Top 10 Indy 500s, No. 4: A.J. Foyt goes ‘fourth’ in historic 1977 race

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(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 will run through the 107th Indianapolis 500.)

A.J. Foyt began one of sports’ most exclusive clubs when he became the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, 10 years after he’d won his third ‘500’ in 1967.

Only three other drivers since have joined Foyt in the four-time winners club: The late Al Unser, Rick Mears, and Helio Castroneves, who became the most recent addition in 2021.

Foyt didn’t earn his fourth Indy victory with a dominant drive. In fact, he had to overcome his car running out of fuel early in the race just to be in contention toward the end.

INDY 500 PRIMERQuestions and answers for the world’s biggest race

Gordon Johncock was instead the pace-setter for much of the afternoon. Johncock led five times for a race-high 129 laps, which included an uninterrupted stretch of 83 laps at the front (Lap 97-179).

Johncock was leading Foyt after they both made their final pit stops with around 20 laps to go. But on Lap 184 of 200, Johncock’s car suddenly went up in smoke on the front stretch.

A mechanical failure – specifically, a broken crankshaft – had ended the hopes of Johncock, who pulled his car off track in Turn 1. Johncock then climbed out, walked to an infield creek, and jumped in to cool off on the hot, humid day.

Foyt, who inherited the lead after Johncock’s misfortune, went on to a comfortable win.

Along with Foyt’s victory, the 1977 race also has multiple surrounding stories that help make it one of the most historically significant races at Indy.

Pole Day saw Tom Sneva become the first driver to officially break the 200 miles per hour speed barrier at Indy. The first two laps in his four-lap qualifying run were both north of 200 mph, and though his final two laps were slower, he still managed to win the pole position (four-lap average: 198.884 mph).

On the final day of time trials for the 1977 Indy 500, Janet Guthrie became the first woman to qualify for the ‘500’ (four-lap average: 188.403 mph). Guthrie also set a women’s closed-course speed record during her run, but per the Associated Press’ report, she preferred to focus on “ultimate” records, saying: “My folks brought me up not to think women can’t do things because they are women.” Race Day was not as good for Guthrie, who finished 29th and only ran 27 laps due to recurring mechanical problems with her car.

The Speedway’s venerable radio network was without its longtime chief announcer, Sid Collins, who took his life just weeks before the race after he was diagnosed with ALS. His colleague and friend, Paul Page, inherited Collins’ mantle as the ‘Voice of the 500.’

Finally, Speedway owner Tony Hulman made what proved to be his final appearance at the “500.” After Foyt had won the race, Hulman joined him in the pace car for a ride around the track to salute the fans. That October, Hulman passed away at the age of 76.

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

Here’s a look at No. 4 on the list:

Year: 1977

Winner: A.J. Foyt

Margin of victory: 28.63 seconds

Lead changes: 13 among seven drivers

Cautions: Five for 22 laps

Other contenders: While not as strong as Johncock and Foyt were, Tom Sneva (finished second) and Al Unser (finished third) were among their closest pursuers during the race. Unser led the race’s first 17 laps.

Winning move: Foyt passed Johncock for the lead and the win when Johncock’s car suffered its terminal issue on Lap 184.

How the voters saw it: Of the voters who had the 1977 Indy 500 in their top 10, 77 percent scored it at 80 or higher (out of a possible 100).

Motocross 2023: Results and points after SuperMotocross Round 18 at Hangtown


For the second consecutive week, Jett Lawrence had perfect results in the Pro Motocross round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California with a pair of moto wins and the overall victory, only this time he didn’t have Chase Sexton, who sat out the round with a concussion, to keep him honest in the second race.

Jett Lawrence’s performance in the first two Motocross rounds has him thinking of a rookie championship. – Align Media

Lawrence led all 16 laps of both races after taking the holeshot in the second moto and grabbing the lead from Dylan Ferrandis in Turn 2 of Moto 1. Lawrence claimed a four-second lead in Moto 1 and five seconds in Moto 2, but as dominant as it seems on paper, there were some exciting moments during the weekend. In the second race, Lawrence wanted to build an advantage that would allow him to maintain his pace and he nearly high-sided a couple of times in heavy ruts.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Results; Click here for 250 Results

In his second race back from a concussion, Ferrandis finished in the runner-up spot with a second in Moto 1 and a third in Moto 2. While his finish of second overall goes into the record books, Pro Motocross points are rewarded for each individual race and that meant Ferrandis lost eight points in championship battle to Lawrence. With Sexton failing to mount up for the race, Ferrandis advanced to second in the standings with an 18-point gap to Lawrence. Equally important, Ferrandis gained ground in the SuperMotocross World Championship (WSX) points and now has a gap of 44 over 21st-place Justin Starling.

