Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is the world's oldest major automobile race. Better known as the Indy 500 or the Indianapolis 500, it is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in Speedway, Indiana, United States, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held over Memorial Day weekend in late May. It is contested as part of the IndyCar Series, the top level of American Championship Car racing, an open-wheel open-cockpit formula colloquially known as "Indy Car Racing". The name of the race is often shortened to Indy 500, and the track itself is nicknamed the "Brickyard", as the racing surfacing was paved in brick in the fall of 1909, with a yard of brick still remaining exposed at the start/finish line.

The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which comprises three of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world, also including the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, but the permanent seating capacity is upwards of 250,000, and infield patrons raise the race-day attendance to approximately 300,000.[1] It shares its date with NASCAR's 600-mile event at Charlotte, with drivers having completed both events in one day before in a so-called Double Duty.

The inaugural race was held in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun. The event celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, and the 100th running was held in 2016. Simon Pagenaud is the current champion. The most successful drivers are A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears, each of whom have won the race four times. The active driver with the most victories is Hélio Castroneves, with three. Rick Mears holds the record for most career pole positions with six. The most successful car owner is Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, which has 18 total wins and 18 poles. Penske also has five wins the IndyCar Grand Prix, held on the combined road course.

The event is steeped in tradition, in pre-race ceremonies, post-race celebrations, and race procedure. The most noteworthy and most popular traditions are the 33-car field lining up three-wide for the start, the annual singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana," and the victory lane bottle of milk. Also unique is that qualifying requires the driver to complete four, rather than one, timed laps and qualifying itself has its own weekend.

Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Oval
NTT IndyCar Series
VenueIndianapolis Motor Speedway
LocationSpeedway, Indiana
Corporate sponsorGainbridge Insurance Agency (2019-2022)
First race1911
Distance500 miles (805 km)
Previous names500-Mile International Sweepstakes (1911–1915, 1920–1941, 1946–1980)

300-Mile International Sweepstakes (1916)

Liberty Sweepstakes (1919)

Most wins (driver)A. J. Foyt (4)
Al Unser (4)
Rick Mears (4)
Most wins (team)Penske (18)
Most wins (manufacturer)Chassis: Dallara (19)
Engine: Offenhauser (27)
Circuit information
Length2.5 mi (4.0 km)
Lap record37.895 sec (237.498 mph; 382.182 km/h) (Arie Luyendyk, Reynard/Ford-Cosworth XB, 1996)

Race specifics

The Indianapolis 500 is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile (4 km) oval circuit. Technically, the track is a unique rounded-rectangle, with four distinct turns of identical dimensions, connected by four straightaways (two long straightaways and two "short chutes"). Drivers race 200 laps, counter-clockwise around the circuit, for a distance of 500 miles (800 km). Since its inception in 1911, the race has always been scheduled on or around Memorial Day. Since 1974, the race has been specifically scheduled for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is widely considered one of the most important days on the motorsports calendar, as it is the day of the Indianapolis 500, Coca-Cola 600, and (currently) the Monaco Grand Prix. Practice and time trials are held in the two weeks leading up to the race, while other preliminary testing is held as early as April.

Traditionally, the field consists of 33 starters, aligned in a starting grid of eleven rows of three cars apiece. The event is contested by "Indy cars", a formula of professional-level, single-seat, open cockpit, open-wheel, purpose-built race cars. As of 2018, all entrants utilize 2.2 L V6, twin-turbocharged engines, tuned to produce a range of 550–700 horsepower (410–520 kW). Chevrolet and Honda are the current engine manufacturers involved in the sport. Dallara is at present the sole chassis supplier to the series. Firestone, which has a deep history in the sport, dating back to the first 500, is currently the exclusive tire provider.

The race is the most prestigious event of the IndyCar calendar, and one of the oldest and most important automobile races. It has been avouched to be the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world. Likewise, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway itself is regarded as the world's largest sporting facility in terms of capacity. The total purse exceeded $13 million in 2011, with over $2.5 million awarded to the winner, making it one of the richest cash prize funds in sports.

Similar to NASCAR's Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 is typically held early in the IndyCar Series season. That is unique to most sports where major events are usually at the end of the respective season. Currently the Indy 500 is the sixth event of the 17-race IndyCar schedule. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Indianapolis was often the second or third race of the season, and as late as the 1950s, it was sometimes the first championship event of the year. Due to the high prestige of the Indianapolis 500—rivaling or even surpassing the season championship—it is not uncommon for some teams and drivers to concentrate heavily on preparation for the 500 during the early part of the season, and not focus fully on the championship battle until after Indy.

The traditional 33-car starting field at Indianapolis is larger than the fields at the other IndyCar races. The field at Indy typically consists of all of the full-time IndyCar Series entries (roughly 20–22 cars), along with 10–15 part-time or "Indy-only" entries. The "Indy-only" entries, also popularly called "One-Offs", may be an extra car added to an existing full-time team, or a part-time team altogether that does not enter any of the other races. The "Indy-only" drivers may come from a wide range of pedigrees, but are usually experienced Indy car drivers that either lack a full-time ride, are former full-time drivers that have elected to drop down to part-time status, or occasional one-off drivers from other racing disciplines. It is not uncommon for some drivers (particularly former Indy 500 winners), to quit full-time driving during the season, but race at Indy singly for numerous years afterwards before entering full retirement.

Due to safety issues such as aquaplaning, the race is not held in wet conditions. In the event of a rain delay, the race will be postponed until rain showers cease, and the track is sufficiently dried. If rain falls during the race, officials can end the race and declare the results official if more than half of the scheduled distance (i.e., 101 laps) has been completed. The Indianapolis 500, as well as other IndyCar Series races, does not utilize the green–white–checker finish in case of a late race yellow. The race can, and in the past has, finished under caution. However, officials may call for a late race red flag to ensure a green flag finish, an option that was used in 2014 and 2019.


The early years

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex was built in 1909 as a gravel-and-tar track and hosted a smattering of small events, including ones for motorcycles.[2] The first long-distance event, in "fearful conditions," was the 100-lap Prest-O-Lite Trophy in 1909, won by Bob Burman in a Buick.[3] Breakup of the track surface led to two fatal accidents in the first two long-distance events (a 250 mi (400 km) and 300 mi (480 km), which was shortened to 235 mi (378 km) after two severe wrecks).[4]

That these spectacles had attracted 15,000 paying customers (and crowds of up to 40,000)[5] persuaded principal owner Carl G. Fisher to spend $155,000[6] on repaving the track with 3.2 million bricks;[7] he also added a 33-inch (0.84 m) concrete wall around the track's circumference.[6] During the 1910 Decoration Day weekend, the first events on the newly paved circuit drew 60,000 spectators; Ray Harroun won the 200-mile (320 km) Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in a Marmon.[6]

The crowds grew progressively smaller for the rest of the season, however, so the track owners chose to focus on a single race, and considered a 24-hour contest, in the fashion of Le Mans, or a one-thousand-mile (1,600 km) event.[6] They decided on 500 miles (800 km), the estimated distance a race car could run before dark descended on the track,[8] and a spectacular purse of $25,000, equivalent to 82.93 pounds (37.62 kg) of pure gold.[6] The combination allowed the track to rapidly acquire a privileged status for automobile races.

