Vukovich. Rodger
Ward. Eddie Sachs. Parnelli Jones.
A.J. Foyt. Johnny Rutherford.
Mario Andretti. Al Unser. Bobby
Unser. Rick Mears. Eventually the
racing season was carved in half:
There was Indianapolis, and there
was everywhere else.
“There are a bunch of beautiful
racetracks all over the country,
but, let’s be honest, everyone has
one favorite,” says A.J. Foyt, the
race’s first four-time winner and
the driver considered by most as
the best the speedway has ever
seen. “Tradition is something you
just can’t buy.”
FRENZY GROWS
It kept getting bigger. And bigger.
And bigger. Teams would compete
year-round just to earn enough
cash to have a crack at Indy. More
than 50 cars would try to qualify.
Pole day, narrated by the beloved
Tom Carnegie, ballooned into an
event itself, drawing upwards of
100,000 fans. In the waning hours,
as the last few rows were decided,
drivers would hop from car to car
and from team to team, desperate
for a spot. The drama was real.
The spectacle grew.
“It was the ultimate,” recalls
the oldest living winner, 82-yearold Jones. “The height of automobile racing. And I don’t just mean
in the United States. I mean the
whole world.”
It became the world’s largest
single-day sporting event, a party,
a ritual. It became that iconic
sound a car makes when it darts
down the homestretch and toward the yard of bricks at 220
mph, the soundtrack to speed and
May and Indianapolis. It became
the agony of losing by 0.043 seconds (Scott Goodyear, 1992) and
the ecstasy of a last-second pass
(Sam Hornish Jr., 2006).
Win at Indy, and your name
lives on forever.
“I’ve said this a million times,”
Foyt explains. “I’ve won races all
over the world, but if it wasn’t for
the Indianapolis 500, none of you
would’ve ever heard of me.”
He’s probably right.
Above all, the 500 is a survivor.
It survived shoddy surfaces and
demands it be stopped. It survived
two World Wars, the Great Depression and three ownership
groups. It survived the messy
open-wheel racing split of the
1990s, dipping attendance numbers and stalling speeds.
It still carries immeasurable
appeal. The 500 is an event woven
tightly into the fabric of a city and
state, a one-of-a-kind impetus
that, according to VisitIndy.com,
annually pumps $100 million into
the Indianapolis economy.
Now a city celebrates the 100th
running of its race. It began with
tire failure and Fisher’s disastrous
trip home. With six words from
Trotter. With 320 acres of flat-ascan-be farmland, a 2.5-mile oval
and a new phenomenon — the
automobile.
America wanted further. America wanted faster.
So Fisher gave America the
Indianapolis 500.
Keefer writes for The Indianapolis Star,
part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
INDY SITE OF TRIUMPH, TRIBULATIONS
Andretti won
race in 1969
but never again
Mike Hembree
@mikehembree
Special for USA TODAY Sports
NAZARETH , PA . Although Mario
Andretti’s history at Indianapolis
Motor Speedway can be viewed
through a tortured lens, the track
continues to call to the international motor sports champion and
1969 Indy 500 winner.
At 76, Andretti remains a fixture at IMS during May. He
checks on his son Michael’s team,
makes appearances, gives passengers lightning-quick rides
around the track in a two-seat
Honda race car and spends a fair
amount of time simply being
Mario Andretti.
“I embrace my opportunities to
do the two-seater program,” Andretti told USA TODAY Sports. “I
have to have a reason to be at a
track — not just as a spectator. I
have to have a business reason.
Having my family involved is a
reason itself. I will always be on
top of it, talking to them. It will
always be a part of my life.”
When Andretti zoomed to the
500 win in 1969 as the highlight of
a career in acceleration, there was
the assumption that he would add
other Indy trophies. He was only
29 and commanded rides that
were among the best.
Instead of more victory lane
garlands, however, Indy dumped
repeated disappointment on
Andretti. He would not win the
500 again.
In 1972, his potentially victorious car ran out of fuel with six
laps to go. In 1981, he was the
winner of the race for five months
after one of Indy’s most controversial races. Bobby Unser finished first and Andretti second,
but Unser passed cars during a
caution period and was penalized
one position — to second — by
U.S. Auto Club officials, and the
official posting of the race results
the day after the event showed
Andretti as the winner.
A protest followed, and, after
hearings and discussions, officials
decided to return the win to Unser and fine him $40,000 for the
caution-flag infraction.
Andretti still wears the 1981
Indy winner’s ring, however.
JASEN VINLOVE, USA TODAY SPORTS
Three Andrettis — from left, Michael, his son Marco and his dad Mario — watch practice for the 2016 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
“Every time I see Bobby, I show
the ring and say, ‘See that?’ ” he
said, smiling.
Andretti finished second to
Danny Sullivan in 1985 and led
most of the race in 1987 before a
faulty valve spring ended his run
at the checkers.
Andretti’s son, Michael, and his
grandson, Marco, are winless at
Indy as drivers, a continuation of
what has been labeled the Andretti Curse at the world-famous
track. Michael won the 500 as a
team owner with Dan Wheldon in
2005, Dario Franchitti in 2007
and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014.
Mario Andretti long ago accepted the sunlight-and-shadows
nature of his relationship with
IMS and the 500.
“All I can do is look back at the
laps led and the years I had a shot
at winning and things like that,”
he said. Andretti led 557 laps in
29 races at Indy, good for third on
the all-time list behind Al Unser
Sr. and Ralph DePalma.
Andretti said when he jumped
into Indy car racing he set his
sights on A.J. Foyt, who would win
four Indy 500s.
“You always had to look at the
usual suspects,” Andretti said.
“When I broke into Indy cars, it
was A.J. who was doing the most
winning. So he’s your objective,
your goal. If you finish second to
A.J., it’s a hell of a good day. If you
win, it’s marvelous — like
Christmas.”
In a career that brought success
in Indy-car racing, NASCAR (a
Daytona 500 win) and Formula
One (the 1978 world championship), Andretti said he always
reached high.
“As long as you’re going to set
goals, it might as well be for the
stars,” he said. “When you reach
one, that’s the reward you’re looking for. I had no Plan B in my
career. I was going to be a race car
driver no matter what. I didn’t
A FAMILY AFFAIR
The Andretti name is synonymous with the Indianapolis 500, with
five members of the family racing in U.S. open-wheel’s largest
event. Patriarch Mario is the only one to win, in 1969. Sons Michael
and Jeff, nephew John and grandson Marco have been competitive but not victorious. Michael, who has won the race as a team
owner, holds the record for laps led by a driver who didn’t win the
Indy 500. Marco is routinely fast, but his heart was broken by a
0.0635-second loss at the hands of Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006, when
he was a rookie.
Driver
Mario Andretti
Michael Andretti
Jeff Andretti
John Andretti
Marco Andretti
Starts Best finish
29
1969, 1st
16
1991, 2nd
3
1991, 15th
12
1991, 5th
10
2006, 2nd
Avg. finish
17.9
11.8
20.7
18.1
10.8
Laps led
557
431
0
2
141
Source: USA TODAY Sports research
want to hear about any other
possibility.
“My dream when I started was
to make a living just driving.
When I reached that point, that
was goal No. 1. It was one steppingstone to the next.”
With Indianapolis as the place
he conquered — and was conquered by.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
PASSION FOR RACING EXTENDS TO SEA
Yacht is team
owner Penske’s
big indulgence
Brant James
@brantjames
USA TODAY Sports
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA .
Roger
Penske was ensconced behind his
desk in a darkened middle chamber of “RP1,” the rolling command
center for his bustling, four-driver
IndyCar team. Practice for the
opening race of the season would
commence soon, but Penske was
disarmed, uncharacteristically
diverted from his daily flow of
racing and billionaire magnate
enterprise.
In a good way, too. Staying fit
while traveling is a concern, but
the presence of a deepwater harbor at the local Coast Guard station had provided the opportunity
for some peace of mind. The 79year-old had managed a full
morning workout on the treadmill, crosstrainer, elliptical and
cycle in the gym aboard his yacht,
and he was feeling refreshed and
invigorated.
That put “the boat” forefront in
his mind.
Fingering through a collection
of photos on his iPhone, he muttered, “Where’s that one? You’re
going to love this.”
Penske finally found the photo
he sought, his one extravagance
not necessarily directly associated
with furthering the business
objectives of Penske Corporation.
It served commercial needs on
some occasions, sure, but The
Podium, the 197-foot yacht built
in Amsterdam four years ago, is
for fun.
And this trip from May 2015,
past Bergen, Norway, and as far
up the fjords as The Podium could
muster, was extremely fun.
“This is great stuff here,” said
Penske, who leads all team owners with 16 victories at the Indianapolis 500.
“We had some work done on it
over in Antwerp and then we
went all the way up the fjords to
Bergen, as far as you can go, and
then we had a tender so we even
went up to places, where the
glacier comes right down to the
water,” he told USA TODAY
Sports.
Penske often professes that
racing is his weekend golf game,
JASEN VINLOVE, USA TODAY SPORTS
Roger Penske’s image is one of control and austerity, not owning a luxury yacht. “That’s my only hobby, that boat,” he says.
FROM HOTEL TO HISTORY
Al Unser Sr., a three-time
Indianapolis 500 winner, came
to Indianapolis Motor Speedway
in 1987 without a ride. Team
owner Roger Penske couldn’t
guarantee Unser anything. But if
all of Penske’s other entries were
in the field after one weekend of
qualifying, he said, he’d try to
give Unser a shot on the second
weekend.
But where would the car come
from? It was a recently retired
car sitting in a hotel lobby in
Scranton, Pa. Penske had it
shipped to the speedway, the
engineers got it in racing shape
and Unser qualified 20th in it.
Mario Andretti was almost a
full lap ahead of second place
when a mechanical issue sidelined him after 180 laps (he had
led 170). Unser took over the
lead with 18 laps remaining and
went on to tie A.J. Foyt for the
most wins in race history.
but The Podium — which replaced the iconic Detroit Eagle —
is his indulgence. His mandate to
his engineers is for “more stainless (steel)” each time he’s aboard.
For a man whose image is one
of control and austerity, even
amid the expensive trappings of
his success and ambition, the
revelation of a temptation was
revealing. He wasn’t alone in this
obsession, he suggested.
The Indianapolis Star
“Ask (Rick) Hendrick. He’s
another boat guy,” Penske said of
his friend and NASCAR team
owner.
The boat guys were once a
major part of NASCAR, as former
series chairman Bill France Jr.,
Penske, Hendrick and Felix Sabates used to sail together in the
weeks after the Daytona 500 as a
communal and business
endeavor.
Penske’s love for the water
began as a youngster and has
evolved into ocean racing off the
coast of Catalina Island in California and cruising to Europe
with friends.
“That’s my only hobby, that
boat,” Penske said. “As a kid, back
in Cleveland, I had a 15-foot Lyman with an outboard on it, then
got a speed boat. A guy never
keeps the same size boat. And the
thing is, there’s always a guy with
a bigger boat.”
And therein, perhaps, the incentive to keep working for the
next one.
All four of his drivers are capable of giving him another win in
what surely would be a landmark
moment for Penske, who is celebrating his 50th year in motor
sports and will drive the pace car
for the 100th Indianapolis 500.
Racing for Team Penske are
defending champion Juan Pablo
Montoya; Simon Pagenaud, who
in his second year with the team
has established himself as a title
contender this season; 2014 IndyCar champion Will Power, and
Helio Castroneves, who is going
for his fourth Indy 500 win.
Should he achieve that feat
May 29, he would join elite company. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and
Rick Mears are the only drivers
with four wins at the Brickyard.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
INDY FUELS
POP CULTURE
REFERENCES
From ‘Flintstones’ to ‘Turbo,’
great race is part of Americana
Dana Hunsinger Benbow
@DanaBenbow
USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS Fred Flintstone
transforms into a hot hunk of a
man, in his wife’s eyes at least,
after racing in the Indianrockolis
500 in 1964.
Greg Brady claims to have the
hottest set of wheels this side of
Indianapolis in 1971 as he reveals
a souped-up lemon of a car to his
Brady Bunch family.
An authentic Firestone Indianapolis 500 poster hangs in the
garage during the Greased Lightning song-and-dance scene in the
1978 movie Grease.
Charlie Daniels gives a shoutout to Mario Andretti in his 1973
hit song Uneasy Rider.
The number of times the Indianapolis 500 — its characters, its
fanfare, its track — has been mentioned in pop culture is too many
to count.
Ralphie’s father in A Christmas
Story always wanted to work the
pits of the Indianapolis 500. The
Beach Boys sang, “She makes the
Indy 500 look like a Roman chariot race now” in Fun, Fun, Fun,
released in 1964. On The Jeffersons, a friend interested in
automobiles said he wants to be
the “first black driver in the Indianapolis 500.”
Breathless? There are hundreds more.
“It’s been talked about so much,
it just rolls off the tongue,” racing
historian Donald Davidson said.
“The race really transcends motor
sports in the U.S.”
There is no database for just
how many references to “The
Greatest Spectacle in Racing”
have been made. But when it
comes to popular culture, the race
has been thoroughly infused,
though less so of late.
The majority of references to
the Indy 500 are found from the
1950s to the early 1990s. Few are
noted after 1996, when the Indy
Racing League and Championship
Auto Racing Teams (CART) went
through a contentious split, leaving both open-wheel leagues
suffering.
Still, the Indy 500 has found its
way into mainstream media.
Three years ago, Turbo hit the
big screen. The DreamWorks
Animation film featured a speedobsessed snail with a dream of
becoming the world’s greatest
racer. The movie surrounds Turbo’s quest to enter and win the
Indianapolis 500. The 2013 movie
made nearly $283 million at the
box office.
Here’s a look at some classic
Indy 500 mentions:
GOGGLES PAESANO
It was Season 5, episode 13 of The
Flintstones on Dec. 10, 1964, when
Fred Flintstone — racing as Goggles Paesano — sped into the
Indianrockolis 500. He and pal
Barney Rubble decide to enter
Rubble’s handmade car. After the
flag is waved, Paesano, in white
goggles and the No. 8 white car,
races around the track.
Ultimately, Paesano wins, even
as his tires disintegrate.
“Oh, you big wonderful hunk of
man,” Wilma Flintstone swoons
as she wraps her arms around her
husband.
Soon, an announcement is
made over the loud speakers:
Paesano was disqualified for finishing the race using his feet rather than his tires.
‘THE WHEELER-DEALER’
The eldest Brady child, Greg, had
just gotten his driver’s license. He
gets swindled when his buddy,
Eddie, persuades him to buy a car
from him.
As Greg pulls the 1956 Chevy
Bel-Air convertible into the driveway during the 1971 episode called
The Wheeler-Dealer, the car hisses, smokes and moans. After being
teased and mocked, Greg spends
his days revamping the car.
Soon, his entire family is standing outside waiting for Greg to
unveil his finished work. As he
STEPHEN VAUGHAN, PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORP.
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise starred in the 1990 film “Days of Thunder,” in which an openwheel driver played by Cruise shifts to stock car racing.
gets ready to pull off the tarp,
Greg says, “All right, everybody,
you’re about to see the hottest set
of wheels this side of
Indianapolis.”
‘UNEASY RIDER’
This Charlie Daniels classic was a
novel concept of a song when it
was released in 1973.
