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Indianapolis 500 Ready for 100th Run 7

Posted on May 27, 2016 by Dean Hybl
A.J. Foyt claimed the 1977 Indianapolis 500 to become the first to claim four Indy 500 victories.

A.J. Foyt claimed the 1977 Indianapolis 500 to become the first to claim four Indy 500 victories.

Even though it is arguable that the hey-day of the Indianapolis 500 occurred a generation ago, with the 100th running of the famed event happening this weekend, attention is back on The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Through the first 99 races, 19 different men have claimed multiple titles.

The first multi-race winning was Tommy Milton, who won the ninth running in 1921 and then claimed his second victory in 1923. The first three-time winner was Louis Meyer as he went to the winner’s circle in 1928, 1933 and 1936.

He was soon joined as a three-time winner by Wilbur Shaw. After succeeding Milton as the winner in 1937, Shaw then became the first back-to-back winner in 1939-40. He remains the only person to claim three Indy 500 victories in a four-year stretch.

However, he is technically not the only man to win three out of four races.

In 1941, Mauri Rose started on the pole. However, spark plug issues took him out of the race after 60 laps. He then took over the car originally driven by Floyd Davis and came back to win the race.

There was no Indy 500 from 1942-45 due to World War II.

After finishing 23rd in 1946, Rose returned to victory lane in both 1947 and 1948 to join Meyer and Shaw as a three-time winner.

It would be nearly two decades before another racer reached three Indy 500 wins.

After winning in 1961 and 1964, A.J. Foyt joined the three win club in 1967. Over the next decade, Foyt finished in the top 10 five times, including third place finishes in 1971 and 1975 and second place in 1976. Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

Rick Mears: Four-time Indy 500 Champion 3

Posted on May 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Rick Mears

The May Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is one of only three drivers in history to win the historic Indianapolis 500 four times.

However, what is particularly impressive about the record of Rick Mears is that he reached his record-tying total in just 15 Indianapolis 500 starts, compared to 27 for Al Unser and 35 for A.J. Foyt. In fact, Mears finished in the top 5 an amazing nine times in his 15 appearances in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Read the rest of this entry →

Whatever Happened To The Indianapolis 500? 3

Posted on May 30, 2010 by Dean Hybl

The Indianapolis 500 is still one of the most exciting one-day events in sports.

In case you haven’t noticed, and chances are pretty good that you haven’t, the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 is happening this weekend.

It wasn’t all that long ago when the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” wasn’t just a big deal for race fans, it was part of the national fabric and as important a part of Memorial Day Weekend as cookouts, swimming pools and veteran’s celebrations.

Much like the Kentucky Derby, Daytona 500 and Wimbledon Finals, it was one of those annual “sports spectacles” that everybody followed, regardless of whether they paid attention to the sport for the other 364 days of the year.

From 1965 through 1985, ABC televised the race through tape delay on Sunday night, meaning the only way to follow it live was on the radio.

As a kid growing up in Virginia in the 1970s and early 1980s, I remember that regardless of whether we were off on a family camping trip, visiting relatives, or at a picnic, on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day Weekend we always had the radio on and were listening to the race.

I then couldn’t wait until that night when I actually got to see what I had heard through ABC’s coverage of the race. I don’t really remember it bothering me that I already knew the winner. Read the rest of this entry →

Does NASCAR Need Saving By Danica Patrick? 5

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Is Danica Patrick what NASCAR needs?

Is Danica Patrick what NASCAR needs?

It seems like only yesterday that NASCAR was emerging on the national scene as a sport that could rival baseball, basketball and maybe even football as one of the most popular sports in the United States. Now, as the sport enters the second decade of the century, NASCAR finds itself suddenly struggling economically and simply battling to remain nationally relevant.

Few things illustrate how things have changed in recent years more than the circumstances surrounding the start of the 2010 season.

Just days after NASCAR announced a 10 percent purse reduction for 2010, the season is kicking off not with fanfare around its greatest stars, but instead around an IRL import who will not even be competing in the prestigious season opening Daytona 500 or the primary Sprint Cup Series.

To most Americans, Danica Patrick is probably better known for her GoDaddy commercials and straight dark hair than she is for her performance on the racetrack.

In five seasons driving in the IndyCar Series, Patrick has one victory in 81 races. She was the 2005 Rookie of the Year after finishing fourth at the Indianapolis 500. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

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