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When was the last upset at the Indy 500?


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#1 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 15:56

Without combing back through the results, it seems like it's been a long time since either an obscurity or somebody from the back of the back won the Indy 500. For those familiar with the history of the Indy 500, what would you consider to be the last true upset victory at Indy?

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#2 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:07

Cheever? Robson? You're right, when you look through the list of winners it's hard to find an upset winner on the order of, say, Derrick Cope at the Daytona 500.

Edited by red stick, 12 May 2009 - 16:12.


#3 ensign14

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:14

Buddy Rice came a bit out of nowhere and has done nothing really since, but he was on it that year.

LL Corum and Floyd Davis would have been about as likely as me to win the Indy 500 had they not had relief drivers.

#4 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:21

I considered Rice but that was a pretty good year for RLR. And he hardly lucked into the win, so it's hard to call him an underdog, or his win an upset. Corum and Davis are decent nominees.

#5 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:43

Corum and Davis? Man, wasn't that 1941 or thereabouts?

#6 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:44

Al Unser in 1987, in spite of the fact that he was in with Team Penske. The circumstances were uncanny all day long. Actually Al's entire month was a bit of a lottery.

Buddy Lazier in 1996 - broken back and all.

As good as he was in 1990, I really don't think many gave Arie Luyendyk much of a chance in the race. It's still the fastest Indy 500 ever run at 185.981 mph. Emerson and Rahal both had shots at it that day.

Maybe the biggest, Joe Dawson in 1912. Ralph DePalma led the first 198 laps only to break and Dawson led the last two aboard his National for the unlikely victory. He was several laps down to DePalma when the Mercedes broke.

Many other races at the Speedway have their own unique tales to tell.

Brian



#7 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:46

"Corum and Davis? Man, wasn't that 1941 or thereabouts?" Flat Black 84

Corum won with Joe Boyer in a Duesenberg in 1924.

Floyd Davis with Mauri Rose in 1941.

Brian

#8 Buford

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:52

Graham Hill 1966 was a surprise.

#9 ensign14

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 16:55

Actually, perhaps the unlikeliest is George Souders, had anyone tabbed him as a winner as a rookie?

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:00

Dan Wheldon's win was good enough for me...

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#11 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:01

Al Unser in 1987, in spite of the fact that he was in with Team Penske. The circumstances were uncanny all day long. Actually Al's entire month was a bit of a lottery.


It's a good story, and I take your meaning, but a three time winner in a Penske prepared car is hard to call an upset.  ;)

#12 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:04

Dan Wheldon's win was good enough for me...

DCN



Slaying both the Andretti Curse and Danica in a single afternoon. Heroic!


#13 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:36

It's a good story, and I take your meaning, but a three time winner in a Penske prepared car is hard to call an upset. ;)


Agreed.

PS--Sweikert's win in '55 after Vuky met his maker certainly qualified as an upset.

Edited by Flat Black 84, 12 May 2009 - 17:37.


#14 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:37

It's a good story, and I take your meaning, but a three time winner in a Penske prepared car is hard to call an upset.;)


He damn near was taken out on turn one, lap one - he didn't even have a ride at the beginning of the month, Mario led nearly the entire race only to break late, Guererro then took up Mario's mantle, but his destroyed clutch (master cylinder) from hitting Bettenhausen's errant wheel put paid to his chance. I don't care if it was Penske prepared or not. He was down a lap very early in the race too. If you were at the track on that 1987 race day (perhaps you were) NO ONE that I conversed with that morning put him in the mix. It seems that if Al doesn't qualify for this conversation - no one does. Maybe someone out there with a better knowledge than mine can set this idiot (sarcastically meaning myself as the said "idiot" - apologies to red stick for the misunderstanding) straight. If Dan Wheldon is okay to be mentioned by Doug Nye and that is readily accepted, I can't fathom why you would question Al Unser in 1987.

Brian

Edited by B Squared, 12 May 2009 - 19:42.


#15 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:45

I don't think anyone truly considers Wheldon's win an upset--I think DCN just enjoys having another Englishman win. (I could be wrong.)

My frame of reference is the one I laid out at the beginning--Cope at Daytona. No one saw that coming, and it's not the first time the Daytona 500 ended in a "who?" By that standard, there are few surprises in recent years at Indy, including, IMHO, Big Al.  ;)

Edited by red stick, 12 May 2009 - 20:15.


#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:50

I don't think anyone truly considers Wheldon's win an upset--I think DCN just enjoys having another Englishman win. (I could be wrong.)


No - not wrong at all! After so very many years 'we' were absolutely THRILLED!

DCN

#17 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:55

I believe that my acquaintance, Bernie King, was on Al's team for that race. Maybe you should revisit footage of the closing laps of the 1987 Indianapolis 500, it doesn't appear to me that the team members are anything but shocked and amazed as to how their day is about to become complete in the best possible way, with a historic victory. Listen to Al himself. He calls it his favorite win at the Brickyard, simply because NO ONE gave him a chance. Oh well, you've got your mind made up, as do I.

Brian

#18 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 18:00

I'll grant you surprise, and even unexpected. But the original question called for obscurity, which doesn't describe the family Unser. I probably took the question too literally.

#19 ZOOOM

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 18:04

I'd vote for Troy Ruttman in 1952.
'52 was the first year for Vukie and he had that roadster hooked up and he had checked out. He was up almost two laps on Ruttman until a cotter pin fell out on the 192nd lap. No one was more surprised than Ruttman (the youngest winner in Indy history) when he went on to win... the last for an upright sprintcar...

ZOOOM

Edited by ZOOOM, 12 May 2009 - 18:23.


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#20 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 18:08

If you follow racing, and it's obvious you do, the only "obscure" drivers in the nearly 45) Indy 500's that I've attended would be limited to the 1996 edition. When you work for a sanctioning body for 13) years (CART) and are obsessed with all that is Indy, it's hard for me to call any driver "obscure". Maybe to someone who wakes up on race day morning and decides it's a good day to go to a race - the criteria is well stated.

For the record, I was very familiar with Derrick Cope that day he won the Daytona 500. Nothing "obscure" about him. He since faded into obscurity. Yet he is the poster child of this thread. :drunk:

Brian

#21 Chezrome

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 18:27


I think we need to define 'obscure' driver. Because, indeed, the anoraks know the drivers the public hasn't heard about. My definition would be:

1. The driver had not won a race before Indy, or had wins that were considered flukes
2. The driver was about 40-1 in the betting odds shortly before the race
3. The driver did not qualify high up the grid.

I do not know enough about Indy to tell which winners belong in this category.



#22 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 18:37

Ed Carpenter is the last word in obscurity. If he managed to win the 2009 500 it would probably be the biggest upset in Indy history.

There numerous other obscurities in the field. Sarah Fisher is known only because she is a woman. Milka Duno is likewise known only for her curvature and the fact that she is exceedingly slow. Mike Conway? Stan Barrett?

I'm sure I could go through the grid and tick off at least 10 obscurities.

PS--My other criteria for qualifying as an upset is coming from the back of the pack. Al Sr. started #20 in 1987, and for that reason alone, his victory that year qualifies as a mild upset for me.

#23 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 18:49

"either an obscurity or somebody from the back of the back won the Indy 500." Flat Black 84 - Post 1

"when you look through the list of winners it's hard to find an upset winner on the order of, say, Derrick Cope at the Daytona 500." red stick - Post 2

It might make sense to decide which it's going to be - obscure or upset - otherwise we're just going to go in circles , so to speak.

Brian

Edited by B Squared, 12 May 2009 - 18:50.


#24 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:08

On Track magazine - March 8, 1990 - Volume 10 Number 4 - race report of the Daytona 500 by Jonathon Ingram - excerpts:

"Those fans with "Anybody But Earnhardt" T-shirts finally got their wish in the last turn of the Daytona 500. "Anybody" turned out to be Derrike Cope, who won the first race of a fledling 72-race Winston Cup career by inheriting the lead from Dale Earnhardt's crippled car."

"It took only a small piece of debris to cut a tire, ruin Earnhardt's day and elevate Cope from a midfield punter to the winner of $188,150 and the crown jewel of stock car racing."

"The 31-year old Cope clearly drove the most outstanding race of his career, which began in Winston West. The Spanaway, Wash. driver battled among the top five all day in the Purolator Chevrolet Lumina of the Bob Whitcomb team before Earnhardt's misfortune opened the door to a gold mine."