Narrated, rather than sung,
over a catchy guitar tune, Uneasy
Rider details the trials of a man
who is caught with a flat tire in
Jackson, Miss., while on a road
trip.
While he’s at a local bar waiting
for his car to be fixed, some hooligans decide they want to fight this
out-of-towner. As he’s trying to
escape the men and get his car
back, Daniels sings:
“When I hit the ground I was
making tracks
“And they were just taking my
car down off the jacks
“So I threw the man a twenty
and jumped in and fired that
mother up
“Mario Andretti woulda sure
been proud
“Of the way I was movin’ when
I passed that crowd.”
NO NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT
There might be no other sitcom
that made more references to the
Indianapolis 500 than Home
Improvement. The race was a key
theme of the show during its
eight-year run from 1991 to 1999.
Co-creator David McFadzean’s
father-in-law worked for Thomas
W. Binford, who at the time was
the chief steward for the 500.
That’s how fictional Binford Tools
came to be.
Throughout the series, drivers
Mario and Michael Andretti,
Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser Sr.,
Al Unser Jr. and Robby Gordon
made guest appearances.
During a 1995 episode, a friend
of Tim Taylor (played by Tim
Allen) announces he will be getting married Memorial Day weekend. Panicked Taylor quickly lets
him know that’s the weekend of
the Indy 500, and the friend reschedules his wedding.
INDY 500 FOR $1 MILLION
The race is, technically, responsible for one of the most memorable game show moments in
history ... or at least the start of it.
It was a Nov. 19, 1999, episode
of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,
then hosted by Regis Philbin. The
fastest finger question was: “Put
the following races in order according to their length, from the
shortest to the longest.” The Indianapolis 500 was one of the four
answers.
Contestant John Carpenter
was the first player to correctly
answer the question. He also was
the first player on the American
version of the show to win the
$1 million prize.
‘DAYS OF THUNDER’
When actor Tom Cruise, known
best at the time for Top Gun, took
on a racing movie in 1990, the
Indy 500 wasn’t forgotten.
The race’s mention happened
in a scene when Cole Trickle
(played by Cruise) was asked what
his goal was in open-wheel auto
racing.
Trickle replies: “Indianapolis,
but you can’t win Indy without a
great car and my name isn’t Unser
or Andretti.”
Benbow writes for The Indianapolis
Star, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
TOM STRICKLAND, AP
Danica Patrick talks with her father, T.J., after finishing third in the 2009 Indy 500, the best result among her seven starts in the race. She last raced there in 2011.
CAN FEMALE DRIVER BREAK THROUGH?
Jeff Olson
@jeffolson77
Special for USA TODAY Sports
Danica Patrick made history by
becoming the first woman to lead
the Indianapolis 500.
That was 11 years ago. Patrick
finished fourth in 2005, the best
result for a female driver in history, a feat she topped in 2009 with
a third-place finish.
As the Indy 500 prepares to
celebrate its 100th running, the
question lurks in the background.
Will a woman win the race soon?
Or ever?
“I want to say yes, but I think
first we have to get the sponsor-
Difficulty attracting sponsorships
to keep engines revving remains
key obstacle to women’s success
ship behind female drivers so they
can race consistently in IndyCar
throughout the year in frontrunning teams,” Pippa Mann, who
has started four Indy 500s, told
USA TODAY Sports. “When we
have female drivers doing that —
like Danica was able to do for
many years in her (IndyCar)
career — then you’re going to have
a female driver contending year
after year. When you have that,
you know a winner is coming.”
It could be as simple as another
type of math.
“If it takes 100 guys to come
through to find the talented one,
that doesn’t take very long,” Patrick told USA TODAY Sports. “But
if it takes 100 girls to come
through to find the one with talent, it’s going to take a lot longer.
There are more girls racing now,
but whether one will come
through and win, well, that’s what
makes sports so exciting. You
have to watch to find out.”
And that woman could come
from anywhere.
Patrick was an inspiration to
many, including a girl in Norway.
Ayla Agren has begun a journey
she hopes will someday put her in
the Indy 500. On May 29, 2005, as
an 11-year-old in Baerum, Norway,
she decided she wanted to do
what Patrick was doing, and she
wasn’t alone. Today, Agren is on
her way to her goal by competing
in a feeder series that leads drivers toward the top level of IndyCar racing.
“It’s thanks to her that I’m here
today,” Agren told USA TODAY
Sports. “Without that, I might not
have started thinking about In-
dyCar, but because of that moment, my dream became IndyCar.
It started when I read about her
in the newspaper and saw her on
TV.”
When told of Agren’s story and
the source of her inspiration,
Patrick took a moment to reflect.
“It’s not something you might
do a lot of while you’re in the
midst of your career,” Patrick said.
“You might not always think
about the bigger picture or think
about what you’re doing and how
that might affect others. It’s a nice
pause to look at the bigger picture
a little bit and be grateful for
where I’ve been and what I’ve
done.”
But the path for female racers
23
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
WOMEN AT INDY
Here are the nine women who have made starts in the Indianapolis 500. The list does not include Desiré Wilson, who attempted to
qualify but did not make a race.
Driver
Ana Beatriz
Simona de Silvestro
Milka Duno
Sarah Fisher
Janet Guthrie
Katherine Legge
Pippa Mann
Danica Patrick
Lyn St. James
Starts Avg. start Avg. finish Best finish
4
23.8
20
15 (2013)
14 (2010)
5
23.8
22.6
3
28.7
23.3
19 (2008)
9
19.9
25.4
17 (2009)
3
18.3
24
9 (1978)
2
31.5
24
22 (2012)
4
27
24
20 (2011)
3 (2009)
7
12.1
8.7
7
23.7
20.9
11 (1992)
into the Indy 500 hasn’t been
repaved recently. In 2013, the
record for female drivers in the
field (four) was tied as Mann,
Katherine Legge, Ana Beatriz and
Simona de Silvestro took the
checkered flag. This year —
through May 11 — only Mann and
Legge were entered.
Since Janet Guthrie broke the
gender barrier at Indy in 1977,
eight other women have competed in the race. Only Patrick, who
moved to the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series in 2012, achieved the mainstream fame that allowed her the
ability to land multimillion-dollar
sponsorship deals required to
race at the highest levels.
“Danica has been able to break
through and really create this
brand,” Mann said. “She’s the only
female driver I can think of that’s
been able to create an incredibly
strong brand to attract all of that
different, diverse sponsorship to
be able to keep racing at a top
level. There are so many female
race winners who haven’t been
able to attract the sponsorship to
keep racing.”
When Patrick looks back on the
2005 Indy 500, she understands
its significance.
Agren knew from that moment
in 2005 that her goal was the
Verizon IndyCar Series. She is in
the entry-level Cooper Tires
USF2000 Championship, the first
of the three-level Mazda Road to
Indy ladder system. While most of
her karting contemporaries were
dreaming of Formula One, Agren
was dreaming of Indy.
“Other drivers in Europe talk
about F1, while I always knew I
wanted to do IndyCar. But then
the question became how? ... I
started learning about the Mazda
Road to Indy and I spoke with a
fellow Norwegian who had been
racing in the U.S., Anders Krohn.
He said there is a clear path, the
racing is competitive, and that’s
how it all started.”
While women are accepted by
their male competitors, they often
find similar obstacles. Namely,
money. A competitive car at Indy
can eat more than $1 million; a
full season in the IndyCar Series
can cost six to 10 times that.
Mann, who has competed in
13 IndyCar races in her four years
in the series, spends more time
raising money than racing — a
frustration shared by male and
female drivers alike.
“The challenge that endures is
in raising the sponsorship to keep
racing,” Mann said. “It’s definitely
tough for everyone. It takes me
almost every moment of the year
from the moment I step out of the
car until the moment I get back
into it — and sometimes right up
until Carb Day (the final on-track
practice session) — to try to pull
in those dollar amounts to make
the race car run.”
AJ MAST, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Danica Patrick, left, passes Dan Wheldon on a restart during
the Indy 500 in 2005, when she finished in fourth place.
SCOTT ROVAK, USA TODAY SPORTS
Danica Patrick, left, walks toward Ryan Briscoe’s car during the 2008 Indianapolis 500.
Patrick packed excitement
into her seven Indy 500s
Danica Patrick made a mark
on the Indianapolis 500, but her
most memorable moment is up
for debate.
Was it marching toward Ryan
Briscoe’s parked car after he
pulled his car out in front of hers
on pit road in 2008?
Was it her near-crash in qualifying as a rookie in 2005?
Was it taking the lead on a late
restart in her first race?
The choices are plentiful.
Patrick drove some of her best
IndyCar races at Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, finishing in the
top 10 of the 500 six times in
seven starts. The highlights:
The 2005 race: It was anything but her best drive, but the
crowd’s gasp as she took the lead
on lap 190 might have been the
track’s loudest in history.
Her first qualifying effort:
How Patrick didn’t crash on her
first pass through Turn 1 is beyond comprehension, but she
held on to earn the No. 4 starting
spot.
Pit road with Briscoe: Their
cars made rear-wheel contact
after he pulled out in front of her
while leaving his pit box. Her car
made a complete spin, but the
real excitement came as she
walked toward him. The crowd
roared with anticipation, but a
security officer redirected her
just ahead of Team Penske’s pit
box. Briscoe stayed in his car
during the march.
The 2006 race: Patrick
might have led 19 laps as a rookie, but she drove her best
500 miles as a sophomore in
finishing eighth.
Accumulating 29 laps led:
Four 500 winners (Jacques Villeneuve, Gaston Chevrolet, Graham Hill and Joe Dawson) didn’t
lead that many in their Indy
careers.
Curt Cavin, The Indianapolis Star
24
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
100 WHO INFLUENCED INDY
Founder, drivers
and others made
race what it is
Curt Cavin
@curtcavin
USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS One was its
dreamer and co-founder, the
other its savior.
So who is the most important
figure of the Indianapolis 500’s
first 100 editions? Carl Fisher or
Tony Hulman?
In between them in Indianapolis Motor Speedway ownership
was Eddie Rickenbacker, who
bought from Fisher and sold to
Hulman. His reign sheds light.
Rickenbacker assumed control
of IMS in August 1927, largely
because Fisher and his partners
had lost interest. Do the math:
Fisher’s group bought the land in
December 1908, giving them
nearly 19 years as owners. Yes, the
track was Fisher’s idea as early as
1903, and his group put the first
shovel in the ground, but the
property likely would be covered
with homes today if not for
Hulman.
Once World War II broke out,
Rickenbacker did little in terms of
maintenance, which explains the
decaying grandstands and overgrown infield when Hulman laid
eyes on the track in the fall of
1945. What happened under his
stewardship? The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
With Hulman’s family wealth
from the wholesale grocery business and Clabber Girl Baking
Powder, IMS got more than a
sprucing up. The investment
Hulman made for even the 1946
race — the first after the war —
was impressive. An iron and steel
paddock was installed, the cracks
in the track freed of weeds, new
bleachers rose in Turn 2 and
seating was built on either side of
the pagoda along pit road.
Confidence in Hulman’s investment was so high that 56 cars,
including nine from overseas,
showed up for the rebirth race,
and a larger-than-expected crowd
attended.
The resources Hulman invested went beyond financial; he
provided a team that included Joe
Cloutier and Joe Quinn, and they
helped stabilize the sport. Three-
1968 PHOTO BY LEROY PATTON, THE INDIANAPOLIS NEWS
Tony Hulman bought a track in disrepair after World War II. He salvaged it and took the Indianapolis 500 to new heights.
time race winner Wilbur Shaw,
who connected Rickenbacker and
Hulman, became president and
general manager.
Physical improvements became
annual as Hulman stuck to his
plan of putting proceeds back into
the facility. Hulman was a father
figure to many of the drivers.
“He was bigger than life in so
many ways, but he was so approachable,” Mario Andretti said.
“He had all the qualities. You also
wonder where the sport would be
if he hadn’t taken over. That’s a
big part of (his legacy).”
Hulman died in the fall of 1977,
leaving the ever-evolving facility
to future generations of his family. His grandson, Tony George,
became track president in 1990,
and, while he was central to openwheel racing’s split a few years
later, he secured a financially
successful NASCAR race and led
another overhaul of the property
in 1999-2000.
Fisher was more of a visionary,
and he’s credited with turning
Miami Beach’s swamplands into a
destination. He also led the Lincoln Highway Commission, which
planned the first coast-to-coast
highway.
While property in French Lick,
Ind., was considered, Fisher’s idea
for IMS wasn’t in motion until a
1908 ride home from Dayton,
Ohio. Traveling with friend Lem
Trotter, their car suffered yet
another tire failure amid poor
road conditions, sending Fisher
into a tirade. A few days later,
Trotter, a real estate agent, drove
Fisher to the parcels of flat farmland for sale, and Fisher’s group
ended up paying $72,000 for the
four 80-acre plots west of town.
Fisher’s influence was immense, and his track attracted the
likes of early winners Ray Harroun and Ralph DePalma. In the
first years, the 500 drew entrants
from a host of small companies
building cars one at a time. Later
came the manufacturers.
Because Hulman’s direct ownership spanned more than twice
as many 500s as Fisher’s — 32 to
15 — more drivers in his era
reached a larger audience, thereby
creating more interest. Those
were the heydays of Rodger Ward,
Jim Rathmann, Parnelli Jones,
25
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
Andretti, the Unsers, Johnny
Rutherford and one of Hulman’s
favorites, A.J. Foyt. That also was
the start of Team Penske’s rise to
prominence.
So from this seat, Hulman was
the most influential.
A look at other figures who
have played a part in the history,
lore and pageantry of the 500:
3. Wilbur Shaw: His fouryear run between 1937-40 — first,
second, first, first — likely will
never be matched.
4. A.J. Foyt: He’s the first
driver to win the race four times
(1961, ’64, ’67, ’77). He has remained loyal to the Speedway,
frequently saying that nobody
would know anything about him if
not for the race. He stuck with the
Indy Racing League during the
open-wheel split. His blunt approach and longevity — a racerecord 35 starts — make him
legendary.
5. Mario Andretti: He won
the race just once, in 1969, but his
worldwide success and ability to
be a contender for decades make
him a fan favorite to this day. He
made 29 starts and finished in the
top 10 on 10 other occasions.
6. Parnelli Jones: Though he
won the race just once, in 1963,
he’s one of the great pursuers of
speed. He was the first to top
150 mph in qualifying and started
the race twice from the pole. He
also won the race as a team owner
in 1970 and ’71, two of Al Unser Sr.’s four victories.
7. Roger Penske: He is in his
50th year in racing and has been
at the top of Indy-car ownership
for almost all of that span. He has
a record 16 victories as a team
owner and has a good chance to
add another this year with threetime winner Helio Castroneves,
series points leader Simon Pagenaud, defending and two-time
race champion Juan Pablo Montoya and last year’s runner-up,
Will Power.
8. Sid Collins: He brought the
race to people worldwide as chief
radio voice from 1952-76, long
before TV became prominent in
coverage.
9. Eddie Rickenbacker: The
World War I flying ace bought the
Speedway in 1927 and expanded
its appeal despite the challenges
of the Great Depression. He offered the track to the armed
forces during World War II but
was rebuffed.