The first "500" was held at the Speedway in 1911 on Decoration Day, May 30,[9] (as it was known from its inception in 1868 to 1967, when federal law made "Memorial Day" the official name), run to a 600-cubic-inch (9,800 cc) maximum engine size formula.[6] It saw a field of 40 starters,[6] with Harroun piloting a Marmon Model 32-based Wasp racer—outfitted with his invention, the rear view mirror.[10] Harroun (with relief from Cyrus Patschke)[11] was declared the winner, although Ralph Mulford protested the official result. Eighty thousand spectators were in attendance, and an annual tradition had been established. Many considered Harroun to be a hazard during the race, as he was the only driver in the race driving without a riding mechanic, who checked the oil pressure and let the driver know when traffic was coming.[12]

In 1912, the purse was raised to $50,000,[11] the field was limited to 33 (where it remains), and a riding mechanic was made mandatory.[13] This second event was won by Joe Dawson in a National,[14] after Ralph de Palma's Mercedes broke.[11] Although the first race was won by an American driver at the wheel of an American car, European makers such as the Italian Fiat or French Peugeot companies soon developed their own vehicles to try to win the event, which they did from 1912 to 1919. The 1913 event saw a change to a 450-cubic-inch (7,400 cc) maximum engine size.[11]

After World War I, the native drivers and manufacturers regained their dominance of the race, and engineer Harry Miller set himself up as the most competitive of the post-war builders.[15] His technical developments allowed him to be indirectly connected to a history of success that would last into the mid-1970s.

For musical entertainment prior to the start of the race, the Purdue All-American Marching Band has been the host band of the race since 1919. In 1946, American operatic tenor and car enthusiast James Melton started the tradition of singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" with the Purdue Band before the race when asked to do so on the spur of the moment by Speedway president Tony Hulman. This tradition has continued through the years, notably by actor and singer Jim Nabors from 1972 until 2014.[16] Nabors announced in 2014, citing health-related reasons, that the 2014 Indy 500 would be the last at which he would sing the song. In 2015, the a cappella group Straight No Chaser sang the song before the race, and since Nabors' retirement (and before he became the regular singer), the singing of the song is done on a rotating basis.[17] However, the Speedway has returned to a standard singer starting in 2017, with Jim Cornelison doing it for three races as of the 2019 race.[18]

Miller and Offenhauser

Mercedes w154 indianapolis
The Mercedes-Benz W154 entered by Don Lee at the 1947 Indianapolis 500 with Duke Nalon as driver

Following the European trends, engine sizes were limited to 183 cu in (3,000 cc) during 1920–1922, 122 cu in (2,000 cc) for 1923–1925, and 91 cu in (1,490 cc) in 1926–1929.[11] The 1920 race was won by Gaston Chevrolet in a Frontenac, prepared by his brothers, powered by the first eight-cylinder engine to win the 500.[11] For 1923, riding mechanics were no longer required.[19] A supercharged car, ID, first won the race in 1924.[19] In 1925, Pete DePaolo was the first to win at an average over 100 mph (160 km/h), with a speed of 101.13 mph (162.75 km/h).[11]

In the early 1920s, Miller built his own 3.0-liter (183 in3) engine, inspired by the Peugeot Grand Prix engine which had been serviced in his shop by Fred Offenhauser in 1914, installing it in Jimmy Murphy's Duesenberg and allowing him to win the 1922 edition of the race.[15] Miller then created his own automobiles, which shared the 'Miller' designation, which, in turn, were powered by supercharged versions of his 2.0- and 1.5-liter (122 and 91 in3) engine single-seaters, winning four more races for the engine up to 1929 (two of them, 1926 and 1928, in Miller chassis).[20] The engines powered another seven winners until 1938 (two of them, 1930 and 1932, in Miller chassis), then ran at first with stock-type motors before later being adjusted to the international 3.0-liter formula.

After purchasing the Speedway in 1927, Eddie Rickenbacker prohibited supercharging and increased the displacement limit to 366 cu in (6,000 cc), while also re-introducing the riding mechanic.[19]

In 1935, Miller's former employees, Fred Offenhauser and Leo Goosen, had already achieved their first win with the soon-to-become famous 4-cylinder Offenhauser or "Offy" engine. This motor was forever connected with the Brickyard's history with a to-date record total of 27 wins, in both naturally aspirated and supercharged form, and winning a likewise record-holding 18 consecutive years between 1947 and 1964.[21]

European incursions and links to Formula One

Meanwhile, European manufacturers, gone from the Indianapolis 500 for nearly two decades, made a brief return just before World War II, with the competitive Maserati 8CTF allowing Wilbur Shaw to become the first driver to win consecutively at Indianapolis, in 1939 and 1940.[22][23] With the 500 having been a part of the Formula One World Drivers' Championship between 1950 and 1960,[24][25] Ferrari made a discreet appearance at the 1952 event with Alberto Ascari,[26] but European entries were few and far between during those days. Among the Formula One drivers who did drive at the speedway was five-time world champion, Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio, though he failed to qualify for the 1958 race.

In fact, it was not until the Indianapolis 500 was removed from the Formula One calendar that European entries made their return. In 1963, technical innovator Colin Chapman brought his Team Lotus to Indianapolis for the first time, attracted by the large monetary prizes, far bigger than the usual at a European event. Racing a mid-engined car, Scotsman Jim Clark was second in his first attempt in 1963,[27] dominating in 1964 until suffering suspension failure on lap 47, and completely dominating the race in 1965, a victory which also interrupted the success of the Offy, and giving the 4.2-liter Ford V8 its first success at the race.[28] The following year, 1966, saw another British win, this time Graham Hill in a Lola-Ford.[29]

The Offenhauser engine was also paired with a European maker, McLaren, obtaining three wins for the chassis, one with the Penske team in 1972 with driver Mark Donohue,[30] and two for the McLaren works team in 1974[31] and 1976 with Johnny Rutherford.[32] This was also the last time the Offy would win a race, its competitiveness steadily decreasing until its final appearance in 1983. American drivers continued to fill the majority of entries at the Brickyard in the following years, but European technology had taken over. Starting in 1978, most chassis and engines were European, with the only American-based chassis to win during the CART era being the Wildcat and Galmer[33] (which was actually built in Bicester, England) in 1982 and 1992, respectively. Ford and Chevrolet engines were built in the UK by Cosworth and Ilmor, respectively.

Fernando Alonso was the most recent active Formula One driver to race at the Indy 500-mile race, in 2017. Prior to that, no active F1 driver had competed in the Indy 500 since 1984.

World Series

Fittipaldi indy
Emerson Fittipaldi driving the Penske PC-23 at the 1994 event

After foreign cars became the norm, foreign drivers began competing in the Indianapolis 500 on a regular basis, choosing the United States as their primary base for their motor racing activities. Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, Italian Teo Fabi, and Colombian Roberto Guerrero, were able to obtain good outings in the 1980s, as was Dutchman Arie Luyendyk. However, it was not until 1993 that reigning Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell shocked the racing world by moving to the United States, winning the CART PPG IndyCar World Series Championship and only losing the 500 in his rookie year because of inexperience with green-flag restarts.[34] Foreign-born drivers became a regular fixture of Indianapolis in the years to follow. Despite the increase in foreign drivers commonly being associated with the CART era, four of the first six Indianapolis 500 winners were non-American drivers.

Race name

Martin Auto Museum-1963 Chrysler 300-Pace Setter-2
The Chrysler 300 pace setter used in 1963 in the 47th anniversary of the "Indianapolis 500"

The race was originally advertised as the "International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race"[9] from 1911 to 1916. However, from its inception, the race has been widely known as the Indianapolis 500 or, more simply as "the 500". In 1919, the race was referred to as the "Liberty Sweepstakes" following WWI.[35] From 1920 to 1980, the race officially reverted to the "International Sweepstakes" moniker, as printed on the tickets and other paraphernalia, with slight variations over the years.

Following WWII, the race was commonly recognized as "The 500", "The 500-Mile Race", "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race", "Indianapolis 500", or the simple form "Indy 500". Usually the ordinal (e.g. "50th") preceded it. Often the race was also advertised on the radio as the "Annual Memorial Day race," or similar variations.

For the 1981 race, the name "65th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race" was officially adopted, with all references as the "International Sweepstakes" dropped. Since 1981, the race has been formally advertised in this fashion, complete with a unique annual logo with the ordinal almost always included. Around that same time, in the wake of the 1979 entry controversy, and the formation of CART, the race changed to an invitational event, rather than an Open, rendering the "sweepstakes" description inappropriate.

For nearly a century, the race eschewed any sort of naming rights or title sponsor, a move, though uncommon in the modern sports world, that was well received by fans. This tradition finally ended in 2016 when a presenting sponsor, PennGrade, was added for the first time. In the 21st century, the facility has also slowly added sponsorship ads on the retaining walls and infield grass. The ESPN-produced ABC telecast of the event did not recognize this sponsorship, and instead had Firestone Tires as its presenting sponsorship.[36]

The Borg-Warner Trophy, introduced in 1936,[37] proclaims the event as the "Indianapolis 500-Mile Race", with no reference at all to the name "International Sweepstakes".

Centennial Era

In 2009, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began a three-year-long "Centennial Era" to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the track (1909), and the 100th anniversary of the first Indy 500 (1911).[38] As a gesture to the nostalgic Centennial Era celebration (2009–2011), tickets for the 2009 race donned the moniker "93rd 500 Mile International Sweepstakes".[39] It is the first time since 1980 that the "Sweepstakes" title has been used. During the month of May 2009, the ordinal (93rd) was used very sparingly, and for the first time since 1981, was not identified on the annual logo. Instead, in most instances in print, television, and radio, the race was referred to as the "2009 Indianapolis 500". Since the race was not held during the United States' participation in the two World Wars (1917–1918, 1942–1945), the advertised Centennial Era occurred during the 93rd to 95th runnings. To avoid confusion between the 100th anniversary, and the actual number of times the race has been run, references to the ordinal during the Centennial Era were curtailed.

Six years later, in 2016, the race celebrated its 100th running with about 350,000 in attendance.[40]

Female drivers

Danica Patrick on Pole Day at Indy, 2007

Female participation of any sort at Indianapolis was discouraged and essentially banned throughout the first several decades of competition. As such, female reporters were not even allowed in the pit area until 1971.[41] There have been nine female drivers to qualify, starting with Janet Guthrie in 1977.

Sarah Fisher has competed nine times, the most of any woman. Danica Patrick led 19 laps in the 2005 race and ten laps in the 2011 race, the only times a woman has led laps during the race. Pippa Mann has raced in Indy five consecutive times between 2013 and 2017.

Race sanctioning


The Spoils
The Borg-Warner Trophy, presented to the Indy 500 winners in victory lane, and kept the rest of the year on permanent display at the Hall of Fame Museum.

From 1911 to 1955, the race was organized under the auspices of the AAA Contest Board. Following the 1955 Le Mans disaster, AAA dissolved the Contest Board to concentrate on its membership program aimed at the general motoring public. Speedway owner Tony Hulman founded USAC in 1956, which took over sanctioning of the race and the sport of Championship racing.[42]

From 1950 to 1960, the Indianapolis 500 also counted toward the FIA's World Championship of Drivers (now synonymous with Formula One), although few drivers participated in the other races of that series. Italian driver Alberto Ascari was the only European-based driver to actually race in the 500 during its World Championship years. His appearance in 1952 in a Ferrari was also the only time a Ferrari has ever appeared in the race. Juan Manuel Fangio practiced at the track in 1958 but declined an offer to race.

Control issues of monetary prizes and squabbles over technical regulations caused conflict in the 1970s. Soon after the death of Tony Hulman in 1977, and the loss of several key USAC officials in a 1978 plane crash, several key team owners banded together and formed CART in late 1978[43] to sanction the sport of Indy car racing.

The Indianapolis 500 itself, however, remained under the sanctioning control of USAC. It became the lone top-level race the body still sanctioned, as it ultimately dropped all other Indy car races (as well as their stock car division) to concentrate on sprints and midgets. For the next three years, the race was not officially recognized on the CART calendar, but the CART teams and drivers comprised the field. By 1983, an agreement was made for the USAC-sanctioned Indy 500 to be recognized on the CART calendar, and the race awarded points towards the CART championship.

Despite the CART/USAC divide, from 1983 to 1995 the race was run in relative harmony. CART and USAC occasionally quarreled over relatively minor technical regulations, but utilized the same machines and the CART-based teams and driver comprised the bulk of the Indy 500 entries each year.

IndyCar Series

2007 Indianapolis 500 - Starting field formation before start
The starting field of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 in formation before the start

In 1994, Speedway owner Tony George announced plans for a new series, to be called the Indy Racing League, with Indy 500 as its centerpiece.[44] George announced his intention was to reverse the tide of dramatic cost increases,the decreasing number of ovals in the CART series, and to allow for more opportunity for drivers from USAC sprint-car ranks. Detractors accused George of using the 500 as leverage to allow the Speedway to gain complete control of the sport of open wheel racing in the United States.

In response to CART's 1996 schedule that put several races in direct conflict with the first Indy Racing League events, George announced that 25 of the 33 starting positions at the 1996 Indy 500 would be reserved for the top 25 cars in IRL points standings. This effectively left eight starting positions open to the CART-regulars that chose not to participate in the IRL races, and would be the first time not all 33 spots were open for qualification in the history of the race. CART refused to compromise on the schedule conflicts, skip the IRL races required to accumulate the qualifying points, boycott the race,[45] and stage a competing event, the U.S. 500, on the same day at Michigan. Veteran Buddy Lazier won a competitive but crash-filled 1996 Indy 500. Two CART teams, Walker Racing and Galles Racing, competed in the Indianapolis 500 to fulfill sponsor obligations and were welcomed without incident. The U.S. 500, meanwhile was marred by a crash on the pace laps that forced ten teams to use backup cars.

