Modes in drivers are changing as fast at the Speedway as fashions in cars. It has been only a few years since A.J. Foyt (opposite) epitomized the Indy hero: the rough-tough American. Now that the race has gone international Foyt, despite his three victories and continuing brilliance, must share his turf with the "sporty-car" crowd, globe-trotting road racers like England's Graham Hill and others on the following pages. Foyt, 33 and a Texan, is the national big-car champion (he has won a record five titles) and the No. 1 U.S. track driver of his time. He itches to be the first man to win four 500s, but this has been a trying Indy season for Foyt. Still, his woes are nothing beside those of New Zealanders Denis Hulme and Bruce McLaren, who had a pair of turbine cars snatched from under them.
Roger McCluskey, 37, of Arizona. If the lead in one's foot were the only factor, Roger might win all the 500s. Consistently brave but in the past not consistently fast or equipped with the best car, he has finished no higher than 13th in six Indys. Nevertheless he is one of the dozen or so drivers with some chance for victory.
Mario Andretti, 28, of Pennsylvania. Everybody likes the charismatic little Italian-born speedster, who was an instant hero at Indy in his first race. He finished third that year—1965—won the pole the next two years and has twice captured the U.S. title, interrupting Foyt's string. Engine trouble aborted his run in 1966; in 1967 he lost a wheel.
Bruce McLaren, 30, of New Zealand. Quietly, smoothly, the shy Kiwi has won some of the world's biggest races (e.g., Le Mans and Sebring in Fords). Bruce took last year's Canadian-American sports-car series in his own McLaren-Chevrolet, has his own McLaren-Fords for the 1968 Grand Prix season and has been a turbine recruit for Indy.
May 26, 1968
Denis Hulme, 31, of New Zealand. He is the world champion in Grand Prix racing, but Indy knows him better as Rookie of the Year for 1967, when he was fourth. He is racing's bulldog, with the strength and tenacity that pay off at the Speedway. With his fellow countryman and 500 teammate, McLaren, he has become a turbine convert.
Lloyd Ruby, 40, of Texas (far left). Call him Old Dependable: in eight 500s he has finished in the top 10 four times, driving with his head as much as his foot. Ruby is easygoing off the track and has sometimes seemed to lack fire on it, but when the mood strikes him at the Speedway he can fire through the traffic with the best.
Jackie Stewart, 28, of Scotland. In his swift rise to fame in Indianapolis and Grand Prix racing, Stewart has been both brilliant and unlucky. Two years ago he was leading the 500 with a mere 23 miles to go when his car failed. This year he lost a potential winner at the last moment when a wrist injury failed to respond well to treatment.
Dan Gurney, 37, of California. America's No. 1 Grand Prix driver is big at Indy both as entrepreneur (with his Eagle cars) and driver. It was a Gurney idea that led to the Lotus-Fords of 1963 and the switch to rear engines in the 500. So notorious is he for tinkering that a friend says, "His mechanics ought to handcuff him. "
Graham Hill, 39, of England. One of the decade's finest, most versatile drivers, he was the 1962 world champion and winner of the 1966 500, and his speed in the STP-Lotus turbine has been the talk of the month. In any race the mustached man is a serious threat. He interrupted Indy practice to win the Spanish Grand Prix.