Indy 500 memories from Borg-Warner’s famous ‘silver man’!


1936 Indy 500 program.

1936 Indy 500 program.

Picture by: Steve Shunck / BorgWarner

I’ve witnessed quite a lot of wonderful issues in my previous 81 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway relationship again to 1936, and this 12 months was no totally different for higher or worse.

I positive hope issues will return to regular quickly so followers, media, groups and drivers can get pleasure from and share recollections with family and friends.

For me, the 2020 Indianapolis 500 was very totally different – a number of time alone within the IMS Museum after which social distancing from the few who had been on the monitor, with everybody carrying masks. Heck, as you’ll be able to see, even I wore a masks as I watched Japan’s Takuma Sato rating his second Indy win.

Since 1911, the primary Indy 500 (25 years earlier than I first got here to IMS) 782 women and men have began the race and 73 have gained, incomes their place in historical past with their pictures being completely affixed on the sterling silver façade beneath me.

2021 will probably be my 82nd consecutive 12 months on the “500” and I stay up for as soon as once more welcoming the winner of the Indianapolis 500 to Victory Circle. What’s going to the longer term maintain? – I positive can’t wait to search out out – each on and off the monitor at Roger Penske’s fantastic facility.

Whereas we wait over the vacations and winter for the subsequent chapter to be added within the document books for The Biggest Spectacle in Racing, I’d wish to share a few of my favourite tales, odd stats, enjoyable recollections and distinctive details and figures since my arrival in 1936.

2013 Indy winner Tony Kanaan fits the 'silver man' with his anti-covid face mask.

2013 Indy winner Tony Kanaan suits the ‘silver man’ along with his anti-covid face masks.

Picture by: Brian Spurlock

1977 was a really particular 12 months. Tom Sneva broke the 200mph barrier, Janet Guthrie turned the primary lady to qualify for the race, however I’ll always remember race day and A.J. Foyt making historical past as the primary four-time winner of the 500.

1994 Emerson Fittipaldi led 145 laps within the Penske-Mercedes pushrod, however whereas attempting to place a lap on his teammate and polesitter Al Unser Jr on lap 184, he crashed in entrance of arguably the biggest crowd to ever see the race. From an Unser perspective, this helped make up for…

1989, when Emmo clashed with Little Al in a memorable late race duel. Emmo’s automotive lasted within the lead because the race went underneath warning and have become the primary driver in 500 historical past to gather over a million dollars in prize cash – $1,001,604.

1947 Mauri Rose gained driving the gorgeous Blue Crown Spark Plug Particular for Lou Moore with teammate Invoice Holland second. They might end 1-2 in the identical automobiles a 12 months later.

1958 Cigar smokin’ all the time jokin’ Jimmy Bryan gained the 500 and was the primary and final driver to mild a celebratory cigar in Victory Lane. Now that actually is a little bit of race trivia!

1959, 2008 and 2019 had been the years that man’s greatest pal visited their profitable house owners in Victory Lane and the canines had been all very nicely behaved whereas within the highlight. Rodger Ward’s canine was Skippy, Scott Dixon celebrated with George and Arthur, and Simon Pagenaud shared the memorable event with Norman.

2015 Thanks Juan Pablo Montoya for being the final driver to not pour milk over your head in Victory Circle – a messy development began by Helio Castroneves in 2001 and which many drivers have continued since.

1957 A month or so after Sam Hanks gained the race I made a really particular journey with him to New York Metropolis to be on The Ed Sullivan Present. Brilliant lights, massive metropolis!

1939 Wilbur Shaw’s second win and his first of two in a row within the lovely Maserati 8CTF made him the primary driver to win back-to-back 500s.

Wilbur Shaw, Maserati, 1939 Indy 500 winner.

Wilbur Shaw, Maserati, 1939 Indy 500 winner.

Picture by: IndyCar Sequence

1972 Mark Donohue turned the primary winner to take the checkered flag with a rear wing, driving that pretty Sunoco-colored McLaren M16 and giving his proprietor Roger Penske the primary of 18 Indy wins (to date!). It was an incredible 12 months at IMS even earlier than that: in qualifying, Bobby Unser averaged 195.940mph, breaking the monitor document by practically 18mph!

1985 Danny Sullivan’s “spin and win” after battling arduous with Mario Andretti grabbed worldwide media consideration. Simply suppose if social media existed when Danny was at his peak of recognition? On that matter, you’ll be able to comply with me on Twitter at @BorgTrophy.

1968 Uncle Bobby Unser gained his first of three 500s – and for the second 12 months in a row, a controversial and fantastic Andy Granatelli-owned, STP turbine automotive – this time a Lotus – faltered with fewer than 10 laps remaining.

