The 1985 Indianapolis 500 was one of the most memorable on record: Danny Sullivan went to pass Mario Andretti for the lead only to go into a spin between Turns 1 and 2. Sullivan missed the wall, and Andretti missed Sullivan to retake the lead. After the caution brought on by the incident, Andretti figured he finally had his second Indy 500 victory wrapped up. Unfortunately for Andretti, the “Andretti Curse” stepped in: Sullivan came back to retake the lead from Andretti and went on to win the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Wednesday, May 26th marks the 25th anniversary of this spectacular feat of driving. Sullivan, now 60, is still recognized not only for this win, but also for his appearance on the popular late 1980s television show Miami Vice. The 1988 CART champion today is vice president of business development for Orion Air Group, which converts civilian aircraft to military aircraft.
This weekend’s qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be historic for five reasons: Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, and Ana Beatriz will all attempt to qualify for the 2010 Indianapolis 500. This is the most women to attempt to qualify for the 500 in the race’s 94-year history. The previous record is three women qualifying, from 2007 to 2009, as Fisher, Patrick, and Duno all made the race. de Silvestro and Beatriz are both rookies this year.
Second generation driver Graham Rahal, left without a ride during the off-season, is teaming up with his father, 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby, and his Rahal Letterman Racing team for a one-race deal for the 500. The elder Rahal, whose partner is late-night talk show host David Letterman, also won the race as a car owner in 2004. The younger Rahal, who drove in three of the season’s first five races for Sarah Fisher Racing, is the youngest winner ever in the IZOD IndyCar Series, after winning the 2008 race at St. Petersburg at 19 years, 93 days.
Through Thursday, May 20th, the fastest speeds in practice belong to Tony Kanaan (226.775 mph) and Paul Tracy (226.322 mph). Kanaan is one of five drivers attempting to qualify for Andretti Autosport. Tracy, driving for KV Racing Technology, signed his one-race deal just last week.
sources: Nate Ryan, “Danny Sullivan’s Indy 500 win still has spin 25 years later,” USA Today
“Indianapolis 500 could have record 5 women in starting field,” USA Today
Gary Graves,”Graham Rahal reaches deal for father-son effort in Indy 500,” USA Today
Gary Graves, “Indianapolis 500 dream reunites Paul Tracy with Barry Green,” USA Today
“37th driver gets limited track time,” indycar.com