Everyone who enjoys watching the Indy 500 race has their favorite moments in history that happened during a race and those moments are as unique as is each Indy 500 race, driver and car. Here are my five favorite moments in the history of this amazing race.
Moment #1 – There has never been a closer race with more leads swapped between drivers than the race that took place in 1960 between a driver defending his title, Rodger Ward and his opponent Jim Rathmann. Up until 1960 there had never been this record setting swaps that exchanged 14 times in the second half of the race. You can read more about this amazing moment in history at the Sports Illustrated website.
Moment #2 – In 1982 during the remaining 12 laps between Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears these drivers went head to head. With an 11 second lead Gordon Johncock’s car began to give way. The two drivers ended up nose-to-tail and had only two remaining laps to go. It was a moment that had onlookers holding their breath and in the end, winning by . 16 seconds, Johncock would walk away the winner. At that point in time, 1982, this would be the closest margin of victory in Indy 500 history.
Moment #3 – Back in 1911 a victory would be claimed by Ray Harroun in the inaugural race, which was the very first 500-mile race. A safety innovation would be created that year when Harroun rigged a mirror so that he could see oncoming traffic, this was located above the dashboard.
Moment #4 – The first driver to top the 200 mph mark would be Tom Sneve in 1977. Back in 1962 a record was set by Parnelli Jones top the 150 mph barrier, but this record would have advanced racing technology and design to thank. Sneve would hold another record in 1984 topping the 210 mph mark.
Moment #5 – The year 1991 would have observers on their feet as they watched Andretti lose to Rick Mears. This loss would be attributed to an unexpected stop made by Andretti when a tire went flat. Mears would now hold the record being the third four-time Indy 500 winner. I can only imagine how frustrating and upsetting this would be for Andretti, who gave it his all to get his lead back and win that race. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the race and there will always be next year.
I have only attended one 500 race myself and although I thought it would be boring to watch cars go around and around, after all, what is so hard about that? Much to my surprise it was the most exciting race I had ever seen of any kind and I immediately became a fan.