1946 After the Speedway was closed from 1942 to 1945 due to World Battle II the 500 returned with nice anticipation, pleasure and pageantry. Winner George Robson took house a staggering (for the time) $42,350 in prize cash.

1979 Rick Mears gained his first of 4 500s in simply his second try. It was additionally the primary of Rick’s document six poles on the Speedway. He gained from the pole once more in ’88 and ’91.

1963 Parnelli Jones, who in ’62 turned the primary driver to interrupt the 150mph barrier at IMS, gained with a mean pace of 143.137mph changing into the primary driver to finish the race in lower than three.5 hours and beating Jimmy Clark’s little Lotus.

Thankfully, Parnelli nailed one of a handful of genuine chances to win Indy – arguably IMS's greatest driver in the ’60s.

Fortunately, Parnelli nailed one among a handful of real probabilities to win Indy – arguably IMS’s best driver within the ’60s.

Picture by: IndyCar Sequence

1974 Beneath sunny skies, in a papaya orange McLaren M16 ranging from 25th  on the grid Johnny Rutherford scored his first 500 win after an epic mid-race wheel to wheel duel with A.J. Foyt.

1986 A hero and somebody accustomed to going quick, Normal Chuck Yeager was the person behind the wheel of the tempo automotive on race day, flying an American flag from the rear quarter panel on the driving force’s facet. Bobby Rahal gained the race on Saturday Might 31 after the race was rained out Might 25.

2010 Beginning on the skin of the entrance row, 2007 winner Dario Franchitti dominated, main 155 laps to prevail for a second time. He would win once more two years later, his closing IndyCar triumph, and wore white-rimmed sun shades in Victory Lane ceremonies to honor his late pal and fellow Indy winner Dan Wheldon.

1951 Lee Wallard gained the race driving automotive #99, the best quantity to win the 500. Need extra trivia? The #1 has been first seven occasions however hasn’t triumphed since 1971, when Al Unser scored his second win.

1960 The Borg-Warner victory wreath joined me in Victory Lane on race day for the primary time, as Jim Rathmann outdueled Rodger Ward. This previous 12 months, Michelle Collins of BorgWarner turned the primary lady to current the race winner with the wreath.

1987 Al Unser, substituting for injured Danny Ongais and driving a Penske-run March present automotive pulled out of a lodge foyer, turned the second driver to win 4 500s, becoming a member of A.J. Foyt. Moreover, that day Al turned the oldest 500 winner – 47 years and 360 days.

2003 Staff Penske gained for the third consecutive 12 months however Gil de Ferran ended teammate Helio Castroneves’ quest to be the one driver to win three straight 500s. The race additionally marked Toyota’s solely 500 win.

1952 In his fourth 500, Troy Ruttman turned the final driver to win in a “dirt-car” at IMS and entered the 500 document books because the youngest winner – 22 years and 80 days.

1981 Bobby Unser scored his third 500 win and have become the one driver in IMS historical past to complete final in his first 500 (1963) and win his final. I acquired introduced to 2 drivers that 12 months although, as a result of some post-race controversy noticed me posing beside Mario Andretti, till Penske gained an attraction and Bobby’s win was confirmed – in October!

1969 Mario Andretti gained the 500, lastly delivering Andy Granatelli a well-deserved first triumph at IMS. It’s a matter of legend that Mario’s face from that 12 months is the one Andretti visage on the flanks of the Trophy beneath me.

Al Unser Jr. beats Scott Goodyear to the finish by 0.043sec in 1992.

Al Unser Jr. beats Scott Goodyear to the end by zero.043sec in 1992.

Picture by: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1992 Beginning this race had been 10 previous 500 winners – Foyt, Andretti, A. Unser, Gordon Johncock, Mears, Sneva, Sullivan, Rahal, Fittipaldi and Arie Luyendyk – and on the finish of the day there was an 11th, as Al Unser Jr.’s Galmer gained the closest 500 in race historical past by zero.043sec over Scott Goodyear.

2016 Alexander Rossi gained the 100th working of the 500 to turn into the primary rookie winner since Castroneves in 2001. Ten rookies since 1911 have taken the checkered flag first.

2013 Crowd favourite Tony Kanaan, beginning his 12th 500, gained at a document common pace of 187.433mph, breaking Luyendyk’s 1990 document. Kanaan’s KV Racing automotive took the lead for the ultimate time on a Lap 197 restart forward of Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

2009 Penske’s polesitter Castroneves gained for a 3rd time at IMS and picked up the biggest purse awarded to the winner – $three,048,055.

2018 The sheer thrill, exuberance and elation that Will Energy displayed in Victory Lane and shared with the Penske workforce and the followers on his victory lap round IMS was very particular and remembered by all.

