The Indy 500 is one of the most prestigious auto racing events in the world. Since 1911, fans have flocked to Indianapolis to witness the very best that motorsports has to offer. Here are just a few of the most exciting and memorable moments in the decorated history of the Indy 500.
1977 – A.J. Foyt captures fourth Indy 500 victory
History was made at the 1977 running of the 500 when A.J. Foyt claimed his fourth victory at Indianapolis. At the time, Foyt became the first driver to ever claim four victories on the hallowed ground at Indy. In later years, Al Unser, Sr. and Rick Mears would tie Foyt’s mark by also claiming four victories in the 500.
1982 – Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears
In the closest finish in Indy 500 history, at the time, Gordon Johncock would hold off Rick Mears by 16 one-hundredths of a second to taste victory at Indy. The closing laps are considered to be some of the most exciting and compelling ever turned in the history of the Indy 500.
1992 – The closest finish ever
Not to be outdone by the 1982 finish, Scott Goodyear and Al Unser, Jr. would secure a place in history for the closest finish in the Indy 500. Unser, Jr.’s margin of victory of .043 seconds has become iconic, both in video and photography. Unser, Jr. became the first second-generation driver to win the Indy 500, and the third member of the Unser family to win the coveted race.
2005 – Danica Patrick leads at Indy
In 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first ever female to compete in the Indy 500, but in 2005, Danica Patrick made history and became the first female to lead the prestigious race. Leading three times for 19 laps, Patrick would finish fourth.
2011 – Turn four crash secures win for Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon won the Indy 500 in 2005, but his victory in 2011 is quite memorable. Wheldon, merely a part time driver that season, claimed his second 500 championship as the underdog. Running in second place on the final lap, Wheldon would claim the lead, and the victory, after J.R. Hildebrand crashed in the final turn. Sadly, the victory would be Wheldon’s last. In October of the same year, Wheldon would lose his life at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a fiery crash during the IndyCar season finale.
IRL: Great Moments of the Indianapolis 500
Greatest Indy 500 Moments