Cooper Webb is also in his second round since returning from a Supercross injury suffered in Nashville at the end of their season. Claiming results of fourth and second in the two races, Webb earned 40 SuperMotocross points at Hangtown and closed in on Sexton in the WSX battle. Sexton entered Hangtown with a large enough lead that he could not be overtaken, but he is now only 38 points up and could face a difficult decision next week at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado if he wants to hold onto his lead.

Moto 1 Results | Lap Chart | Fastest Segment Laps | Moto 2 Results | Lap Chart | Fastest Segment Laps | Consolation Race

Aaron Plessinger had an adventurous weekend in which he seemed to close on Lawrence in his second race before crashing and dropping to fourth. Coupled with a fifth-place finish in Moto 1, he earned 35 points and was credited with fourth overall.

Cashing in on confidence he gained in the final rounds of the Supercross season, Adam Cianciarulo earned his first top-five of the Pro Motocross championship after narrowly missing out last week with a sixth. He earned the distinction with consistent results of fifth in Moto 1 and fourth in Moto 2.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Hunter Lawrence showed his back to the competition at Hangtown, just as he did the week prior at Fox Raceway. – Align Media

The Lawrence brothers made history last week as the first siblings to win in two Pro Motocross divisions on the same day. Fans should get accustomed to seeing this happen with some regularity as Hunter Lawrence posted identical results in Hangtown to those he had at Fox Raceway in the season opener.

In both races, Lawrence got off to a slow start in Moto 1 and had to claw his way back to the podium. He dominated Moto 2 in both rounds to earn the overall victories.

Justin Cooper did not allow Lawrence to gain much of an advantage in the Motocross points’ standings, however. Finishing second in both motos, the earned only one point less than Lawrence. His modest showing in Round 1 of the outdoor season has him 12 points out of first in the championship standings.

Moto 1 Results | Lap Chart | Fastest Segment Laps | Moto 2 Results | Lap Chart | Fastest Segment Laps | Consolation Race

Haiden Deegan scored his first moto win in just his fourth start in the series. In the first race of the day, he had to withstand constant pressure from Cooper, but when his teammate closed in on him, Deegan reached down and found a little more speed. Now that he’s won one of these races, he has his sight set on challenging Lawrence for the title. Deegan is second in the Pro Motocross championship standings with a 10-point deficit to the leader.

Haiden Deegan scored podiums in both Motocross rounds of 2023. – Align Media

Tom Vialle tied his career-best finish of fourth overall with a seventh-place finish in Moto 1 and a third in Moto 2. Vialle was fourth last week in overall ranking and has one fourth-place finish in the Supercross series that came in the Triple Crown format at Arlington.

Click here for 250 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

RJ Hampshire rounded out the top five with a pair of fifth-place results and 32 points for the round. Even though the deficit is a whopping 61 points, Hampshire climbed to second in the SuperMotocross championship standings now that Jett Lawrence has moved to the big bikes.

Jalek Swoll struggled last week and finished 21st overall at Fox Raceway. This week, he finished on the cusp of 10th in both races with a ninth in Moto 1 and 11th in Moto 2. In the SuperMotocross standings, he has a lot of ground to make up. He currently sits 49th on the chart with a 70-point gap to Chance Hymas, who is on the bubble to earn a guaranteed position in the SMX Mains for the three playoff races that will be held on September.

2023 Motocross Results

Round 1: Jett Lawrence, Hunter Lawrence win

2023 Supercross Results

Round 17: Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence win
Round 16: Chase Sexton, RJ Hampshire win
Round 15: Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 14: Justin Barcia, Max Anstie win
Round 13: Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 12: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Eli Tomac, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 18: Jett Lawrence rockets to the top
Week 16: Chase Sexton takes SX title
Week 15: Eli Tomac is back on top
Week 14: Justin Barcia, most of top 20, hold steady
Week 13: Barcia leapfrogs the Big Three
Week 12: Eli Tomac gains momentum
Week 11: Cooper Webb, Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
Week 10: Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Sexton unseats Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s