The Indianapolis 500 is the most prestigious race on the open-wheel, or IndyCar, circuit and is contested annually on Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. First held in 1911, the Indy 500 is now known as the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing," with the winner receiving the Borg-Warner Trophy. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears have each won the Indianapolis 500 four times (the most among drivers in the event's history).
The 2012 Indianapolis 500 was won by Dario Franchitti, who finished under caution, as he did in his previous two Indianapolis 500 victories.
The origins of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway date back to the early 1900s, when a letter from American entrepreneur Carl Fisher expressing the need for a 3- to 5-mile test track in America appeared in Motor Age magazine in November 1906.
Two years later, Fisher and Lem Trotter headed a group that had secured the options to buy four tracts of farmland close to Indianapolis on which a raceway would be built. The site would hold its first competitive event (before a track was completed) by staging a national air balloon competition.
The 2.5-mile track was finished by early 1909 and held some races before it was determined that the initial surface -- a combination of crushed rock and tar -- was not good enough for its purpose. After bricks were laid over the surface in the fall of 1909 to improve the conditions, it became known as "The Brickyard," and track owners began planning an annual event to draw competitors.
The first Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 2011, when the 44 cars who started the race were led by a passenger car for a rolling start, in what is considered to be the first use of a "pace car" in racing history. Most of the cars in the inaugural race featured a driver and a riding mechanic and some even used a co-driver for parts of the race, including winner Ray Harroun, who averaged 74.6 mph and needed almost seven hours to complete the race.
While Harroun's Marmon Wasp car was designed and built just miles away from the speedway, the race was considered an international affair even in the early years, when drivers from across the globe converged on Indianapolis. European-made cars (Peugeot, Delage and Mercedes) won at Indy from 1913 to 1919, and foreign-born drivers also dominated in the Speedway's formative years, with Italian Ralph de Palma emerging as a top star of the era. De Palma's only win at Indy came in 1915, but he finished in the top seven on six occasions and his record tally of 612 laps led at the speedway wasn't exceeded until 1987.
Race organizers shortened the race distance to 300 miles in 1916 to support the war effort, and Indianapolis did not host a race in 1917 and 1918 because of World War I. The speedway facility was offered to the U.S. government, which used it to house a pair of aviation battalions and serve as a base for development of experimental aircraft.
When racing returned to "The Brickyard" in the 1920s, Tommy Milton became the first two-time winner in the event's history. After finishing first in 1921, Milton scored win No. 2 in the 1923 race -- which also marked the first time that the entire field, with the exception of one car, used single-seat cars during the race. Two years later, Peter De Paolo became the first driver to average faster than 100 mph. The increase in speed continued in following years, with 1926 winner Frank Lockhart the first to break 115 and 120 mph marks in qualifying.
The Indianapolis 500 continued to gain in stature as one of the country's top sporting events during the 1930s, when a number of traditions were established at the speedway. One year after a record 42 cars entered the 1933 race, safety reasons limited the 1934 field to 11 rows of three drivers -- a stipulation that endures today. From 1933 to 1938, 10-lap (25 mile) qualifying runs were mandated, to the general displeasure of competitors; four-lap qualifications were brought back in 1939 and have remained a unique Indianapolis tradition ever since.
The Borg-Warner Trophy -- presented to the winner of the Indy 500 -- made its initial appearance in 1936, the same year that the race winner also drank milk in Victory Lane for the first time. Louis Meyer, who became the event's first three-time winner that year, sought some refreshment with a drink of cold buttermilk following the victory. Dairy industry executives, who mistook the drink for regular milk, then helped make milk part of the post-race ceremonies the following year.
The 1937 race featured the closest finish in Indy 500 history to that point, with Wilbur Shaw winning by 2.16 seconds. Shaw would go on to win two of the next three years at Indy, and then become influential in the rebirth of the race and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) after the event was abandoned during World War II (1942 to 1945). Shaw became president of IMS following the purchase of the track by local business magnate Tony Hulman in 1945.
The new ownership invested in numerous track and site improvements during the 1950s, when IMS's radio network coverage and additional racing industry advancements brought increased interest and excitement to the Indy 500. The Offenhauser engine and roadster-style cars dominated the decade, which saw 22-year-old Troy Ruttman become the youngest Indy 500 winner in history in 1952 and Bill Vukovich capture back-to-back races in 1953 and 1954.
A number of star drivers emerged in the 1960s, with A.J. Foyt winning three times between 1961 and 1967. Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti also claimed wins at Indianapolis, which received national television coverage (on tape delay, from ABC) for the first time in 1965. The decade also saw rear-engine cars begin to take over at the Brickyard, with qualifying speeds topping 170 mph by 1969.
