? The firstIndianapolis "500" race was run in 1911. Who was the winner?
This is an article from the May 28, 1962 issue
•Ray Harroun,whose time (6 hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds) and average (74.59 mph) havebeen exceeded in every race since then. Harroun drove alone, managing withoutthe customary riding mechanic by using an adjustable rearview mirror—the firstever used on an automobile. From 1912 to 1922 riding mechanics were obligatory,to prevent any more solo attempts. Single-seaters were allowed from 1923 until1930, when the rules again prescribed a passenger. It wasn't until 1938 thatthe riding mechanic, long since an anachronism, was finally eliminated forgood.
? Who was thefirst winner to average 100 mph or better?
•Peter De Paolowon the 1925 race with a 101.13 mph average. Not realizing the second-place carhad lost a lap during a faulty pit stop, Dc Paolo raced with it for severallaps, hub to hub, at full throttle. His record time held up until 1932, whenFred Frame averaged 104.14 mph.
? Has theIndianapolis "500" always gone the full 500 miles?
•No. The 1916race, won by Dario Resta, was cut to 300 miles because Speedway President CarlFischer felt that a 500-mile race was too long to hold spectator interest. Noraces were held in 1917 and 1918. In 1926 the race was stopped at the end of400 miles because of rain. After a one-and-a-quarter-hour halt and severalcaution flags Frank Lockhart was finally declared the winner. Rain also stoppedthe 1950 race after 345 miles, and Johnny Parsons was ruled the winner.
? What were thethree closest finishes in the "500"?
•In 1937 WilburShaw nosed out Ralph Hepburn by 2.16 seconds. The oil pressure in Shaw'sGilmore Special was dangerously low the last few laps (the rules prevented himfrom adding more oil). He nursed his car slowly around the track until Hepburnalmost 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 bricksat the finish line. Shaw's 113.58-mph average was a new record. In fact, thefirst four finishers broke the old record of 109.064 mph set the year before byLouis Meyer. The next closest race was in 1961 when A. J. Foyt nosed out EddieSachs by 8.3 seconds. In 1960 Jim Rathmann beat Rodger Ward by less than 13seconds in a race in which the lead changed hands 29 times (breaking the recordset in 1958 when there were 17 changes in the lead).
? Did Barney Oldfie Id or Eddie Rickenbacker ever win the "500"?
•No. The bestOldfield could do was finish fifth in 1914 and fifth in 1916. His placing in1914, however, was the best that year by an American; French drivers and carstook the first four places. Rickenbacker drove in five races. In the only onehe finished, in 1914, he placed 10th.
? Who holds therecord for the most victories in the "500"?
•Three drivershave each won three times—Lou Meyer (1928, 1933 and 1936), Wilbur Shaw (1937,1939 and 1940) and Mauri Rose (1941, 1947 and 1948).
? Has any driver,besides Shaw and Rose, won two successive races?
•Yes, BillVukovich won in 1953 and 1954. The only other double winner was Tommy Milton,who won in 1921 and 1923.
? What driverraced in the "500" the most times?
•Cliff Bergere(1927-1947) and Chet Miller (1930-1952) each drove in 16 races. Bergere came inthird in 1932 and 1939. Miller finished third in 1938 and fifth in 1936.
? What driver wasthe most consistent finisher over a span of years?
•Ted Hornfinished nine successive races (1936-1948; there were no races from 1942-1945).He was second once (1936), third four times (1937, 1940, 1946 and 1947) andfourth four times (1938, 1939, 1940 and 1948). He drove in only one other race(1935) and didn't finish.
? What driverfinished second the most times?
•Harry Hartz, infive straight races, came in second three times (1922, 1923 and 1926) andfourth two times (1924 and 1925). Wilbur Shaw finished second three times(1933, 1935 and 1938) as did Bill Holland (1947, 1948 and 1950). In 1949Holland won the race. Jim Rathmann also came in second three times (1952, 1957and 1959). He finally won in 1960, his 11th start in the "500."
? Has anydriver—besides Harroun, the winner of the first race—won the "500" inhis first attempt?
•Rookie driverswho won the "500" were Jules Goux (who drank five pints of champagneduring the race) in 1913, Rene Thomas in 1914, Frank Lockhart in 1926 andGeorge Souders in 1927.
? What race hadthe most starters?
•Forty-two carsstarted the race in 1933. The rules, set in 1912, limited the "500" to33 cars. In 1930, however, the rules were temporarily lifted to encouragestock-car entries. That year 38 cars started, and in 1931 and 1932, 40 carsstarted the race. In 1934 the Indianapolis "500" went back to theregulation 33 starters.
? What race tookthe longest time to finish?
•In 1912 RalphMulford, driving a Knox, was 100 miles from the finish line when his cardeveloped serious clutch trouble. Nine cars had already finished the race, andthe rest of the starters had withdrawn. In order to collect the $1,200 prizemoney for 10th place, Mulford had to complete the 500 miles. He eased his carto 60 mph and continued to circle the track all by himself. With 17 laps to go,Mulford went to the pits and ate supper. Nearly nine hours after he started,Mulford finally crossed the finish line and collected the l0th-place prizemoney.