100 Things About The Indy 500
May. 04, 2016
100 Things About The Indy 500
The First Indy 500
The first "500" was held at the Speedway on May 30, 1911.
1911 Program Cover
The race was originally advertised as the "International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race".
Which Driver has the Most Wins?
A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, Rick Mears each share the title for the most wins by a driver with 4 Indy 500 wins each.
Billy Arnold 1930
Fewest Lead Changes in any Indy 500 Race was one, in 1930. Bill Arnold won.
Danica Patrick led 19 laps in the 2005 race and 10 laps in the 2011 race, the only times a woman has led laps during the race. Her third-place finish in 2009 is the best finish for a woman.
Sarah Fisher has competed nine times, the most of any woman.
Youngest Indy 500 Driver
The youngest Indy 500 starter was A. J. Foyt IV (USA), at just 19 years, 0 days old, in 2003.
The Coldest Indy 500
Lowest Race Temperature: 58°F in 1992.
Dan Wheldon's Shortest Winning Distance...
In 2011, Dan Wheldon led the shortest distance of any race winner. While Wheldon was credited with leading the final lap of the “500”, he actually only led a few hundred yards after J.R. Hildebrand’s accident.
Pole Sitter finishes
The pole sitter has finished last on five different occasions, including two straight years, 2000 and 2001.
The Most Indy 500s
A.J. Foyt holds the record for driving in the most Indianapolis 500’s (35).
The Most Laps Lead, but Not Won
In 1912, Ralph DePalma led 196 laps of the race, but ended up 11th after a connecting rod failed. It’s the most laps led in a race by a driver who didn’t go on to win that year. DePalma would win in 1915, despite having a similar connecting rod problem late in the race.
Borg-Warner Trophy & Milk Introduction
The Borg-Warner Trophy was first presented to the “500” winner in 1936. Louis Meyer, that year’s winner, also was the first winner to drink the traditional milk in Victory Lane.
Co-Driver but not a Co-Winner
In 1911, a driver named Cyrus Patschke relieved Ray Harroun at the wheel of the Marmon Wasp for laps 71-102. But since Harroun started and finished the race behind the wheel, Patschke is not considered a “co-winner” of the event, and since he never qualified for the race himself, he’s also not listed among the races 758 starting drivers.
The Winning Name
There have been two drivers in Indianapolis 500 history named Dario, Franchitti and Resta. Both won the race, Franchitti three times, and Resta in 1916.
The Doctor / Driver
Driver W.E. Shattuc was an actual physician who drove in the “500” from 1925-1927. His nickname, not surprisingly, was “Doc”.
In the 100-plus year history of the “500”, the number 85 has only appeared in the race once, Denis Hulme used it in 1971 and finished 17th.
First Pole Winner to Actually Win
Jimmy Murphy was the first driver to win the Indy 500 from the pole position in 1922.
The First Time Drivers Qualified at 100mph
The first time all 33 “500” starters qualified at over 100 miles per hour occurred in 1927.
The Last Leather Helmet
Jim Rathmann was the last driver to win the “500” wearing a leather helmet, when he took the checkered flag in 1960.
500 Miles. 0 Pit Stops.
Four different drivers have completed the 500 miles without a pit stop. Cliff Bergere finished the highest of the four, 5th in 1941.
Rear Engine for all 33
The first time all “33” cars were rear-engined occurred in 1969. Bobby Unsers is pictured here.
Record for Number of Last Places
Salt Walther is the only driver in history to finish last in three different Indianapolis 500’s.
From Hero to Zero
In 1958, Jimmy Bryan won his only Indianapolis 500, the next year, 1959, he finished last.
A High Average
Driver Parnelli Jones drove in the Indianapolis 500 seven times, he led the race in five of them, and won in 1963. In one of the only two races Jones DIDN’T lead he finished second in the race. In his seven starts, Jones never started worse than 6th in the race.
Not Even One and Done
Both Jerry Unser and Art Bisch were caught up in a first-lap crash in 1958 and never completed a lap of the race. Neither made the 500 field again.
15 Starts & a Fire
In Rick Mears' 15 starts in the Indianapolis 500, his worst position was 22nd in 1981, the year he was injured in a pit fire. Mears started on the front row 11 times & is one of three, four-time winners of the Race.