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Thread: I wonder who has passed the most cars on the first lap of the Indy 500

  1. #1
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    I wonder who has passed the most cars on the first lap of the Indy 500

    Who has passed the most cars on the first lap of the Indy 500? Does someone have the factual, statistical answer to this question? I don't.

    I have a candidate but I don't claim that it is the correct answer to the question.

    In 1964 Bill Cheesebourg started 33nd. On the front straight at the green flag, films show him passing 8 cars on the straight.

    Turn 2, 13 cars had been passed.

    Turn 3 lap two it looks like he is in 18th position which would mean, 15 cars passed.

    Guess he wasn't asleep at the wheel.

  2. #2
    I don't if he passed that many cars, but Wally Dallenbach passed several cars from 21st at the start of the 1975 race.

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    Inside(he)r Ren Butler's Avatar
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    Are you counting passes at speed, and exempting situations like 1966?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Butler View Post
    Are you counting passes at speed, and exempting situations like 1966?
    Ren, excellent question. That thought had occurred to me. Ward among others advanced many positions because of the misfortune triggered by Johncock, Foster and all.

    But, no, I think I'm most interested in green light passing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino Ryan View Post
    I don't if he passed that many cars, but Wally Dallenbach passed several cars from 21st at the start of the 1975 race.
    Dallenbach was at the peak of his career and in a fast car that day

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    Inside(he)r Ren Butler's Avatar
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    TK has been known for his great starts. In 2010 he started 33rd, and he easily passed five cars by the end of turn 2, and he was setting up more passes down the backstretch before a caution came out.

    Check out his in-car at 16:00:


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    Hepburn in 1946 must be in contention. Started 19th and was third on lap 10 and leading by lap 12, although I don't know how far he got on the first lap. Rose went from 9th to 1st on the first lap in the same race.
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  8. #8
    Hep wasn't in the top 4 at the end of the first lap, that's all the Clymer supplement can help with.

    Rose's 9th to 1st equalled Jimmy Murphy's feat from 1923.

    Herk passed a fair few in 1963 - you just have to overlook that they all overtook him first!

  9. #9
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    Cheesbourg had phenomenal starts in 1959 and 1961 as well, but 1964 may be the top.

    Pat Flaherty advanced from 19th to the lead in 1959 very quickly but I don't know how many he may have passed on the opening lap.

    Eddie Sachs advanced from 18th to 2nd or 3rd due to the mayhem of the opening lap in 1958.

    Of more recent vintage, I watched Arie Luyendyk zap about 7-8 cars on the first lap in 1989 from 15th starting soot.

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    Counting only accident free green flag first laps, I believe Masten Gregory holds the record of gaining 15 spots in '65.

    By the time his car failed on lap 59, he was up to 5th from 32nd.

  11. #11
    Gregory entered my head too, but I couldn't find anything to verify his first lap progress.

    I doubt there is anybody in the world who knows the answer for definite, all we can do is nominate potential candidates and eliminate them one by one.

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    Thank you for these responses. So, it seems Cheesebourg had a knack for starts and qualifying on the fourth day.

    Thanks for the Masten Gregory achievement of 1965. Impressive indeed. That was a starting field with lots of talent.

    So what was the deal with Herk in 63? When the field was at the green (or shortly thereafter) he had lost several places from his front row position. Did the Novi take awhile to kick in? Or did Herk just miss something? Of course, by turn four and the straight again he had made up for it big time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman J Crump View Post
    Gregory entered my head too, but I couldn't find anything to verify his first lap progress.

    I doubt there is anybody in the world who knows the answer for definite, all we can do is nominate potential candidates and eliminate them one by one.

    This article: http://8w.forix.com/gregory.html states he gained 14 places the first lap in '65. Who the author, Michael J. Cox is, I dunno'.

    This article: http://www.formula1blog.com/f1-biogr...as-city-flash/ also says he gained 14. Don't know who this author is either, and one may have cribbed from the other.

    What videos I can find from '65 aren't clear enough to see.

    I have seen 15 positions elsewhere, and also that he had gained 12 spots entering T1 on the first lap. Sources, of course unverified.

    In any case he must had it wound pretty tight coming off T3, maybe even down the back heading to the green. That he was an aggressive driver is certain.

    And there seems no debate he gained 26 positions in 59 laps.

    I suppose IMS has the official record somewhere.

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    I wonder if it was easier to pass at the start in the 50s and 60s when the starting fields were more closely bunched.

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    Fascinating stuff here, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnormanh View Post
    This article: http://8w.forix.com/gregory.html states he gained 14 places the first lap in '65. Who the author, Michael J. Cox is, I dunno'.
    Michael J Cox is the author of the excellent biography 'Masten Gregory: Totally Fearless, Two Decades of Motorsport through the Spectacles of the Kansas City Flash'. ISBN 0974404306 - self-published, now out of print and hard to find.

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    Insider Frank Capua's Avatar
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    I believe that Scott Sharp holds the record for being passed by the most cars on the first lap.

    "Ride the Barrel and get pitted... So Pitted."



