For more than 100 years, the Indianapolis 500 has thrilled racing fans across the country. Here are five of its greatest moments.
Rookie Who Almost Wins
In 2011, on the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, rookie J.R. Hildebrand found himself with the lead and with one lap left it appeared he was going to be the second rookie in a decade to win (Helio Castroneves did it in 2001). Unfortunately, Hildebrand hit the wall in the final turn of the final lap, giving Dan Wheldon the victory.
A.J. Foyt’s 4th Win
In 1977, A.J. Foyt became the first driver to win the Indy 500 four times. Foyt won the Indy 500 in 1961, 1964, and 1967. With his third win in 1967, Foyt was the fourth driver to accomplish that feat. He was 32.
Guthrie: First Female Driver
Also in 1977, female race car driver Janet Guthrie became the first woman to qualify for and compete in the Indy 500. She finish 29th and went on to compete two more times with her best finish at 9th place in 1978. That remained the best finish by a female until Danica Patrick placed 3rd in the 2009 race.
Out of Fuel
Race car driver Robby Gordon erroneously believed after making a pit stop on lap 164 that he had enough fuel to finish the race. Gordon took the lead when most of the drivers pitted during laps 169-171. He seemed destined to win until his car ran out of fuel on lap 199 and driver Kenny Brack claimed the victory.
Businessman Rescues Indy 500
During World War, II, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was shut down with no races held between 1942-1945. Indiana businessman Tony Hulman purchased the track, which had fallen into disrepair during the war years. Hulman restored it in time to stage the 1946 race and under his leadership, the Indy 500 became the world’s largest single-day sporting event.