Horsepower gains and aerodynamic advances on Indy cars continued into the 1970s, when Unser's younger brother Al won consecutive "500" races in 1970 and 1971 and then claimed a third victory in 1978. A number of firsts were compiled in 1977, as A.J. Foyt became the race's first four-time winner, Tom Sneva was the first driver to be clocked at 200 mph at the speedway, and Janet Guthrie became the first woman driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
After Johnny Rutherford and Bobby Unser each claimed a third win at Indy (in 1980 and 1981), Gordon Johncock won his second with a dramatic victory -- by two-tenths of a second -- over Rick Mears in 1982. The 1986 race was the first Indianapolis 500 to be broadcast live (on ABC), with Bobby Rahal first to complete the Indy 500 in less than three hours. The following year's race saw Al Unser join A.J. Foyt as a four-time winner, while Emerson Fittipaldi became the first driver to receive over $1 million for winning the 1989 race.
Mears would recover to win the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing" two times during the 1980s, and claim a record-tying fourth victory in 1991. A third Unser, Al Jr., took the Borg-Warner Trophy in 1992, winning by .043 of a second over Scott Goodyear in the closest Indy 500 in history.
Three years later, IMS President Tony George, grandson of Tony Hulman, announced the formation of the Indy Racing League -- with the Indy 500 as its cornerstone event. Buddy Lazier won the first Indy 500 under the IRL banner in 1996, when some racing teams boycotted the race and decided to remain with the established CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) series, which ran the U.S. 500 at Michigan on the same day. The CART race was not a success and the series decided against competing with the Indy 500, with its teams returning to Indianapolis a few years later.
The 1999 race marked the first time that a driver would lose the lead on the final lap, after leader Robby Gordon ran out of fuel and was forced to pit. Kenny Brack took the checkered flag, making A.J. Foyt a winner again as team owner. In 2001, legendary owner Roger Penske returned to the winner's circle with a new star driver in Helio Castroneves, who would repeat as champion in 2002 and win again in 2009. Danica Patrick finished third that year to mark the best finish by a woman driver, four years after impressing in her Indy debut and becoming the first woman to lead a lap in the race.
Indianapolis 500 Year-by-Year Results
|Year||Driver||Car #||Team||Avg. Speed||Started|
|2012||Dario Franchitti||50||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||--||16|
|2011||Dan Wheldon||98||Bryan Herta Autosport||170.265||6|
|2010||Dario Franchitti||9||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||161.623||3|
|2009||Helio Castroneves||3||Team Penske||150.318||1|
|2008||Scott Dixon||9||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||143.567||1|
|2007||Dario Franchitti||27||Andretti Green Racing||151.774||3|
|2006||Sam Hornish Jr.||6||Marlboro Team Penske||157.085||1|
|2005||Dan Wheldon||26||Andretti Green Racing||157.603||16|
|2004||Buddy Rice||15||Rahal Letterman Racing||138.518||1|
|2003||Gil de Ferran||6||Marlboro Team Penske||156.291||10|
|2002||Helio Castroneves||3||Marlboro Team Penske||166.499||13|
|2001||Helio Castroneves||68||Marlboro Team Penske||141.574||11|
|2000||Juan Pablo Montoya||9||Target||167.607||2|
|1999||Kenny Brack||14||A.J. Foyt PowerTeam Racing||153.176||8|
|1998||Eddie Cheever Jr.||51||Rachel's Potato Chips||145.155||17|
|1997||Arie Luyendyk||5||Wavephore/Sprint PCS/Miller Lite/Provimi||145.827||1|
|1996||Buddy Lazier||91||Delta Faucet/Montana/Hemelgarn||147.956||5|
|1995||Jacques Villeneuve||27||Player's LTD/Team Green||153.616||5|
|1994||Al Unser Jr.||31||Marlboro Penske Mercedes||160.872||1|
|1993||Emerson Fittipaldi||4||Marlboro Penske Chevy '93||157.207||9|
|1992||Al Unser Jr.||3||Valvoline Galmer '92||134.477||12|
|1991||Rick Mears||3||Marlboro Penske Chevy 91||176.457||1|
|1990||Arie Luyendyk||30||Domino's Pizza/Shierson||185.981||3|
|1989||Emerson Fittipaldi||20||Marlboro/Patrick Racing||167.581||3|
|1988||Rick Mears||5||Pennzoil Z-7/Penske||144.809||1|