10. Tom Carnegie: Carnegie’s
voice booming over the publicaddress system became a vital
part of the fans’ experience. He
did most of the PA work from
1946-2006. “It’s a new track record!” hasn’t been heard in a while,
2014 PHOTO BY ROBERT SCHEER, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Indy 500 fans for decades enjoyed Jim Nabors’ rendition of (Back Home Again in) Indiana.
but it was ubiquitous for decades.
11. Louis Meyer: He’s the first
three-time race winner (1928, ’33,
’36). He started a tradition by
asking for milk (buttermilk at the
time) in victory lane in ’36.
12. James Allison: One of the
four founders of IMS and founder
of many automotive parts companies, one of which became a huge
Indianapolis employer after it was
taken over by General Motors.
13. Rick Mears: Winner of the
race four times (1979, ’84, ’88, ’91)
and winner of the pole position a
record six times. He won the race
three times from the pole.
14. Andy Granatelli: CEO of
motor oil company STP. He
owned and/or promoted scores of
Indy cars, most notably the 1969
winning car driven by Mario
Andretti.
15. Bill Vukovich: Race winner in 1953 and ’54 who was killed
in the ’55 race. Though he competed in just five 500s, he led 485
career laps.
16. Colin Chapman: Founder
of the Lotus car company. Jim
Clark drove a Lotus to victory in
1965, revolutionizing the way car
designers approached Indy-car
racing.
17. Tom Sneva: He won the
race in 1983 and finished second
on three occasions. He also won
the pole three times. The “Gas
Man” was the first driver to qualify at better than 200 mph.
18. Nigel Mansell: Though
he competed at Indy just twice,
the Formula One champion
brought it greater international
relevance in the early ’90s.
19. Bobby Unser: Race winner in 1968, ’75 and ’81, and he
had seven other top-10 finishes.
He retired soon after the ’81 victory and announced races on TV.
20. Tony George: A grandson of Tony Hulman, he led the
Speedway for 20 years. He created
the Indy Racing League, which
battled the former CART series
for U.S. open-wheel racing supremacy. The groups have since
been reunified into IndyCar.
21. Al Unser Sr.: He was the
second driver to earn a fourth 500
win, taking the checkered flag in
1970, ’71, ’78 and ’87. He holds the
career record with 644 laps led.
22. Jim Clark: He won the
race in 1965 and finished second
in two of his four other starts. A
leader in the British invasion of
Formula One racers to drive at
Indy in the 1960s.
23. Emerson Fittipaldi: He
won the race in 1989 and ’93. He
was the first Brazilian to win
there, spreading its lore to South
America. Fittipaldi, who owned
orange groves, created a stir when
he quaffed orange juice instead of
milk in the winner’s circle.
24. Rodger Ward: He won
the race in 1959 and ’62 and finished no worse than fourth between 1959 and ’64.
25. Johnny Rutherford: He
won the race in 1974, ’76 and ’80,
and competed 24 times. He also
won the pole three times, twice
winning from that starting spot.
26. Jim McKay: A voice synonymous with the race, he announced it on ABC for 18 years
from the 1960s to the ’80s.
27. A.J. Watson: Primary
builder of cars that won several
500s, including the first two by
A.J. Foyt in 1961 and ’64. He was
part of Indy-car racing for 35
years.
28. Dan Gurney: Runner-up
in 1968 and ’69, he was considered
as good or better as a race engineer and team owner than he was
a driver. He was part of the ownership team for Bobby Unser’s ’75
victory.
29. Ralph DePalma: A participant in the inaugural race in
1911, he won in 1915 and finished
in the top 10 six times, including
seventh in his final Indy start in
1925.
30. Bill Simpson: A developer
of racing safety products for dec-
ades. He once set himself on fire
for 20 seconds to show his confidence in his fire-retardant suits.
31. Mauri Rose: He won the
1941, ’47 and ’48 races. His racing
career spanned 15 starts between
1933 and 1951.
32. Jim Rathmann: He won
the 1960 race and finished second
in ’52, ’57 and ’59.
33. Danny Sullivan: He
produced one of the most famous
victories with the “spin and win”
in 1985, when he passed Mario
Andretti on lap 120, spun out with
no one around him 100 yards
later, pitted for tires, regained the
lead on lap 140 and went on to
win. He drove in the race 12 times
with four other top-10 finishes.
34. Jim Nabors: His rendition of (Back Home Again in)
Indiana made him beloved by fans
at the Speedway for decades.
35. Mari Hulman George:
Chairwoman of the IMS board
who for decades has given the
command to start.
36. Jackie Stewart: Though
he only competed twice in the
Indy 500, his worldwide cache
brought the race a wider audience
in the 1960s. He also announced
the race on TV.
37. Joe Cloutier: Speedway
president after Tony Hulman died
in 1977 and, before that, track
treasurer. He helped persuade
Hulman to buy IMS in 1945.
38. Tom Binford: He was the
race’s chief steward from 1974-95.
He also was one of Indianapolis’
leading businessmen and
philanthropists.
39. Chip Ganassi: He has
four race wins as a team owner.
He also drove in the race five
times, with a best finish of eighth
in 1982.
40. Lou Moore: Driver and
car owner. Cars he owned won the
1947-49 races. As a driver, he
finished second as a rookie in
1928 and third twice. He also
started from the pole in ’32.
41. Ray Harroun: He won the
inaugural race in 1911 in the Marmon Wasp. The rearview mirror
he used in the race is believed to
be the first ever used on a car. He
never drove in the 500 again.
42. Sam Hanks: He won the
last of his 13 Indy starts, in 1957.
He also finished second in ’56 and
third on two occasions.
43. Eddie Sachs: A fan favorite and two-time pole starter who
finished runner-up in 1961. He
coined the phrase, “If you can’t
win, be spectacular.” He died in a
1964 crash in the 500.
44. George Bignotti: Mechanic and crew chief for Al Unser Sr.’s wins in 1970 and ’71 in the
famed Johnny Lightning car. Also
26
was chief mechanic for A.J. Foyt’s
wins in ’61 and ’64. He was a crew
chief for decades.
45. Leo Mehl: Goodyear
executive brought the tiremaker
into Indy car racing from the
1970s to the ’90s. Goodyear left
the series in 1999, after 36 years,
as the Indy Racing League- CART
feud continued.
46. Al Unser Jr.: Won the
race in 1992 and ’94 and finished
second in a spirited duel with
Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989. He
made 19 Indy starts.
47. J.C. Agajanian: Stetsonwearing team owner led the winning efforts of Troy Ruttman in
1952 and Parnelli Jones in 1963.
Cars he owned won the pole position three times.
48. Danica Patrick: Scored
the highest Indy finish for a
female driver by taking third in
2009. She was named rookie of
the year in 2005, when she became the first female to lead laps
in the 500. In seven starts, she
finished outside the top 10 once.
49. Paul Newman: His
1960s movie Winning added to
the race’s allure, and he later
became a team co-owner.
50. Jim Hurtubise: A fan
favorite who competed in the race
10 times, starting on the front row
twice.
51. Arie Luyendyk: He won
the race in 1990 and ’97 and holds
the one- and four-lap qualifying
records. His 236.986 mph qualifying average in 1996 remains a
record.
52. James Garner: The actor
was a dedicated race fan and
brought star power to IMS for
decades. He drove the pace car
three times.
53. Helio Castroneves: He
won the race as a rookie in 2001
and prevailed in ’02 and ’09. He
will go for a fourth title this year
in an effort to tie A.J. Foyt, Al
Unser Sr. and Rick Mears for the
most in history. He has two runner-up finishes.
54. Tony Stewart: The Columbus, Ind., native drove in five
500s, twice starting on the front
row and three times finishing in
the top 10.
55. Paul Page: Race radio
and TV announcer. He was the
lead radio voice for the race from
1977-87.
56. Jack Brabham: Part of
the British Invasion of Formula One drivers who competed at
IMS in the 1960s. He drove in four
500s.
57. Fred Offenhauser: Car
builder whose “Offy” engines have
won the race 27 times. An Offy
won every race between 1947-64.
58. Frank Kurtis: Car builder
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
whose machines won the race five
times.
59. Alberto Ascari: He drove
the first Ferrari at the speedway
in 1952, finishing 31st.
60. Clint Brawner: Chief
mechanic built the car Mario
Andretti Sr. drove to victory in
1969. He hired Andretti to drive
an Indy car.
61. Clarence Cagle: Speedway superintendent for nearly
three decades. He was hired by
Tony Hulman shortly after Hulman bought the Speedway.
62. Tim Richmond: A twotime 500 starter, he finished ninth
in 1980 and earned rookie of the
year honors. He moved on to
NASCAR racing after 1981.
63. Dean Sicking: He was
part of the team that developed
the SAFER barrier and received
the speedway’s engineering award
in 2002. IMS was the first track to
install the barrier, or “soft walls.”
64. Fred Duesenberg: Car
builder who powered several
contenders starting in 1913. Duesenbergs won four races in the
1920s.
65. Billy Arnold: He won the
1930 race from the pole, leading
from lap 3 to the finish and winning by more than seven minutes.
He crashed during the race the
next two years and retired.
66. Michael Andretti: He
drove in 16 500s and was a racewinning team owner in 2014 with
Ryan Hunter-Reay. His runner-up
finish in 1991 was one of nine
top-10s as a driver. Son of Mario.
67. Mike Boyle: Owner of the
deep purple Maserati that Wilbur
Shaw drove to victory in 1939 and
’40.
68. Rex Mays: He was runner-up in 1940 and ’41. He led the
race in nine of his 12 starts.
69. Thomas Hanna: Longtime IMS medical director who
over his 50-year career at the
facility transformed motor sports
emergency care.
70. Al Dean: Chief of Dean
Van Lines sponsored cars during
the 1950s and ’60s. Cars he sponsored won the pole four times and
finished second twice.
71. David Letterman: Lifelong fan and team co-owner of
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Won the 2004 race with Buddy
Rice as driver. He gave the series
nationwide exposure for decades
on his late-night TV shows.
72. Harry Miller: His company built nine cars that won the
race, and engines he developed
won three more. His cars accounted for roughly 80% of the
entries in the 500 between
1923-28.
73. Tony Kanaan: He won
the 2013 race, which featured a
race-record 68 lead changes. He
has six other top-10 finishes in 14
starts, including a runner-up in
2004.
74. Mark Donohue: He won
the race in 1972 — Roger Penske’s
first as a team owner — and was
runner-up in ’70. He raced in
many series and died during a
1975 Formula One test.
75. Dario Franchitti: He won
the race three times (2007, ’10,
’12) in 10 starts. A back injury
suffered in a race accident in 2013
AP
Bobby Rahal celebrates his 1986 Indy 500 win. As a team owner,
he claimed victory in 2004, when Buddy Rice prevailed.
ended his career. He continues to
work with Chip Ganassi Racing as
a consultant.
76. Gordon Johncock: He
won the 1973 and ’82 races, the
latter over Rick Mears by a razorthin margin of 0.16 seconds, the
fourth-closest finish in history. He
made 24 starts and finished in the
top 10 on nine other occasions.
77. Tommy Milton: He won
the race in 1921 and ’23, the first
to become a multiple winner. He
made eight starts and later served
as chief steward.
78. Bobby Rahal: He won
the 1986 race and has been a
longtime team owner. In 13 starts,
he also was runner-up in 1990 and
third on two occasions.
79. Dan Wheldon: He won
the race in 2005 and in ’11 over his
nine starts. He also finished second in 2009 and ’10. He was killed
in a racing accident in 2011.
80. Lloyd Ruby: The thirdplace finisher in 1964 and a top-10
finisher on six other occasions in
18 starts. He led laps in five Indy 500s and is considered one of
the best never to win.
81. Jimmy Bryan: He competed in nine 500s, winning in
1958. He also finished second in
’54 and third in ’57.
82. Arthur Chevrolet: He
drove in two 500s, including the
inaugural. He and his Swiss-born
brothers, Louis and Gaston, were
early racing and consumer automobile pioneers.
83. Louis Chevrolet: He
competed in four 500s in its first
decade, with a best finish of seventh. He founded the car company that bears his name.
84. Smokey Yunick: Car
designer whose efforts helped Jim
Rathmann win the 1960 race. He
introduced Indy-car racing to
aerodynamic wings on Rathmann’s 1962 car.
85. Jim Hall: Team owner
who refined the use of wings on
cars and had winning entries with
Al Unser Sr. in 1978 and Johnny
Rutherford in ’80.
86. Lem Trotter: He suggested Memorial Day as the race date.
He was a colleague of speedway
co-founders Carl Fisher and
James Allison.
87. Jim McGee: Longtime
race mechanic and pioneer in race
strategy. He worked on Mario
Andretti’s winning car in 1969 and
was a team leader for the Patrick
and Newman-Haas teams.
88. Harlan Fengler: Race’s
chief steward from 1958-74. He
also drove in the race in 1923.
89. Donald Davidson: Race
and IMS historian. Want to know
just about anything about race
history? He wrote the book on it.
90. Bob Collins: Longtime
sports editor and columnist at
The Indianapolis Star. He spread
the word of the race far and wide
from the 1940s well into the ’80s.
91. Sarah Fisher: A popular
nine-time Indy 500 starter who
made the transition into team
ownership. Her nine Indy 500s
are the most by a woman, and she
now is a speedway business
owner.
92. Peter DePaolo: He won
the 1925 Indy 500 and competed
seven times between 1922-30.
Though he was relieved for 21 laps
mid-race because of blistered
hands, he was the first driver to
average more than 100 mph in a
race.
93. Steve Hannigan: He was
one of the track’s earliest and
most successful public relations
representatives, primarily in the
1920s and ’30s.
94. Frank Lockhart: He
drove in two Indy 500s, winning
as a rookie in 1926 and starting
from the pole in ’27. He also was
an engineer. He died in 1928 trying to set a land speed record.
95. Willy T. Ribbs: He was
the first African-American driver
in the race, competing in 1991 and
’93. When he wasn’t in the car, he
wore a cowboy hat.
96. Kevin Forbes: Speedway’s director of engineering and
construction for a couple of decades, until last year. His tenure
included the development of the
SAFER barrier and the infield
road course.
97. Janet Guthrie: In 1977
she became the first woman to
earn a spot in the race and scored
a top finish of ninth the following
year. No other woman would earn
a spot in the race until the 1990s.
98. Johnnie Parsons: He
won the 1950 race, his second
start, and was runner-up as a
rookie one year earlier. He competed in 10 Indy 500s, finishing in
the top 10 on two other occasions.
99. Frank Wheeler: One of
the speedway’s founders who
pooled resources to develop automobile testing grounds. The owner of a carburetor company, he
suffered from diabetes and committed suicide in 1921 when complications from the disease
became too difficult.
100. Joe Leonard: He finished third twice (1967 and ’72)
and earned a pole during a ninerace span from 1965-73. Leonard
earned the pole in 1968 in a revolutionary Lotus and was nine laps
from victory when his ignition
failed.
Cavin writes for The Indianapolis Star,
part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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30
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
YOUNG DRIVERS FACE ROUGH ROAD
Variety of tracks
in IndyCar gives
edge to veterans
Jeff Olson
@jeffolson77
Special for USA TODAY Sports
Josef Newgarden acknowledges
his good fortune.
