Top 10 Indy 500s, No. 10: A.J. Foyt wins after Andy Granatelli’s famous turbine car fails


(Editor’s note: NBC Sports has selected the Top 10 Indy 500s of All-Time through an esteemed panel of former drivers, broadcasters, journalists and historians. The countdown begins today and will run through the 107th Indianapolis 500.)

The 1967 Indianapolis 500 was worth waiting for – and not just because the race resumed the day after its original date when rain halted the action through 18 laps.

The delay only heightened the anticipation about whether Andy Granatelli’s famed turbine car could stomp the field as an engineering marvel in a race known for its innovation and technology.

With an aircraft design and side-mounted engine, the No. 40 Granatelli-Turbine driven by Parnelli Jones was the talk of May 1967 at IMS.

INDY 500 PRIMER: Questions and answers for the world’s biggest race

“Full marks to Andy for doing it,” said 1966 Indy 500 winner and two-time Formula One champion Graham Hill. “It’s a hell of a gamble, and it’s paid off, and he deserves every credit. I’m only sorry I didn’t think of it first.

A.J. Foyt estimated that his No. 14 Coyote-Ford had half the horsepower of Granatelli’s engine – but “Super Tex” also presciently predicted Jones’ gearbox would break.

After qualifying sixth, Jones whipped into the lead past pole-sitter Mario Andretti on the first lap.

Over the next two days, Jones led 171 of the first 196 laps – until his car fatefully began slowing on the backstretch during Lap 197.

“It was like all of a sudden you took it out of gear, and that was it,” Jones said. “It was sickening.”

The culprit was a $6 ball bearing in the gearbox that Granatelli had worried would fail because of its size.

Foyt inherited the lead, but there was more drama ahead. A four-car accident unfolded off Turn 4 on his final lap, but he drove through it for the third of his four Indy 500 wins (and becoming the race’s fourth three-time winner).

“I made a couple of zig-zags and lost them in the smoke,” said Foyt, who delivered the first win for Goodyear tires since 1919. “I dropped to second gear and said, ‘Whoever I hit, I’m going to hit them hard enough that I drive past the start-finish line.’ I couldn’t believe when I came out of the cloud of smoke, there was nobody sitting there.”

Jones, who won Indy in 1963, never raced at the Brickyard again. After being crashed in practice before the 1968 Indy 500, the No. 40 spent time on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

NBC Sports has ranked the Top 10 Indy 500s through a panel that judged through scores of 1-20 in five categories (with a total of 100 being perfect): quality of racing, memorable moments, strength of competition, historical impact and spectacle.

Here’s a look at No. 10 on the list:

Year: 1967

Winner: A.J. Foyt

Margin of victory: Two laps

Lead changes: Eight among three drivers

Cautions: Ten

Other contenders: Aside from Foyt (who led 27 laps) and Parnelli Jones (171), Dan Gurney was the only other leader, pacing two laps before retiring in 21st with a failed piston. … The race is regarded to have one of the strongest fields in Indy 500 history with nine former or eventual Indy 500 winners and six former or eventual F1 champions. It also included three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Cale Yarborough (who placed 17th) and 14-time Cup winner LeeRoy Yarbrough (27th).

Winning move: Foyt took first when Parnelli Jones’ dominant car broke with three laps remaining.

How the voters saw it: Two ballots gave the 1967 Indy 500 its high score of 94, which vaulted the race into 10th place.

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.