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Great Memories from 100 Years of the Indianapolis 500 3

Posted on May 26, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Al Unser, Jr. edged Scott Goodyear to win the 1992 Indianapolis 500.

This year’s running of the Indianapolis 500 marks the 100th anniversary of the first race back in 1911 and has been run every year with the exceptions of 1917-1918 and 1942-45 because of the two World Wars.

While the race has lost much of its stature as one of the biggest sporting events in America, the race still has special mention for many drivers and racing fans throughout the world.

With that in mind, here are the ten most memorable Indianapolis 500s of all time:

10. 1977
A.J. Foyt becomes the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times as he takes the lead with sixteen laps to go when leader the crankshaft on Gordon Johncock’s car breaks.

The race is also historic for having Janet Guthrie, the first female driver ever to race in the Indy 500, as she starts the race 26th but falls out of the race after 27 laps because of a gearbox failure.

9. 1960
Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward engage in a duel for the ages as the two drivers swapped the lead 14 times in the last 78 laps, the last lead swap coming on the 197th lap when Rathmann passes Ward after the cord on the right front tire of Ward’s car wears down, causing him to fall back.

Rathmann goes onto win the race over Ward by 12 seconds for his only win in the Indy 500.

8. 1989
Emerson Fittipaldi dominated the 1989 race by leading 156 of the first 195 laps, but was passed by Al Unser Jr. with five laps to go and had to come from behind to win the race in the final laps.

On the next-to-last lap, Fittipaldi caught “Little Al” and was side-by-side with him going into turn three when the right front tire of Fittipaldi’s car touched with the left rear tire of Unser’s car, causing Unser to spin out and crash, while Fittipaldi continued on to take the white flag and the yellow flag as the leader of the race.

As Fittipaldi came back around on the final lap, Unser Jr. saluted the former 2-time Formula 1 champion as Fittipaldi went on to win the first of two Indianapolis 500s in his career. Read the rest of this entry →

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

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      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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