? The first
Indianapolis "500" race was run in 1911. Who was the winner?
whose time (6 hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds) and average (74.59 mph) have
been exceeded in every race since then. Harroun drove alone, managing without
the customary riding mechanic by using an adjustable rearview mirror—the first
ever used on an automobile. From 1912 to 1922 riding mechanics were obligatory,
to prevent any more solo attempts. Single-seaters were allowed from 1923 until
1930, when the rules again prescribed a passenger. It wasn't until 1938 that
the riding mechanic, long since an anachronism, was finally eliminated for
? Who was the
first winner to average 100 mph or better?
?Peter De Paolo
won the 1925 race with a 101.13 mph average. Not realizing the second-place car
had lost a lap during a faulty pit stop, Dc Paolo raced with it for several
laps, hub to hub, at full throttle. His record time held up until 1932, when
Fred Frame averaged 104.14 mph.
? Has the
Indianapolis "500" always gone the full 500 miles?
?No. The 1916
race, won by Dario Resta, was cut to 300 miles because Speedway President Carl
Fischer felt that a 500-mile race was too long to hold spectator interest. No
races were held in 1917 and 1918. In 1926 the race was stopped at the end of
400 miles because of rain. After a one-and-a-quarter-hour halt and several
caution flags Frank Lockhart was finally declared the winner. Rain also stopped
the 1950 race after 345 miles, and Johnny Parsons was ruled the winner.
? What were the
three closest finishes in the "500"?
?In 1937 Wilbur
Shaw nosed out Ralph Hepburn by 2.16 seconds. The oil pressure in Shaw's
Gilmore Special was dangerously low the last few laps (the rules prevented him
from adding more oil). He nursed his car slowly around the track until Hepburn
almost caught up to him in the last stretch. But Shaw had calculated perfectly.
He jammed the throttle down and just beat Hepburn across the stretch of bricks
at the finish line. Shaw's 113.58-mph average was a new record. In fact, the
first four finishers broke the old record of 109.064 mph set the year before by
Louis Meyer. The next closest race was in 1961 when A. J. Foyt nosed out Eddie
Sachs by 8.3 seconds. In 1960 Jim Rathmann beat Rodger Ward by less than 13
seconds in a race in which the lead changed hands 29 times (breaking the record
set in 1958 when there were 17 changes in the lead).
? Did Barney Old
fie Id or Eddie Rickenbacker ever win the "500"?
?No. The best
Oldfield could do was finish fifth in 1914 and fifth in 1916. His placing in
1914, however, was the best that year by an American; French drivers and cars
took the first four places. Rickenbacker drove in five races. In the only one
he finished, in 1914, he placed 10th.