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.