Indianapolis 500 firsts

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Wins, Leaders and Race Competition[edit]

Year First Achiever(s) Notes
1911 Winning driver United States Ray Harroun Retired from racing competition upon victory
Winning owner United States Nordyke & Marmon Company Withdrew from racing competition upon victory
Rear-view mirror mounted,
and winning, car
United States Marmon Wasp First entry with rear-view mirror, all international motorsports competition
1913 Rookie winner (excluding first race) France Jules Goux First to win in first career start, excluding first race
Non-American winner  
European winner  
France French winner  
1915 Italy Italian winner Italy Ralph DePalma De Palma obtained his American citizenship in 1920
1916 Multiple-winning owner(s) France Peugeot Winning owners, 1913, 1916
1922 Winner from pole position United States Jimmy Murphy  
Winner leading first lap  
Driver-Owner winner  
Race and Grand Prix winning car United States Duesenberg 1921 GP Won 1921 French Grand Prix
1923 Two-time winner United States Tommy Milton Winner, 1921, 1923
1924 Co-winners United States Lora L. Corum
United States Joe Boyer
Corum starting, Boyer finishing
1924 Repeat-winning owner(s) United States Duesenberg  
1926 Rain-shortened race winner United States Frank Lockhart Race concluded by rain at 160 laps, 400 miles (640 km), with Lockhart holding a two lap lead
1936 Three-time winner United States Louis Meyer Winner, 1928, 1933, 1936
1939 Repeat-winning driver
Repeat-winning car
United States Wilbur Shaw
Italy Maserati 8CTF
1947 First-and-second-place finish by teammates United States Mauri Rose Rose victorious
United States Bill Holland Holland second
Three consecutive-winning owner United States Lou Moore  
1952 Rookie of the Year award winner United States Art Cross First awarded in 36th running of the race
Youngest winner United States Troy Ruttman Winner with 22 years and 80 days
1965 Race and World Championship winner, and in same year United Kingdom Jim Clark  
United Kingdom British winner United Kingdom Dario Resta, 1916 winning driver, was Italian-born; United States George Robson, 1946 winning driver, was a British-born American national
Scotland Scottish winner Drivers originating from countries within the United Kingdom traditionally operate under British classification
Rear-engined winning car United Kingdom Lotus 38 United Kingdom Team Lotus, entrant
1966 Race and Monaco Grand Prix winner United Kingdom Graham Hill Winner, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1969 Monaco Grand Prix
England English winner
1967 Race and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, and in same year United States A. J. Foyt United States Dan Gurney, Le Mans teammate and co-driver
1969 Race and Daytona 500 winner United States Mario Andretti Winner, 1967 Daytona 500
Race and 12 Hours of Sebring winner Winner, 1967, 1970, and 1972 12 Hours of Sebring
1972 Race and 24 Hours of Daytona winner United States Mario Andretti Winner, 1969 and 1978 World Championships
First year competed after winning 1972 24 Hours of Daytona
Wing-mounted winning car United Kingdom McLaren M16 Entered by United States Roger Penske, driven by United States Mark Donohue
1977 Four-time winner United States A. J. Foyt Winner, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1977
Female qualifier United States Janet Guthrie Qualified 26th
1987 Oldest winner United States Al Unser Winner with 47 years and 360 days, Winner, 1970, 1971, 1978, 1987
1989 South American winner Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi  
Brazil Brazilian winner  
1990 Netherlands Dutch winner Netherlands Arie Luyendyk  
1991 African-American qualifier United States Willy T. Ribbs Qualified 29th
1992 Female Rookie of the Year United States Lyn St. James Finished 13th
1993 Two-time Race and two-time World Championship winner Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Winner, 1989;
Winner, 1972 and 1974 World Championships
1995 Canada Canadian winner Canada Jacques Villeneuve Winner, 1997 World Championships
1999 Sweden Swedish winner Sweden Kenny Bräck  
2000 Colombia Colombian winner Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Winner, 2000, 2015, Won 2003 Monaco Grand Prix and won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2007, 2008 and 2013
2001 Rookie and sophomore winner Brazil Hélio Castroneves First to win in first two career starts
2005 Female leader United States Danica Patrick Led 19 laps; Lap 192, latest
2008 New Zealand New Zealand winner New Zealand Scott Dixon
2009 Three females both starting and finishing Race United States Danica Patrick
United States Sarah Fisher
Venezuela Milka Duno
Danica Patrick finished 3rd, becoming the highest finishing female in race history.
2011 Winner leading only final lap United Kingdom Dan Wheldon Took lead from United States J.R. Hildebrand on the final lap.
2017 Japan Japanese winner Japan Takuma Sato  
2018 Australia Australian winner Australia Will Power  

Race Average Finishing Speeds[edit]

Year Speed
Race Winner Time Average Speed Notes
(mph) (km/h)
1911 70 mph United States Ray Harroun 6:42:08.92 74.602 129.060 First race
1914 80 mph France René Thomas 6:03:46.12 82.47 132.72  
1922 90 mph United States Jimmy Murphy 5:17:30.79 94.48 152.05 Victory in 1921 French Grand Prix winning car
1925 100 mph United States Peter DePaolo 4:56:39.45 101.127 162.748 First race completed in under 5 hours
1937 110 mph United States Wilbur Shaw 4:24:07.08 113.580 182.789 Last two-seat winning car
1949 120 mph United States Bill Holland 4:07:14.97 121.327 195.257  
1954 130 mph United States Bill Vukovich 3:49:17.27 130.840 210.567  
1962 140 mph United States Rodger Ward 3:33:50.33 140.293 225.780  
1965 150 mph United Kingdom Jim Clark 3:19:05.34 150.686 242.506  
1972 160 mph United States Mark Donohue 3:04:05.54 162.962 262.262  
1986 170 mph United States Bobby Rahal 2:55:43.470 170.722 274.750 First race completed in under 3 hours
1990 180 mph Netherlands Arie Luyendyk 2:41:18.404 185.981 299.307 Currently third-fastest time for 500 miles


Pole Position[edit]

Year Speed
Driver Speed Notes
(mph) (km/h)
1911 N/A United States Lewis Strang No full lap First race; grid determined by entry date
1915 90 mph United States Howdy Wilcox 98.90 159.16 First year, grid position determined by qualification speed
1919 100 mph France René Thomas 104.780 168.627  
1925 110 mph United States Leon Duray 113.196 182.171  
1927 120 mph United States Frank Lockhart 120.100 193.282  
1939 130 mph United States Jimmy Snyder 130.138 209.437  
1954 140 mph United States Jack McGrath 141.033 226.971 Engine augmented with nitromethane additive, then legal
1962 150 mph United States Parnelli Jones 150.370 241.997  
1965 160 mph United States A. J. Foyt 161.233 259.479  
1968 170 mph United States Joe Leonard 171.559 276.097 Turbine-engined car
1972 180 mph United States Bobby Unser 195.940 315.335 17 mph (27 km/h) increase in pole record speed, largest margin to date
190 mph
1978 200 mph United States Tom Sneva 202.156 325.339 Broke one-lap 200 mph qualifying barrier in 1977
1984 210 mph 210.029 338.009  
1989 220 mph United States Rick Mears 223.885 360.308  
1992 230 mph Colombia Roberto Guerrero 232.482 374.144  

†- During time trials, Bill Vukovich II turned his first lap at 185.797 mph (299.011 km/h), to set the one-lap track record, and was the first driver to officially break the 180 mph (290 km/h) barrier. He, however, crashed on his second lap, and did not complete the four-lap qualifying run. Later in the afternoon, Joe Leonard qualified a four-lap average of 185.223 mph (298.088 km/h) to break the four-lap 180 mph (290 km/h) barrier. Later in the day, however, Bobby Unser qualified even faster, over 190 mph (310 km/h), and became the first pole position winner to break 180 mph (290 km/h) and 190 mph (310 km/h) for his four-lap average.


  • 1913: Jules Goux is the first winner to go the full race distance without a relief driver, and is both the first French and European victor. Goux's Peugeot entry is the first to win using wire wheels instead of wooden-spoke wheels.
  • 1915: Ralph DePalma is the first Italian-born victor.
  • 1919: Victory by state native Howdy Wilcox prompts crowd to sing Back Home Again in Indiana for the first time, immediately after conclusion of the race. Wilcox's Peugeot is owned and entered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first winning entry to be directly affiliated with the facility itself.
  • 1920: Gaston Chevrolet is killed in a race at Beverly Hills and is the first '500' winner to die.
  • 1921: Howdy Wilcox is the first driver to finish in first and last place (1919 & 1921).
  • 1923: Jimmy Murphy is the first defending winner to lead the first lap.
  • 1929: Cliff Woodbury is the first pole winner to finish last (crash on lap 3).
  • 1936: Louis Meyer becomes the first driver to drink milk in victory lane. He also becomes the first driver to receive the pace car for his winning effort. The Borg-Warner Trophy makes its first appearance.
  • 1946: George Robson is the first English-born victor.
  • 1948: The Speedway institutes its own 'Safety Patrol' to replace the Indiana National Guard as policing force for the event, which had served in such capacity since the inaugural race.
  • 1949: Local station WTTV provides television coverage of the race during competition for the first time.
  • 1950: Walt Faulkner becomes the first rookie to qualify for the pole position.
  • 1952: Art Cross becomes the first Rookie of the Year. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network broadcasts flag-to-flag coverage of the race for the first time.
  • 1958: The front row drivers (Dick Rathmann, Ed Elisian and Jimmy Reece) fail to lead a lap, the only time this has occurred to date.
  • 1965: Jim Clark is the first former World Drivers' Champion to win the race, the first driver to win the race en route to winning the Formula 1 World Championship, and the first Scottish victor.
  • 1966: Rookie Graham Hill, the first English-born victor, wins the race but not the Rookie of the Year award (instead awarded to teammate Jackie Stewart), the only time this has occurred to date. Jim Clark is the first driver to spin and recover twice in the same race.
  • 1971: Bettie Cadou becomes the first female reporter to be given a silver credential badge that permits access to the pit and garage areas.
  • 1974: The Speedway rescinds its "never on a Sunday" policy, altering a tradition dating to 1911; the race is scheduled to be run, for the first time, on the Sunday before the national observance of Memorial Day, the last Monday of May.
  • 1978: The timing and scoring computer system designed by Arthur W Graham III (Indianapolis 500 Director) was first used to accurately track drivers times and simultaneously display race leaders and laps.
  • 1983: Al Unser and son Al Unser, Jr. are the first father and son to compete together in the same race.
  • 1984: Michael Andretti becomes the first son of a previous Rookie of the Year award winner (Mario Andretti, 1965) to win the award himself, shared with Colombian Roberto Guerrero.
  • 1986: ABC Sports provides flag-to-flag television coverage for the first time.
  • 1988: Bill Vukovich III becomes the first third-generation driver to qualify and drive in the race, following his two-time winning grandfather and once second-place finishing father.
  • 1992: Al Unser, Jr. becomes the first second-generation winner of the race, following his four-time winning father.
  • 2002: Hélio Castroneves becomes the first rookie winner to become a multiple-race winner.
  • 2005: Danica Patrick becomes the first female driver to lead the race, for a total of 19 laps.
  • 2006: Marco Andretti becomes the first third-generation winner of the Rookie of the Year award (Mario Andretti, 1965; Michael Andretti, co-1984).
  • 2007: First Indy 500 race with three women competing in the field (Duno, Fisher, Patrick); also the first race where two women were running at the completion of the event (Fisher, Patrick).
  • 2009: First Indy 500 race where three females finished the race, (Duno, Fisher, Patrick). Also the highest finish for a woman, 3rd(Patrick).
  • 2010: First Indy 500 race with four women competing in the field (Fisher, Patrick, Silvestro, Beatriz); The Rookie of the year it was for the Swiss driver (Silvestro).
  • 2017: Takuma Sato of Japan becomes the first Asian-born victor.
  • 2018: Will Power of Australia becomes the first Australian-born victor.
  • 2019: First Indy 500 race broadcast by NBC Sports.


  • Indianapolis 500 Chronicle, John Pope, copyright 1999
  • 2005 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Program
  • 2006 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Program