Crowds in 1932. Photo: IMS Archive

Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, Runnings 11-20

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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 11-20, from 1923 through 1932:

Past pieces:

RACE: 11th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1923

WINNER: Tommy Milton, HCS Motor Company

AVERAGE SPEED: 90.545 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Tommy Milton wins for the second time in three years, getting help from 1919 winner Howdy Wilcox driving a long stretch in relief. Well-known driver Tom Alley crashed early in the race, his car going through the backstretch wall and killing a spectator. Alley and two other fans were injured in the wreck.

NOTABLE: The first repeat winner of the Indy 500, Milton accomplished the feat despite only having vision in his left eye. He would spend most of his life in motor sports, and worked with the manufacturer Packard on several projects. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1962.

RACE: 12th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1924

WINNER: Lora L. Corum and Joe Boyer, Duesenberg

AVERAGE SPEED: 98.234 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Despite a history of “relief drivers” in the Indy 500, the 1924 race is the first time co-winners were crowned. In a strange game of musical chairs, Corum began the race in the No. 15 and Boyer piloted it to victory. Meanwhile, Boyer had started the race in the No. 9 before swapping out with three other drivers, Corum among them. That entry crashed near the end of the race and was credited with 18th place.

NOTABLE: Riding mechanics had been standard fare at the Indy 500 – indeed, required for many years. They were intended as a safety measure, a lookout for traffic and a repairman on the fly. They remained optional for the 1924 running, but none of the 22 entries used them.

RACE: 13th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1925

WINNER: Peter DePaolo, Duesenberg

AVERAGE SPEED: 101.127 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: DePaolo, born in Philadelphia, dominated the early portion of the race, only to jump out of the car near the midway point when his hands became badly blistered. They were bandaged at the car center and DePaolo got back into the car, rallying from fifth place for the victory. It was the first Indy 500 with an average speed over 100 mph.

NOTABLE: DePaolo never won another Indy 500, but he never strayed far from auto racing. He was a car owner for the 1935 race, which occurred the year after a wreck in Spain left him in a coma, and owned a NASCAR team in the 1950s. He also sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” prior to the 1971 edition, the only driver to have performed the race-day anthem.

RACE: 14th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1926

WINNER: Frank Lockhart, Peter Kreis

AVERAGE SPEED: 95.904 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Rain has always been the scourge of the Indy 500, but for the first time it prevented the race from going 500 miles. The first band of showers halted the 1926 race on Lap 72, and when a second rainstorm rolled through the area, the race was called after 160 laps and rookie Frank Lockhart declared the victor.

NOTABLE: Lockhart’s career was cut short when he attempted to set the land speed record two years later at Daytona Beach, Florida. Driving a car backed by the Stutz Motor Co., Lockhart made one pass at more than 203 mph before puncturing his tire on the second pass. The car tumbled out of control and Lockhart was killed when he was thrown from the car.

RACE: 15th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1927

WINNER: George Souders, William S. White

AVERAGE SPEED: 97.545 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Souders became the first driver to complete the entire 500 miles, getting no help from a riding mechanic or relief driver. The rookie did so in dominant fashion, opening an eight-lap lead over runner-up Earl Devore by the time he crossed the finish line.

NOTABLE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s first era came to an end when Carl Fisher and James Allison, two of the four original founders, sold their stake to Eddie Rickenbacker. The former driver and World War I flying ace would continue to operate the speedway until 1945, when Rickenbacker sold it to businessman Tony Hulman.

RACE: 16th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1928

WINNER: Louis Meyer, Alden Sampson II

AVERAGE SPEED: 99.482 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: A rainy morning cleared in time for the race to start on time – a first. With 19 laps to go, race leader Tony Gulotta was running at a pace that could have challenged the speed record (101.127 mph). But when Gulotta’s No. 8 car developed a small leak in the fuel tank, Louis Meyer took the lead and held on for the first of his three wins. Late showers forced the yellow flag to come out, slowing the field to prevent any chance of a record-breaking day. Meyer won with an average speed of 99.482.

