Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, Runnings 81-90

Hornish beat Andretti in 2006. Photo: Getty Images
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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 81-90, from 1997 through 2006.

Past pieces:

RACE: 81st Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 25-26-27, 1997

WINNER: Arie Luyendyk

AVERAGE SPEED: 145.827 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Rain washed out the day the race was scheduled to begin, and then stopped the race after 15 laps on Monday. The race resumed Tuesday and pole-sitter Luyendyk led teammate Scott Goodyear when a caution came out on lap 199. Teams expected the race to finish under caution, but the pace car did not come out and instead the green and white flags were displayed at the starter’s stand on the final lap. The track was back to green and the drivers were not prepared for the restart. The officials’ poor handling of the situation led to USAC being removed less than a month later as the sanctioning body of the IRL and Indy 500 in favor of in-house officiating.

NOTABLE: A controversy during qualifying saw two additional cars added to the field after the close of time trials. It was only the second time since 1933 that more than the traditional 33 cars comprised the starting grid. The win by Luyendyk was his second and 50th for Firestone. It was Goodyear’s second runner-up finish. Two weeks after the race, USAC’s officiating hit its breaking point when a malfunction in the electronic scoring system scored Billy Boat as the winner at Texas. Luyendyk stormed victory lane to argue he was robbed of the victory, and Boat car owner A.J. Foyt punched Luyendyk and wrestled him to the ground. The scoring error was caught the next day and USAC was out two weeks later.

RACE: 82nd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 24, 1998

WINNER: Eddie Cheever

AVERAGE SPEED: 145.155 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Former Formula One driver Eddie Cheever won in the first Indy 500 sanctioned by the Indy Racing League. On a restart with five laps to go, Cheever was chased by Buddy Lazier but held off the challenge and won by 3.19 seconds. Steve Knapp was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap and was named rookie of the year. Billy Boat started from the pole in a car fielded by A.J. Foyt, the first Foyt pole at Indy since 1975.

NOTABLE: A rule change allowed cars to return to the garage area to make repairs and re-enter the race; until then, repairs were required to be made in the pit area. Before this year, any car that crossed the entrance to Gasoline Alley was ruled out of the race, as was any stalled car towed to the garage area through escape roads in the infield. The change was made at the request of teams, which argued repairs in the garage were safer and was a fair way to allow more cars to finish the race. The rule prohibited cars from returning to race after the leader had completed 190 laps. The 82nd running also ushered in a compacted two-week schedule, which cut an entire week of practice and qualifying from four days to two.

RACE: 83rd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1999

WINNER: Kenny Brack

AVERAGE SPEED: 153.176 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Brack won when leader Robby Gordon ran out of fuel within sight of the white flag. Brack took the lead with just over one lap to go and won for car owner A. J. Foyt, a four-time winner as a driver. It was also one of the most successful races for A. J. Foyt Enterprises, as Brack won, Billy Boat was third and Robbie Buhl was sixth.

NOTABLE: Two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk entered the race and planned to retire at the end of the event. He won the pole and led 63 laps but crashed while trying to pass a back-marker. Luyendyk returned to Indy in 2001. It was the 29th and final Indy 500 victory for Goodyear tires. Tony Stewart became the third driver to race the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600. Stewart had moved full-time to NASCAR in 1999 and entered Indy with sponsorship from partner Home Depot and support from car owner Joe Gibbs. Stewart, like John Andretti and Robby Gordon before him, failed to complete the full 1,100 miles of the double.

RACE: 84th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 28, 2000

WINNER: Juan Pablo Montoya

AVERAGE SPEED: 167.607 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Chip Ganassi became the first CART owner to cross the picket line and return to the Indianapolis 500 after a four-year absence of marquee teams and drivers. Ganassi fielded cars for Jimmy Vasser and Montoya, who led 167 laps and became the first rookie to go to victory lane since Graham Hill in 1966. Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. also returned to the race as a full-time Indy Racing League driver.

NOTABLE: The race was the first to feature two female drivers, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. The start of the race was delayed over three hours due to rain, Montoya became the fourth winner to complete the race in under three hours, and the sky opened again seven minutes after he took the checkered flag. Montoya left for Formula One at the end of the season.

RACE: 85th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 27, 2001

WINNER: Helio Castroneves

AVERAGE SPEED: 141.574 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Roger Penske returned to the Indy 500 after five years on the sidelines during the CART and Indy Racing League split. His two-car effort of Castroneves and Gil de Ferran gave Penske his 11th win in the race and first 1-2 finish. It was redemption from Penske’s previous attempt at Indy in 1995 when all of his cars failed to qualify. Although the open wheel split continued, many top CART teams returned to the Indy 500 and swept the top six spots on race day.