At 25, he’s in his fifth season as
a regular in the Verizon IndyCar
Series. He’s one of the lucky ones
who reached the top level at an
early age.
For most, it has been a far
steeper climb. Only eight other
drivers 25 or younger are expected to compete for a place in the
100th Indianapolis 500 on
May 29: Jack Hawksworth (25),
Max Chilton (25), Carlos Munoz
(24), Conor Daly (24), Alexander
Rossi (24), Matthew Brabham
(22), Spencer Pigot (22) and Sage
Karam (21).
The difficulty for young drivers
is breaking through in the first
place.
“There’s more disadvantage to
youth for many reasons,” Newgarden told USA TODAY Sports.
“What I’ve noticed is that people
put a lot more stock into experience in IndyCar, whether it’s team
owners, engineers or team managers. Your value as an individual
within the paddock is brought out
more so from the experience side
than from the youth side.”
Once at the top level, young
drivers face an arduous task getting seat time with a highly funded team. Only one of the under-25
drivers — Chilton with Chip Ganassi Racing — is with one of the
favored, deep-pocketed teams.
“It’s going to take one of the top
teams to give us a shot,” Daly said.
“It’s very difficult going up against
Penske or Ganassi and their drivers, who are very good and very
experienced. … When one of those
big teams, who really have the
best shot at the Indy 500, believes
in a young talent, and in turn the
young talent does the job, then I
believe we’ll see young winners at
Indy.”
IndyCar’s wide array of tracks
and disciplines — from large ovals
such as Indianapolis’s 2.5-mile
surface to road and street courses
— demands a variety of skills
often gained only through experience. That makes it tough for a
young driver to work through to
JASEN VINLOVE, USA TODAY SPORTS
Driver Josef Newgarden, who’s 25, says, “What I’ve noticed is that people put a lot more stock into experience in IndyCar.”
the top.
“From a driving point of view, it
does help quite a bit to have experience,” said Newgarden, who
drives for Ed Carpenter Racing.
“It pays dividends because of the
diversity of the calendar. It’s not
one discipline throughout the
whole year. If it was just one discipline, you could get by with less
experience and have the speed
element there.
“Here there are so many different disciplines with ovals, road
course and street courses. There
are so many different complexities to all of those different types
of races. The experience of being
able to switch back and forth and
understand what to do for each
one helps a lot.”
Daly, son of former Formula
One driver Derek Daly, has struggled to break through to the Verizon IndyCar Series despite a
résumé that includes GP2 and
GP3 series races. He signed a
full-season deal with Dale Coyne
Racing this year and will compete
in his third Indy 500.
He’ll be facing established stars
such as three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves (41) and
Juan Pablo Montoya (40), who
has won twice in three Indy 500
tries, , including last year.
“The majority of our series is
very experienced guys,” Daly said.
“It’s taken a long time for us to
break in. Josef was the first guy to
really break in and establish himself. Whenever there are opportunities when guys need to sub in if
someone gets injured, very few
times will a young driver be called
upon to serve that time in the car.
I was one of the lucky ones.”
After winning an Indy Lights
championship in 2011, Newgarden broke through in 2012 with
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
He won twice last year — at
Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., and in Toronto —
establishing himself as the sport’s
most promising and sought-after
young driver.
“It’s gotten a lot better for
young drivers,” he said. “As difficult as it is to work your way into
a top team, it was even more
difficult five or 10 years ago.
There’s a lot more interest in the
youth in the sport and the young
talent being groomed in North
America. The Mazda Road to Indy
has helped that a lot. There’s a
program in place. It’s gotten
enough credibility over the years
that there’s more value being put
to the drivers that come through
those steps. I think that will only
get better over the next couple of
years, too.”
One hurdle young drivers face
is being trusted for a short-term
substitution. When 2014 IndyCar
champion Will Power fell ill before the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., Team Penske
summoned veteran Oriol Servia
(41) to drive Power’s car.
“Teams aren’t willing to give
young guys a shot on such short
notice like that,” Daly said. “I’d
like to see that change. It’s why we
have the Indy Lights Series. These
young drivers are itching to get a
chance in the IndyCar Series.
That’s why Formula One teams
have a reserve driver, and it’s
usually a young driver. It’s not a
guy with lots of experience.”
Does a 25-or-younger driver
have a chance to win the 100th
Indy 500? Certainly. But the odds
are with the high-dollar teams to
win the biggest-money race, and
few young drivers are established
with those teams.
“I’m not saying no one has a
shot of winning the Indy 500,”
Newgarden said. “It’s just more
likely that you’re going to win it in
a top team than you are in a
smaller organization, especially in
an event like this when all the
details are more crucial in order
to win. ... The odds are probably a
bit more skewed toward the top
teams, and there aren’t many
young guys in those seats.”
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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THROUGH THE YEARS
SPEEDWAY HAD
FALSE STARTS
By the time the inaugural Indianapolis 500 was run in
1911, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials already had
attempted two other forms of racing.
A hot air balloon race was contested June 5, 1909. Nine
gas-filled balloons competed, and a few thousand fans
paid either 50 cents or $1 to watch on the speedway
grounds.
In August 1909, motorcycles were scheduled to race on
a track with a mixture of crushed stone and tar. That
summer was particularly hot, humid and rainy, and the
track’s surface never settled. A few races were started, but
conditions never allowed a full race with a full field to
finish.
Cars got their turn on the oval in late August, when the
weather began to cooperate. Several short races were contested over three days, some as short as two laps. However, a planned 300-mile finale did not reach completion
because of persistent track problems.
The USA TODAY NETWORK
takes a race-by-race look at the
Indianapolis 500. Race recaps and
breakouts by The Indianapolis
Star staff. Contributing: Jeff Olson
1911
The first Indy 500, won
by Ray Harroun in the
Marmon Wasp, introduces the rearview mirror and aerodynamics to
the fledgling automotive
industry. The average
speed is 74.602 mph.
1912
The story goes that Joe Dawson
walks into his mother’s home on
North Illinois Street and tells her
he just won the Indianapolis 500.
With only radio, telegrams and
limited use of the telephone, his
mother is unaware of the turn of
events until her son makes a beeline home to announce the news.
Joe Dawson indeed has won the
1912 Indy 500 by leading two very
important laps, the last two. Dawson sweeps past Ralph DePalma
on DePalma’s 199th lap, as a smiling but heartsick DePalma pushes
his crippled Mercedes across the
finish line after leading virtually
all the way.
1913
The arrival of the Peugeot team
in Indianapolis reveals an advanced engine that will be the
basis of Indy-car motor design for
the next 75 years. Even though
Frenchman Jules Goux is by craft
a road racer, he dominates the
1913 Indy 500. Quaffing a bottle of
wine to cool down during his pit
stops, Goux leaves the likes of
Spencer Wishart’s Mercer and
Charles Merz’s Stutz in his wake.
In the first Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911, mechanics rode along with the drivers.
1916
Resta has the distinction of
being the sole Indianapolis 500
winner to go the full distance, win
and drive only 300 miles. That
unique situation develops because
in 1916 the management of the
Speedway schedules the race for
300 miles. It also is a unique year
in that the management, fearing a
shortage of cars because of the
war in Europe, orders three race
cars to be built and owned by the
Speedway. It is a fortuitous move,
as only 21 racers come to the line
on race day.
1914
The French have a lock on
Indianapolis Motor Speedway in
1914. When the results of the
Indianapolis 500 are posted, the
names read Rene Thomas (in a
Delage), Arthur Duray (Peugeot),
Albert Guyot (Delage) and Jules
Goux (Peugeot). In fifth place is
Barney Oldfield in a Stutz. Also of
note, the name Duesenberg appears for the first time. The driver
is Eddie Rickenbacker. Both
would be heard from again.
1917-18
No races are held because of
World War I. The track is placed
at the disposal of the U.S.
government.
1919
1915
Scheduled for May 29, the race
is postponed until Monday because of rain. After battling with
the Peugeot of Dario Resta and
the Stutz racers of Howdy Wilcox
and Gil Anderson, Ralph DePalma
surges back in the lead when, in
the later stages, leader Resta skids
and has to pit for tires.
AP
UNDATED AP PHOTO
Dario Resta won the 1916 race, which was 300 miles because the
speedway feared a shortage of cars due to the war in Europe.
Indianapolis’ Howdy Wilcox
wins in the first postwar race in
an IMS-owned Peugeot, which
essentially is a 1916 race car. Former 500 victor Rene Thomas
becomes the first man to break
the 100-mph barrier in qualifying.
Fatalities mar the event when
drivers Arthur Thurman and
Louis LeCocq, along with his
riding mechanic Robert Bandini,
are killed in separate accidents.
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USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY PHOTO VIA AP
Tommy Milton, left, flanking Harry Stutz with Howdy Wilcox, right, became the first two-time Indianapolis 500 winner in 1923. Wilcox relieved him for laps 103-151.
1920
Gaston Chevrolet, the youngest
Chevrolet brother, drives a Louis
Chevrolet-built Monroe to victory. The race car actually is a
Frontenac that is built with a
Monroe nameplate when William
Small, an Indianapolis distributor
of the Monroe automobile, puts
up the money for the car. The
victory highlights three historical
factors. It breaks the stranglehold
of the Europeans at the speedway.
It also is the first race for the
183-cubic-inch engines rather
than 300-cubic-inchers, and it is
the last time until 1934 that a
four-cylinder-powered car wins.
1921
The race is another victory for
Louis Chevrolet, but Chevrolet
accepted the laurels with a heavy
heart. Louis’ brother Gaston had
died after crashing during a race
at Beverly Hills Speedway just
seven months after his Indy 500
triumph in 1920. Tommy Milton
has been given Gaston’s seat behind the wheel of Chevrolet’s new
straight-eight Frontenac. Milton,
on his way to being the first multi-500 winner in speedway history, justifies Chevrolet’s faith in
him by taking the checkered flag
two laps ahead of runner-up Roscoe Sarles in a Duesenberg.
1925
Responding to Pete DePaolo’s
charging driving style, the No. 12
Duesenberg finishes the 1925
Indianapolis 500 at an average
speed of 101.13 mph, a record that
stands for seven years. With the
shoes of his young son strapped to
the front axle and the battle cry of
“Push ’em up baby shoes,” DePaolo shows pole-sitter Leon Duray
and everybody else in the 22-car
field the cream-colored tail of the
No. 12.
1922
Irishman Jimmy Murphy gets
to the finish line ahead of everyone else in a car called the Murphy Special. The chassis is a
Duesenberg, but the engine is one
of Harry Miller’s newly conceived
straight-eights. Murphy starts on
the pole after qualifying with a
speed of 100.50 mph, sets a race
record of 94.48 mph and helps
establish the foundation for the
Miller dynasty.
1926
1923
Milton, driving one of Harry C.
Stutz’s H.C.S. cars from the pole at
a record qualifying speed of 108.17
mph, becomes the first two-time
winner. Behind Milton, Harry
Hartz, Jimmy Murphy and Eddie
Hearne follow in Durant Specials.
Tom Alley, driving relief for Earl
Cooper, crashes through the backstretch fence, killing teenager
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY PHOTO VIA AP
Gaston Chevrolet, right, in his car with riding mechanic Johnny
Bresnahan on a practice day in 1920, went on to win the race.
Bert Shoup, who is watching the
race through a knothole.
1924
In the first of only two times in
Indianapolis 500 history, there
are co-winners. L.L. Corum and
Joe Boyer share the laurels in
their revolutionary Indianapolisbuilt Duesenberg. The Duesenberg team had spent years trying
to win the 500.
Frank Lockhart, 23, is given the
chance to drive when car owner/
driver Pete Kreis becomes ill with
the flu. Even though it was the
debut of smaller engines — 91
cubic inches instead of the 122s of
1925 — Lockhart sets a lap record
of 115.488 mph. He is out in front
with Kreis’ Miller on the second
leg of the event when rain stops
the race at 400 miles.
34
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
Rookie George Souders won the 1927 race in a Duesenberg.
1927
For 120 laps, it is virtually all
Frank Lockhart, but when the full
200 laps are completed, the name
on top of the scoreboard is rookie
George Souders in an “old” Duesenberg. The Duesey reportedly is
Pete De Paolo’s 1925 winner, a
story always denied by Souders.
The race also sees the lap-prize
fund rise to $100 per lap, an increase that permits Lockhart to
win $10,900.
1928
Louis Meyer has come to Indianapolis to help Augie Duesenberg prepare a Duesey. But the
Duesenbergs are out of money
and brother Fred has to sell the
car. Just when things look the
most troublesome for them, car
owner Alden Sampson II purchases the A.C. Spark Plug Miller
from entrant Phil Shafer and puts
Meyer behind the wheel of it.
Tony Gulotta’s fuel line clogs on
lap 181, and Meyer, who has been
riding along within striking distance, goes on to take the checkered flag.
1929
Lockhart’s cars finish 1-2 in the
1929 race in the hands of Ray
Keech and Meyer. Meyer is ahead
by a comfortable margin, but the
oil pressure suddenly drops to
zero on Lap 157. He notices the
pressure drop and eases the car
back to the pits to replenish the
supply, but Keech takes the lead
for good. Driver Bill Spence, piloting a Duesenberg, is killed when
he crashes on the 15th lap.
1930
The AAA Contest Board takes
two steps backward, changing the
rules away from the sleek, purebred, supercharged race car to the
so-called “junk formula.” The
rules call for 366 cubic inches
without superchargers, a formula
designed to encourage the use of
AP
stock blocks. They also require
riding mechanics in the cars, a
decision that endangers two lives
rather than one. Billy Arnold
wrestles the lead from Meyer in a
Sampson 16-cylinder twin-Miller
on the third lap. Arnold never
relinquishes the top spot, finishing more than seven minutes
ahead of runner-up Shorty
Cantlon.
1931
By the time a race that seems
more like a demolition derby is
over, Louis Schneider and riding
mechanic Jigger Johnson have
beaten Fred Frame and mechanic
L.M. “Shorty” Barnes to the finish
line. Dave Evans drives the first
diesel-powered car in the Indianapolis 500 to 13th place after his
Cummins Diesel is guaranteed a
starting position in the 40-car
field.
1932
Fred Frame, with mechanic
Jerry Houck riding beside him,
wins the Indianapolis 500 at
104.144 mph, a speed that breaks
the 7-year-old race record set by
Pete De Paolo. It is the second
Indy 500 victory for car owner/
builder Harty Hartz. Frame’s
Miller-Hartz Special is a combination of the front-wheel drive assembly from the 1927 Detroit
Special and a new chassis and the
182-cubic inch straight-eight
Miller-Hartz 151 driven by Billy
Arnold.
1933
Five men are killed and one is
seriously injured. The Great Depression tightens its grip, forcing
Indianapolis Motor Speedway to
reduce its purse. The lap fund is
largely unsubscribed, and there is
a short-lived drivers’ strike. Meyer, with mechanic Lawson Harrison, gets his second Indianapolis
500 win ahead of Wilbur Shaw
and Lou Moore in a record-breaking speed of 104.162 mph.
In 1933, Louis Meyer, with mechanic Lawson Harrison, earned his second Indy 500 victory.
AP
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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1934
WARTIME
To slow the cars and make the
event safer, the AAA Contest
Board limits the race fuel to 45
gallons and the oil supply to 6
gallons. The efforts are not that
successful as an Indianapolis
product, “Wild” Bill Cummings,
and mechanic Earl Unversaw win
at a record speed of 104.863 mph.
The pair are a scant 27 seconds
ahead of runner-up Mauri Rose
and mechanic Walt Myers. The
safety factor doesn’t fare too well,
either, as Pete Kreis and mechanic Bob Hahn are killed in practice
on the southwest turn when their
car goes over the wall and wraps
itself around a tree.
1935
Kelly Petillo, with Jimmy Dunham as his mechanic, sets a race
record of 106.240 mph to beat
runner-up Wilbur Shaw and mechanic Myron Stevens. Petillo
needs three qualifying attempts to
make the race. Rookie Johnny
Hannon, the 1934 Eastern dirt
track champion, is killed in practice, which helps lead to the establishment of formal rookie driver
tests, beginning in 1936.
1937
Supercharging — the use of an
air compressor to force more
oxygen to an engine and increase
power — is permitted, although
commercial fuel is required. But
there are no limits on the amount
of fuel used. Despite horsepower
coming back into favor via supercharging, Shaw and mechanic
Jigger Johnson win in a fourcylinder, normally aspirated 255
Offy. The four-banger still has
sufficient power to propel the pair
over the distance at a record
speed of 113.580 mph.
Louis Meyer is congratulated May 30, 1928, after his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
1936
Louis Meyer becomes the first
three-time winner of the Indy
500, the first driver to go home
with the pace car (a Packard
convertible) and the only driver
to win under a fuel limitation of
37.5 gallons.
Meyer, with mechanic Lawson
Harris, sets a race record of
109.069 mph despite the limits
on fuel. They finish a lap ahead of
Ted Horn (with mechanic Wilbur
Wolf ) and third-place finisher
Doc MacKenzie (with mechanic
Herschel Catlin).
Meyer’s path to victory isn’t
easy. He cracks two cylinder
AP
blocks and has a third flown in
from the West Coast for a lastminute 114.171 mph qualifying
run. Then he has to work all
night the day before the race to
fix a valve problem in the engine.
But things go better once he
gets underway from the 28th
position. That’s the farthest back
any winner had started.
dent in the second turn. The
speedway returns to the four-lap
qualification trials that were last
used in 1932.
1940
Shaw becomes the first to win
the Indy 500 back to back. He is
leading the race when it begins to
rain at 375 miles. He completes
the last 125 miles in a drizzle and
under the yellow flag at 100 mph.
1938
The cars return to single-seaters, removing the dangerous
aspect of carrying a mechanic.
The engine size is reduced to
183.06 cubic inches supercharged
and 274.59 non-supercharged.
Any type and amount of fuel is
permitted. This enables mechanics to use alcohol, a fuel particularly helpful to supercharged
engines. Despite the return to
exotica, Floyd Roberts in Lou
Moore’s rather conventional
four-cylinder Miller 270 beats
Wilbur Shaw and Chet Miller to
the checkered flag at a record
speed of 117.200 mph.
There were concerns that
the Indianapolis 500
wouldn’t resume after World
War II.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Eddie Rickenbacker prepared for a 1942
race even after the Dec. 7,
1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.
A few entries were received
before he called off the race.
The U.S. government ordered all racing stopped July
15, 1942, leaving the speedway without a race until the
war ended. Rickenbacker, a
World War I fighter pilot,
offered the speedway for the
war effort, but the government considered the infield
too small to handle the larger, faster aircraft of the day.
The facility was left unattended for three years,
and Rickenbacker sold it to
Terre Haute businessman
Tony Hulman in 1945. Hulman
and his family often are
credited with saving the
track. Hulman was able to
get the facility, which was in
a state of disrepair, ready for
a race in 1946, just a few
months after the sale went
through. Three-time Indy 500
winner Wilbur Shaw assisted
Hulman with the project and
the running of the speedway
until his death in 1954.
1941
A morning fire in 1941 destroyed three cars and caused a one-hour delay in the Indy 500 start.
1939
Jimmy Snyder sets a qual-
ification record of 130.138 mph in
a Joe Thorne machine. Snyder,
however, places second to Shaw,
AP
who wraps up his second 500 win.
Defending champion Floyd Roberts is killed in a three-car acci-
A fire at 6:50 a.m. on race day in
the south section of the garage
area destroys three race cars. The
speedway closes all gates until
8 a.m. and delays the start of the
race by an hour. It is the last time
the speedway has co-winners.
Mauri Rose leads early, but carburetor trouble sidelines his car. He
relieves Floyd Davis in the NocOut Hose Clamp Special on lap 72
and moves up from 12th to win.
1942-45
No races are held because of
U.S. involvement in World War II.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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Troy Ruttman, left, with car owner J.C. Agajanian, set the record for youngest Indianapolis 500 winner at age 22 in 1952. The mark still stands.
1946
1948
In the first race since 1941,
George Robson edges Jimmy
Jackson in a close finish. Robson
had never won a major auto race
before his victory. Jackson, an
Indianapolis Tech High School
graduate, defies superstition by
driving a green-colored race car.
The track receives a face lift when
thousands of old boards are replaced and thousands of gallons of
paint are applied to give the old
place a new face. A new grandstand and pit parquet seats are
built as well.
Mauri Rose wins again, and Bill
Holland again finishes second.
They are in Blue Crowns that are
5 mph faster than the year before.
Rose wins the race with a record
119.814-mph average and one pit
stop. When Rose arrives at victory
lane, he apologizes to actress
Barbara Britton for not accepting
a victory kiss until he first has
kissed his fiancée, Mary Ruth
Wentworth.
1947
On the 193rd lap, Mauri Rose
passes Bill Holland, who thinks he
still is in first place. When car
owner Lou Moore’s pit crew
flashes “P-1” to Rose, Moore is
fabled to have said, “Don’t let
Holland see that sign.” Rose wins
by 32 seconds. Holland calls it “a
lousy deal.” A number of drivers
boycott qualifying when the
American Society of Professional
Auto Racers (ASPAR) demands
more than the traditional
$75,000. Speedway owner Anton
Hulman Jr. is forced to personally
guarantee prize money.
is sold before the race to Jim
Robbins, who doesn’t share in
any of the 1950 prize earnings.
1951
The race is completed in less
than four hours for the first time.
It is a safe race, although the
mechanical attrition is monumental. Only eight cars are running at the finish. The cheers go
to Lee Wallard, a likable 40-yearold driver making his fourth Indy
start. He runs away with the race
although in the late stages his car
is a “moving wreck.” It is out of
brakes, a shock absorber was
dangling, and its driver was tired
and blistered.
1949
Bill Holland wins the race that
marks the first live television
broadcasts in Indianapolis with
Earl Townsend Jr. serving as the
chief announcer. After two years,
IMS owner Tony Hulman pulls
the plug on the local broadcast
after attendance drops 20%. Holland’s win is the third in a row for
car owner Lou Moore.
1950
Johnnie Parsons, who placed
second in 1949, wins the race. It is
stopped after 345 miles because
of rain. His car has a small crack
in the engine block, but chief
mechanic Harry Stephens discovers it the morning of the race and
seals it successfully. The car also
CHARLES KNOBLOCK, AP
CHARLES KROBLOCK, AP
Johnnie Parsons won the rain-shortened 1950 race.
WET WINS
An Indianapolis 500 becomes
official after the leader completes 101 laps. So guessing the
forecast correctly can be a critical part of race preparation.
The most recent rain-shortened Indy 500 was in 2007,
when the race was stopped for
almost three hours on lap 113,
then declared complete when
rain fell again after 166 laps.
Dario Franchitti drove 415 miles
to win.
Other rain-shortened races:
1926 (160 laps, 400 miles, won
by Frank Lockhart); 1950 (138
laps, 345 miles, Johnnie Parsons); 1973 (133 laps, 332.5
miles, Gordon Johncock); 1975
(174 laps, 435 miles, Bobby Unser); 1976 (102 laps, 255 miles,
Johnny Rutherford); 2004 (180
laps, 450 miles, Buddy Rice).
1952
Bill Vukovich seems to have
the race wrapped up, but with
eight laps to go the steering fails
in the new Howard Keck car.
Troy Ruttman, 22, gets the checkered flag to become the race’s
youngest-ever winner. His No. 98
Agajanian car is only 19 seconds
behind when Vukovich’s car has
mechanical issues in the northeast turn.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
1960
Jim Rathmann catches
Rodger Ward’s ailing car
to win after the two trade
the lead 14 times in the
final 100 laps. Two people, Fred H. Linder and
William C. Craig, are
killed when a multifloor
homemade grandstand
collapses in the infield.
Forty others are injured,
some seriously. That
marks the end of homemade grandstands.
1953
The hot, humid atmosphere
takes its toll on drivers on race
day, contributing to the death of
one — Carl Scarborough — and
causing several others to seek
relief drivers. Bill Vukovich finally
picks up his first Indy triumph in
the Howard Keck roadster. He
leads 195 of the 200 laps and says
he could have driven 100 more
miles. He air-conditions his sitting area by resting his left elbow
on the cockpit, directing the air
flow to his body.
1954
Vukovich repeats, winning in
the Howard Keck Fuel Injection
Special that gave him all sorts of
trouble early in the month. He
doesn’t qualify until the third day
and has to start from the 19th
position. This also is the month
when Ed Elisian qualifies in the
dark after a hassle with AAA Contest Board officials over hand
signals. Troy Ruttman draws a
$25 fine because he doesn’t stop
after three warm-up laps on a
qualifying day. Three veteran
drivers retire: Henry Banks,
George Connor and Lee Wallard.
1955
At the halfway mark, it’s Art
Cross, Don Freeland and Bob
Sweikert racing for the win. Cross
and Freeland drop out and Sweikert wins in a car prepared by A.J.
Watson, who will reign supreme
in the early 1960s as the top chassis builder. The race is marred by
the death of Vukovich, who is
killed in a harrowing crash on the
57th lap when he strikes Johnny
Boyd’s overturned car and begins
a series of end-over-end flips.
1956
The United States Auto Club’s
first 500-mile race (replacing AAA
After starting 13th, Sam Hanks led 141 laps en route to winning the 1957 Indianapolis 500. He retired after the race.
as the sanctioning body) has everything, including rain and accidents. Some believe the race will
not be held, as water edges to
within 3 feet of the track in the
first turn. Pat Flaherty, an Irishman from Chicago, wins the race
from the pole position in his pink
and white racer. He leads for
124 laps.
1957
The remodeled track sports a
new control tower — eight stories
high and the centerpiece for thousands of new infield seats. A tunnel is built under the backstretch,
and the drivers and mechanics
have a new, safer pit area walled
off from the main stretch. Sam
Hanks drives a flawless race in the
Belond Special with the laydown
engine. He starts 13th and leads
141 laps. After winning, the 42year-old announces his retirement. A new wrinkle is attempted
for the start of the race — “Gentlemen start your engines” — and
the parade lap begins in the new
pits.
1958
The race features the biggest
accident to date at Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, involving 15 cars
and killing Pat O’Connor, who
AP
flips over Jimmy Reece and lands
in the middle of the track. Jerry
Unser cartwheels over the outside
wall and dislocates his shoulder.
The incident wipes out eight cars
and hastens a mandatory rule for
the 1959 race that all cars must be
equipped with a roll bar and all
drivers must wear fireproof uniforms. Jimmy Bryan wins, edging
rookie George Amick. Rookie A.J.
Foyt spins out in the south
straightaway after 148 laps in the
Dean Van Lines Special.
1959
In one of the most competitive
Indianapolis 500s, Johnny Thomson, Flaherty, Jim Rathmann and
Rodger Ward endure a seesaw
sizzler. Flaherty’s accident — he
spins on the straightaway, hits the
pit wall and blocks the pit entrance on his 162nd lap — and
Thomson’s mechanical troubles
narrow the chase to two cars.
Ward wins by a 23-second margin
and has three quick pit stops —
73 seconds total. He gets his final
lead on the 85th lap. During practice earlier in the month, Jerry
Unser Jr. — the first of the Unser
family to compete at Indianapolis
Motor Speedway — crashes in the
fourth turn and his car catches
fire. He dies days later.
Bill Vukovich celebrates his 1953 Indy 500 win. He also prevailed in 1954 but was killed in a crash in the 1955 race.
AP
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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ROOKIES REUNION STARTED IN ’65
AP
A.J. Foyt edges Eddie Sachs in the 50th anniversary race in 1961.
1961
The golden anniversary 500 is
so evenly matched that a little
more than 3 mph separates the
fastest qualifier, Eddie Sachs at
147.481 mph, and the slowest,
Bobby Grim at 144.029. On A.J.
Foyt’s last scheduled pit stop
while leading, the refueling equipment malfunctiones. He doesn’t
get enough fuel to finish and has
to pit again on the 184th lap. It
looks like Sachs is going to win.
But with three laps to go, he has to
pit for a tire, and Foyt zooms into
the lead and holds it. Sachs finishes second. The month is
marred by the death of Melvin
Eugene “Tony” Bettenhausen
while test-driving Paul Russo’s
Stearly Motor Freight racer when
the steering failed.
1962
Rodger Ward returns to victory
lane and was on a spree that eventually would give him the distinction of being the only Indy
500 driver to complete six consecutive races (200 laps) and never
place lower than fourth. The main
stretch of Indianapolis Motor
Speedway had been black-topped
in 1961 with the exception of a
small strip of nostalgic bricks —
which remains today — at the
start-finish line. Parnelli Jones
becomes the first 150-mph qualifier at 150.37 mph in the Agajanian
98.
1963
Jones has victory in hand in
both 1961 and 1962 when mechanical mishaps slow him to
finishes of 12th and seventh respectively. But in 1963, it is a clean
sweep for Parnelli. He turns the
fastest practice speed and sets a
track record of 151.153 mph in
winning the pole. He breaks the
old race record by nearly 3 mph.
The 1990 Indianapolis 500
field featured eight drivers who
had won the race’s rookie of the
year award. Did that title signal
greatness to come?
Here are the rookies of the
year who competed in 1990, with
their rookie finish and their
career 500 highlights:
1965: Mario Andretti (third;
won race in 1969, three runnerup finishes, 29 starts)
1974: Pancho Carter (seventh;
17 starts, with best finish of third
in 1982)
1978: Rick Mears (23rd after
starting third; won the race four
times)
1983: Teo Fabi (26th after
starting on the pole; best finish of
seventh in eight starts).
1984: Roberto Guerrero (second; also second in 1987 and pole
winner in ’92; 11 starts); Michael
Andretti (fifth; runner-up in 1991
and third twice in 16 starts)
1985: Arie Luyendyk (sev-
BOB D'OLIVO, GETTY IMAGES
Pancho Carter (seventh) was top rookie in the 1974 Indy 500.
enth; won the race in 1990 and
’97; 17 starts)
1988: Bill Vukovich III (14th;
was 12th in 1989; three starts).
11 cars, including the one driven
by Foyt, leads to a record-low
seven cars running at the finish.