|1987||Al Unser Sr.||25||Cummins-Holset/Penske||162.175||20|
|1985||Danny Sullivan||5||Miller American/Penske||152.982||8|
|1984||Rick Mears||6||Pennzoil Z-7/Penske||163.612||3|
|1983||Tom Sneva||5||Texaco Star/Bignotti-Cotter||162.117||4|
|1982||Gordon Johncock||20||STP Oil Treatment/Patrick||162.029||5|
|1981||Bobby Unser||3||The Norton Spirit/Penske||139.084||1|
|1980||Johnny Rutherford||4||Pennzoil/Chaparral Racing||142.862||1|
|1979||Rick Mears||9||The Gould Charge/Penske||158.899||1|
|1978||Al Unser Sr.||2||First National City/Chaparral||161.363||5|
|1977||A.J. Foyt||14||Gilmore Racing/A.J. Foyt||161.331||4|
|1975||Bobby Unser||48||Jorgensen/All American||149.213||3|
|1974||Johnny Rutherford||3||McLaren Cars||158.589||25|
|1973||Gordon Johncock||20||STP Double Oil Filter/Patrick||159.036||11|
|1972||Mark Donohue||66||Sunoco McLaren/Penske||162.962||3|
|1971||Al Unser Sr.||1||Johnny Lightning/Parnelli Jones||157.735||5|
|1970||Al Unser Sr.||2||Johnny Lightning/Parnelli Jones||155.749||1|
|1969||Mario Andretti||2||STP Oil Treatment||156.867||2|
|1968||Bobby Unser||3||Rislone/Leader Cards||152.882||3|
|1966||Graham Hill||24||American Red Ball/Mecom||144.317||15|
|1965||Jim Clark||82||Lotus powered by Ford||150.686||2|
|1963||Parnelli Jones||98||J.C. Agajanian/Willard Battery||143.137||1|
|1962||Rodger Ward||3||Leader Card 500 Roadster||140.293||2|
|1961||A.J. Foyt||1||Bowes Seal Fast/Bignotti||139.130||7|
|1959||Rodger Ward||5||Leader Card 500 Roadster||135.857||6|
|1958||Jimmy Bryan||1||Belond AP/George Salih||133.791||7|
|1957||Sam Hanks||9||Belond Exhaust/George Salih||135.601||13|
|1956||Pat Flaherty||8||John Zink||128.490||1|
|1955||Bob Sweikert||6||John Zink||128.213||14|
|1954||Bill Vukovich||14||Fuel Injection/Howard Keck||130.840||19|
|1953||Bill Vukovich||14||Fuel Injection/Howard Keck||128.740||1|
|1952||Troy Ruttman||98||J.C. Agajanian||128.922||7|
|1951||Lee Wallard||99||Murrell Belanger||126.244||2|
|1950||Johnnie Parsons||1||Wynn's Friction/Kurtis-Kraft||124.002||5|
|1949||Bill Holland||7||Blue Crown Spark Plug/Moore||121.327||4|
|1948||Mauri Rose||3||Blue Crown Spark Plug/Moore||119.814||3|
|1947||Mauri Rose||27||Blue Crown Spark Plug/Moore||116.338||3|
|1946||George Robson||16||Thorne Engineering||114.820||15|
|1941||F. David/M. Rose||16||Noc-Out Hose Clamp/Moore||115.117||17|
|1940||Wilbur Shaw||1||Boyle Racing Headquarters||114.277||2|
|1939||Wilbur Shaw||2||Boyle Racing Headquarters||115.035||3|
|1938||Floyd Roberts||23||Burd Piston Ring/Lou Moore||117.200||1|
|1936||Louis Meyer||8||Ring Free/Louis Meyer||109.069||28|
|1935||Kelly Petillo||5||Gilmore Speedway/Petillo||106.240||22|
|1934||Bill Cummings||7||Boyle Products/Henning||104.863||10|
|1933||Louis Meyer||36||Tydol/Louis Meyer||104.162||6|
|1932||Fred Frame||34||Miller-Harry Hartz||104.144||27|
|1931||Louis Schneider||23||Bowes Seal Fast/Schneider||96.629||13|
|1929||Ray Keech||2||Simplex Piston Ring/Yagle||97.585||6|
|1928||Louis Meyer||14||Miller/Alden Sampson II||99.482||13|
|1927||George Souders||32||Duesenberg/William White||97.545||22|
|1926||Frank Lockhart||15||Miller/Peter Kreis||95.904||20|
|1924||L.L. Corum/J. Boyer||15||Duesenberg||98.234||21|
|1923||Tommy Milton||1||H.C.S. Motor||90.954||1|
|1922||Jimmy Murphy||35||Jimmy Murphy||94.484||1|
|1921||Tommy Milton||2||Frontenac/Louis Chevrolet||89.621||20|
|1920||Gaston Chevrolet||4||Monroe/William Small||88.618||6|
|1919||Howdy Wilcox||3||Peugeot/Indpls Spdway Team||88.050||2|
|1916||Dario Resta||17||Peugeot Auto Racing||84.001||4|
|1915||Ralph DePalma||2||Mercedes/E.C. Patterson||89.840||2|
|1914||Rene Thomas||16||L. Delage||82.474||15|
|1912||Joe Dawson||8||National Motor Vehicle||78.719||7|
|1911||Ray Harroun||32||Nordyke & Marmon||74.602||28|
VIDEO RESULTS FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500
January 03, 2018
July 18, 2017
June 06, 2017
May 29, 2017
May 29, 2017
May 28, 2017
May 28, 2017
May 28, 2017
May 28, 2017
May 27, 2017
May 27, 2017
May 27, 2017
May 27, 2017
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUICK FACTS
2013 Date: May 26, 2013
Venue: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
First race: 1911
Distance: 500 miles
2012 champion: Dario Franchitti
JOHN OREOVICZ: THE 500 AT 100