Hélio Castroneves, winner in 2001, 2002 and 2009

For 1997, new rules for less expensive cars and "production-based" engines were put into place. The move made it such that the IRL utilized different and incompatible equipment from CART; no CART-based teams would enter the Indy 500 for the next three years. CART would run a 300-mile race Gateway International Raceway on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend from 1997–1999 to avoid a conflict.

In 2000, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, still a CART-mainstay, made the decision to compete at Indianapolis with drivers Jimmy Vasser and Juan Pablo Montoya. On race day, Montoya dominated the event, leading 167 of the 200 laps to victory.[46] In 2001, Penske Racing returned and won the race with driver Hélio Castroneves.[47] Penske and Castroneves repeated with a win in 2002.

By 2003, Ganassi, Penske and Andretti Green defected to the IRL permanently. CART went bankrupt later in the year, and its rights and infrastructure were purchased by remaining car owners, and it became the Champ Car World Series. The two series continued to operate separately through 2007. In early 2008, the two series were unified to create a single open wheel championship after a 12-year split being run under Indy Racing League/IMS control—known as the IndyCar Series.[48]

The 2012 race was the return of Turbocharged engines for the first time since 1996 with the use of the Dallara DW12 chassis and 2.2 L V-6 single turbo and twin turbocharged engines.

NASCAR and the 500

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Indy 500 and the World 600 (now known as the Coca-Cola 600) at Charlotte Motor Speedway were held on different days of the week. A handful of NASCAR regulars participated in both events in the same year, including Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Cale Yarborough, and Lee Roy Yarbrough. From 1974 to 1992, the two events were scheduled for the same day and same starting time, making participation in both impossible. A few stock car drivers during that time, namely Neil Bonnett in 1979, nevertheless still attempted to qualify at Indy, even if that meant skipping Charlotte altogether.

"Double Duty"

From 1994 to 2014,[49] several NASCAR drivers were able to compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in the same day. Since 1993, the Coca-Cola 600 has been scheduled in the evening the same day as the Indy 500. The effort has been known as "Double Duty". At the conclusion of the Indy 500, drivers would catch a helicopter directly from the Speedway to the Indianapolis International Airport. From there they would fly to Concord Regional Airport, and ride a helicopter to the NASCAR race. John Andretti, Tony Stewart, and Robby Gordon attempted the feat, with Kurt Busch being the latest in 2014. In 2001, Tony Stewart became the first driver to complete the full race distance (1,100 miles) in both races on the same day.[50]

For 2005, the start of Indianapolis was pushed back to 1 p.m. EDT to improve television ratings. This significantly closed the window for a driver to be able to race both events in the same day. (The race's original starting time had been set at 11 a.m. EST to 12 noon EDT—because in 1911, race promoters estimated it would take six hours to complete the event, and they did not want the race to finish too close to suppertime. Nowadays, the race is routinely completed in under three-and-a-half hours.)

Two drivers, Mario Andretti and A. J. Foyt, have won the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. Foyt also won the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, America's premier endurance races, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Foyt won Le Mans in 1967, about one month after winning his third Indy 500. Andretti won the 1978 Formula One World Championship and is a three-time Sebring winner (he also won the 6-hour version of Daytona). Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford once won one of the Daytona 500 qualifying races. In 2010, Chip Ganassi became the first car owner to win the Daytona and Indianapolis 500s in the same year, with Jamie McMurray winning the Daytona 500 and Dario Franchitti winning the Indianapolis 500.

In 2010, Bruton Smith (owner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.), offered $20 million to any driver, IndyCar or NASCAR, who can win both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day starting in 2011, a feat that had never been accomplished. For 2011, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway moved the start time of the Indy 500 back to 12:15 PM EDT (prior to 2005, the engines started at 10:52 AM EST; under the modern schedule, engines start around 12:05 PM for a start around 12:15 PM), which re-opened the window for travel. Brad Keselowski suggested that he would consider answering the challenge in 2014.[51] It was announced on March 4, 2014, that Kurt Busch would attempt to qualify for the 2014 Indianapolis 500, driving a fifth car for the Andretti Autosport team.[52] Busch completed all 500 miles at Indy to finish sixth but dropped out of the 600 with a blown engine just past the 400-mile mark.

However, for 2019, NBC Sports and the Speedway changed the start time again. The engines are scheduled to start at 12:38 PM for a start time of 12:45 PM EDT.

Technical regulations

Technical specifications for the Indianapolis 500 are currently written by IndyCar. Rules are generally the same as every other IndyCar race. In the past, particularly during the era in which USAC sanctioned the Indy 500 (but CART sanctioned the other Indy car races), rules at Indy slightly differed at times. The result, for example, would be a particular chassis or engine configuration being legal at Indy, but not so at the CART-sanctioned events. This was rather commonplace in the 1980s and early 1990s, when "stock-block" engines (namely the V-6 Buick) was allotted an increased level of turbocharger boost by USAC at Indy, compared to the purpose-built V-8 quad-cam engines. While the "stock block" engines were technically legal in CART competition, they were not given the increased boost advantage, which effectively rendered them uncompetitive, and precluded their use by teams. The most famous manifestation of the USAC rules disparity was the Ilmor-built Mercedes-Benz 500I engine fielded by Roger Penske in 1994.[53]

Teams may enter up to two machines under a given car number—the "primary" car and a "backup" car. The backup car is identified by the letter "T". For example, the two cars for the #2 team would be numbered #2 and #2T. Both cars may be practiced during the month, but due to engine lease rules, they must share the same engine. It is not uncommon for teams to prefer their backup car, if it is deemed faster, or for other strategic reasons. Additionally, as the month wears on, a "T car" may be split off into its own entry, and reassigned a new number, or be sold to another team.

All cars must pass a rigorous technical inspection before receiving a sticker signifying that the car is eligible to practice. Various criteria includes minimum weight, dimensions, and approved parts, particularly safety equipment. Prior to and following qualification attempts, cars must pass another inspection. The pre-qualifying inspection is focused on safety aspects and is done on the pit lane qualifying queue. It is relatively brief, due to the time constraints of the qualifying procedure. The post-qualifying inspection is much more stringent and lengthy, and takes place in the garage area. It is to detect deviations from the performance guidelines set forth by the league, and cars can and have been fined or outright disqualified if they fail inspection.

Qualifying procedure

Dixon Pole 20080510
Scott Dixon makes his pole-winning qualification run for the 2008 Indianapolis 500.

Throughout the years, the race has used a number of different qualifying procedures. The current four-lap (ten-mile) qualifying distance was first introduced in 1920 and has been used every year since 1939.[54]

In 2014, the qualifying procedure was refined, such that the pole position winner and the starting grid would be determined over two days. On the weekend before the race (Saturday and Sunday), all cars are entered into a blind draw for the qualifying order.