"Cope thus made good on what was regarded as filmsy braggadocio last fall when the team began employing Hendricks Motorsports engines. He promised the Whitcomb outfit led by crew chief Buddy Parrott would become a contender."

I sure see this as an upset, but in no way do I find Derrike Cope to be an "obscurity." I rest my case counselor. :)

Brian

#25 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:09

IMO obscure = upset.

#26 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:14

IMO obscure = upset.


If that is the equation that is to be used, then why the digging in of the heels in my mentioning of Al Unser in 1987? Just curious about the ever changing goalposts here. All about consistency and the like. You know? :up:

Brian

#27 philippe charuest

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:22

Slaying both the Andretti Curse and Danica in a single afternoon. Heroic!

yes but does it count as an indy 500 victory .that year it was the the "Danika 500"

Edited by philippe charuest, 12 May 2009 - 19:35.


#28 RA Historian

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:27

Upset in the Indy 500---a subject that probably, and seemingly is, being argued ad nauseum. A lot of the discussion seems to revolve around Al Unser Sr in 1987. The anti-upset arguments seem to be that he was driving for Penske, therefore he could not be overlooked, and that he already had three wins.

Good points. But on the other side of the coin is the fact that Unser came to Indy that year without a ride. Penske had three cars entered; Mears, Sullivan, and believe it or not, Danny Ongais (no doubt largely due to some good sponsorship as Danny's best days were behind him). Ongais wrecked leading up to the race and was declared medically unfit. Roger tabbed Unser to drive as he knew that Unser would give him a decent ride and bring the car home, if not a potential winner. However, Penske was out of March 87Cs, so he took an 86C off the show circuit and quickly readied it for qualifying and the race. I seem to recall the sentiment of the time being that it was a good choice and an adequate backup to Mears and Sullivan, but not a race winner because a) Al was on the downside of his career and b) the car was a year old. This was back when one had to have new cars every year.

The race was Mario's all the way. It was his year, he led everything leading up to the race, then led the race effortlessly until the waning laps when his car cruelly let him down. Attrition had hit others, and lo and behold, after Guerrero had his incident, here was Al Unser Sr looking at victory. I do recall that the prevailing feeling was one of astonishment, as simply put, this was unexpected. Looking at all that, I have to say that his win was unexpected, and therefore an upset.

The early IRL years could possibly qualify when viewed in the big picture of CART vs IRL. Buddy Lazier in 1996 was a huge upset, not against the other 32 backmarkers who made up that year's pathetic field, but when viewed in the context that it was his first win at anything approaching a major level and that his previous six years or so in CART saw him run around at the back of the field impressing nobody. (I will grant you that he never had good equipment in his CART days.) So when Lazier won in 1996 it was a big "WHO??" Luyendyk's win in 1997 was no surprise as he was virtually the only driver of his level in the race. Cheever the next year, Brack following, wins that would not have happened if not for the split. Finally in 2000 Chip Ganassi realized that the pickings were easy and brought Juan Montoya over to walk the race. In 2001 and 2002 an upset would have been if a CART team or former team (Penske) had not won.

Oh, one more thing. Brian, please don't call Red Stick or any other Forum member an idiot. I do not think that we should be calling each other names.

Tom

Edited by RA Historian, 12 May 2009 - 19:29.


#29 philippe charuest

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:28

talking of an unexpected victory ,Villeneuve in 1995 was one. i was surprise so as Scott Goodyear, i dont thinq anybody was betting on him 20 laps before the end

#30 B Squared

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:30

Tom - I was calling myself an idiot in a mark of sarcasm - in re-reading it, I can see that I didn't make that clear. My humble apologies to Mark (red stick) for this. I think that I've been here long enough for most to know that I treat and write my comments with respect on most, if not all occasions. Thank you for your lecture. I'll look forward to you doing the same with others who may demonstrate questionable behavior.

Brian

Edited by B Squared, 12 May 2009 - 19:37.


#31 John B

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:33

If we can tolerate another Al Unser upset nomination, how about Jr. in the 1992 race with the Galmer chassis. Took full advantage of Ford and other attrition and just held off Goodyear.

Remarkable the fortune the Unsers have had versus some others - look at Al Sr in 1987, and both of Jr's wins - he was beaten all day and in the process of being lapped by Emmo at the end of '94 when Emmo hit the wall.

Edited by John B, 12 May 2009 - 19:35.


#32 RA Historian

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:40

talking of an unexpected victory ,Villeneuve in 1995 was one. i was surprise so as Scott Goodyear, i dont thinq anybody was betting on him 20 laps before the end

I would have been surprised had Goodyear won, not Villenueve II. Having watched JV II come up through Atlantics and having witnessed his great win the year before at Road America when he bested that years virtually unbeatable Penske team, I expected him to do well in the 500, which he did. Would he have passed Goodyear had not Goodyear been penalized for jumping the restart? One will never know. But at that time we knew that JV II was a great talent on the verge of blossoming, while Goodyear was viewed largely as a competent journeyman. And don't forget that JV II was two laps down at one time!

Then there is 2002. In retrospect, it would have been an upset if the IRL had not let Castroneves keep the win. When confronted with the conclusive evidence that Tracy was ahead when the yellow came out, the IRL ignored their own rule book and said that Team Green's appeal was inadmissable. The reason, obviously is that TG and the IRL did not want a CART team to win its race for the third year in a row. This despite the evidence to the contrary. Probably the most political finish in the 500, with only the refusal to black flag Parnelli Jones in 1963 approaching it in sheer political decision making.

By the way, isn't it entertaining to watch Paul Tracy pull Tony George's and the IRL's tail in his interviews this month!

Tom


#33 RA Historian

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:42

Tom - I was calling myself an idiot in a mark of sarcasm - in re-reading it, I can see that I didn't make that clear. My humble apologies to Mark (red stick) for this. I think that I've been here long enough for most to know that I treat and write my comments with respect on most, if not all occasions. Thank you for your lecture. I'll look forward to you doing the same with others who may demonstrate questionable behavior.

Brian

Brian, my apologies for not understanding your post in the spirit that you state. I guess I read it over too quickly and am still a bit touch about such things after the Waldo fiasco. Sorry for any unfair inference on my part. I know your history on this forum and probably should have taken that into consideration before firing away. Didn't mean it as a lecture though; more of a "hey, just a minute!"

Tom


#34 ensign14

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:51

Let's put the Cope win in context.

Before the 1990 500, his best result was 6th. Driving for a team that had, in two full years of ownership, not scored a top 5.

The closest in current Indy terms is probably Alex Lloyd for Sam Schmidt. Fairly little experience, team that has not had success at the top level, shows a bit of speed.

#35 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 19:59

If that is the equation that is to be used, then why the digging in of the heels in my mentioning of Al Unser in 1987? Just curious about the ever changing goalposts here. All about consistency and the like. You know? :up:

Brian


I hardly consider Al Sr. obscure! But in any event, after having learned more of the '87 500, primarily from RA Historian, I'd be willing to sign off on Al's fourth victory constituting a fairly significant upset.


#36 Jim Thurman

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:04

I don't think anyone truly considers Wheldon's win an upset--I think DCN just enjoys having another Englishman win. (I could be wrong.)

My frame of reference is the one I laid out at the beginning--Cope at Daytona. No one saw that coming, and it's not the first time the Daytona 500 ended in a "who?" By that standard, there are few surprises in recent years at Indy, including, IMHO, Big Al. But I've been an idiot before . . .  ;)

It's "who?" because no one paid attention, primarily because Derrike Cope came from the West Coast. Cope ran second all day and was in position when Earnhardt had the tire failure. Bitter Earnhardt fans (and others) don't give Cope his due. Elliott and Labonte weren't able to match his pace and stay closer to Earnhardt. Cope was.

And, Cope put a Winston West car on the outside front row at Michigan - on his first visit, something everyone forgets.

But, back to Indy...that's tough to figure. Probably Corum and Souders. I wouldn't call Sweikert that much of a surprise. Robson either for that matter as '46 was a big question mark all around.

Edited by Jim Thurman, 12 May 2009 - 20:29.


#37 philippe charuest

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:09

talking of Paul Tracy .that guy is the best thing that could happen for the IRL series . the dam organisation should chip to pay for his season cause those franchitti and castoneves are "boring nice guys" , tracy could do a very good unexpected winner ,one thing sure he will make a good show :drunk:

Edited by philippe charuest, 12 May 2009 - 20:10.


