Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, first 10 runnings
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 1-10, from 1911 through 1922:
RACE: First Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1911
WINNER: Ray Harroun, Nordyk & Marmon Company
AVERAGE SPEED: 74.602 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Races had been held on what would become Indianapolis Motor Speedway for two years before the first Indy 500 was run over the brick-paved track. Forty cars took the starter’s red flag - yes, red. The race’s first fatality occurred when Arthur Greiner hit the wall in Turn 2, and his riding mechanic Sam Dickson was killed. The race came down to Ray Harroun, who had come out of retirement, and Ralph Mulford dueling for the victory. Harroun ultimately won and returned to retirement.
NOTABLE: Harroun drove the No. 32 Marmon “Wasp,” the only single-seat car in the race. All the other cars had riding mechanics who pumped oil, watched for traffic and made other repairs. Harroun won $10,000, the same amount baseball star Ty Cobb earned for the entire season.
RACE: Second Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1912
WINNER: Joe Dawson, National Motor Vehicle Company
AVERAGE SPEED: 78.712 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Italian-born Ralph DePalma dominated the race in a Mercedes, leading 194 laps. But his car began sputtering near the finish, and a connecting rod broke loose on the back stretch with just over a lap to go. DePalma and his riding mechanic, Rupert Jeffkins, jumped out and pushed the car across the start-finish line, but Joe Dawson roared past to complete the final lap and win the race.
NOTABLE: Eddie Rickenbacker makes his Indy 500 debut. He is better remembered as a World War I flying ace who earned the Medal of Honor, Croix de Guerre and seven Distinguished Service Crosses. Rickenbacker later bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ran it for a long period before selling it to the Hulman family, and spent many years leading Eastern Air Lines.
RACE: Third Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1913
WINNER: Jules Goux, Peugeot
AVERAGE SPEED: 75.933 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Europeans made their first mark at the Indianapolis 500 when French-born Jules Goux drove a Peugeot to the front of the race. After dueling with American driver Bob Evans, Goux dominated the remainder of the race to become the first foreign-born winner. Another Frenchman, Albert Guyot, was fourth and German-born Theodore Pilette was fifth.
NOTABLE: The third edition may best be remembered for local boy Charlie Merz, whose car caught fire on Lap 199. Rules at the time dictated that drivers had to finish the race to collect their prize money, so Merz drove his flaming Stutz the final lap with his riding mechanic trying out the fire. He wound up finishing third.
RACE: Fourth Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1914
WINNER: Rene Thomas, Louis Delage Company
AVERAGE SPEED: 82.474 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Europeans dominate the race for the second year in a row with Rene Thomas in a Delage finishing first. Fellow Frenchman Albert Guyot was third in another Delage, while Peugot cars driven by Arthur Duray and Jules Goux rounded out the top four. Barney Oldfield in an Indianapolis-built Stutz was far behind in fifth.
NOTABLE: A French luxury automobile company, Delage would be sold to Delahaye in 1935 and continue to build cars until the 1950s. But despite innovative engineering and designs along with a successful racing pedigree, the manufacturer never won another Indy 500.
RACE: Fifth Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 31, 1915
WINNER: Ralph DePalma, E.C. Patterson
AVERAGE SPEED: 84.001 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Italian-born Ralph DePalma, who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, finally wins the Indy 500. DePalma had dominated the second edition of the race before a mechanical problem in his Mercedes brought his car to a halt two laps from the finish. Britain’s Dario Resta was second and Norway’s Gil Andersen was third.
NOTABLE: Louis Chevrolet makes the first of his four Indy 500 appearances. While he would never finish better than seventh, his name remains a part of Brickyard lore. He co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and the manufacturer continues to build cars for the Indy 500 to this day as part of General Motors.
RACE: Sixth Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1916
WINNER: Dario Resta, Peugeot Auto Racing Company
AVERAGE SPEED: 84.001 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Organizers shortened the race to 300 miles, hoping to make it more appealing to fans. World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker led early before eventual winner Dario Resta took the lead. There were only 21 cars in the field in part because of the impending war, the smallest field in Indy 500 history
NOTABLE: The race was supposed to be 500 miles the following year, but the outbreak of war in Europe halted the Indy 500. For the next two years, the speedway became a landing strip and maintenance station for the military and a testing ground for experimental aircraft.
RACE: Seventh Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 31, 1919
WINNER: Howdy Wilcox, IMS Corporation
AVERAGE SPEED: 88.050 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: The Indy 500 returned after a two-year hiatus for World War I, and 1915 winner Ralph DePalma dominated early. Two fatal accidents marred the middle portion of the race, the first killing driver Arthur Thurman and the second trapping driver Louis LeCocq and riding mechanic Robert Bandini under their car - both were doused in fuel and burned to death. Howdy Wilcox took the lead on Lap 103 and led the rest of the way to victory.
NOTABLE: Wilcox was born in nearby Crawfordsville, Indiana. According to lore, a band began playing “Back Home Again in Indiana” to honor their favorite son late in the race. The tune would become a part of the Indy 500 pre-race pageantry.
RACE: Eighth Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 31, 1920
WINNER: Gaston Chevrolet, William Small Company
AVERAGE SPEED: 88.618 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Fuel strategy becomes a part of Indy 500 history - sort of. Ralph DePalma, the winner in 1915, led until his car stalled on Lap 187, allowing Gaston Chevrolet to take the lead. He ran out of fuel about three laps from the finish, but was able to coast into the pits for what these days would be called a “splash-and-go” stop. Chevrolet held on to win the race.
NOTABLE: Gaston Chevrolet was the younger brother of Louis Chevrolet, the co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Co. Gaston was killed six months after his Indy 500 victory when he crashed his Frontenac during a race at Beverly Hills Speedway in California.
RACE: Ninth Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1921
WINNER: Tommy Milton, Louis Chevrolet
AVERAGE SPEED: 88.621 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: American driver Tommy Milton won the first of his two Indy 500s, taking advantage of a mechanical breakdown in Ralph DePalma’s car midway through the race. DePalma would retire afterward with one victory and 612 laps led, a record that would stand until Al Unser Sr. tied it in 1987.
NOTABLE: For the first time, cars lined up in rows of three, creating the now-familiar Indy 500 starting grid. But whereas the modern race includes 33 entries, there were just 23 for the 1921 running. Eight of them would complete the 200-lap race with Americans sweeping the top five spots.
RACE: 10th Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1922
WINNER: Jimmy Murphy
AVERAGE SPEED: 94.484 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: The winner of the French Grand Prix the previous year, San Francisco-born Jimmy Murphy makes it back-to-back American triumphs in the Indy 500. It was the first victory for Duesenberg, which would provide the cars for three of the next five champions. The manufacturer, which was based in Indianapolis for a time, would fold in 1937.
NOTABLE: Murphy was the first driver to win from the pole position. There have been 20 such winners in Indy 500 history, the most recent being Helio Castroneves in 2009 and Scott Dixon the year before.