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Capua View Post
    I believe that Scott Sharp holds the record for being passed by the most cars on the first lap.
    I believe you're right, thirty-two cars by turn 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vitesse View Post
    Michael J Cox is the author of the excellent biography 'Masten Gregory: Totally Fearless, Two Decades of Motorsport through the Spectacles of the Kansas City Flash'. ISBN 0974404306 - self-published, now out of print and hard to find.
    Vitesse, don't you realize here at TF, one is supposed to question every author with comments like "I don't know who the heck that guy is", describe them as "just some self-appointed so-and-so" (or worse) or make other denigrating comment, all the while quoting inaccurate info from other books as unassailable fact, then sarcastically replying to those who correct those errors with: "So, when is your book coming out?" It can't be both ways, but some here manage, somehow

    Damned media elites!
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Capua View Post
    I believe that Scott Sharp holds the record for being passed by the most cars on the first lap.
    Tied with Guererro 32 cars... ON THE PACE LAP!
    Repeat after me...Danica is NOT as bad as some people think, Danica is also NOT as good as some people think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JThur1 View Post
    Vitesse, don't you realize here at TF, one is supposed to question every author with comments like "I don't know who the heck that guy is", describe them as "just some self-appointed so-and-so" (or worse) or make other denigrating comment, all the while quoting inaccurate info from other books as unassailable fact, then sarcastically replying to those who correct those errors with: "So, when is your book coming out?" It can't be both ways, but some here manage, somehow

    Damned media elites!
    Well, when I can find a publisher for my comprehensive history of worldwide motor racing 1938-46 (twelve years work, about 180,000 words and counting, so far) I'll have an answer to that!

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    So, what was going on with Herk's start in 63? Why did he drop back so much on the straightaway? It is easier for me to figure an answer to how he came back to lead (Novi, Herk's courage and ability, plain determination).

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    So, so far it looks like Masten Gregory is the leader with Bill C. in second.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JThur1 View Post
    Vitesse, don't you realize here at TF, one is supposed to question every author with comments like "I don't know who the heck that guy is", describe them as "just some self-appointed so-and-so" (or worse) or make other denigrating comment, all the while quoting inaccurate info from other books as unassailable fact, then sarcastically replying to those who correct those errors with: "So, when is your book coming out?" It can't be both ways, but some here manage, somehow

    Damned media elites!
    Speaking of books, let me know when yours is coming out. I would like to place my order now. For that matter, I'd order any books written by Michael Ferner, Don Capps and a few others I could name.

    Cannot get enough Indy 500 history into this aging head.

  25. #25
    In 1970, Lloyd Ruby charged from 25th to 15th on the first lap, and was in the top ten by lap 3. He made a spirited run to get into the top five, then the top three, and eventually led laps 50-51 during a pit stop sequence. Right after that, he dropped out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by preacher View Post
    So, what was going on with Herk's start in 63? Why did he drop back so much on the straightaway? It is easier for me to figure an answer to how he came back to lead (Novi, Herk's courage and ability, plain determination).

    It looks to me like Hurtubise is two or three car lengths behind Jones into turn 1 at the start, gains a length going into T2, then passes Jones down the back.

    So he didn't drop very far back. He may have been content to let Jones lead into T1 rather than race two wide into T1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJLW View Post
    Tied with Guererro 32 cars... ON THE PACE LAP!
    But as everybody knows... The Pace Lap isn't the first lap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnormanh View Post
    It looks to me like Hurtubise is two or three car lengths behind Jones into turn 1 at the start, gains a length going into T2, then passes Jones down the back.

    So he didn't drop very far back. He may have been content to let Jones lead into T1 rather than race two wide into T1.
    When the green flag drops he is in seventh from his second starting position.

    In turn one he has caught back up alongside Branson in "second."

    So, something happened on the FS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by preacher View Post
    When the green flag drops he is in seventh from his second starting position.

    In turn one he has caught back up alongside Branson in "second."

    So, something happened on the FS.
    Yep, the Novi always had plenty of HP, and, if it didn't break or wreck, could have won at Indy. Problem is, it often wrecked or broke. HP the Novis had. They also were evil machines that wore tires, and caught drivers out when they got their foot in it too early or too far. The overpowered, ill-handling Novis killed Ralph Hepburn and Chet Miller, and tried to kill Duke Nalon and Paul Russo.

    I don't know what happened to Herky as they approached the start in '63

    What we do know is that he had trouble shifting gears in the Novi. In '65, his second try in the Novi, he broke the transmission mangling a shift at the start and finished 33rd. Maybe he had trouble shifting in '63 also.
    Last edited by jnormanh; 02-07-2017 at 10:15 AM.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by jnormanh View Post
    Yep, the Novi always had plenty of HP, and, if it didn't break or wreck, could have won at Indy. Problem is, it often wrecked or broke. HP the Novis had. They also were evil machines that wore tires, and caught drivers out when they got their foot in it too early or too far. The overpowered, ill-handling Novis killed Ralph Hepburn and Chet Miller, and tried to kill Duke Nalon and Paul Russo.

    I don't know what happened to Herky as they approached the start in '63

    What we do know is that he had trouble shifting gears in the Novi. In '65, his second try in the Novi, he broke the transmission mangling a shift at the start and finished 33rd. Maybe he had trouble shifting in '63 also.


    The story I have heard about `herk` in '65 was that by then the rear wheel tires on the Novi were wider than he was used to in '63 but also softer and more grippy because of that. And that he had floored the accellerator, counting on the familiar wheelspin to take over. But due to the better grip, the tires held so instead of grip being the weakest link, the next weakest ling between engine and tires had to give in, in this case: the transmission.

    Another very weak point of the Novis was their rate of fuel consumption. Powerful as they were, all that power required way too much fuel, increasing their weight even further, which had it effects on the tire wear, the handling, a vicious circle that could not be broken.....
    it is also told that the fuel efficiency of the earliest Novi was not very well and a lot of fuel effectively been wasted. Rogher Huntington mentioned within his book "Design & development of the Indycar" that the Granatelli brothers found out on a dyno test that the engines had a fuel consuption of some 140 gallons per hour which should have given some 700 to 800 hp but they got a bit less than 500......

    Nevertheless, one of the most fascinating stories ever in indy history and racing history in general.... Though I am of European background, I prefer the Novi Legend over the European counterpart of the Novi: the BRM V16 of 1950-1955...

    Indyote

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