#38 Jim Thurman

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:15

Ed Carpenter is the last word in obscurity. If he managed to win the 2009 500 it would probably be the biggest upset in Indy history.

There numerous other obscurities in the field. Sarah Fisher is known only because she is a woman. Milka Duno is likewise known only for her curvature and the fact that she is exceedingly slow. Mike Conway? Stan Barrett?

I'm sure I could go through the grid and tick off at least 10 obscurities.

PS--My other criteria for qualifying as an upset is coming from the back of the pack. Al Sr. started #20 in 1987, and for that reason alone, his victory that year qualifies as a mild upset for me.

Obscure because you don't know about them?

Carpenter raced USAC (Sprints, Silver Crown and Midgets) and after seeming out of his element, improved dramatically in those classes. Being stepson of the boss helps.

Likewise, Sarah Fisher acquitted herself quite well in short track open wheel racing. A shame she was rushed as a "novelty" and not given more time to develop.

Conway raced British F3.

Barrett has competed in NASCAR's top three classes.

No argument about Duno though ;)

Granted a win by any of them would be a huge upset/surprise.


#39 red stick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:20

. . . I'd be willing to sign off on Al's fourth victory constituting a fairly significant upset.


:waving white flag:

I'll also concede the point. :)

And suggest we toss "obscure" aside--it doesn't seem to be helping.

Edited by red stick, 12 May 2009 - 20:22.


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#40 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:45

Frank Lockhart. (Discuss) :)

#41 Flat Black 84

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:54

Jim,

I'd wager my level of racing knowledge is far closer to the norm than yours--and that's a compliment to you, BTW! Therefore, my designation of obscurity is more useful than yours for determining an upset. In other words, if you're enough of a specialist in any field, nothing is obscure. You're quite the specialist; I'm a relative novice.

:smoking:

#42 lil'chris

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 21:11

Obscure because you don't know about them?

Conway raced British F3.


Selling him a bit short I think Jim. He won the British F3 championship and Macau GP in 2006 and won the GP2 race supporting the Monaco GP last year

#43 B Squared

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:32

Graham Hill 1966 was a surprise.


Good call on this one Buford. Do you think he won that day? Many feel that Jim Clark was the true victor, including Jim himself, who pulled up to victory lane, only to find it occupied by Graham and the Mecom team.

It was maybe the closest that Lloyd Ruby ever got to victory at the Speedway too. An oil leak around lap 165-170 that parked the #14 Bardahl Eagle while leading handily.

Brian

#44 Buford

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:11

Good call on this one Buford. Do you think he won that day? Many feel that Jim Clark was the true victor, including Jim himself, who pulled up to victory lane, only to find it occupied by Graham and the Mecom team.

It was maybe the closest that Lloyd Ruby ever got to victory at the Speedway too. An oil leak around lap 165-170 that parked the #14 Bardahl Eagle while leading handily.

Brian


Well I was not keeping a lap chart so I don't know. The radio and the scoring pylon showed Clark in the lead after Stewart broke. When they gave the flag to Hill we were all surprised. But our only knowledge was what they were telling us all along and they changed it right at the end. Typical USAC.

#45 TrackDog

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 04:38

Well I was not keeping a lap chart so I don't know. The radio and the scoring pylon showed Clark in the lead after Stewart broke. When they gave the flag to Hill we were all surprised. But our only knowledge was what they were telling us all along and they changed it right at the end. Typical USAC.



The explanation for the discrepancy that makes the best sense to me comes from the Davidson/Shaffer AUTOCOURSE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 pp. 181.." It came down to the confusion over the identical paint schemes of the two STP Lotuses. A lap by teammate Al Unser had been erroneously credited to Clark. The discrepancy showed up in the official timing and scoring tapes an no protest was filed."

These days, with transponders and telemetry, it never would have happened.


Dan


#46 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 14:11

As good as he was in 1990, I really don't think many gave Arie Luyendyk much of a chance in the race. It's still the fastest Indy 500 ever run at 185.981 mph. Emerson and Rahal both had shots at it that day.


Brian


I saw most of that month of May, how lucky can you be as a Dutchman?

I had the fortune to be guest of the IMS corp. in their brand new Tower Suites (#1) opened that year. It was the third day of qualifying when the run for the Pole had yet to be finished. And I vividly recall haw I was one of only few at the balcony watching Arie qualify at the front row. And then the balcony almost overflooded when A.J. Foyt got out to qualify so I could finaly get a bite and a drink inside since there was no line for the food and the bar anymore!!!!