1975 Foyt, Johncock and Bobby Unser made up the entrance row for the 59th working of the race marking the primary time in historical past that three entrance row starters had been earlier 500 winners. On raceday, Unser hydroplaned his strategy to his second win driving for proprietor Dan Gurney.

1937 Wilbur Shaw gained his first 500 on a day that noticed the temperature attain 92degF, nonetheless the most well liked race within the document books.

1962 Ward gained his second 500 and acquired the checkered flag from chief starter Pat Vidan who would maintain that place for 18 years – the longest tenure for the starter.

2006 Sam Hornish edged rookie Marco Andretti by zero.0635sec to win, Marco’s comfort with the ability to comply with in his father Michael’s (1984) and grandfather Mario’s (1965) wheeltracks by profitable Rookie of the Yr honors.

Jimmy Clark and the Lotus 38-Ford – unforgettable and unbeatable combo in ’65.

Jimmy Clark and the Lotus 38-Ford – unforgettable and unbeatable combo in ’65.

Picture by: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1965 Scotsman Jimmy Clark dominated the race, main 190 of 200 laps to turn into the primary winner to succeed in Victory Lane in a rear-engined automotive. Clark, driving a gorgeous Lotus powered by Ford, began in the midst of the entrance row flanked by pole-winner Foyt and Gurney on the skin – certainly one among Indy’s greatest-ever entrance row line-ups!

1996 Arie Luyendyk set a brand new monitor document in qualifying that stands to at the present time with a blazing lap of 237.498mph! Buddy Lazier, driving with 16 fractures in his again, gained the race.

1953 Invoice Vukovich, virtually peerless within the historical past of the long-lasting 2.5-mile Speedway, gained his first of two straight 500s. Vuky began on the pole and led 195 of 200 laps.

1978 Al Unser took the checkered flag forward of pole-winner Sneva and started his march towards changing into the one driver in Indy automotive historical past to win the “Triple Crown” of 500 milers (the others at Pocono and Ontario) in a single season.

2017 Sato scored his first 500 win and took me (and the remainder of the Borg-Warner Trophy!) on the last word area journey later that 12 months. Leaving america for the primary time, I toured Japan with Takuma for over two weeks.

1964 A.J. Foyt scored his second 500 win and his victory marked the ultimate time a front-engined automotive would win the race. And oh yeah, legendary historian Donald Davidson made his debut on the IMS Radio Community – one thing he’s achieved yearly since.

1982 It’s the video you’ll be able to watch again and again! Gordon Johncock made his closing pitstop and Mears darn-near chased him down. Johncock’s closing 4 laps, hanging on for pricey life to win with a horrible push, are literally a factor of magnificence. Goosebumps!

2011 The 100th Anniversary of the 500 was extremely anticipated and turned out to be some of the memorable finishes in historical past as JR Hildebrand crashed exiting the ultimate activate the ultimate lap, permitting Wheldon, driving for Bryan Herta’s little workforce, to steer the final 918 ft and rating his second 500 win.

1990 Luyendyk scored his first of two 500 wins at a then-record pace of 185.981mph. Famed sculptor William Behrends completely captured Arie’s flowing locks – hey, it was that period! – in his first of 31-and-counting sterling silver pictures on the B-W Trophy.

Race winner Arie Luyendyk, Shierson Lola Chevrolet.

Race winner Arie Luyendyk, Shierson Lola Chevrolet.

Picture by: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1970 Al Unser’s first 500 win was flawless, main 190 laps driving a memorable automotive, the Johnny Lightning Spl. inbuilt Torrance, CA. Followers nonetheless speak about and admire the paint scheme on that Vel’s Parnelli Jones Colt to at the present time.

1988 It had by no means occurred earlier than and it hasn’t occurred since – one workforce sweeping the three front-row beginning spots. Mears, Sullivan and Al Unser made it an all-Penske entrance row and Mears made it to Victory Lane for a 3rd time.

1999 Sweden’s Kenny Brack gained the 83rd working of the Indy 500 driving for four-time winner Foyt. Chief Robbie Gordon was pressured to pit with two laps to go for gasoline and Brack swept by him to the win.

2005 Wheldon gained the Indy 500 but it surely was Danica Patrick who was within the headlines after qualifying fourth, changing into the primary lady to steer the 500 and finally ending fourth.

1936 My debut! However the Borg-Warner Trophy was not the one custom that began this 12 months: Louis Meyer, after profitable his third 500, celebrated by consuming buttermilk in Victory Lane.

1983 He’d began 1st twice and completed 2nd thrice earlier than he tasted the milk however Tom Sneva lastly took the checkered flag first after dueling with Al Unser. It was additionally the document seventh Indy victory for Sneva’s chief mechanic George Bignotti.