  • Saturday: All entries can make up to three attempts to qualify. The top 33 cars at the end of the day are locked into the grid. The top nine cars will advance to a special "shootout" session to determine the pole position. Making a second (or third) attempt automatically forfeits the previous attempt.
  • Sunday: The drivers that qualified 10–33 on Saturday have their original times erased, and go out to make a new run. This run determines the grid lineup for positions 10–33. The drivers who qualified 1–9 on Saturday advance to the "Fast 9". Those cars also have their original time erased. Each car makes a new attempt, and determine the lineup for positions 1–9, including the highly coveted pole position.

For each attempt, cars are allowed two warm-up laps. At that time, a member of the team is stationed at the north end of the main stretch. He or she must wave a green flag, signaling an attempt, or else the car will be waved off. The attempt can be waved off during any of the four laps by the team, driver, or race officials. (The series will wave off the run if it is obvious the run will not be fast enough to qualify and it is getting late in the day.) If an attempt is waved off after the run starts, the attempt counts towards the three-attempt limit and the previous time is still forfeited, unless race officials waved off the attempt because of weather.


Indiana quarter, reverse side, 2002
An IndyCar on the Indiana state quarter


Many people promote and share information about the Indianapolis 500 and its memorabilia collecting.[55] The National Indy 500 Collectors Club is an independent active organization that has been dedicated to support such activities. The organization was established January 1, 1985, in Indianapolis by its founder John Blazier and includes an experienced membership available for discussion and advice on Indy 500 memorabilia trading and Indy 500 questions in general.

The longest-running Indy racing memorabilia show is the National Auto Racing Memorabilia Show.


The Indianapolis 500 has been the subject of several films and has been referenced many times in television, movies, and other media.


2011 Indy 500 Winner - Dan Wheldon
2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon holding a bottle of milk.

Louis Meyer requested a glass of buttermilk after winning his second Indy 500 race in 1933. After winning his third title in 1936, he requested another glass but instead received a bottle. He was captured by a photographer in the act of swigging from the bottle while holding up three fingers to signify the third win. A local dairy company executive recognized the marketing opportunity in the image and, being unaware Meyer was drinking buttermilk, offered a bottle of milk to the winners of future races. Milk has been presented each year since then, apart from 1947 to 1955. Modern drivers are offered a choice of whole, 2%, and skim.[56]

At the 1993 Indianapolis 500, winner Emerson Fittipaldi, who owned and operated an orange grove, notoriously drank orange juice instead of milk during the televised winner's interview. He eventually relented and also drank from the milk bottle later in the post-race ceremonies after the broadcast was over, but the public relations damage had already been done.[57] The snub led to Fittipaldi being booed at the next ChampCar race, the Milwaukee Mile, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the heart of dairy country, and by some, as late as the 2008 Indianapolis 500 in which he drove the pace car. In the 2016 Indianapolis 500, as a promotion, the track gave out commemorative bottles of milk to 100,000 attendees to toast the winner with milk after the race.[58]


Radio coverage of the race dates back to 1922. The race has been broadcast live on the radio in its entirety by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network since 1953.

The Hulmans did not allow live television coverage of the 500 until 1986, largely to maximize gate attendance. The race was briefly televised live in 1949 and 1950 on WFBM-TV (today's WRTV), after which the practice was discontinued. From 1964 to 1970, the race was broadcast live on closed-circuit television in theaters around the country. From 1965 through 1970, a highlighted version of the race was shown on ABC's Wide World of Sports. From 1971 through 1985, an edited same-day, tape delay broadcast of the race was shown in prime time. The race broadcast was edited down to either two or three hours in duration (including commercials).

From 1986 through 2018, ABC televised the race live in its entirety. However, at the request of the Speedway, Indianapolis affiliate WRTV was required to blackout the live broadcast and carry it on tape delay in prime time to encourage local race attendance; WRTV would air the ABC primetime lineup in the afternoon. In 2007 (the first year in which the race was carried under the ESPN on ABC branding), the race was first aired in high-definition.[59] In 2016, the IMS declared a sell-out of race tickets for the 100th running of the event, meaning that WRTV would be allowed to air the race live for the first time since 1950.[60][61]

Coverage of time trials on ABC dates back to 1961. ABC covered time trials in various live and in tape-delayed formats from 1961 to 2008 and from 2014 to 2018. ESPN (and later along with ESPN2) carried various portions of time trials from 1987 to 2008. Versus (now NBCSN) covered time trials from 2009 to 2013. Practice sessions have been streamed live online dating back to at least 2001.[62]

In 2019, coverage of the Indianapolis 500 moved to NBC, as part of a new three-year contract that unifies the IndyCar Series' television rights with NBC Sports (the parent division of its current cable partner NBCSN), and replaces the package of five races broadcast by ABC with an eight-race package on NBC. The Indianapolis 500 is one of the eight races; this contract ended ABC's 54-year tenure as broadcaster of the race.[63][64] WTHR is now the local broadcaster of the race under this contract; the existing blackout policy remains.[65]

