Who Are The Five Most Prolific Drivers In Indianapolis 500?

Author: Jomathews


Quite simply, it is "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." The Indianapolis 500 is one of the world's most famous automobile races. NASCAR stock cars drive at speeds exceeding 180 mph for a distance of more than 475 miles, and cars race at speeds exceeding 160 mph for a distance of more than 2.25 miles. Since its inception in 1911, the race has been held every Memorial Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also known as the Brickyard, to race enthusiasts worldwide. Attendees should arrive early, wear sunscreen, and prepare to experience motorsport history.

The event called the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing' is an American automobile race hosted every year since 1911, except for the first and second world war years. Speedway, located just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, serves as the location for the race each year. Every year, the race attracts thousands of spectators, making it among the world's most popular single-day sporting events. It takes place on the weekend of Memorial Day, the country's most famous holiday. A trial track for regional automobile companies was established at the Indianapolis 500 track in 1909. In the early 1920s, the track was originally laid with natural stone and asphalt but was soon replaced with brick. As of 2017, the speedway has been resurfaced with asphalt, except for a strip of brick at the start/finish line. 


The Best Drivers in the history of Indianapolis Speedway


1. Bill Vukovich 


Bill Vukovich is among the legends who dominated the Indianapolis Speedway for years. The odds of winning more than two straight championships are extremely slim, but Vukovich probably had the highest chance among all drivers. In 1955, Vukovich was leading after dominating in the previous two years and was clearly on his way to claiming his third Indianapolis 500 win in a row.

During the 56th lap, however, Vukovich was involved in a three-car crash down the backstretch. Encountering a flipping car, Vukovich got hit on the left side of his car as people tried to avoid the crash and headed straight for the wall. After flipping over the wall, Vukovich’s car pinwheeled outside the track and caught on fire, killing him instantly. A tragic end to one of the greats. 


2. Bobby Unser 


Bobby Unser won three Indianapolis championships in three different eras of car design. As Unser won his first race in 1968, rear-engine cars gained popularity. Until then, wings did not feature on racing cars. 1975 was a very popular year for car designs with wings. The ground effects concept, which was revolutionary at the time when Unser won in 1981, was based on the car's bottom shape and how it impacted performance.

In the history of the Indianapolis 500, Unser's three wins are probably among the most memorable. It was Unser's second consecutive win when a turbine-driven race car broke down eight laps from the finish, causing him to lose the lead. Even at highway speeds, cars are extremely difficult to drive on standing water with slick, no tread tires. Unser retained control and avoided hydroplaning, thus winning.

Since Unser and Mario Andretti took their 1981 race to court after winning on the track, their victory was memorable for inappropriate actions. Unser passed multiple cars as he left the pit road under caution, and Andretti appealed the decision. Since the line that combines cars leaving the pits with those on the track was in turn two, Unser explained it was a simple matter of doing that. After USAC admitted the rule was unclear, the result was overturned again, giving Unser the win. Unser completed his racing career in 1981.


3. Rick Mears


It is rare to find anyone with the same level of adaptability as Rick Mears. A year after winning the pole, Mears was in the running for the title again. The unbeatable Richard Mears dominated the 1980s. In the nine races he was running at the finish line of 15 starts, he finished no lower than fifth. As a result of an unexpected second-place finish in 1982 to Gordon Johncock, Mears would go on to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1984 and 1988. Mears came out on top in all three of his races. A duel would then ensue between Mears and Michael Andretti to decide the 75th race in 1991. In the race between Mears and Andretti, Mears was attempting to win his fourth title.

When Andretti retook the lead after 14 laps, he spun around Mears. In the same corner, Miles passed Michael on the outside. After a crash a year later, Mears decided to call it a career, and, although he was not seriously hurt, he considered his future.


4. A.J. Foyt 


As far as car design at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was concerned, the 1960s were a time of change. The rear-engine roadster winning in 1965 made front-engine cars obsolete, and every winner since has driven a back-engine car. Colin Chapman and Team Lotus came over from Formula 1 with rear-engine race cars. In addition to winning four times at the Indianapolis 500, A.J. Foyt is the only person to ever win it in both a front and rear engine car. Having the ability to switch from one car to another while staying at the top of his game cemented Foyt's legacy as one of the greatest Indy championship drivers.

One thing that not many people realize is the number of times Foyt benefited from the bad luck of others to win. Nevertheless, this isn't meant to disparage Foyt since most of these drivers took advantage of someone else's misfortune to win. Furthermore, it still requires skill to get yourself into a position to take advantage. In the Indianapolis championship, the phrase "creating your luck" is often used. With just 3, 4, and 16 laps to go in 1961, 1967, and 1977, Foyt won the championship. This is after Eddie Sachs pitted for tires in '61, Parnelli Jones experienced mechanical problems in '67, and Gordon Johncock stopped due to mechanical problems in '77. Throughout the race, Foyt only led when he was on top after the final three-quarters of the race in 1964. In 1967, Foyt had to reach the finish line after surviving a crash on the front stretch. Foyt had a successful career at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for over 50 years, including setting up the A.J. Foyt Enterprises.


5. Dan Wheldon


Out of anyone in this top 5, Dan Wheldon likely had the worst start of all these legends. Wheldon came on the scene in 2003 and looked great, starting fifth. But it was all for naught when in mid-pack, Wheldon flipped late in the race and finished 19th. In just his third attempt, Wheldon won the 2005 Indy championship for Michael Andretti, giving Andretti his first Indy win as an owner. After a three-year stint with Chip Ganassi, where he posted a best finish of fourth, Wheldon went to Panther Racing. Panther was successful at the beginning of the 2000s. But as a single-car team, it fell behind the better teams at this time. With the underfunded team, Wheldon finished second in both 2009 and 2010.

Then in 2011, in a one-race deal with former teammate and then-owner Bryan Herta, Wheldon was in second and looked to finish there for the third consecutive year. Then J.R. Hildebrand crashed in the last turn of the last lap, and Wheldon sneaked by for his second win. He only led by a few hundred yards, but Wheldon was able to get into position, and a bit of luck prompted a second win.

Wheldon was killed in a racing crash later that year, so his Indy career was abruptly cut short. In the short time Wheldon raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he amassed a top-four finish in six of his nine races, including two wins.



There are weeks of preparation leading up to the Indianapolis 500 date 2022 and then two hectic weeks of hype leading up to the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing." During the race, all drivers are put to the test of luck, skill, strategy, endurance, and perseverance. The competition is one of the most challenging in the world. There are few events that can equal the Indy championship. In the long history of the Indianapolis Championship, who would you say is the most successful driver? That question is difficult to answer.


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