Don't remember the year but when Billy Boat put AJ's backup car in the field with no previous laps. I remember AJ saying that it took real balls to get in that car cold and put it in the show.
RIP Dan Wheldon 1978-2011My sister's birthday is Race Day 2013!
My two favorites:
-Sneva's breaking 200 mph barrier (I was there that day, it was awesome)
-Simona's pole day shocker last year. She was terrified but kept her foot in it and held on to a very loose car, great stuff.
Kenny Brack in 2005
Preached safety and warned of death at Daytona this year and then drove like the Grim Reaper for three hours - Robin Miller talking about Tony Stewart
Props to everyone who remembers Buddy in 2008....they could've taken the rear wing off it was laid down so low....dude got out of the car and was emotionally drained...major props...as ballsy as when he drove the wheels off of it in his 1996 win when he was clipping grass in turn one.
KEEP POUNDIN' THE ROCK
The transformation is complete. The Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race that matters.
I don't know if it was two separate runs, or if both of these memories were the same year, but it centers around Scott Brayton's pole positions in 1995 and 96. I recall his pole run taking place in a light rain. Also, he withdrew a top 5 car and went out in another car to claim the pole (I'm pretty sure that was 96 as Tony Stewart and Luyendyk were involved in that decision).
1997. Greg Ray comes out of nowhere with an unsponsored plain black car and on the second day of qualifying is running laps that would put him solidly in the field when he runs out of fuel on lap 3. He comes back the following week and calmly puts the car in the show as qualifying ends on Saturday. As the sun sets and the crowd heads for the exits, the announcer asks Greg about his background. He says, "I'd done a little boat racing and decided I wanted to race cars. I went to a driving school and the instructor went around the room and asked everybody what they hoped to get out of the course. A couple said they just wanted to be better drivers on the street, a couple others said they wanted to do some regional sports car racing, one guy wanted to race vintage cars. When it got to me, I said, 'I want to race in the Indy 500' and everyone laughed. I'm quite sure none of them are here today."
Can't really call em Favorites but as far as quals go, the ones that got me were when Penske and Rahal DNQ'd. I think I cried seeing little Al head back to gasoline alley. Stunned.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat" -Teddy Roosevelt
Here's an obscure one but one I really enjoyed before it was curtailed...
Tom Sneva 1989 for Vince Granatelli. Running the stock block Buick.
First lap was blistering fast (out of no where in terms of his practice speeds). I think at that time it set a stock block record. And would have been 2nd or 3rd fastest of the month (Did Mears have the pole?).
Then, of course, the thing broke.
He coasted to the entrance of pit row. Got out and walked. Met Rutherford and they gave each other a high five.
Fun to watch. And ended up being really Sneva's last positive thrill at the Speedway.
Sneva was something else when it came to qualifying at Indy.
Every race I run in is in preparation for the Indianapolis 500. Indy is the most important thing in my life. It is what I live for. - Al Unser Jr.
Everything I ever wanted in my life, I found inside the walls of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. - Eddie Sachs.
It's tough to pick one but off the top I'll say 1984 when Sneva went past 210mph. The entire first weekend of qualifying was rained out and they qualified a full field in one day. The defending champion on a new team of Tyler Alexander and Teddy Mayer. He had been fast but sandbagging by not running both ends of the track in practice to keep the speed down. Then he comes out and nails it. They ran the superspeedway wings with a short track under tray and it was THE combination.
"You can't arrest those guys, they're folk heroes"
"Well most folk heroes started out as criminals"
2004 - Buddy Rice was as smooth as glass all month. Talk about in the "zone"
2010 - Helio hanging it out in the first Fast 6 Shootout. Laid down a run that no one could get.
Jerry Hoyt 1955...on the pole...those who know the history will appreciate my selection...
But, fair if not square he was the pole winner that year. Pretty sure McGrath was fastest starting on the outside of row 1.
I am so proud to call John friend. To achieve the Brawner award was it for him I think. He hasn't turned a wrench since. I think he and Soppe could have gone a long way had they stayed together.
He's a EMS guy out east somewhere and doesn't miss racing a bit. I miss him around TF too. Hilarious guy.
One of my favorites was in 1992. I think second day. Al Unser, Sr., missed the show the year before and showed up again in 1992 without a ride. Well, after Piquet was injured he got the Menard ride. I got to watch him put it in the show during happy hour and was so happy that he was back in the show. I was even more thrilled when he brought home the Buick boat-anchor home third! I think that was the first time a stock-block Buick finished the race.
How about 1981, George Snider gets in Foyt's back-up, he had not ran a lap all month in anything, does three warm-ups, qualifies the car, Foyt sells the car for Tim Richmond to drive (see, AA was not the first to do it), so there is George, ran seven laps all month, including his qualifying run, made the race, and didn't get to drive in it.
"You just don't know what Indy Means" Al Unser Jr.
How about Johnny Rutherford's 1984 run in a Foyt backup....smoking the whole time, but plenty fast.
Bill Puterbaugh finally qualifying in 1975
Willy T. Ribbs "climbs out" of his car in 1991
Foyt's "last hurrah" during qualifying happened in 1991....waited out the whole day and a fortunate rain shower to get on the front row. Then the next day, Arie, Gary B, and Emmo out-qualify the front row.
Al Sr in 1989...first driver out. SOOOO smooth. Every lap faster. Track record on each lap. It held up for 2nd starting position.