#TBT: Indianapolis 500 multiple-time winner numerology

Published On September 11, 2014 » 2222 Views» By John Schwarb » #TBT, Blogs, IMS History, Indy 500

The beauty of the Indianapolis 500’s long, rich history is that you can just thumb through the history books and find some kind of oddity that, well, fills your blog for a day.

I was in an anniversary mood this week and started exploring back by decade from 2014. And look what emerged:

1994: Al Unser Jr. wins for the second time


1984: Rick Mears wins for the second time


1964: A.J. Foyt wins for the second time


1954: Bill Vukovich wins for the second time


Yes, four members of the “500” multiple-win club won their second races in years ending in 4. Quirky, perhaps, but unmatched among that 18-member group. (Tommy Milton won his second in 1923, Louis Meyer in 1933 and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1993, but that’s just three in the “3” years.)

When I pointed this out to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson and he said he hadn’t made that connection before, I figured we had a cool little fact.

One of Davidson’s favorites in this genre is that four-time champion Mears won for the first time in 1979, then again five years later in 1984, four years later in 1988 and for the final time three years later in 1991. Alas, Mears retired at the end of 1992 and didn’t have a chance to continue that unique streak in 1993.


About The Author

John Schwarb

I joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway communications team in July 2014 and love sharing stories from the World Capital of Racing, particularly its rich history. Most of my professional career has been in racing or golf, so if I'm not in the IMS media center, the office at 16th and Georgetown or milling around Gasoline Alley, maybe I'll be standing over a birdie putt at Brickyard Crossing. Follow us at @IMS or drop me a line at @JohnSchwarb and come back to the blog often for more stories.