See also


  1. ^ "World Stadiums - Stadium List :: 100 000+ Stadiums". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  2. ^ Kettlewell, Mike. "Indianapolis: The Richest Race in the World", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 9, p.1012.
  3. ^ He averaged 53.77 mph (86.53 km/h) Kettlewell, p.1013.
  4. ^ Wilfred Bourque (Kettlewell, p.1013, mistakenly identifies him as William) and his riding mechanic were killed after hitting a pothole in the 250, and Charlie Merz's riding mechanic, Claude Kellum, as well as two spectators, were killed in the 300; following Merz's crash, there was another serious crash, also. Kettlewell, p.1013.
  5. ^ Kettlewell, pp.1012–3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kettlewell, p.1013.
  7. ^ "Yard of Bricks". Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  8. ^ Martin, J. A.; Saal, Thomas F. (2004-03-05). American Auto Racing: The Milestones and Personalities of a Century of Speed. McFarland. p. 24. ISBN 9780786412358.
  9. ^ a b "IMS Milestones: 1906–1911". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2010-06-06.
  10. ^ "The Marmon Wasp". The Marmon Group. Archived from the original on 2010-06-16.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Kettlewell, p.1014.
  12. ^ Leerhsen, Charles, "100 Years of the Indy 500", Sports Illustrated, 30 May 2011, pp. 52–56.
  13. ^ Kettlewell, p.1014
  14. ^ The company was owned by Speedway investor Arthur C. Newby.
  15. ^ a b "Miller History". The Miller/Offenhauser Historical Society.
  16. ^ "James Melton Autorama". Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions.
  17. ^ "Watch Straight No Chaser step into Jim Nabors' shoes, sing to kick off the Indy 500". Entertainment Weekly's Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  18. ^ "'(Back Home Again in) Indiana': Reaction to Jim Cornelison's booming rendition". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  19. ^ a b c Kettlewell, p.1015.
  20. ^ "1926 Miller 91 FWD".
  21. ^ "All time Indianapolis 500 winners". USA Today.
  22. ^ "Boyle Special". Maserati.
  23. ^ Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. IN-112, "1938 Maserati 8.C.T.F., Indianapolis, Marion County, IN", 37 photos, 4 color transparencies, 23 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
  24. ^ "1950 Indianapolis 500". Formula One Administration.
  25. ^ "Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Speedway, Indiana, USA)". Archived from the original on 2010-01-16.
  26. ^ "1952 Indianapolis 500". Formula One Administration.
  27. ^ "Jim Clark, the Scottish driver who became an American idol". The Scotsman.
  28. ^ "RACING HISTORY: The Great Races: 1965 Indianapolis 500". The Auto Channel.
  29. ^ "50th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Monday, May 30, 1966". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  30. ^ "56th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday, May 27, 1972". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  31. ^ "58th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, May 26, 1974". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  32. ^ "60th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, May 30, 1976". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  33. ^ "76th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, May 24, 1992". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  34. ^ "Nigel Mansell". Formula One Administration.
  35. ^ "Limit Auto Race Entries: Only Thirty-Three Drivers to Start in Indianapolis Sweepstakes". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. May 6, 1919. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  36. ^ "ABC's 54th Indianapolis 500 Telecast Bringing Consecutive Streak to Close". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  37. ^ "The Borg-Warner Trophy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-29.
  38. ^ "Indianapolis Motor Speedway Centennial Era, 2009–2011". Indiana Office of Tourism Development. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28.
  39. ^ "Page Not Found". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  40. ^ "Indy 500: What you need to know". IndyStar. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  41. ^ "Women in Racing- Indy 500 Style!". Zimbio.
  42. ^ "USAC National Sprint Car Series".
  43. ^ "Penske, Roger – Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: Roger Penske".
  44. ^ "The Hulman Family, Owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1945". Archived from the original on 2012-07-10.
  45. ^ Ryan, Nate (April 17, 2008). "Indy car racing on track with new era, new issues". USA Today. Gannett Company.
  46. ^ "84th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, May 28, 2000". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  47. ^ "85th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, May 27, 2001". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013.
  48. ^ "IRL, Champ Car entities sign merger deal". ESPN.
  49. ^ "Kurt Busch Won't Attempt Memorial Day Double".
  50. ^ "Winning Charlotte, Indy proving an impossible feat". NASCAR.
  51. ^ "Gunning for first NASCAR Sprint Cup win of the year in the Coca-Cola 600: Brad Keselowski's Autoweek blog". Autoweek.
  52. ^ Gluck, Jeff (March 4, 2014). "Kurt Busch to attempt Indianapolis 500, Coke 600 'double'". USA Today. McLean, VA. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  53. ^ "The Penske-Mercedes PC23-500I".
  54. ^ Mittman, Dick. Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Has Evolved Over The Years,, September 22, 2004
  55. ^ "National Indy 500 Collector Club". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  56. ^ [1], Yahoo, May 22, 2009
  57. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-03-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Profile of Emerson Fittipaldi at, 12 June 2012
  58. ^ IMS (March 16, 2016). "World's Largest Milk Toast Planned for 100th Running of the Indy 500". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  59. ^ "91st Indianapolis 500 To Be Televised On ABC In Sony HD Technology". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2015-05-22.
  60. ^ "Blackout lifted: RTV6 to show Indianapolis 500 LIVE on race day". Scripps Media. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  61. ^ "WRTV to air Indy 500 live". TVSpy. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  62. ^ IndyCar and WhiteBlox Cross the Finish Line; Tens of Thousands of Viewers Surf to Live Online Indy 500 Video Coverage – Houston Chronicle, 1 June 2006
  63. ^ "The Indy 500 will soon have a new TV network". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  64. ^ Steinberg, Brian (2018-03-21). "NBC Sports Grabs Indianapolis 500 Rights From ABC After 54 Years". Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  65. ^ "How IndyCar-NBC deal will affect local Indy 500 blackout". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2018-03-21.

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 39°47′41″N 86°14′04″W / 39.79472°N 86.23444°W

Preceded by
Grand Prix of Indianapolis
IndyCar Series
Indianapolis 500
Succeeded by
Detroit Grand Prix
1950 Indianapolis 500

The 34th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 30, 1950. The event was part of the 1950 AAA National Championship Trail. It was also race 3 of 7 in the 1950 World Championship of Drivers and paid points towards the World Championship. The event, however, did not attract any European entries for 1950. Giuseppe Farina originally planned to enter, but his car never arrived. The Indianapolis 500 would be included on the World Championship calendar through 1960.

The race was originally scheduled for 200 laps (500 miles), but was stopped after 138 laps (345 miles) due to rain.

A rumor circulated in racing circles during and after this race that Johnnie Parsons's team discovered an irreparable crack in the engine block on race morning. The discovery supposedly precipitated Parsons to charge for the lap leader prizes. Presumably, he set his sights on leading as many laps as possible before the engine inevitably was to fail. Furthermore, the race ending early due to rain supposedly saved Parsons's day allowing him to secure the victory before the engine let go. However, the engine block crack was proved to be an urban myth, and it was said to be a very minor but acceptable level of porosity, which did not significantly affect the performance.

Parsons's win saw him score 9 points move to equal first in the first ever World Drivers' Championship alongside Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio, and also saw him become the first American to win a World Championship race. Despite the 500 being his only race in the 1950 World Championship, it would be enough to see him finish 6th in points.

During the month, Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck were at the track to film scenes for the film To Please a Lady. Stanwyck was on hand in victory lane after the race for the traditional celebratory kiss to the winner.

1951 Indianapolis 500

The 35th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, May 30, 1951. The event was part of the 1951 AAA National Championship Trail, and was also race 2 of 8 in the 1951 World Championship of Drivers. For the second year in a row, no European Formula One-based teams entered the race.

Duke Nalon, who had suffered serious burns in a crash in 1949, and who missed the 1950 race, made a comeback at Indy by winning the pole position in a Novi.

Heavy attrition saw only eight cars running at the finish. Winner Lee Wallard's car lost its brakes, suffered a damaged exhaust pipe, and broke a shock absorber mounting. In addition to the unbearably uncomfortable ride, Wallard had worn a fire retardant outfit, created by dipping his uniform in a mixture of borax crystals and water. Due to not wearing an undershirt, Wallard suffered serious chafing, and required treatment at the infield hospital after the victory lane celebration. It was estimated he lost 15 pounds during the race.Wallard's winning car had the smallest displacement in the field. About a week after winning the race, Wallard suffered severe burns in a crash at Reading, which effectively ended his professional racing career.

Three-time winner Mauri Rose, in his 15th Indy start, crashed and flipped on lap 126. It was his final 500, as he retired from driving after the crash.

1959 Indianapolis 500

The 43rd International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1959. The event was part of the 1959 USAC National Championship Trail and was also race 2 of 9 in the 1959 World Championship of Drivers.

Rodger Ward earned the first of two career Indy 500 victories. A record sixteen cars completed the full 500 miles.

All cars were required to have roll bars for the first time.

Al Unser

Alfred "Al" Unser (born May 29, 1939) is an American automobile racing driver, the younger brother of fellow racing drivers Jerry and Bobby Unser, and father of Al Unser Jr. Now retired, he is the second of three men to have won the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race four times, the fourth of five to have won the race in consecutive years, and won the National Championship in 1970, 1983, and 1985. The Unser family has won the Indy 500 a record nine times. He is the only person to have both a sibling (Bobby) and child (Al Jr.) as fellow Indy 500 winners (coincidentally, all three captured their final Indy 500 wins racing for Team Penske). Al's nephews Johnny and Robby Unser have also competed in that race.

