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All About Motorsports writes:
"The 33 Greatest Drivers in Indianapolis 500 History"
Posted by cjs3872 on May 15, 2013
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Well, it's that time. Since it's the middle of May (can it be mid-May already?), and the Indianapolis 500 is less thn two weeks away from it's 97th running, I think it's time for me to reveal my listing o the 33 greatest drivers in Indianapolis 500 history. I will be revealing this list as a starting grid, and in true Indianapolis 500 fashion, it will be 11 rows of three. The listing will be controversial, but accomplishments wll be listed. Now, here are the 33 greatest Indianapolis 500 drivers:

ROW 1

1. Al Unser, Sr. (4-time winner, 1970-'71, '78, '87, won the pole in 1970, when he led 190 laps, 3-time runner-up, 1967, '72, '83, finished third four times, 1977, '84, '88, and '92, fourth in 1985, fifth in 1982, all-time leading lap leader with 644)
2. A.J. Foyt (the first 4-time winner, 1961, '64, '67, '77, runner-up in 1976 and '79, third in 1963, '71, and '75, 4-time pole sitter, 1965, '69, '74-'75, a record 35 consecutve starts from 1958-'92, and started on the front row in 1991 at the age of 56)
3. Rick Mears (4-time winner, 1979, '84, '88, '91, runner-up in 1982, third in 1986, won a record 6 poles, 1979, '82, '86, '88-'89, '91, and started on the front row a record 12 times)

ROW 2

4. Wilbur Shaw (3-time winner, 1937, '39-'40, the first to win back-to-back, 3-time runner-up, 1933, '35, '38, one of only two men to both win and finish second three times, and finished first or second six times in eight years)
5. Bill Vukovich, Sr. (2-time winner, 1953-'54, won the pole in 1953, led a staggering 435 laps from 1952-'54, and was killed while leading in 1955)
6. Mauri Rose (3-time winner, including a shared victory in 1941, as well as victories in 1947-'48, runner-up in 1934, third in 1940, and fourth in 1936, won the pole in 1941 in a car other than the one he shared that year's victory in)

ROW 3

7. Louis Meyer (the first 3-time winner, winning in 1928, '33, and '36, was the runner-up in 1929, and is famous for the traditions that started the year of his third victory, as he was the first to drink the milk victory lane, as well as being the first to be in victory ane with the Borg-Warner Trophy)
8. Bobby Unser (3-time winner, 1968, '75, '81, 2-time pole sitter, 1972, '81, runner-up in 1974, third in 1969, and holds the distinctions of being the first to win in three decades, as well as the only driver to finish last in his first start and first in his last start)
9. Johnny Rutherford (3-time winner, 1974, '76, '80, 3-time pole sitter, 1973, '76, '80, first man to win the race from the pole twice, runner-up in 1975)

ROW 4

10. Rodger Ward (2-time winner, 1959, '62, 2-time runner-up, 1960, '64, third in 1961, and fourth in 1963)
11. Mario Andretti (1969 winner, 3-time pole sitter, 1966-'67, '87, 2-time runner-up, 1981, '85, third in 1965, and currently is third on the all-time lap leader list with 556)
12. Parnelli Jones (1963 winner, first man to qualify at over 150 MPH in winning the pole in 1962, and won the pole agan in 1963, runner-up in 1965, and is the only driver to lead more than 400 miles in two different Indianapolis 500s, doing so in 1963 and '67)

ROW 5

13. Emerson Fittipaldi (2-time winner, 1989, '93, 1990 pole sitter, 1988 runner-up, holds the all-time record for most consecutive laps led from the start with 92 in 1990)
14. Dario Franchitti (3-time winner, 2007, '10, '12, and holds the distinction of having won the most competitve race in Indy history in 2012)
15. Helio Castroneves (3-time winner, 2001-'02, '09, only man to win in his first two Indy starts, 3-time pole sitter, was second in 2003 trying for a third consecutive win)

ROW 6

16. Gordon Johncock (2-time winner, 1973, '82, finished third in 1976 and '78, fourth in 1966, '74, and '80)
17. Al Unser, Jr. (2-time winner, 1992 and '94, when he won from the pole, runner-up in 1989, was fourth in 1991, and was the last driver to win the race in an American-built car in 1992, which was also the year that he won the race's closest finish ever)
18. Arie Luyendyk (2-time winner, 1990, '97, 2-time pole sitter, 1993, '99, finished third in 1991, holds the distinction of holding the one and four-lap qualifying records, and the 500-mile race record)

ROW 7

19. Michael Andretti (probably the greatest Indy driver never to win, finished in each of the other postions in the top six at least once, and led over 240 laps in 1991-'92, including 162 in 1992)
20. Ralph DePalma (1915 winner, 1920 pole sitter, set a record for laps led that wasn't broken for 75 years with 613 leading laps, including 196 in 1912)
21. Tommy Milton (first 2-time winner, 1921 and '23, when he joined Jimmy Murphy as just the second driver to win from the pole, his 1923 win had 28 lead changes, a record not broken until 1960)

ROW 8

22. Dan Wheldon (2-time winner, 2005, '11, 2-time runner-up, 2009-'10, only driver to lead just the last lap of the race, doing so in his second win)
23. Jim Clark (1965 winner, runner-up in 1963 and '66, 1964 pole sitter, and was the first driver to win the pole as well as the race with a rear-engine car)
24. Tom Sneva (1983 winner, 3-time runner-up, 1977-'78, 80, broke the 200 MPH barrier in 1977 for the first of three pole positions, the others being in 1978 and 1984, when he became the only driver to break two dfferent 10 MPH marks)

ROW 9

25. Bobby Rahal (1986 winner, 1990 runner-up, finshed third twice, 1994-'95, and was the first to complete the race in less than three hours in his 1986 victory)
26. Jim Rathmann (1960 winner, 3-time runner-up, 1952, '57 '59)
27. Ted Horn (runner-up in 1936, which was the first of a record 9 consecutive top 4 finishes, won the pole in 1948)

ROW 10

28. Rex Mays (2-time runner up, first to win the pole position more than twice by winning it four times)
29. Jimmy Bryan (1958 winner, 1954 runner-up, finished third in 1957)
30. Mark Donohue (1972 winner, 1970 runner-up, was on front row three times in five starts)

ROW 11

31. Billy Arnold (1930 winner, led a record 198 laps in that victory from the pole and also holds the record for most laps led in consecutive years)
32. Harry Hartz (3-time runner-up, scored five straiht to four finishes in fist 5 starts)
33. Danny Sullivan (1985 winner)

So there you have it, my list of the 33 greatest drivers in the over one century history of the Indianapolis 500.


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