Most commonly known as the Brickyard, the Indianapolis 500 is one of the most historic races in the IndyCar series as it’s considered one of the three triple crown races of motorsport racing. With such rich history on this track, let’s take a look back in time on some of the greatest Indianapolis 500 races.

Where is the Indy 500 held?

The Indianapolis 500 is a 500 mile, 200 lap race that takes place in Indianapolis, IN at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Who has the most Indy 500 races?

Helio Castroneves has the most current Indianapolis 500 starts with 22 starts but the record is owned by A.J. Foyt who had 35 starts and did them all in a row from 1958-1992.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Indianapolis 500 of all time

10. 2005 Indy 500 – Danica Patrick’s First Indianapolis 500 Winner: Dan Wheldon

While she wasn't the first female driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick is most recently and commonly known as breaking down the barriers of women in motorsports as she’s found great success in the industry. Back in 2005, Patrick became the fourth female driver to compete in the 500-mile long race. While female participation was way before Patrick’s 2005 debut, Patrick became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and Patrick held that lead as she led for 19 laps.

9. 1936 Indy 500 - The Milk

Winner: Louis Meyer

After winning his third Indianapolis 500 in 1936, Louis Meyer went back to an old celebration that he did in 1933 for his second Indianapolis 500 win; a glass of buttermilk. Getting a bottle of it instead a photographer captured Meyer drinking the buttermilk. As a result to seeing the picture, a local dairy company executive recognized a marketing opportunity and offered  a bottle of milk to winners of future races. Outside of an eight year stretch from 1947 to 1955, milk has been a key celebration for the Indianapolis 500.

8. 2014 Indy 500 - The $20 Million Prize

Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay

In 2010 Burton Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports offered $20 million to any driver, IndyCar or NASCAR, that could win both Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. Starting the challenge in 2011, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch took the challenge three years later in 2014 where he drove a car for the Andretti Autosport team. He finished sixth in the Indianapolis 500 but would be forced to drop out of the Coca-Cola 600 around the 400-mile mark due to a blown engine.

7. 2001 Indy 500 - Tony Stewart’s 1,100 Miles

Winner: Helio Castroneves

In 2001, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart became the first driver to complete the entire distance of the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 all in one day. 1,100 miles of tough and grueling driving. Since Stewart’s historic day back in 2001, other drivers from both IndyCar and NASCAR have competed in both historic events.

6. 2021 Indy 500 - Helio Makes History

Winner: Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves victory in 2021 was a historic one as Castroneves became the fourth driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. The other previous drivers were A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. No driver has won the 500 five times.

5. 2006 Indy 500 - 0.0635 Seconds

Winner: Sam Hornish Jr.

Rookie Marco Andretti had his eyes set on victory lane as a late restart tipped the scales for Andretti to gain the lead. Closing in on the final turn and final corner, the 2001 and 2002 IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr. timed his passing perfectly passing Andretti with 0.0635 seconds to spare to steal the Indianapolis 500

4. 2002 Indy 500 - Back to back

Winner: Helio Castroneves

Since entering the 2000’s, the Indianapolis 500 has been dominated by Helio Castroneves. Winning for the first time in 2001, Castroneves didn’t stop his dominant driving at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he won the following year in 2002 becoming the fifth driver to win in back to back years.

3. 2014 Indy 500 - Not Even A Second

Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay

Looking back on this race now it probably stings evenmore for Helio Castroneves as this race would’ve been his fifth win all-time in Indianapolis 500 history and would’ve made him the winningest driver in 500 history. Hunter-Reay and Castroneves battled for a majority of the race in which the two were neck and neck really since the lap 183 mark. Hunter-Reay’s not even a split second victory took away what would’ve been Castroneves’ third 500 victory at the time but in present day would’ve been the difference in him having five wins instead of four.

2. 1991 Indy 500 - Andretti Luck

Winner: Rick Mears

Looking back at Michael Andretti’s past Indianapolis 500’s there’s no reason he shouldn’t be one of the most celebrated and winningest drivers of all-time at the 500. But close calls mixed with bad luck kept him out of victory lane too many times. Battling with Rick Mears on the final laps in 1991 it was a battle between two racing legends that Mears would end up stealing in the final laps.

1. 1992 Indy 500 - Close Call

Winner: Al Unser Jr.

Michael Andretti dominated the race, leading 160 laps. With almost a 30-second lead with 12 laps to go Andretti appeared to have the race in full control. But a fuel pump issue would start to arise slowing his car down and eventually ending his day. With Andretti out of sight of victory lane Scott Goodyear and Al Unser Jr. would go neck and neck with Unser Jr. beating out Goodyear by 0.043 seconds in the closest Indy 500 finish of all time.

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