Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, Runnings 51-60

Donohue and Penske in 1972. 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 51-60, from 1967 through 1976.

Past pieces:

RACE: 51st Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30-31, 1967

WINNER: A.J. Foyt

AVERAGE SPEED: 151.207 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: It took two days to run the race after rain halted it 18 laps into its start on a Tuesday. The race resumed on Wednesday, with Foyt winning for the third time after Parnelli Jones, driving for Andy Granatelli, led 171 laps before a $6 ball bearing led to a broken transmission on lap 196.

NOTABLE: Mario Andretti won the pole and set single lap (169.779 mph) and four-lap track records (168.982 mph).

RACE: 52nd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1968

WINNER: Bobby Unser

AVERAGE SPEED: 152.882 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Unser won the first of his three Indy 500s when he inherited the lead just eight laps from the finish when Joe Leonard’s engine expired.

NOTABLE: Pratt & Whitney’s turbine engine – the “Wedge Turbine” – was used in the Lotus 56 entries. Mike Spence was killed in a May 7 practice session when a tire broke off his Wedge Turbine and struck him in the head.

RACE: 53rd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1969

WINNER: Mario Andretti

AVERAGE SPEED: 156.867 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Andretti led the final 194 laps to earn the only Indianapolis 500 for the Andretti family, a drought known today as “The Andretti Curse.”

NOTABLE: Al Unser Sr. crashed his motorcycle in the infield the night before qualifications. He missed the race with a broken leg.

RACE: 54th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1970

WINNER: Al Unser Sr.

AVERAGE SPEED: 155.749 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Unser dominated the race and led 190 laps from the pole to join older brother, Bobby, as the first pair of brothers to win the 500. The victory also made Parnelli Jones the second competitor to win the race as a driver (1963) and as a car owner.

NOTABLE: The prize fund topped $1 million for the first time in history (by $2). Unser was the final driver to celebrate in victory lane at the south end of the pits. Victory lane was relocated the next year.

RACE: 55th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 29, 1971

WINNER: Al Unser Sr.

AVERAGE SPEED: 157.735 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Unser won for the second consecutive year and became the only driver to win on his birthday. He was the first winner to celebrate in the relocated victory lane, which now sported black-and-white checkered ramps and was in the “horseshoe” area near the start/finish line.

NOTABLE: An Indianapolis-area car dealer was the driver of the pace car, but he lost control of the Dodge Challenger at the south end of the pits at the start of the race. The car crashed into a photographers’ stand, injuring 29 people.

RACE: 56th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 27, 1972

WINNER: Mark Donohue

AVERAGE SPEED: 162.962 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Gary Bettenhausen led 138 laps until his car suffered ignition trouble. His teammate, Donohue, led only the last 13 laps to win the first of team owner Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 victories.

NOTABLE: Tony Hulman asked Jim Nabors to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” during the pre-race ceremonies, and Nabors did so without rehearsal, beginning a 36-year tradition with Nabors performing nearly every year from 1972 to 2014. The 1972 race also was the first since 1962 to have an all-American lineup.

RACE: 57th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 28-29-30, 1973

WINNER: Gordon Johncock

AVERAGE SPEED: 159.036 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: An 11-car accident at the start left Salt Wather critically injured and caused lengthy track repairs. Rain then halted the event for the next two days. The race, run on Wednesday, was won by Johncock because he was the leader when rain resumed again after 133 laps. The race was marred by two deaths and when it stopped, only 11 cars were still on the track in what’s considered one of the worst Indy 500s in history.

NOTABLE: Art Pollard was killed during a practice session on pole day, and Wednesday’s race was plagued by two fatalities: driver Swede Savage and pit crew member Armando Teran.

RACE: 58th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 26, 1974

WINNER: Johnny Rutherford

AVERAGE SPEED: 158.589 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Rutherford won from the 25th starting position, the farthest back for any victor since Louis Meyer in 1936. Safety improvements following the 1973 debacle led to a clean 500-mile race, and A.J. Foyt set the all-time starts mark at 17. He went on to start 35 Indy 500s.

NOTABLE: The race was held on a Sunday for the first time in history, ending the “never on a Sunday” policy that held from 1911-73. It was also the earliest calendar date that the race had ever been held.

RACE: 59th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 25, 1975

WINNER: Bobby Unser

AVERAGE SPEED: 149.213 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Unser was leading when a heavy downpour ended the race 26 laps shy of the finish. It was Dan Gurney’s only Indy 500 victory as an owner.

NOTABLE: The Hulman family celebrated 30 years of ownership of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on race day. Tom Sneva walked away with only minor injuries after a crash sent his car into the catchfence and left him trapped in the cockpit during a flash fire.

RACE: 60th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1976

WINNER: Johnny Rutherford

AVERAGE SPEED: 188.957 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Pole-sitter Rutherford won his second Indy 500. He was the leader when rain stopped the race at lap 103. After a two-hour delay, it began to rain again and the race was called. Rutherford walked to victory lane and is credited with completing the shortest Indy 500 on record at just 255 miles.

NOTABLE: Janet Guthrie became the first female driver to enter the Indianapolis 500. Mechanical and engine problems during the month left her unable to make an attempt to qualify. Hours after the race, former driver Elmer George, the husband of Mari Hulman George, was shot and killed during a confrontation. The race was also the final Indy 500 for longtime radio anchor Sid Collins.

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told NBCSports.com.

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”


Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.


Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500