Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, first 10 runnings

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The Associated Press has compiled a list of highlights of all past Indianapolis 500 races, as the buildup to the 100th running presented by PennGrade Motor Oil takes place this May 29.

Here are runnings 1-10, from 1911 through 1922:

RACE: First Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1911

WINNER: Ray Harroun, Nordyk & Marmon Company

AVERAGE SPEED: 74.602 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Races had been held on what would become Indianapolis Motor Speedway for two years before the first Indy 500 was run over the brick-paved track. Forty cars took the starter’s red flag – yes, red. The race’s first fatality occurred when Arthur Greiner hit the wall in Turn 2, and his riding mechanic Sam Dickson was killed. The race came down to Ray Harroun, who had come out of retirement, and Ralph Mulford dueling for the victory. Harroun ultimately won and returned to retirement.

NOTABLE: Harroun drove the No. 32 Marmon “Wasp,” the only single-seat car in the race. All the other cars had riding mechanics who pumped oil, watched for traffic and made other repairs. Harroun won $10,000, the same amount baseball star Ty Cobb earned for the entire season.

RACE: Second Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1912

WINNER: Joe Dawson, National Motor Vehicle Company

AVERAGE SPEED: 78.712 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Italian-born Ralph DePalma dominated the race in a Mercedes, leading 194 laps. But his car began sputtering near the finish, and a connecting rod broke loose on the back stretch with just over a lap to go. DePalma and his riding mechanic, Rupert Jeffkins, jumped out and pushed the car across the start-finish line, but Joe Dawson roared past to complete the final lap and win the race.

NOTABLE: Eddie Rickenbacker makes his Indy 500 debut. He is better remembered as a World War I flying ace who earned the Medal of Honor, Croix de Guerre and seven Distinguished Service Crosses. Rickenbacker later bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ran it for a long period before selling it to the Hulman family, and spent many years leading Eastern Air Lines.

RACE: Third Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1913

WINNER: Jules Goux, Peugeot

AVERAGE SPEED: 75.933 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Europeans made their first mark at the Indianapolis 500 when French-born Jules Goux drove a Peugeot to the front of the race. After dueling with American driver Bob Evans, Goux dominated the remainder of the race to become the first foreign-born winner. Another Frenchman, Albert Guyot, was fourth and German-born Theodore Pilette was fifth.

NOTABLE: The third edition may best be remembered for local boy Charlie Merz, whose car caught fire on Lap 199. Rules at the time dictated that drivers had to finish the race to collect their prize money, so Merz drove his flaming Stutz the final lap with his riding mechanic trying out the fire. He wound up finishing third.

RACE: Fourth Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1914

WINNER: Rene Thomas, Louis Delage Company

AVERAGE SPEED: 82.474 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Europeans dominate the race for the second year in a row with Rene Thomas in a Delage finishing first. Fellow Frenchman Albert Guyot was third in another Delage, while Peugot cars driven by Arthur Duray and Jules Goux rounded out the top four. Barney Oldfield in an Indianapolis-built Stutz was far behind in fifth.

NOTABLE: A French luxury automobile company, Delage would be sold to Delahaye in 1935 and continue to build cars until the 1950s. But despite innovative engineering and designs along with a successful racing pedigree, the manufacturer never won another Indy 500.

RACE: Fifth Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1915

WINNER: Ralph DePalma, E.C. Patterson

AVERAGE SPEED: 84.001 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Italian-born Ralph DePalma, who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, finally wins the Indy 500. DePalma had dominated the second edition of the race before a mechanical problem in his Mercedes brought his car to a halt two laps from the finish. Britain’s Dario Resta was second and Norway’s Gil Andersen was third.

NOTABLE: Louis Chevrolet makes the first of his four Indy 500 appearances. While he would never finish better than seventh, his name remains a part of Brickyard lore. He co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and the manufacturer continues to build cars for the Indy 500 to this day as part of General Motors.

RACE: Sixth Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1916

WINNER: Dario Resta, Peugeot Auto Racing Company

AVERAGE SPEED: 84.001 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Organizers shortened the race to 300 miles, hoping to make it more appealing to fans. World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker led early before eventual winner Dario Resta took the lead. There were only 21 cars in the field in part because of the impending war, the smallest field in Indy 500 history

NOTABLE: The race was supposed to be 500 miles the following year, but the outbreak of war in Europe halted the Indy 500. For the next two years, the speedway became a landing strip and maintenance station for the military and a testing ground for experimental aircraft.

RACE: Seventh Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1919

WINNER: Howdy Wilcox, IMS Corporation

AVERAGE SPEED: 88.050 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: The Indy 500 returned after a two-year hiatus for World War I, and 1915 winner Ralph DePalma dominated early. Two fatal accidents marred the middle portion of the race, the first killing driver Arthur Thurman and the second trapping driver Louis LeCocq and riding mechanic Robert Bandini under their car – both were doused in fuel and burned to death. Howdy Wilcox took the lead on Lap 103 and led the rest of the way to victory.

NOTABLE: Wilcox was born in nearby Crawfordsville, Indiana. According to lore, a band began playing “Back Home Again in Indiana” to honor their favorite son late in the race. The tune would become a part of the Indy 500 pre-race pageantry.

RACE: Eighth Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1920

WINNER: Gaston Chevrolet, William Small Company

AVERAGE SPEED: 88.618 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Fuel strategy becomes a part of Indy 500 history – sort of. Ralph DePalma, the winner in 1915, led until his car stalled on Lap 187, allowing Gaston Chevrolet to take the lead. He ran out of fuel about three laps from the finish, but was able to coast into the pits for what these days would be called a “splash-and-go” stop. Chevrolet held on to win the race.

NOTABLE: Gaston Chevrolet was the younger brother of Louis Chevrolet, the co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Co. Gaston was killed six months after his Indy 500 victory when he crashed his Frontenac during a race at Beverly Hills Speedway in California.

RACE: Ninth Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1921

WINNER: Tommy Milton, Louis Chevrolet

AVERAGE SPEED: 88.621 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: American driver Tommy Milton won the first of his two Indy 500s, taking advantage of a mechanical breakdown in Ralph DePalma’s car midway through the race. DePalma would retire afterward with one victory and 612 laps led, a record that would stand until Al Unser Sr. tied it in 1987.

NOTABLE: For the first time, cars lined up in rows of three, creating the now-familiar Indy 500 starting grid. But whereas the modern race includes 33 entries, there were just 23 for the 1921 running. Eight of them would complete the 200-lap race with Americans sweeping the top five spots.

RACE: 10th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1922

WINNER: Jimmy Murphy

AVERAGE SPEED: 94.484 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: The winner of the French Grand Prix the previous year, San Francisco-born Jimmy Murphy makes it back-to-back American triumphs in the Indy 500. It was the first victory for Duesenberg, which would provide the cars for three of the next five champions. The manufacturer, which was based in Indianapolis for a time, would fold in 1937.

NOTABLE: Murphy was the first driver to win from the pole position. There have been 20 such winners in Indy 500 history, the most recent being Helio Castroneves in 2009 and Scott Dixon the year before.

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).