Many exciting moments have occurred at the Indianapolis 500 with the race history spanning over 100 years. Concentrating on firsts, closest victory, lead changes and historical significance, this list is narrowed to six events. The first winner in 1911, the first multiple winner in 1923, the first woman racer in Janet Guthrie, 1992’s closest victory, 2013’s record setting lead change race, and Al Unser’s historic 1987 victory.
Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. He won the race with an average speed of 74.6 miles per hour. A speed that is just a few MPH higher than the common 70 MPH speed limit on many highways today.
First Driver to Win Multiple Indianapolis 500 Races
Tommy Milton won his first Indianapolis 500 race in 1921. Two years later in 1923 he one his second Indy 500 race to become the first driver in Indianapolis 500 history to have multiple wins. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears have won this race the most by winning it four times.
First Woman Racer
Janet Guthrie became the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 when she started the 1977 race. She raced in three straight Indy 500 races and her best finish was ninth place in 1978. Since Guthrie’s first race four other woman have started in the Indianapolis 500.
Nothing is more exciting in a race than a close finish. In 1992 Al Unser Jr edged out Scott Goodyear by less than a half second to win the Indianapolis 500. Al Unser Jr won the race by a mere .43 seconds.
Last Year’s Race
If you can’t have a close finish the next best thing is a race with lots of lead changes. Last year the 2013 Indianapolis 500 race did not disappoint in lead changes. The race had a record setting 68 lead changes!
Al Unser and the 1987 Indy 500
The 1987 Indianapolis 500 was exciting for Al Unser who won the race that year. He became the second driver in the Indianapolis 500 history to win the race four times. Something only three drivers have accomplished now. He also became the oldest driver to win the Indy 500 at 47 years of age and 360 days. Al Unser also established the longest span between the first Indy 500 victory and last at 17 years.
Unquestionably Al Unser established Indy 500 history with his 1987 victory.
Indianapolis Motor City Speedway official site