Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, Runnings 41-50

Graham Hill won 50th running in 1966. Photo: IMS Archives
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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 31-40, from 1957 through 1966.

Past pieces:

RACE: 41st Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1957

WINNER: Sam Hanks

AVERAGE SPEED: 135.601 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Hanks won the Indy 500, then promptly retired in victory lane. Hanks is considered the only Indianapolis 500 driver who competed in the race before World War II, served in combat, then raced again in Indy after the war. He drove the pace car at Indy from 1958 to 1963.

NOTABLE: Hanks won $103,844 in prize money, the first time a winner took home a six-figure purse. The total race purse was a record $300,000.

RACE: 42nd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1958

WINNER: Jimmy Bryan

AVERAGE SPEED: 133.791 mph

WHAT HAPPENNED: Bryan, who would later die from injuries in a champ car race, won a race marred by a multi-car pileup that killed Pat O’Connor. Bryan won in the same car used by 1957 winner Sam Hanks. The 29-year-old O’Connor was killed in an accident on the first lap of the race. His car overturned and burst into flames.

NOTABLE: The 1958 race marked the debut of four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt. He finished 16th after his car spun on an oil slick and he completed 148 of the 200 laps.

RACE: 43rd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1959

WINNER: Rodger Ward

AVERAGE SPEED: 135.857 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Ward won the first of his two career Indy 500s in perhaps the most competitive race at the point. Indy had a record 16 cars complete all 200 miles. Ward would later call Indy car races in the late 1960s.

NOTABLE: At this point in Indy’s history, death on the track was still a regular occurrence and 1959 was no exception. Driver Jerry Unser and Bob Cortner were both killed in accidents leading up to the race.

RACE: 44th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1960

WINNER: Jim Rathmann

AVERAGE SPEED: 138.767 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Widely considered one of the greatest finishes in Indy 500 history, Rathmann and Roger Ward were entwined in a two-car duel to the finish. There were a record 29 lead changes and Rathman finally took the lead with three laps left once Ward was forced to slow down because of tire issues. Rathmann topped Ward by just 12.75 seconds, then the second-closest finish in Indy history.

NOTABLE: Tragedy struck again, but in the stands, not on the track when a privately owned temporary scaffold collapsed, killing two people and injuring at least 82. The homemade scaffold tipped over under the weight of about 100 fans who had paid $5 to $10 a seat in the infield of the speedway’s northeast turn.

RACE: 45th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1961

WINNER: A. J. Foyt

AVERAGE SPEED: 139.130 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Foyt, one of the greatest drivers in history, breaks through and wins the first of his four Indianapolis 500s. He took the lead with four laps left and nipped Eddie Sachs by just 8.28 seconds. Foyt won the last race with exposed brick as the entire Indianapolis Motor Speedway surface was paved in asphalt, with just a single yard of bricks at the start/finish line left exposed – the same as it is today.

NOTABLE: Tony Bettenhausen Sr. was killed in a crash during practice in early May. Also, track worker John Masariu of the fire/safety crew was killed following a wreck on the track.

RACE: 46th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1962

WINNER: Rodger Ward

AVERAGE SPEED: 140.293 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Ward won his second Indy 500 to pair with his 1959 triumph. He led the final 31 laps and made it a 1-2 finish with Leader Cards teammate Len Sutton. The sweep marked the first one since Blue Crown went back-to-back in 1947 and 1948. Parnelli Jones started on the pole and led 120 laps before he faded to seventh.

NOTABLE: Jones became the first driver to top 150 mph when he hit 150.729 on his pole day run. He averaged 150.370 mph over his four laps and broke the 150 mark in each one.

RACE: 47th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1963

WINNER: Parnelli Jones

AVERAGE SPEED: 143.137 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Jones won the pole for the second straight year and his speed of 151.150 mph set the track record. Jones’ win came with some controversy because he was not black-flagged when his car started spewing oil and mucked up the track for several laps. The oil was believed responsible for at least one crash.

NOTABLE: NASCAR driver Junior Johnson failed to qualify for the race. Jim Clark and Dan Gurney were the final two cars in Indy history to use carburetors – though one of Indy’s biggest events, “Carb Day,” remains. All cars to this day use fuel injection.

RACE: 48th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1964

WINNER: A. J. Foyt

AVERAGE SPEED: 147.350 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Foyt won the second of his four Indy 500s. Here’s something that would never happen today – Foyt raced all 500 miles on the same tires. His car was never restored to pre-race condition and remains in the collection of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum. Defending champion Parnelli Jones dropped out of the race after a fire on pit road and finished 23rd.

NOTABLE: Drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald were killed in a fiery crash on just the second lap. Sachs was killed instantly. MacDonald was alive and taken to the infield care center. He later died at a hospital.

RACE: 49th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1965

WINNER: Jim Clark

AVERAGE SPEED: 150.686 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: British driver Jim Clark started from the front row and led the most laps (190) since Bill Vukovich led 195 in 1953. Clark became the first driver to win the Indy 500 and Formula One World Championship in the same year. Mario Andretti, the 1969 winner, made his debut in the race. Cursed? Nope, he finished third.

NOTABLE: The race aired on ABC Sports for the first time under the “Wide World of Sports” banner.

RACE: 50th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1966

WINNER: Graham Hill

AVERAGE SPEED: 144.317 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: The milestone 50th running was a disaster from the start when 11 of the 33 cars were eliminated in the wake of a first-lap accident on the main stretch. Only four cars finished 200 laps, led by Hill, and he became just the second rookie to win the race. There wouldn’t be another winner in his first Indy 500 until Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000.

NOTABLE: A.J. Foyt was the only driver seriously injured in the wreck and it didn’t happen behind the wheel. Long before Helio Castroneves made it an art form, Foyt hurt his hands trying to scale the fence and escape the wreck.