Recently I saw the TV coverage of the Time trials and qualifying but even back then there were a few comments already about Arie being a dark horse to keep an eye upon. he never was the fastest on practice days, but almost everyday in the top 5 if not top 3 and that with both of his cars.
Some people tipped him as being a candidate should the big names drop off.

I would say Al Unser Jr in '92. Nothing special other than having no problems in the race and be there once Michael so cruelly was taken out. That and parnelli in 1967 were too cruel retirements.
Too cruel loss: Marco in 2006, leading in the 800th corner and still not win the race....

Henri



#47 McGuire

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 14:15

Then there is 2002. In retrospect, it would have been an upset if the IRL had not let Castroneves keep the win. When confronted with the conclusive evidence that Tracy was ahead when the yellow came out, the IRL ignored their own rule book and said that Team Green's appeal was inadmissable. The reason, obviously is that TG and the IRL did not want a CART team to win its race for the third year in a row. This despite the evidence to the contrary. Probably the most political finish in the 500, with only the refusal to black flag Parnelli Jones in 1963 approaching it in sheer political decision making.


Not so fast. What evidence?

There is no "conclusive evidence" that Tracy was ahead. The great preponderance of evidence shows that Castroneves was ahead of Tracy when the caution period began. If you want to talk evidence, let's talk evidence.

You are also misrepresenting the process. The IRL did not rule that "Team Green's appeal was inadmissable." It made all evidence available and heard Green's appeal in full, responding with a 19-page written decision. Part of the decision was that race control's placement of the field when the caution period occurred is not subject to appeal. Big difference.

Nor will you find any factual support for your contention that the IRL "ignored their own rulebook" in this matter. Saying does not make it so.

No offense but it seems you are projecting your racing politics onto this episode as much as anything. We have no particular reason to believe that Barnhart's call from race control, made in an instant and primarily concerned with safety, was politically motivated. But your interpretation of the call is entirely politically motivated; that's clear. You know, this wasn't simply about Green vs. IRL. That's your POV. Team Penske also presented its case, and with extreme competence as one would expect. Isn't Team Penske entitled to a position here, and have you ever considered it for a moment?

If this were the RC forum I wouldn't waste my time beating this dead horse. Sports fans believe whatever they choose to believe contrary to any and all evidence. But here in the history forum there is a presumption that folks are more interested in objective historical fact. Here is the single most relevant document:

http://www.geocities...ealdecision.pdf


#48 McGuire

McGuire
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Posted 13 May 2009 - 14:28

The explanation for the discrepancy that makes the best sense to me comes from the Davidson/Shaffer AUTOCOURSE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 pp. 181.." It came down to the confusion over the identical paint schemes of the two STP Lotuses. A lap by teammate Al Unser had been erroneously credited to Clark. The discrepancy showed up in the official timing and scoring tapes an no protest was filed."

These days, with transponders and telemetry, it never would have happened.


Dan


Donald Davidson has thoroughly debunked the 1966 "controversy" on his radio program. Often. Also the so-called 1911 controversy. These stories are perpetuated in the endless retelling, not by the facts. By the way, the broadcasts are available on the web. His show is a don't-miss-it for anyone interested in Indy history. Fantastic stuff. Registration required, link below:

http://www.1070thefan.com/







#49 TrackDog

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 14:57

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the 1951 race and the unlikely win of Lee Wallard. He was driving a car he never expected to have available to him, probably the best one of his career, through circumstances that always surprised me a little. Tony Bettenhausen should have driven the car, but chose another. Wallard overcame mechanical difficulties during the race, including losing brakes, broken shocks and a damaged exhaust system. Also, his driver's uniform had been treated with that archaic borax solution that clumped in all the wrong places...and it was so hot that day that Wallard didn''t wear an undershirt. He had to be treated for skin abrasions after the race. He might have dominated the race, but his even being in the car was a pleasant surprise to him and others. It was a very popular win, too...IIRC, he was the oldest winner for awhile...he was 40.


Dan

#50 John B

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 15:52

Looking at this from another perspective, the Penske team not qualifying a single car for the 1995 race certainly was one of the most surprising occurances in the event's history.