With the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 now almost here, NBC Sports recently reached out to several Indy 500 winning drivers and owners, to hear their thoughts on what makes the race such a special event. Click the links below to see what each Indy 500 legend had to say:
For Mario Andretti, winning the Indianapolis 500 was the realization of a 13-year-old boy’s dream. He lauded the tradition of the race that other major sports events just can’t match.
Five-time Indy 500 winning owner Michael Andretti shared with NBC Sports his first memories of the race from 1969 when his father won and described IMS as “sacred ground” where finishing first is what everyone dreams about.
Roger Penske remembered his first Indy 500 victory as a “game-changer” for his racing team, and the 17-time winning owner calls Indianapolis Motor Speedway the “foundation of all racing.”
“If these bricks could talk, you wouldn’t believe what they’d say,” Bobby Unser, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion and the second-oldest man ever to win the Indy 500, said.
Three-time Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti explained to NBC Sports why The Brickyard means so much and touched on the family ties that bind Indianapolis Motor Speedway year after year.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears said that his success at IMS surpassed his wildest dreams, and that he didn’t understand what it meant initially to win the “Super Bowl” of IndyCar.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Johnny Rutherford explained to NBC Sports why Indianapolis Motor Speedway is “just the place to be” every Memorial Day weekend.
Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones explained why that fateful day in 1963 was “the greatest thing [he] could do” and that he’ll “never have a better day than the day [he] pulled into victory lane.”
Coverage of the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 begins Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN, then moves over to NBC at 11:00 a.m. ET.