NOTABLE: The tobacco industry settlement created a sponsorship problem for Penske, which was funded by Marlboro full-time in CART. The settlement allowed brand sponsorship in only one sport per season, so CART sanctioned the participation of its teams in the Indy 500. Penske cars practiced and qualified with Marlboro logos during the first week of activity, but the state attorney general’s office objected and the cars had to remove the signage. Tony Stewart attempted the Indy/Charlotte double for the second time in his career and returned much fitter than his previous attempt. Stewart finished sixth at Indy on the lead lap, then made it to Charlotte and finished third to become the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles. Stewart promptly called his critics “idiots” for questioning his ability to do the double.

RACE: 86th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 26, 2002

WINNER: Helio Castroneves

AVERAGE SPEED: 166.499 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Castroneves became the fifth driver in Indy 500 history to win in consecutive years, but it is considered one of the most controversial finishes. Paul Tracy attempted to pass Castroneves for the lead on lap 199 at the same time as a crash on another part of the track brought out the caution flag. Officials ruled the yellow came out before Tracy completed the pass. Tracy’s team filed an official protest, but after an appeals hearing Castroneves’ victory was upheld in July.

NOTABLE: Tomas Scheckter led 85 laps and appeared on his way to a possible victory, which would have marked the third consecutive year an Indy rookie won the race. But he crashed while leading with 27 laps to go. Some 7.5 inches of rain in May heavily disrupted the schedule until race day.

RACE: 87th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 25, 2003

WINNER: Gil de Ferran

AVERAGE SPEED: 156.291 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Helio Castroneves seemed poised to become the first driver to win three in a row, but he was passed by Team Penske teammate de Ferran with 31 laps remaining. The Penske drivers finished 1-2 for the second time in three years. Both Toyota and Honda entered the field, but because of cost issues there were fears there would not be 33 cars in the field. The field was filled on the final day of qualifying.

NOTABLE: For the first time since 1970, the race was not announced as a sellout. Former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton were in attendance, the first time in Indy history two former presidents were at the race. A. J. Foyt IV became the youngest driver to compete in the race, which was held on his 19th birthday. Robby Gordon replaced Dario Franchitti in the race after Franchitti was injured in a motorcycle accident. Gordon attempted the Indy/Charlotte double for the second time in his career, but was stymied by a broken gearbox on lap 172. Mario Andretti got back into a car at age 63 after Tony Kanaan broke his arm in April. There was talk of Andretti qualifying for the 500 as he hit 223 mph. But with two minutes left in the session, Andretti hit debris on the track and his car went airborne in a spectacular crash. Andretti was not injured and initially shrugged off the incident, but a day later he admitted he thought as his car was flipping through the air, “`What the hell am I doing here?”

RACE: 88th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 2004

WINNER: Buddy Rice

AVERAGE SPEED: 138.518 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Rain. Lots of it. The race began two hours late because of rain, then was stopped for another two hours after 27 laps. Rain threatened again the rest of the race, and Buddy Rice was in the lead when a final thunderstorm rolled over the speedway. He was declared the victor for team owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman. Future winners Tony Kanaan finished second and Dan Wheldon finished third.

NOTABLE: Rice won the pole position, his team won the pit-stop challenge and he ultimately led the most laps in a clean sweep of May. Tony Stewart flirted with trying to qualify for team owner A.J. Foyt but ultimately did not. Bruno Junqueira was leading the race entering the final round of pit stops, when Rice regained the lead, and wound up fifth. The thunderstorm that ended the race developed into an F2 tornado that missed the speedway by about 6 miles and caused widespread damage.

RACE: 89th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 29, 2005

WINNER: Dan Wheldon

AVERAGE SPEED: 157.603 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Dan Wheldon became the first Briton to win at the Brickyard since Graham Hill in 1966, but it was Danica Patrick who stole the headlines. She took the lead on a restart with 10 laps to go, the first woman to lead the Indy 500. And while Wheldon passed her for the lead three laps later, she still wound up finishing fourth behind Vitor Meira and Bryan Herta when the race ended under caution.

NOTABLE: Wheldon won six times to capture the series title, while Patrick became the most famous woman in motorsports. She appeared on morning talk shows and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, prompting Wheldon to jokingly wear a T-shirt that read, “I actually won the Indy 500.” The broadcast crew was heavily criticized for focusing too much on Patrick, but it was the highest-rated race in a decade.

RACE: 90th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 29, 2006

WINNER: Sam Hornish Jr.

AVERAGE SPEED: 157.085 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: One of the most dramatic endings in Indy 500 history brought more ammunition for those believe in the “Andretti Curse.” Defending champion Dan Wheldon dominated much of the race, but it was Marco Andretti who passed his father Michael for the lead with three laps remaining. Michael Andretti tried to hold off a charge by Hornish, the pole sitter, but he made the pass with two laps to go. Hornish gave chase and passed Marco Andretti, 450 yards from the finish line in what was the second-closest finish in history. Michael Andretti wound up third.

NOTABLE: Track announcer Tom Carnegie retired after 61 years, making the dramatic final lap his final call. Honda supplied all the engines for the field and proudly proclaimed not a single problem during the race. Missing from the field was Paul Dana, who was supposed to drive for Rahal Letterman Racing but was killed during a practice session in March at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage