Which Drivers Have Won the Most Indy 500 Races?
It’s not easy to triumph at the Indianapolis 500. Since the race began in 1911, only three drivers have managed to win it at least four times. Here’s a quick introduction to those legendary racers.
All told, A.J. Foyt raced in 35 straight Indy 500s from 1958 to 1992. The first driver to win four Indy 500s, he was victorious in 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977 — and he came close to winning several more times. Then, as a racing team owner, Foyt added yet another Indy 500 victory to his credit in 1999.
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Unser family members are responsible for nine Indy 500 wins, and Al Unser was the best of them all. While his brother Bobby won three times and his son Al Unser Jr. triumphed twice, neither of them could top “Big Al.” He raced in a total of 27 Indy 500s, winning in 1970, 1971, 1978, and 1987.
In addition to triumphing in 1979, 1984, 1988, and 1991, Rick Mears holds the all-time Indy 500 record for pole positions with six. Mears fell agonizingly short of at least two more victories, losing by a 0.16-second margin in 1982 and a 1.881-second margin in 1986.
Who Will Be Next?
Since Mears’ victory in 1991, no other driver has reached that magical fourth win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It could finally happen at this year’s Indy 500, though — three-time winner Helio Castroneves has been trying for that elusive fourth victory since his last triumph in 2009, and he’ll be starting in Row 3 on Sunday.
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