With 10 laps to go, Scotsman
Jackie Stewart is in the lead. But
he loses oil pressure, allowing Brit
Graham Hill to scoot by for the
victory. Defending champion
Clark takes second ahead of Jim
McElreath. During qualifying,
Chuck Rodee is killed when he
crashed on his second warm-up
lap.
1964
A boiling inferno on the second
lap kills Eddie Sachs and Dave
MacDonald and probably turns
off more spectators than any
other accident in track history.
The second 500 triumph in Foyt’s
career almost is lost in the controversy over the use of gasoline
instead of alcohol racing fuel in
the Sachs and MacDonald rearengine Fords. Afterward, the
Chicago Tribune urges that the
race be discontinued. The Washington Post senses a “new revulsion” toward the 500. But it is
an extremely notable triumph in
that it marks the end of an era. It
is the last Indianapolis 500 victory for a front-engine car. Foyt
calls his car “Old Betsy” and sets a
race record of 147.350 mph in the
Watson/Offenhauser.
1965
In the first nationally televised
500, albeit tape-delayed on ABC,
Jim Clark makes history. The
Scotsman leads all but 10 laps in
his Ford-powered Lotus, the first
rear-engine car to go to victory
lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Clark finishes 1 minute, 59.98
seconds ahead of runner-up
Jones, also driving a Lotus-Ford.
1966
A first-lap crash that takes out
The top rookie in 1990 was
Eddie Cheever, who finished
eighth. He won the 1998 race and
had 14 starts.
1967
BOB DAUGHERTY, AP
Eddie Sachs was killed in an accident on the second lap in 1964.
1969
Mario Andretti claims
the only Indianapolis 500
victory of his career despite a right rear tire that
can’t be removed and
stays on his car throughout the entire race.
Foyt claims his third win
against what many believe was
the greatest Indianapolis 500 field
ever. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al and
Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford,
Jones, Gordon Johncock, Dan
Gurney, Cale Yarborough and
Lloyd Ruby were joined by foreign
stars Stewart, Clark, Graham Hill
and Jochen Rindt. The race is
spread over two days because of
rain, and a four-car crash on the
last lap forces Foyt to pick his way
through debris to take the checkered flag.
1968
Mario Andretti went to the
winner’s circle in 1969.
AP
For the second year in a row,
car owner Andy Granatelli has
victory in his grasp only to see it
snatched away at the very end.
Joe Leonard, who wins the pole at
a record 171.558 mph, is leading
the race with nine laps to go when
his turbine stalls on a restart.
Granatelli has to look on helplessly as Bobby Unser goes to
victory lane.
43
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
MEMORABILIA TELLS
BOBBY UNSER’S STORY
Johnny Rutherford waves after winning the 1974 Indy 500.
1970
Al Unser’s first of four victories
in the 500 comes driving a PJ (for
Parnelli Jones) Colt chassis powered by a Ford engine. Unser puts
it on the pole at 170.221 mph and
then leads 190 of 200 laps in the
race. He laps all but four cars and
finishes 32.19 seconds ahead of
runner-up Mark Donohue.
1971
Peter Revson wins the pole at a
record 178.696 mph and has Mark
Donohue alongside in an identical
McLaren M16. But Al Unser,
starting fifth, methodically works
his way to the front and takes the
lead to stay on lap 118. Revson
finishes second without leading a
lap. The start is aborted when
Indianapolis auto dealer Eldon
Palmer crashes the Dodge Challenger pace car into a photographers stand. More than 20
people are injured.
1972
The scheduled singer doesn’t
show, so track owner Tony Hulman asks Jim Nabors to sing
(Back Home Again in) Indiana, a
staple of the prerace ceremonies
since 1946. Nabors holds the job
for more than 40 years. The look
of the cars changes forever with
the first bolt-on rear wings. Bobby
Unser’s pole speed of 195.940
mph is a 17 mph jump from the
previous year. Mark Donohue’s
race-winning average speed of
162.962 mph stands as a record
for a dozen years. Al Unser finishes second in his bid for three
wins in a row.
1974
Johnny Rutherford battles A.J.
Foyt for much of the race until a
broken oil fitting ends Foyt’s day
and sends “Lone Star J.R.” on the
way to the first of his three 500
victories. The win from 25th on
the starting grid kicks off a dominant three-year run for Rutherford in which he pilots his
McLaren to finishes of first, sec-
AP
1973
The race finally ends on
Wednesday. It includes two
driver fatalities, the death of a
crewmember, multiple fan
injuries, two rainouts and just
133 laps in what was known as
the “72 hours of Indianapolis.”
The month begins on an
ominous note when Art Pollard
is killed in practice. Then on
the first lap of the race, Salt
Walther crashes on the front
straightaway, injuring 13 spectators and sending Walther to
the hospital with severe burns.
Rain soon stops the race, and
does so again the next day,
before the race finally starts
again. Then Swede Savage is
critically injured in a fiery
crash. (He dies two months
later.) Armando Teran, a crewmember for Savage teammate
Graham McRae, is killed when
he is struck by an emergency
vehicle on pit road as he ran to
the scene of Savage’s crash.
A somber Gordon Johncock
goes to victory lane when another rainstorm mercifully
halts the race for good.
ond and first, respectively, each
with Denis Daviss as his chief
mechanic.
1975
A rainstorm shortens the race
from 500 to 435 miles. Bobby
Unser is ripping down the backstretch when a wall of water
washes across his visor. As he
splashes down the main straightaway at a snail’s pace, starter Pat
Vidan waves the red and checkered flags, and Unser is declared
the winner over Rutherford and
Foyt. On the 126th lap, Tom Sneva
is running fifth when he encounters the lapped car of Canadian
rookie Eldon Rasmussen. They
collide, and Sneva is launched
into a fiery series of flips.
ALBUQUERQUE For years, Lisa
Unser struggled to keep pace as
husband Bobby shared racing
stories. She needed a visual road
map.
Today, such a collection hangs
steps inside their home, a yearby-year organization of photographs of each Indianapolis 500 car Bobby Unser qualified
at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
There are 19, spanning three
decades.
One wall speaks to Unser’s
prowess at Pikes Peak Hill Climb,
which he won 13 times. Just
inside the door are the trophies
he received for winning the 500
(1968, 1975, 1981), and close by
are the awards for the other
500-mile Indy-car races he won.
There are rings earned, trophies he took home, other keepsakes — one is an “award” for
flipping the most times in the
1961 season — and all this occupies the middle portion of the
home built in three phases.
The walls of the kitchen and
dining room are covered with
photographs, mostly black-andwhite tales of his family’s rise to
racing prominence. One photo
shows how badly his car was
damaged at Phoenix International Raceway in 1965 after it
went under a guardrail.
Unser has scads of old helmets, sign boards, a life-size
cutoff of himself and a pinball
machine he and broadcaster Paul
Page voiced.
“I’ve saved everything,” he
says.
He has the ashtray and lamp
received for winning a 1965
sprint car race at Ascot Park in
Los Angeles. He has the fading
satchel that once carried his
helmet, uniform and gloves. He
has boxes of vitamins — called
“brain chargers” — he endorsed
years ago.
In garages, Unser has three
Indy-winning pace cars, cases of
the Amsoil synthetic motor oil he
helped develop, welding equipment, two engine dynamometers, even a record-setting
Chaparral snowmobile he built.
AP
Bobby Unser celebrates his 1981 Indianapolis 500 victory, his
third. His house is full of memories from his career.
“I’ve saved everything,” says Unser, in the lead at the 1968
Indianapolis 500, which he won.
It was in the garage where the
Unser prowess began and his
engineering creativity flowed.
Jerry Unser, whose sons Jerry Jr., Bobby and Al raced in the
500, started a service station on
this Route 66 property in 1935,
and part of the concrete block
garage remains. The site was
chosen, Bobby says, because it
was easily the westernmost part
of town.
The Unser boys were raised
here; when they were older, their
father gave them land.
Today, Bobby’s spread covers
5 acres, with a daughter living in
a home on the property.
AP
Bobby has long called this
place Unserville, but everything
around it has changed. No longer
is it miles from town; now it’s
part of a town.
“I shot rifles out the back door
all my life,” Bobby says, laughing.
“We used to be in the middle of
nowhere; now we’re in the middle of somewhere.”
Bobby is 82. While spry, sharp
and feisty, he figures Lisa will
have to decide what to do with all
these prized possessions. It
should be turned into its own
museum. Call it Unserville.
Curt Cavin, The Indianapolis Star
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
SILENT TYPE
Danny Ongais’ approach
to racing wouldn’t work
these days.
Today’s drivers promote
themselves, their sponsors or
the Verizon IndyCar Series
anywhere they can.
Ongais used to put up
signs by his Indianapolis
Motor Speedway garage
entrance stating he would
not grant interviews.
The Hawaiian only wanted to race, and he did on
motorcycles, in hot rods and
in Formula One cars as well
as his 11 Indianapolis 500
starts. He earned the second
starting spot in 1978, his second 500, and finished a
career-best fourth in 1979.
He is perhaps best known
for surviving a harrowing
crash in the 1981 race.
His last 500 start came in
1996 at age 53, 10 years after
his previous Indy start, when
team owner John Menard
asked him to fill the spot left
by Scott Brayton’s death in
an accident in practice. Ongais started last but finished
seventh.
He remains the only native Hawaiian to compete in
the Indy 500.
JOE YOUNG, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Janet Guthrie, with car owner Rolla Vollstedt, failed to qualify in 1976, but she would race from 1977 to 1979, finishing ninth in ’78.
1976
1978
Five years after women are
allowed in the pits at Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, sports car racer
Janet Guthrie makes her debut at
the Speedway in a car owned by
Rolla Vollstedt. Guthrie never gets
up to speed, and the car is withdrawn. Guthrie gets one more
chance when A.J. Foyt provides a
car for a demonstration run, but
she is unable to qualify. The race
belongs to Johnny Rutherford
and Mother Nature. The Texan
wins his second 500 in the shortest race in its history: rain-shortened to 102 laps. Rutherford
becomes the first driver to walk to
victory lane.
Al Unser holds off Tom Sneva
by eight seconds, the secondclosest finish to that point, and
wins the Indy 500 for the third
time. In qualifying, Sneva becomes the first driver to run all
four laps at more than 200 mph.
Guthrie, driving with a broken
wrist, finishes ninth, which stands
as the best finish by a woman
until Danica Patrick’s fourthplace finish in 2005.
1977
AP
Rick Mears picked up the first of his four Indy 500 wins in 1979.
A.J. Foyt chases down Gordon Johncock to win the race
for the fourth time, becoming
the first driver to accomplish
the feat.
1979
The formation of a car owner’s
association, known as CART,
dominates the offseason news.
United States Auto Club, which
sanctions the 500, rejects the
entries of CART’s six teams, but a
judge rules the Speedway has
previously accepted them. Even
qualifying has legal drama. Eleven
cars are allowed another chance
to qualify after a court injunction,
and the result is an expanded
starting field (35 cars). In qualifying, Rick Mears prevents Sneva
from winning his third consecutive pole. Mears goes on to get
his first 500 win in his second
start.
1980
Rutherford earns his third
victory after winning the pole by
more than 1 mph at 192.256.
Flamboyant rookie Tim Richmond runs out of fuel on the last
lap. Sneva finishes second after
starting 22rd and Gary Bettenhausen third after starting 32nd.
1981
The key moment comes during
a lap 144 caution. The leaders pit,
and Bobby Unser passes 11 cars on
the track as he roars back up to
speed after leaving pit road. Unser
finishes 5.18 seconds ahead of
Mario Andretti to take the victory.
Or does he? The next morning,
chief steward Tom Binford announces Unser has passed the
cars illegally and Andretti is
named the winner and is honored
at the victory banquet. But Oct. 8,
an arbitration committee rules
Unser’s move had no effect on the
outcome, and he gets his third and
final win.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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1982
The finish sees Gordon Johncock stave off Rick Mears’ furious
final attack for the closest finish in
history (0.16 seconds). The start is
notable as a broken halfshaft was
blamed for Kevin Cogan’s sudden
veering into fellow front-row
starter A.J. Foyt coming to the
green flag. Cogan’s car is struck by
Mario Andretti’s. Cogan is vilified
by the former race winners on the
telecast. In qualifying, Gordon
Smiley dies in a gruesome Turn 3
crash.
1983
Tom Sneva overcomes the
teamwork of Al Unser and son Al
Jr. (age 21) for his first win. The
younger Unser, who was several
laps down in part because of a
two-lap penalty, let his father —
but not Sneva — pass on a lap 178
restart. With a track record of
207.395, Teo Fabi becomes the
first rookie to win the 500 pole
since Walt Faulkner in 1950.
1984
Rick Mears starts third and
wins the race, the only time he
wins without capturing the pole.
He finishes two laps ahead of the
field. Rookies grab three of the top
five finishing positions, with Roberto Guerrero second in the
George Bignotti car vacated by
Sneva. Sneva leads at 31 laps but
his car eventually fails him. Mears
says afterward it would have been
“one helluva shootout” with him
had he remained in the race. Al
Holbert finishes fourth. Michael
Andretti (fifth) and Emerson
Fittipaldi (out after 37 laps)
debut.
1985
Danny Sullivan delivers a memorable victory for Roger Penske
after taking the lead for about
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
100 yards. Sullivan spins out in
front of Mario Andretti on lap 120
but successfully passes him in the
same part of Turn 1 some 20 laps
later. Sullivan never flat-spots his
tires or touches anything during
the spin. As the tire smoke clears,
Sullivan sees the Turn 2 suites,
takes his foot off the brake and
says to himself, “Let’s go.”
1986
For the first time in event history, the race is postponed to the
next weekend because of the
weather. The first live television
coverage in 37 years is key to the
decision to push back the race.
Kevin Cogan appears to have
victory in hand until Arie Luyendyk brushes the Turn 4 wall. That
caution sets up a two-lap shootout, and Bobby Rahal gets the best
of Cogan and passes him. Terminally ill car owner Jim Trueman
dies two weeks later.
1987
Unser Sr. is a last-minute substitute for injured Danny Ongais,
who seriously injures his head in a
Turn 4 crash in practice, and
earns his fourth Indy win. Unser
inherits the lead when Andretti
loses power and Roberto Guerrero stalls on pit road, the latter the
result of hitting a tire earlier in
the race. That tire flies into the
stands and kills a fan, the first
spectator fatality at Indy since
1938.
1988
Team owner Penske hires
famed engineer Nigel Bennett to
design the PC-17 chassis, and it is
a rocket. Mears uses one to win
his fourth pole, tying the record
held by Rex Mays and Foyt. Mears
goes on to win the race, too, with
only Fittipaldi left on the lead lap.
The win is Mears’ third of four.
CHARLIE BENNETT, AP
Tom Sneva earned his first Indy 500 win in 1983 after 10 previous starts. It was owner George Bignotti’s seventh car to win.
MIKE HEMBREE FOR USA TODAY SPORTS
Racing legend Mario Andretti shows off his trophy case at his home in Nazareth, Pa.
MARIO’S MEMENTOS
NAZARETH , PA .
Mario Andretti
credits his wife, Dee Ann, for
designing the presentation of his
racing trophies and memorabilia
in their home. The lack of racing
gems in the garage is on him.
Andretti owns just one of the
race cars he drove, the Lola/
Ford-Cosworth from his final
IndyCar race, at Laguna Seca
Raceway in 1994. He said he
should have more.