1991 Mears all the time dreamed of profitable a shootout at IMS and that’s what he achieved in his fourth and record-equaling 500 triumph. Followers will eternally keep in mind Michael Andretti passing Rick on the skin coming into Flip 1 with fewer than 15 laps remaining and the Penske ace replicating the transfer on his adversary subsequent time by! The entrance row this 12 months was additionally one of many best ever – Mears, Foyt and Mario Andretti!

Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt – 1991 front row – 9 Indy 500 wins and 14 Indy car championships between them!

Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt – 1991 entrance row – 9 Indy 500 wins and 14 Indy automotive championships between them!

Picture by: IndyCar Sequence

1961 The Golden Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, and 50 years after profitable the inaugural version, Ray Harroun drove his race-winning Marmon Wasp in pre-race ceremonies. The race itself was memorable too, Foyt and Eddie Sachs dueling for the ultimate 75 laps till Sachs pitted with tire issues with three laps to go and Foyt took his first 500 win.

1993 The document books will present Fittipaldi gained his second 500 whereas hardcore race followers will vividly keep in mind the late race restart when reigning F1 World Champion however Indy rookie Nigel Mansell misplaced the lead going into Flip 1, being handed by Emmo and Luyendyk. In his oval race debut, Mansell completed third to take Rookie of the Yr honors after main 34 laps.

1980 The John Barnard-designed Chaparral 2K practically gained with Al Unser behind the wheel the 12 months earlier than, however a transmission seal ended Unser’s day. A 12 months later, there was no stopping Johnny Rutherford who set quick time practically on daily basis of follow, captured the pole and led 118 laps to win his third 500.

1948 For the sixth time since his debut in 1935, Rex Mays led the opening lap of the 500, however the unlucky Mays would by no means lead the final lap and it was Mauri Rose who triumphed. Fourth-placed finisher Ted Horn (one other nice destined by no means to win) scored his ninth (!) consecutive end of fourth or higher.

2004 Driving for house owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman, Buddy Rice splashed his strategy to a win as twister sirens blared and rain pelted the monitor ending the race after 180 laps. It marked the primary 500 win for Honda as an Indy automotive engine producer.

1967 Showman and PR genius Andy Granatelli introduced the modern and controversial STP Paxton turbine automotive to IMS and employed crowd favourite Parnelli Jones as his driver. The “woooshmobile” certified sixth and led 171 laps however with simply 4 laps to go, a $6 bearing failed and so Foyt landed his third 500 win.

2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay fought his approach from 19th on the grid to stage a memorable late-race duel with Penske’s three-time 500 winner Castroneves, involving a daring go into Flip three with the Andretti Autosport automotive simply a few inches from the grass.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and race engineer Ray Gosselin pictured with the author of this story ;-)

Ryan Hunter-Reay and race engineer Ray Gosselin pictured with the writer of this story 😉

Picture by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Photographs

1973 Gordon Johncock outlasted what was left of the sector and gained the rain-shortened race when it was crimson flagged after 332.5 miles. It took three days to finish the occasion after a number of delays for rain and fearsome accidents. Following the race, limits had been positioned on wing dimension, enhance and gasoline capability in an try and sluggish the automobiles and make racing safer.

1966 To at the present time, Indy winner Graham Hill is the one driver to earn the Triple Crown of motorsports – Indianapolis, Monaco F1 GP and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A five-time winner at Monaco, Hill added Le Mans to his resume in 1972.

1984 Ranging from the skin of the entrance row, Mears simply gained his second 500, main 119 laps and beating runner-up Roberto Guerrero by over two laps!

1995 Tempo Automotive etiquette appeared to problematic all through the day. Early within the race Jacques Villeneuve handed the Chevy Corvette too quickly at a restart and obtained a two-lap penalty. Late within the race, chief Scott Goodyear did the identical – and ignored his subsequent black-flag penalty, which handed the win to… Villeneuve! The one Canadian ever to win the race thus drove 505 miles to win a 500-miler…

1976 Rutherford and McLaren entered the document books for 2 issues in 1976 – he turned the primary winner to stroll into Victory Lane, and he gained the shortest 500 in historical past – solely 102 laps. Rain stopped the race simply previous the midway mark and because the monitor was within the closing levels of being dried and automobiles had been being warmed up, the rain returned and ended the hopes of Rutherford’s rivals.

From the 1936 Indy 500 program.

From the 1936 Indy 500 program.

Picture by: Steve Shunck / BorgWarner

Hope you loved this journey down reminiscence lane. Have a beautiful Christmas and New Yr season, and I stay up for seeing you at Indianapolis Motor Speedway subsequent Memorial Day Weekend for the 105th working of the best race on this planet!



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