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The '70s BY THE NUMBERS
April 14, 2011
2 ON-AIR questions posed to Mario Andretti by ABC pit reporter David Letterman in his network television debut, at the 1971 Indy 500. Letterman, an Indiana native, was one of four reporters working the network's first same-day coverage of the race.
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April 14, 2011

The '70s By The Numbers

2 ON-AIR questions posed to Mario Andretti by ABC pit reporter David Letterman in his network television debut, at the 1971 Indy 500. Letterman, an Indiana native, was one of four reporters working the network's first same-day coverage of the race.

40 GALLONS, maximum allowable onboard fuel capacity starting in '74. A collision the year before that sprayed burning methanol into the grandstands and across the track, injuring a dozen, led to the reduction from 75 gallons.

17.9 RATING for ABC's tape-delayed broadcast in '76, the highest in the race's history. Nearly 12.5 million households in the United States tuned in to the Indy 500 that Sunday.

255 MILES completed before rain forced the conclusion of that '76 race on the 102nd lap, making it the shortest race in Indy 500 history. Johnny Rutherford, the leader at the time of the rain delay, was declared the winner.

200.535 MPH, the qualifying speed for Tom Sneva in '77. That lap made the former bus driver from Spokane the first man to break the 200-mph barrier at the Indy track.

25 YEARS Sid Collins spent as the "Voice of the Indianapolis 500," the longest run for any chief announcer at the event. In early May '77, at age 54, Collins took his own life shortly after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease.

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