“Just for asking I could have
easily had a lot of them,” he said.
“I could have had the Ferrari I
won my very first Formula One
race with in South Africa (in
1971). I could have had the Lotus
I won the world championship
with (in 1978).”
Andretti said Lotus teammate
Ronnie Peterson not only had
one of the team’s cars, he had one
hanging upside down in his living
room before that season ended.
Even the Laguna Seca car
didn’t work out as Andretti envisioned. He wanted the car as it
came off the track — dirt, grime
and all. But the well-meaning
Newman/Haas Racing crew
presented it to him clean, right
down to a fresh Cosworth-supplied engine.
Andretti has kept it immaculate, of course, and he remains
appreciative. “The mechanics
made me a table with the (race)
engine,” he said.
A tour of the racing legend’s
collection begins at the front
door of the 22,000-square-foot
home up the hill from the decaying and overgrown Nazareth
Speedway where he once raced.
Steps inside are trophy cases on
either side rising from the floor
to about 7 feet. They house his
Formula One championship
trophy along with awards from
seemingly every corner of the
motor sports world, including
the 1967 Daytona 500. In IndyCar, his 52 race wins rank
second all-time, and he won four
series championships.
Andretti can scan his accomplishments with glances from
every angle of the home’s second
floor, because the upstairs is
horseshoe-shaped.
The lowest level of the house is
where Andretti showcases his
collectibles, and it starts with the
signature piece at the bottom of
the staircase. Andretti won his
only Indianapolis 500 in 1969 for
car owner Andy Granatelli. In
those days, the Indy winner
received a modest wooden
plaque with a replica piece of the
Borg-Warner Trophy on the
front. Granatelli wanted something grand for his driver, so he
had something made. Thus
stands a wooden plaque as tall as
Andretti was in 1969; it matched
his weight at the time, too.
“It’s so huge it has to have its
own space, and it properly fits in
that corner,” Andretti said.
The actual Indy plaque hangs
in Andretti’s office down the hall,
and he sees it almost every day
when he’s home. His personal
assistant for 30 years, Amy Hollowbush, estimates Andretti does
something work-related almost
every day.
Andretti, 76, doesn’t have
every major trophy he won, but
he has most. A few from his 12
Formula One race wins were
shipped to famed car designer
Colin Chapman for an open
house in England in 1982, but
Chapman died before they could
be returned.
Andretti still has one of the
finest motor sports presentations
in the USA, even if the garage
doesn’t hold up its end of the
bargain.
Curt Cavin, The Indianapolis Star
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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48
1989
New paving of the track and the
removal of the former Prest-OLite plant chimney long visible off
Turn 1 are the physical changes
for this 500. Emerson Fittipaldi’s
only obstacle is Al Unser Jr., who
pulls off a surprising pass on lap
195. But as they approached
lapped traffic four laps later, Unser gets bogged down in Turn 2,
allowing Fittipaldi to close. With
momentum, Fittipaldi makes his
move to pass in Turn 3, but his car
drifts up and touches Unser’s car.
Unser crashes; Fittipaldi wins.
1990
Emerson Fittipaldi leads the
first 92 laps of the race to break
Frank Lockhart’s 1927 record
(leading the first 81). But Fittipaldi blisters his tires and finished
third. Arie Luyendyk takes the
lead on lap 168 and finishes the
race in
2 hours, 41 minutes, 18.404 seconds, averaging 185.981 mph for
the race, to become the fastest
winner in history.
1991
Rick Mears crashes before
qualifying, uses a backup car to
win the pole and wins the race
for his fourth 500 victory, tying
A.J. Foyt and Al Unser for the
most Indy 500 wins in history.
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
1992
Al Unser Jr. edges Scott
Goodyear by 0.043 seconds, the
closest finish in Indy history.
1993
Emerson Fittipaldi wins the
race, but reigning Formula One
champion Nigel Mansell wins the
attention. Mansell, who is in the
seat because of Michael Andretti’s
move to F1, has never raced on an
oval — he crashes during practice
at Phoenix — but he qualifies
eighth and finishes third. The race
also is noteworthy for the absence
of four-time winners Rick Mears
and A.J. Foyt, who make surprising retirement announcements.
Foyt made a record 35 starts.
1994
Fittipaldi leads 145 laps and is
cruising on lap 185 when he hits
the rumble strip in Turn 4 and
crashes trying to lap Al Unser Jr.
That leaves the win to the secondgeneration star. Also of note: Lyn
St. James starts sixth, outqualifying Nigel Mansell (seventh), Arie Luyendyk (eight) and
Mario Andretti (ninth); the retirements of Al Unser and Johnny
Rutherford; and Dennis Vitolo’s
car landing on Mansell’s after
running over a wheel on the
warm-up lane in Turn 3.
THOMAS J. RUSSO, USA TODAY SPORTS
Mario Andretti was on hand for 2015 Pole Day with his grandson Marco Andretti.
Andrettis take on Indy
How many Andrettis can you
fit into an Indianapolis 500 field?
For a couple of years, four
members of the famed family
took the green flag.
Perhaps the best year for the
Andrettis at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway — other than Mario’s
1969 victory — was 1991. Michael
finished second, John took fifth
and Mario seventh. Jeff finished
15th.
The same quartet raced in
1992: John finished eighth, Michael 13th, Jeff 18th and Mario
23rd.
Michael tried Formula One
racing in 1993, so three Andrettis
raced that year: Mario (fifth),
1995
AL BEHRMAN, AP
Jacques Villeneuve celebrates his 1995 Indy 500 victory.
From the return of Firestone to
the speed struggle to the formation of the Indy Racing League to
Stan Fox’s horrific crash to a pair
of driver penalties in the race, this
event has it all. Roger Penske’s
team failing to earn a starting spot
is the most stunning of the competition news.
Jacques Villeneuve is penalized
PASCAL RONDEAU, GETTY IMAGES
In 1993, Michael Andretti raced in the Formula One series.
John (10th) and Jeff (29th).
Mario is Michael and Jeff’s
father and the grandfather of
IndyCar driver Marco Andretti.
John is the son of Aldo Andretti,
Mario’s twin brother.
two laps on lap 36 for passing the
pace car on what he believes is a
wave-around, but Scott Goodyear’s jumping of the final restart
costs him the win, which goes to
Villeneuve.
The absence of many of the
sport’s stars creates a chance for
17 rookies to make the race, the
most since 1930. Buddy Lazier,
recovering from back fractures
suffered a few weeks earlier in
the Phoenix race, holds on for his
first victory. Arie Luyendyk sets
track records for qualifying:
236.986 mph overall and 237.498
for a single lap.
1996
The first race in the Indy Racing League era is marred by CART
teams balking at the 25 starting
spots guaranteed to IRL regulars.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
49
50
1997
The look and sound of the cars
change dramatically with the
introduction of the Indy Racing
League’s new equipment package,
and speeds fall as a result. Arie
Luyendyk wins a two-lap final
shootout with Treadway Racing
teammate Scott Goodyear. The
margin of victory is 0.570 seconds,
providing the first 1-2 finish for a
team since 1962.
1998
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
POSTRACE CALL TO BRACK
A ROYAL PAIN FOR FOYT
Scandinavia isn’t known as a racing hotbed, so when Sweden’s
Kenny Brack won the 1999 Indianapolis 500, it was a huge deal back
home.
How big? He got a postrace call from the king of Sweden.
That didn’t impress Brack’s team owner, A.J. Foyt, who was tired
and in pain after standing on pit road all day.
When informed that Brack was on the phone with his highness,
Foyt responded: “I don’t care who he’s on the phone with. Tell him
the king of Texas is tired and wants to go back to the garage.”
Brack remains the only Scandinavian 500 champ.
Eddie Cheever, who pilots
Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1989-winning car the next year as a rookie,
capitalizes on the engine failures
of Team Menard drivers Tony
Stewart and Robbie Buhl to score
the biggest win of his career.
Cheever leads six times for 76
laps, holding off Buddy Lazier at
the finish by 3.191 seconds.
the landscape of the competition.
Chip Ganassi’s team brings in the
reigning champion, Juan Pablo
Montoya, and veteran Jimmy
Vasser. No one can match Montoya, who leads 167 laps to become the first rookie winner since
Graham Hill in 1966. Lazier is
second, 7.184 seconds behind.
1999
2001
Robby Gordon skips a late
chance to take on extra fuel in
order to have the lead and runs
dry less than two laps from the
finish. Kenny Brack and his A.J.
Foyt crew don’t gamble, and the
conservatism allows them to drive
into victory lane with what Foyt
describes as his fifth win. It is
Brack’s first.
2000
The arrival of Ganassi Racing,
which has won the past four
CART championships, changes
The transformation of competitors continues with Team Penske
entering cars for CART drivers Gil
de Ferran and Helio Castroneves.
Also in the field: Michael Andretti
in a program assisted by Panther
Racing; Tony Stewart driving for
Ganassi Racing; and Luyendyk
making a comeback with Treadway Racing.
Castroneves gives the event its
first back-to-back rookie winners
since 1927. He and de Ferran also
give Team Penske its first 1-2
finish.
2002
This 500 is known for the yellow light controversy. Did the
light come on ahead of Paul Tracy’s lap 199 pass of Castroneves in
Turn 3 or after it? The yellow
light had come on for an accident
behind the lead cars in Turn 2.
The debate rages for six weeks
after Castroneves goes to victory
lane. Indy Racing League CEO
Tony George ultimately decides
that Brian Barnhart’s race-day
ruling for Castroneves stands.
2003
Roger Penske matches Lou
Moore’s car owner mark of three
consecutive 500s wins, but
Penske doesn’t achieve it with
Castroneves. He loses the lead to
de Ferran on lap 170 when he
misjudges the speed of rookie A.J.
Foyt IV. De Ferran, who starts
10th, leads the rest of the way.
SETH ROSSMAN, AP
Arie Luyendyk, center, won a two-lap shootout with Scott Goodyear to win the 1997 Indianapolis
500, his second Indy 500 win. Luyendyk also won in 1990.
MATT KRYGER, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Steven Tyler caused a stir with his rendition in 2001.
STICK WITH ‘BRAVE’
The Indianapolis 500 is no stranger to controversy, but it usually
happens on the track, such as issues involving driver etiquette or
race officiating.
But in 2001, controversy erupted before drivers got into their
cars.
The Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Aerosmith lead man
Steven Tyler, who started with a harmonica solo, added some scat
along the way and finished by replacing the word “brave” with
“Indianapolis 500.”
Those used to more traditional renditions by Sandi Patty or
Florence Henderson let Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials
know about it.
Singers representing the armed forces or law enforcement sung
the national anthem in six of the next eight years. This year, it will
be sung by rock and country singer Darius Rucker.
AL BERHMAN, AP
Eddie Cheever led six times for 76 laps en route to winning the
1998 Indianapolis 500.
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
51
52
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
MARK J. REBILAS, USA TODAY SPORTS
“America gave me a very good opportunity, and I love this
place,” Brazilian-born Helio Castroneves says.
CASTRONEVES PLOTS
POST-RETIREMENT LIFE
Helio Castroneves lives so much in the
moment, he refuses to imagine
life in the future.
Which is what makes a recent
conversation in his waterfront
home interesting. The Brazilian
outlines his first step toward no
longer chasing checkered flags.
Castroneves has signed on as a
partner in a New Holland, Pa.,
car dealership. He hopes this is
the first of many dealerships in
his portfolio, though he recognizes the awkwardness of his
employer, Roger Penske, encouraging the investment.
“I’m not sure if that’s a good
sign or a bad sign,” the longesttenured driver in Team Penske
history says. “Are you retiring
me, or is it a sign I’ve (proved
myself)?”
Castroneves, in his 19th Indycar season, is a threat to win
every race. His 29 wins tie him
with Rick Mears, the gold standard of Team Penske. He ranks
fourth in IndyCar poles behind
Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and
Bobby Unser.
Castroneves has never won an
IndyCar championship, but he
has three Indy 500 victories
(2001, 2002 and 2009).
In the same month he invested in the car dealership with
Penske and Penske’s nephew,
Geoff Penske, Castroneves became eligible to apply for U.S.
citizenship. He expects to exercise that right.
“America gave me a very good
opportunity, and I love this
place,” he says. “I feel like an
American after all I’ve been
through.”
That includes his acquittal in
BRIAN SPURLOCK, USA TODAY SPORTS
Dario Franchitti and then-wife actress Ashley Judd celebrate in 2007 after his first Indy 500 win.
FORT LAUDERDALE
2004
2009 on six counts of federal tax
evasion. He emerged without so
much as a public relations scar.
“One thing that situation also
did was change my perspective,”
says Castroneves, 41. “It made
me notice different things. Now I
look at the beautiful sky, the
water, the green grass. I believe
in good energy, and this (home
and its location) are good
energy.”
The home Castroneves
bought with his girlfriend, Adriana Henao, in 2011 sits on one of
Fort Lauderdale’s many canals,
but the fiscally conservative
Castroneves doesn’t have a yacht
like many of his neighbors. “I
have friends for that,” he jokes.
Castroneves and Henao don’t
have plans to marry, but he says
they’re enjoying time with
daughter Mikaella, who is in
kindergarten. As he says that,
Mikaella’s young Yorkie, Lollipop, hops through the room and
slides across the marble floor.
As for the New Holland Auto
Group, which offers the Toyota,
Ford and Chrysler brands, Castroneves says he won’t push for a
name change because he’s already versed in brand equity.
“You want to keep it the same
(name), because it’s been that
way for 15 years and people
there know it,” he says. “Castrowhat-is-it? You can’t sell cars
that way.”
Curt Cavin, The Indianapolis Star
Buddy Rice takes the lead on
lap 172, and the race is called nine
laps later because of rain. The
start is delayed by two hours, and
the race is delayed for two more
hours after 27 laps. With tornadoes in the area and the track
flooding, victory lane is moved
indoors. Andretti Green Racing’s
cars take second (Tony Kanaan),
third (Dan Wheldon) and fourth
(Bryan Herta).
2005
Wheldon wins the race that will
be remembered for Danica Patrick’s thrilling debut. Patrick,
driving Rahal Letterman Racing’s
Panoz-Honda, nearly wins the
pole with a qualifying run slowed
only by a bobble in her first corner. She still manages the No. 4
starting spot. Patrick is the darling of the month from that point
forward, and the crowd of about
250,000 roars nearly as one as she
passes Wheldon for the lead on
lap 190. She becomes the first
woman in Indy 500 history to
lead laps, leading three times for
19 laps. Patrick ends up fourth,
setting the best finish by a woman. Janet Guthrie had finished
ninth in 1978.
Wheldon becomes the third
Englishman to win the 500, following George Robson in 1946
and Graham Hill in 1966. It is a
club he longed to join since attending his first race in 1999. “I
don’t think people understand
what this means to me. It’s the
first time I’ve ever cried in my
helmet,” Wheldon said.
JEFF ROBERTS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Danica Patrick made history with her fourth-place run in 2005.