NOTABLE: The 43.89-second margin of victory made it the closest race to that point. While Meyer took home $28,250, Gulotta wound up with $1,600 after sliding to 10th in the closing laps. Twelve of the 29 cars to start the race used front-wheel drives but Meyer and Gulotta used rear-wheel drives and led each of the last 51 laps.

RACE: 17th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1929

WINNER: Ray Keech, M.A. Yagle

AVERAGE SPEED: 97.585 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Ray Keech and defending champion Louis Meyer dominated the second half of the race, leading the final 95 laps. Keech took the lead for good on Lap 158 and then pulled away from Meyer to win the race by 6 minutes, 23.79 seconds. The race was marred by an early crash that killed 24-year-old Bill Spence, who was thrown from the car after hitting a wall entering the backstretch. For Keech, it was his second and final 500 start. He was killed in a race crash 16 days later at Altoona Speedway in Pennsylvania.

NOTABLE: The race was held in front of a then-record crowd of more than 160,000. Meyer’s second-place finish was the highest of any defending champion so far. Before 1929, only three Indianapolis 500s had as many as 33 starters. Since then, 33 or more cars have started every race except 1947, when there were 30.

RACE: 18th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1930

WINNER: Billy Arnold, Harry Hartz

AVERAGE SPEED: 100.448 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Billy Arnold had one of the most dominating displays in Indy history. It wasn’t just that he became the third pole winner to win. He did it in record-breaking style. After Louis Meyer passed Arnold on the first lap, Arnold retook the lead on Lap 3 and never gave it back. The 198 laps led in a single race is still an Indy record. Arnold became the first driver to win the race in less than five hours without a relief driver and the second to average more than 100 mph on race day. Harry Hartz, who started six races and finished fourth twice, finally made it to Victory Lane as Arnold’s team owner.

NOTABLE: Arnold’s winning speed of 100.448 was almost 2 1/2 mph faster than runner-up Shorty Cantlon, the second-largest disparity between first and second for a 200-lap race at Indy. The winner was rewarded with $50,300, nearly $37,000 more than Cantlon – also the biggest earnings gap between first and second. Meyer followed his 1928 win and 1929 second-place finish by coming in fourth.

RACE: 19th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1931

WINNER: Louis Schneider, B.L. Schneider

AVERAGE SPEED: 96.629 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Defending champion Billy Arnold was every bit as dominant as he was in 1930. The race’s fastest qualifier charged from the No. 18 starting spot into the lead on Lap 7, a lead he held for 155 laps until a crash on Lap 163 ended his day and led to tragedy: A bouncing tire from the car hit and killed 11-year-old Billy Brink. Schneider inherited the lead and led the rest of the race to earn his only 500 victory.

NOTABLE: Arnold led an incredible 353 out of 400 laps during a two-year run but wound up 19th in 1931, the second-worst showing of his five Indy starts. Schneider’s 43.19-second margin of victory over Fred Frame made it the closest race in history, breaking Louis Meyer’s previous mark (43.89) from 1928. Meyer finished a career worst 34th in the 40-car field. The 15 cars that finished on the lead lap also set a record.

RACE: 20th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1932

WINNER: Fred Frame, Harry Hartz

AVERAGE SPEED: 104.144 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: The hard-luck 1931 runner-up made an incredible comeback in 1932. On a day 26 of 40 cars were eliminated in crashes or as a result of mechanical failure, Frame drove his car from the No. 27 starting spot into the lead on Lap 152 and held on for the second-closest victory in race history, 43.69 seconds over rookie Howdy Wilcox II. Only two other drivers have come from that far back to win in 500 history, and Frame did it with a record average speed, too.

NOTABLE: Frame’s winning time of 4 hours, 48 minutes, 3.79 seconds was almost 10 minutes faster than Billy Arnold’s previous record for the full 500 miles. Arnold, the 1930 winner, qualified second but was knocked out in a crash after completing 59 laps and finished 31st in his final 500 start. Riding mechanic Harry Cox and driver Milton Jones were both killed from injuries sustained in crashes during practice that May.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”