After his son Al Jr. joined the top circuit in 1983, Unser has generally been known by the retronymic name of "Al Unser Sr." or "Big Al."

American open-wheel car racing

American open-wheel car racing, also known as Indy car racing, is a category of professional-level automobile racing in the United States and North America. As of 2019, the top-level American open-wheel racing championship is sanctioned by IndyCar.

Competitive events for professional-level, single-seat open-wheel race cars have been conducted under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1902. A season-long, points-based, National Championship of drivers has been officially recognized in 1905, 1916, and since 1920. The Indianapolis 500, which debuted in 1911, is the premier event of Indy car racing.

The open-wheeled, winged, single-seater cars have generally been similar to those in Formula One, though there are important differences. The fame of the Indianapolis 500 leads many to colloquially refer to the cars that compete on the American Championship circuit as "Indy cars."

This form of racing has experienced high levels of popularity over the years, particularly in the post-World War II time frame. The "golden era" of the 1950s was followed by a decade of transition and innovation in the 1960s, which included increased international participation. The sport experienced considerable growth and exposure during the rising popularity of the CART PPG Indy Car World Series in the 1980s and early 1990s. Two organizational disputes, in 1979 and 1996, led to a "split" that divided the participants (and fans) among two separate sanctioning bodies. However, an official unification took place in 2008 that brought the sport back together under one single sanctioning body.

Arie Luyendyk

Arie Luijendijk (anglicised as Arie Luyendyk; born 21 September 1953) is a Dutch former auto racing driver, and winner of the 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500 races. He was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2009, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2014. He is also known as "The Flying Dutchman".

Luyendyk won a total of seven Indy car races, including three in the CART series, all of them on ovals.

Bobby Unser

Robert William "Bobby" Unser (born February 20, 1934) is an American former automobile racer. He is the brother of Al Unser, Jerry Unser and Louis Unser, the father of Robby Unser and the uncle of Al Unser Jr. and Johnny Unser. The Unser family has won the Indy 500 a record nine times. He is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times and one of only two (followed by Rick Mears) to have won the 500 in three different decades (1968, 1975, 1981). Bobby has also been a spokesman and advocate of many commercial products.

Eddie Cheever

Edward McKay Cheever Jr. (born January 10, 1958) is an American former racing driver who raced for almost 30 years in Formula One, sports cars, CART, and the Indy Racing League. Cheever participated in 143 Formula One World Championship races and started 132, more than any other American, driving for nine different teams from 1978 through 1989. In 1997, he formed his own IRL team and won the 1998 Indianapolis 500 as both owner and driver. The team now competes in sports cars.

Emerson Fittipaldi

Emerson Fittipaldi (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɛmeɾson fitʃiˈpawdʒi]; born 12 December 1946) is a semi-retired Brazilian automobile racing driver who won both the Formula One World Championship and the Indianapolis 500 twice each and the CART championship once.

Moving up from Formula Two, Fittipaldi made his race debut for Team Lotus as a third driver at the 1970 British Grand Prix. After Jochen Rindt was killed at the 1970 Italian Grand Prix, the Brazilian became Lotus's lead driver in only his fifth Grand Prix. He enjoyed considerable success with Lotus, winning the World Drivers' Championship in 1972 at the age of 25, a youngest F1 world champion record that he held for 33 years. He later moved to McLaren for 1974, winning the title once again. He surprised the paddock by moving to his brother's Fittipaldi Automotive team prior to the 1976 season, being replaced by James Hunt. Success eluded him during his final years in Formula One, with the Fittipaldi cars not competitive enough to fight for victories. Fittipaldi took two more podium finishes, before retiring in 1980.

Following his Formula One career, Fittipaldi moved to the American CART series, achieving successful results, including the 1989 CART title and two wins at the Indianapolis 500 (in 1989 and 1993, the final at an unprecedented 47 years old).

Since his retirement from Indy Car racing in 1996, Fittipaldi races only occasionally. In 2008, he was one of only three people in history to have a Corvette production car named in his honor. At age 67, he entered the 2014 6 Hours of São Paulo.

Graham Hill

Norman Graham Hill (15 February 1929 – 29 November 1975) was a British racing driver and team owner from England, who was twice Formula One World Champion. He is the only driver ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport—the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. He also appeared on TV in the 1970s on a variety of non-sporting programmes including panel games. He liked painting in his spare time.

Hill and his son Damon were the first father and son pair to win Formula One World Championships. Hill's grandson Josh, Damon's son, also raced his way through the ranks until he retired from Formula Three in 2013 at the age of 22.

Hill and five other members of the Embassy Hill team died in 1975 when the aeroplane he was piloting from France crashed in fog at night on Arkley golf course while attempting to land at Elstree Airfield in north London.

Hélio Castroneves

Hélio Alves de Castro Neves (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɛlju ˈkastɾu ˈnɛvis]; born 10 May 1975), better known as Hélio Castroneves, is a Brazilian auto racing driver competing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Prior to IMSA, Castroneves competed in the IndyCar Series, gaining 23 wins and 38 poles, and placed second in the season standings four times, third three times, and fourth five times. Castroneves also competed in the CART championship, with a highest championship points finish of fourth; he recorded six wins and seven pole positions in the series.

Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 in 2001, 2002, and 2009, making him one of only nine drivers, and the only active driver, to have won at least three times. He also finished second at Indy in 2003, 2014, and 2017. Castroneves has won four pole positions for the Indy 500, including back-to-back poles in 2009 and 2010, the first driver to do so since Scott Brayton in 1996. He is also one of only five drivers – along with Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, and Al Unser being the other four – and the only active driver to win the Indy 500 in back-to-back races.

Jim Clark

James Clark Jr. OBE (4 March 1936 – 7 April 1968) was a British Formula One racing driver from Scotland, who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965.

Clark was a versatile driver who competed in sports cars, touring cars and in the Indianapolis 500, which he won in 1965. He was particularly associated with the Lotus marque.

Clark was killed in a Formula Two racing accident in 1968 in Hockenheim, West Germany. At the time of his death, aged 32, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. In 2009, The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest-ever Formula One drivers.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya Roldán (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwan ˈpaβlo monˈtoʝa]; born September 20, 1975), known as JPM, is a Colombian racing driver. He currently competes in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driving for Acura Team Penske.

The highlights of his career include winning the International F3000 championship in 1998, and the CART FedEx Championship Series in 1999, as well as victories in some of the most prestigious races in the world, including the Indianapolis 500 (2000, 2015), Grand Prix of Monaco (2003), 24 Hours of Daytona (2007, 2008, 2013), British Grand Prix (2005), Italian Grand Prix (2001, 2005), Grand Prix of Long Beach (1999), and the Race of Champions (2017). In auto racing he has been notable by winning in his first attempt the CART Championship title, Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, Grand Prix of Long Beach, Italian Grand Prix, NASCAR Rookie of the Year, and the crossover Race of Champions.