2006
Five drivers hold the lead in the
final 18 laps. Wheldon, who leads
148 laps, is bidding to win for the
second year in a row with different teams. Then Tony Kanaan
takes the lead. Michael Andretti,
in his 15th 500 without a win,
goes to the point with seven laps
to go, but he is passed by 18-yearold son Marco. Sam Hornish Jr.,
the pole-sitter, makes a bid to pass
Marco in Turn 3 of lap 199 but
has to get out of the throttle to
avoid contact. He recovers in time
to pass coming to the checkered
flag.
2007
Dario Franchitti is in front on
lap 166 when the downpour
comes and the checkered flag
waves. Franchitti, in front when
Michael Andretti flips on the
backstretch in a multicar tangle in
his final 500, is in the right place
at the right time. Kanaan is the
leader at the time of the first red
flag, for rain at lap 114. Kanaan
leads 83 laps to Franchitti’s 34.
2008
New Zealander Scott Dixon
capitalizes on Ganassi Racing’s
strong stretch of 500s by winning
the pole, leading 115 laps and
winning the race. Dixon leads the
final 29 laps and holds off Panther
Racing’s Vitor Meira by 1.75 seconds at the finish.
2009
Helio Castroneves wins from
the pole for his third Indy 500
victory, equaling a record for
three wins in a decade. He won
back-to-back in 2001-02. Dan
Wheldon finishes second and
Patrick third to break her mark
for best Indy 500 finish by a
woman.
53
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
2010
2013
Dario Franchitti is more dominant in his second Indianapolis
500 victory — he leads 155 laps —
but needs timely help to seal the
win. With a host of cars running
out of fuel, including his own,
Franchitti nurses his Ganassi
Racing machine to the finish
under a lap-199 caution for Mike
Conway’s vicious crash.
Kanaan can thank Franchitti
for the caution flag ensuring the
Brazilian’s long-awaited first
500 victory. With three laps left,
IndyCar’s king of restarts sweeps
past leader Ryan Hunter-Reay
into the top spot. Seconds later,
Franchitti crashes behind them in
Turn 1, freezing the running order. Kanaan and Hunter-Reay
change leads four times in the
final 11 laps, part of a recordsetting 68 lead changes among 14
drivers.
2011
Dan Wheldon, who has finished
second in the last two 500s, navigates the debris from a crash on
the final lap involving JR Hildebrand enough to pass Hildebrand
ahead of the checkered flag. Hildebrand settles for a heartbreaking second-place finish.
Wheldon’s win comes on the
100th anniversary of the first 500.
It is his last IndyCar victory. He
dies of injuries suffered in a crash
at an October IndyCar race in Las
Vegas.
2012
Seven months after Wheldon’s
fatal accident, his former teammates finish first, second and
third in the 500. Franchitti’s victory is his third in this event,
making him the 10th driver with
as many. Scott Dixon finishes
second with Tony Kanaan third.
They join Franchitti on the front
straightaway to salute their fallen
friend.
2014
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio
Castroneves stage a dramatic
drafting duel, with Hunter-Reay
making a memorable dive to the
inside in Turn 3 on lap 197 before
making the winning move on the
outside of Castroneves coming to
the white flag. Hunter-Reay’s first
Indy win denies Castroneves a
record-tying fourth victory, and
the final margin is 0.06 seconds,
the second closest in race history.
2015
CURT CAVIN, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Juan Pablo Montoya wins 15
years after his previous Indy 500
victory. His first came with Ganassi Racing and this one with
Team Penske. The final pass for
the lead comes on the outside of
Penske teammate Will Power
with four laps left. Montoya’s
winning margin: 0.1046 seconds.
ROBERT SCHEER, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
Dan Wheldon celebrates his 2011 Indianapolis 500 win, his final
IndyCar victory, which came five months before his death.
Ryan Hunter-Reay’s “big leap of faith,” which he calls his Fort Lauderdale home, has paid off.
OFF TRACK, HUNTER-REAY
LOVES FLORIDA LIFESTYLE
FORT LAUDERDALE Ryan Hunter-Reay stands proud on his
baby, all 36 feet of her.
Lest one think the one-time
IndyCar Series champion and
2014 Indianapolis 500 winner is
most comfortable in a race car,
try seeing him here.
On a boat, he’s fit for a king.
“A Yellowfin 36,” Hunter-Reay
says. “With triple Honda 250s.”
For a 35-year-old father of two
who once stood close to being
overboard personally and professionally, Hunter-Reay is sailing
strong.
Hunter-Reay’s career includes
16 Indy-car victories. Through
seven seasons with Andretti
Autosport, he has established
himself as one of IndyCar’s six
best drivers.
But the sun wasn’t always
shining on the Floridian.
Hunter-Reay didn’t have a ride
for the 2006 season and the next
year was spent in similar openwheel unemployment until
Bobby Rahal gave him a chance
to replace Jeff Simmons in
IndyCar’s July race at Mid-Ohio
Sports Car Course. From that
seventh-place finish came
enough momentum for a full-
season opportunity with Rahal
Letterman Racing in 2008 and
stints to follow with Vision Racing and A.J. Foyt Racing in 2009.
Late in the summer of 2009,
Hunter-Reay had enough confidence to invest in a depressed
housing market. He and wife
Beccy bought what he long desired: a 4,000-square-foot home
on one of Fort Lauderdale’s canals. A boat was secured. Finances weren’t necessarily a
given, because his 2010 contract
with Michael Andretti was for
only the first three races.
“We kind of dove in with both
feet, a really gutsy move,” Hunter-Reay says. “You kind of forget
now, but (the career) could have
gone the other way at that point
and nothing was assured. It was a
big leap of faith.”
The biggest stress of all: Hunter-Reay’s mother, Lydia, died of
colon cancer that fall.
But in Hunter-Reay’s first race
with Andretti, he finished second
to Will Power in São Paulo. A
month later, he won the race in
Long Beach.
Hunter-Reay got his second
win for Andretti in 2011 and used
a string of three consecutive
victories and four in all to win
the series championship in 2012.
Son Ryden was born in December that year. In March 2015,
Rocsen was born. His middle
name is Indy.
“Amazing,” Hunter-Reay says.
“We’re so blessed.”
Hunter-Reay was able to
sneak a few hours of boat time in
March because the Indianapolis
media wanted to see his life
outside of the IndyCar paddock.
Ryden joined his father for the
ride.
“I love this place,” HunterReay says. “We can run the boat
down to Miami on the (ocean)
side for dinner or just hang out
around here.
“We’ve got everything from
really good raw bars to fancier
places, and the great part is we
don’t even need to take the car.
It’s another benefit to being on
the water, and it makes for a
really cool lifestyle.”
Curt Cavin, The Indianapolis Star
54
SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS
INDIANAPOLIS 500 WINNERS
Driver
Start
Year
15
2015
Juan Pablo Montoya
2014
Ryan Hunter-Reay
19
12
2013
Tony Kanaan
2012
16
Dario Franchitti
2011
6
Dan Wheldon
Dario Franchitti
2010
3
Helio Castroneves
1
2009
Scott Dixon
1
2008
Dario Franchitti
3
2007
Sam Hornish Jr.
1
2006
Dan Wheldon
16
2005
Buddy Rice
1
2004
Gil de Ferran
10
2003
Helio Castroneves
2002
13
Helio Castroneves
11
2001
Juan Pablo Montoya
2
2000
1999
Kenny Brack
8
Eddie Cheever Jr.
17
1998
Arie Luyendyk
1997
1
Buddy Lazier
5
1996
Jacques Villeneuve
5
1995
Al Unser Jr.
1
1994
1993
Emerson Fittipaldi
9
Al Unser Jr.
12
1992
Rick Mears
1
1991
Arie Luyendyk
3
1990
3
1989
Emerson Fittipaldi
1988
1
Rick Mears
20
Al Unser Sr.
1987
4
1986
Bobby Rahal
8
1985
Danny Sullivan
1984
3
Rick Mears
1983
Tom Sneva
4
1982
Gordon Johncock
5
1981
Bobby Unser
1
1980
1
Johnny Rutherford
1979
1
Rick Mears
1978
Al Unser Sr.
5
A.J. Foyt
1977
4
Johnny Rutherford
1
1976
3
1975
Bobby Unser
Johnny Rutherford
25
1974
11
1973
Gordon Johncock
1972
Mark Donohue
3
Al Unser Sr.
5
1971
Al Unser Sr.
1
1970
Mario Andretti
2
1969
1
1968
Bobby Unser
4
A.J. Foyt
1967
1966
Graham Hill
15
2
Jim Clark
1965
5
1964
A.J. Foyt
1
1963
Parnelli Jones
1962
Rodger Ward
2
A.J. Foyt
7
1961
Jim Rathman
2
1960
Rodger Ward
1959
6
Jimmy Bryan
7
1958
Sam Hanks
13
1957
1956
1
Pat Flaherty
14
Bob Sweikert
1955
19
Bill Vukovich
1954
1953
1
Bill Vukovich
1952
Troy Ruttman
7
1951
2
Lee Wallard
1950
5
Johnnie Parsons
Bill Holland
1949
4
Mauri Rose
3
1948
1947
Mauri Rose
3
1946
George Robson
15
1942-1945
*1941
Floyd Davis/Mauri Rose 17
2
Wilbur Shaw
1940
Chassis/Engine
Avg. mph
Dallara/Chevrolet
161.341
Dallara/Honda
186.563
Dallara/Chevrolet
187.433
Dallara/Honda
167.734
Dallara/Honda
170.265
Dallara/Honda
161.623
Dallara/Honda
150.318
Dallara/Honda
143.567
Dallara/Honda
151.774
Dallara/Honda
157.085
Dallara/Honda
157.603
G Force/Honda
138.518
G Force/Toyota
156.291
Dallara/Chevrolet
166.499
Dallara/Oldsmobile
141.574
Dallara/Oldsmobile
167.607
Dallara/Aurora
153.176
Dallara/Aurora
145.155
G Force/Aurora
145.827
Reynard/Ford
147.956
Reynard/Ford
153.616
Penske/Mercedes
160.872
Penske/Chevrolet
157.207
Galmer/Chevrolet
134.477
Penske/Chevrolet
176.457
Lola/Chevrolet
185.981
Penske/Chevrolet
167.581
Penske/Chevrolet
144.809
March/Cosworth
162.175
March/Cosworth
170.722
March/Cosworth
152.982
March/Cosworth
163.612
March/Cosworth
162.117
Wildcat/Cosworth
162.029
Penske/Cosworth
139.084
Chaparral/Cosworth
142.862
Penske/Cosworth
158.899
Lola/Cosworth
161.363
Coyote/Foyt
161.331
McLaren/Offy
148.725
Eagle/Offy
149.213
McLaren/Offy
158.589
Eagle/Offy
159.036
McLaren/Offy
162.962
Colt/Ford
157.735
Colt/Ford
155.749
Hawk/Ford
156.867
Eagle/Offy
152.882
Coyote/Ford
151.207
Lola/Ford
144.317
Lotus/Ford
150.686
Watson/Offy
147.35
Watson/Offy
143.137
Watson/Offy
140.293
Trevis/Offy
139.13
Watson/Offy
138.767
Watson/Offy
135.857
Salih/Offy
133.791
Salih/Offy
135.601
Watson/Offy
128.49
KK500C/Offy
128.213
KK500A/Offy
130.84
KK500A/Offy
128.74
Kuzma/Offy
128.922
Kurtis/Offy
126.244
Kurtis/Offy
124.002
Deidt/Offy
121.327
Deidt/Offy
119.814
Deidt/Offy
116.338
Adams/Sparks
114.82
Not held (World War II)
Wetteroth/Offy
115.117
Maserati/Maserati
114.277
Team
Team Penske
Andretti Autosport
KV Racing Technology
Ganassi
Bryan Herta
Ganassi
Penske
Ganassi
Andretti-Green
Penske
Andretti-Green
Rahal-Letterman
Penske
Penske
Penske
Ganassi
A.J. Foyt
Cheever
Treadway
Hemelgarn
Green
Penske
Penske
Galles-Kraco
Penske
Shierson
Patrick
Penske
Penske
Truesports
Penske
Penske
Bignotti-Cotter
STP/Patrick
Penske
Chaparral
Penske
Chaparral
A.J. Foyt
McLaren
All American Racers
McLaren
Patrick
Penske
P. Jones
P. Jones
STP
Leader Cards
Ansted-Thompson
J. Mecom Jr.
Lotus
Ansted-Thompson
J.C. Agajanian
Leader Cards
Bignotti-Bowes
Ken-Paul
Leader Cards
G. Salih
G. Salih
J. Zink
J. Zink
H. Keck
H. Keck
J.C. Agajanian
M. Belanger
Kurtis-Kraft
L. Moore
L. Moore
L. Moore
Thorne
L. Moore
Boyle
MIKE CONROY, AP
Al Unser Sr. is one of three drivers to win four Indy 500s, earning No. 4 in 1987.
1939
1938
1937
1936
1935
1934
1933
1932
1931
1930
1929
1928
1927
1926
1925
1924
1923
1922
1921
1920
1919
1917-18
1916
1915
1914
1913
1912
1911
Wilbur Shaw
Floyd Roberts
Wilbur Shaw
Louis Meyer
Kelly Petillo
Bill Cummings
Louis Meyer
Fred Frame
Louis Schneider
Billy Arnold
Ray Keech
Louis Meyer
George Souders
Frank Lockhart
Peter DePaolo
Joe Boyer/L.L. Corum
Tommy Milton
Jimmy Murphy
Tommy Milton
Gaston Chevrolet
Howdy Wilcox
Dario Resta
Ralph DePalma
Rene Thomas
Jules Goux
Joe Dawson
Ray Harroun
3
1
2
28
22
10
6
27
13
1
6
13
22
20
2
21
1
1
20
6
2
Maserati/Maserati
115.035
Wetteroth/Miller
117.2
Shaw/Offy
113.58
Stevens/Miller
109.069
Wetteroth/Offy
106.24
Miller/Miller
104.863
Miller/Miller
104.162
Wetteroth/Miller
104.144
Stevens/Miller
96.629
Summers/Miller
100.448
Miller/Miller
97.585
Miller/Miller
99.482
Duesenberg/Duesenberg 97.545
Miller/Miller
95.904
Duesenberg/Duesenberg 101.127
Duesenberg/Duesenberg 98.234
Miller/Miller
90.954
Duesenberg/Miller
94.484
Frontenac/Frontenac
89.621
Frontenac/Frontenac
88.618
Peugeot/Peugeot
88.05
Not held (World War I)
4 Peugeot/Peugeot
84.001
2 Mercedes/Mercedes
89.84
15 Delage/Delage
82.474
7 Peugeot/Peugeot
75.933
7 National/National
78.719
28 Marmon/Marmon
74.602
*Davis was relieved by Rose on lap 72 of the 1941 race.
Source: USA TODAY Sports research
Boyle
L. Moore
W. Shaw
L. Meyer
K. Petillo
H.C. Henning
L. Meyer
H. Hartz
B.L Schneider
H. Hartz
M.A. Yagle
A. Sampson II
W.S. White
P. Kreis
Duesenberg
Duesenberg
H.C.S. Motor
J. Murphy
L. Chevrolet
W. Small
Indianapolis Speedway
Peugeot
E.C. Patterson
L. Delage
Peugeot
National Motor
Nordyke & Marmon
USA TODAY SPORTS SPECIAL EDITION
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SPECIAL EDITION USA TODAY SPORTS

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