Six-time Indy 500 starter Bob Harkey dies at 85

Harkey in 1971. Photo: IMS Archives
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Six-time Indianapolis 500 starter Bob Harkey, whose time driving at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ran from 1964 to 1976, died Saturday at age 85.

His best finish was eighth, twice, in 1964 and 1974.

More to the point, he stuck around IMS for a variety of fan events for several decades after he hung up the helmet.

“Bob Harkey competed during one of the most transformative times in Indianapolis 500 history as the cars moved from rear-engine to front-engine and from no aerodynamic devices to wings and downforce,” IMS president J. Douglas Boles said in a statement.

“But what made Bob Harkey special was his continued involvement in and around the Speedway each May after his racing years. He always had time for our fans, young and old, and his passion for the Indianapolis 500 was evident in every fan interaction. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”