Montoya is one of two drivers to have won the CART title in his rookie year, the first being Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell in 1993. He is, alongside Fernando Alonso, one of only two active drivers who have won two legs of the Triple Crown of Motorsport in its original definition. Montoya also equals Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney by winning races in Indy cars, Formula One cars and NASCAR Cup cars.

In October 2009, Montoya was ranked 30th on Times Online's list of the Top 50 Formula One drivers of all time.

List of Formula One Grand Prix winners

Formula One, abbreviated to F1, is the highest class of open-wheeled auto racing defined by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motorsport's world governing body. The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules to which all participants and cars must conform. The F1 world championship season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, held usually on purpose-built circuits, and in a few cases on closed city streets. The most famous Grand Prix is the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. Each winner is presented with a trophy and the results of each race are combined to determine two annual Championships, one for drivers and one for constructors. The World Championship for Drivers is held since 1950, after the Formula One standard was agreed upon in 1946. The Constructors' Championship was added for the 1958 season and has been awarded ever since.

Michael Schumacher holds the record for the most Grand Prix victories, having won 91 times. Lewis Hamilton is second with 80 wins and Sebastian Vettel is third with 52 wins. Kimi Räikkönen holds the distinction of having the longest time between his first win and his last. He won his first Grand Prix in 2003 at the Malaysian Grand Prix, and his last (to date) in 2018 at the United States Grand Prix, a span of 15 years and 212 days. Riccardo Patrese holds the record for the longest period of time between two race wins–more than six-and-a-half years between the 1983 South African Grand Prix and the 1990 San Marino Grand Prix. Mario Andretti had to wait the longest time between his maiden victory at the 1971 South African Grand Prix and his second win–coming five years, seven months and 18 days later at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel holds the record for the most consecutive wins, having won nine Grands Prix in a row from the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix to the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen is the youngest winner of a Grand Prix; he was 18 years and 227 days old when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. Luigi Fagioli is the oldest winner of a Formula One Grand Prix; he was 53 years and 22 days old when he won the 1951 French Grand Prix.As of the 2019 British Grand Prix, out of the 764 drivers who started a Grand Prix, there have been 107 different Formula One Grand Prix winners. The first Grand Prix winner was Giuseppe Farina at the 1950 British Grand Prix, and the most recent driver to score their first Grand Prix win was Valtteri Bottas.This list includes the winners of the Indianapolis 500 race between 1950 and 1960, as they formed part of the World Championships, even though they were not run by Formula One regulations, nor are they referred to as Grands Prix.

List of Indianapolis 500 winners

The Indianapolis 500 is an automobile race, held annually on the last weekend in May to coincide with Memorial Day. The race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana. The Indianapolis 500 is an open-wheel car race and is currently sanctioned by Indy Racing League LLC, and has been run as an IndyCar Series event since 1996. The Indianapolis 500 is considered one of the most traditional and historical races in the world, and is also considered one of the three most significant motorsport races in the world.

The first Indianapolis 500 was held in 1911, where Ray Harroun was declared the first winner, driving the Marmon Wasp. The race has been run annually since 1911 (with exceptions during World War I and World War II) and 73 drivers have been crowned champions of the 500-mile race over the course of 103 races. The most race victories held by a single driver is four, which has been accomplished only by A. J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. The Indianapolis 500 has also drawn many international drivers to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the years, with 26 of the winners coming from outside of the United States, representing nine separate countries. The most recent champion of the Indianapolis 500 is Simon Pagenaud, winner of the 2019 race.

The winner of the Indianapolis 500 receives many prizes, many based on past tradition. One of the most iconic traditions is for the winner of the Indianapolis 500 to drink a bottle of milk, a tradition started by Louis Meyer when he won the race in 1936. The winner is also presented with a wreath in victory lane, and has the opportunity to kiss the yard of brick (the start/finish line), an Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition started by NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett in 1996 at the Brickyard 400 and adopted by 500 winners since 2003. The winner of the race also receives the pace car used during that race, and will have on the Borg-Warner Trophy a bas-relief sculpture of their face added to the base. The Borg-Warner Trophy has been used since 1936 and along with the sculpture on the original trophy, the winning driver and car owner receive a small replica. The Indianapolis 500 winner also receives a large purse, most recently at $2.49 million, given to Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014. Other prizes have been given to the race winner over the years, including a quilt, made by Jeanetta Holder, which is presented to the driver annually at the winner's photo shoot.

Mario Andretti

Mario Gabriele Andretti (born February 28, 1940) is an Italian-born American former racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship, and NASCAR (the other being Dan Gurney). He also won races in midget cars and sprint cars.During his career, Andretti won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar titles (three under USAC-sanctioning, one under CART), and IROC VI. To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship, and, along with Juan Pablo Montoya, the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti's victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Andretti had 109 career wins on major circuits.Andretti had a long career in racing. He was the only person to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades (1967, 1978, and 1984). He was also one of only three drivers to have won major races on road courses, paved ovals, and dirt tracks in one season, a feat that he accomplished four times. With his final IndyCar win in April 1993, Andretti became the first driver to have won IndyCar races in four different decades and the first to win automobile races of any kind in five.In American popular culture, his name has become synonymous with speed, as with Barney Oldfield in the early twentieth century and Stirling Moss in the United Kingdom.

Parnelli Jones

Rufus Parnell "Parnelli" Jones (born August 12, 1933) is an American former professional racing driver and racing team owner. He is notable for his accomplishments while competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Baja 1000 desert race. In 1962, he became the first driver to qualify over 150 mph. He won the race in 1963, then famously broke down while leading the 1967 race with three laps to go in a turbine car. During his career as an owner, he won the Indy 500 in 1970–1971 with driver Al Unser, Sr.

Jones won races in many types of vehicles: sports cars, IndyCars, sprint cars, midget cars, off-road vehicles, and stock cars. He is also remembered for bringing the stock block engine to USAC Sprint car racing as one of the "Chevy Twins" with Jim Hurtubise. He is associated with the famous Boss 302 Mustang with his wins using the engine in the 1970s. Jones' son P. J. Jones was also a diverse driver, with IndyCar and NASCAR starts and a championship in IMSA prototype sports cars. His other son Page Jones was an up-and-coming driver before suffering career ending (and life-threatening) injuries in a sprint car at the 4-Crown Nationals, and has been in rehabilitation, working with his father-in-law. Following the death of 1960 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann, Jones is now the oldest living "500" winner.

Rick Mears

Rick Ravon Mears (born December 3, 1951 in Wichita, Kansas), also known by the nickname "Rocket Rick", is a retired American race car driver. He is one of three men to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991), and is the current record-holder for pole positions in the race with six (1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991). Mears is also a three-time Indycar series/World Series champion (1979, 1981 and 1982).

Tommy Milton

Thomas "Tommy" Milton (November 14, 1893 – July 10, 1962) was an American race car driver best known as the first two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. He was notable for having only one functional eye, a disability that would have disqualified him from competing in modern motorsports.

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