Concerts, Food, Kid Zones, Beer, and Parties mark the start of the Indy 500. While every year has its highlights and favorites, these 5 exciting moments in Indy 500 history featuring women, rides, and fans will be talked about for years to come:
5. Janet Guthrie became the first woman to break into the Indy 500 in 1977. According to Biography.com, this pioneer was an experienced pilot and bought her first race car in the early 1960s. After dedicating herself to racing, she made history racing in the Indy 500 placing 29th in 1977 and 9th in 1978. By outdriving her opponents, she showed her many critics that women could competitively compete in professional racing, thus paving the way for the next exciting woman-centered moment.
4. In 2005, the beautiful Danica Patrick’s fourth place finish at the Indy 500 beat pioneer Janet Guthrie’s ninth place finish for the record of finishes for female drivers. Her fourth place finish was the headline for many weeks. With Slate Magazine criticizing her as being overrated and racer Robby Gordon claiming that her weight gave her an advantage to out maneuver the heavier drivers in Outside the Beltway, Danica still managed to outshine her criticism as her presence definitely was the highlight of the race.
3. What is the Indy 500 without a wild ride?! In 2005, not only did Danica Patrick mark her place in history, but she went head to head with the late Dan Wheldon. Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick put on a remarkable show with Danica Patrick passing Dan Wheldon for the lead on lap 189. Although Danica’s fame overshadowed Wheldon’s win, Sports Illustrated noted that after a post race interview, Wheldon quoted ,”This has been a dream come true for me. I’ve loved the Indianapolis 500 ever since I was a young kid. It’s the best drivers in the world, the best teams in the world. I’m having an emotional moment. I’m just so proud.”
Race fans were proud too!
2. One of the most exciting races at the Indy 500 was in 1990 when Arie Luyendyk won the race in 2 hours, 41 minutes, and 18.404 seconds in which Indianapolismotorspeedway.com notes as the fastest time to date, also noting that his average speed over 500 miles of 185.981 mph is unlikely to be beat! Burning up the tracks, Arie Luyendyk will be known for this exciting fastest moment in Indy history forever.
1. Let’s face it, the fans make Indy 500 the success it is. In 2004, USA Today reported that The Star counted 257,325 seats singlehandedly in the Speedway and concluded that as many as 300,000 spectators and fans were in attendance of the Indy 500 races! Although numbers as high as 500,000 were put out there, The Star’s research has been deemed of the official count of fans in attendance. Who can blame them with all of the musical and kid-friendly attractions drawing them to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Exciting moments from the Indianapolis 500 can be found in wild rides, fans, and the women that pioneer the races. To learn more about the race and events for the Indy 500, visit the IMS website.