The 2018 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest

Here we go again! It’s time for the annual Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest. If you have taken part in this contest in recent years, you know it is for serious fans. If you go through the archives and pull up the contests from the early years of this site, you’ll see that the questions were relatively easy and multiple choice. The problem with that was that too many people were getting all but one or two correct and there would be ties. I would have to go back to see who got their answers in first to break the tie, which led to some unhappy people.

After a couple of years of that, I cranked it up a few notches. I made the questions much more difficult and made them short-answer instead of multiple choice. That reduced the chances of having near-perfect scores, but there would still be ties. But whoever got the most right and in the earliest was declared the winner.

So what are you playing for? This year, I’m in a generous mood and I’ll give away two items. I just had a new batch of T-shirts and polo shirts made up. Both styles of shirts are 100% cotton (of course) and feature the logo. The T-shirt is yellow and the polo is white. Sorry, but I only have one size – XL in both.

But these two items won’t be given away. They will be earned. This quiz is not for the casual fan. Some of the answers can be easily looked up, while others would be almost impossible to find unless you knew the entire backstory to the question. However, if you are a regular listener to Donald Davidson on The Talk of Gasoline Alley; you shouldn’t have much of a problem.

I have to thank my good friend Paul Dalbey for helping me with this. He and I started putting this together back in January. I also saw one question on Twitter and promised to credit my friend Will McCarty, formerly of the blog Is it May Yet? for the one question I got from him (as noted on Question7).

The answers will be due back to me no later that 6:00 EDT on Tuesday May 22. You will need to e-mail your numbered answers  to me at If you are confused about the wording of a question, please feel free to e-mail me for clarification – but I won’t give you the answer. If the answers are not numbered, they will not be graded – I won’t have time nor the interest to be trying to match up your answers without the corresponding question number. If they are time-stamped beyond 6:00 EDT on the 22nd, they will not be graded. Sorry to be such a stickler, but I need to draw the line to be fair to those that complied.

So turn on your Wikipedia machine and get it warmed up. You have two weeks to find your answers. The answers and our winner will be posted here on Wednesday May 23. Good luck!

1. Who is the only driver to drive in four different cars in the same Indianapolis 500?

2. Name at least two Indianapolis 500 starters who were fatally injured in racing; whose widows went on to remarry other Indianapolis 500 starters.

3. Who drove the first front-engine car with a turbo-Offy? What was the year?

4. Who was the first Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter to finish thirty-third in the same race while starting on the pole?

5. What driver holds the record for being the fastest qualifier to start the furthest back in the field? What was the starting position and what was the year?

6. What driver holds the record for the fastest official speed recorded in a four-wheel drive car? What was the year?

7. What driver marched in the pre-race festivities in his high-school band as a youth, before racing in the Indianapolis 500 as an adult? (question courtesy of Will McCarty)

8. What car owner had to grant Joe Leonard’s release from a contract before he could drive the Lotus turbine for Andy Granatelli?

9. What four winning drivers had to take a relief driver during the race before getting back in to drive their car on to victory? What were the years?

10. Name the four relief drivers and their respective years from question No.9.

11. What driver holds the record for the fastest qualifying speed in a front-wheel drive car? What was the year?

12. What Indianapolis 500 winning driver was a graduate of the University of Illinois School of Engineering?

13. Who was the last Indiana-born driver to go the full five-hundred miles in the Indianapolis 500?

14. Who is currently the oldest living former winner of the Indianapolis 500?

15. Who is currently the oldest living person to drive in the Indianapolis 500?

16. What Indianapolis 500 winning driver was fatally injured in a passenger car accident on the same street where the Jones & Maley Special sat on top of a roof for five decades?

17. Who was the first British-born driver to win the Indianapolis 500?

18. Who is currently the youngest former winner of the Indianapolis 500 (Clarification: Name the youngest person on the planet today that can say "I won the Indianapolis 500")?

19. Who was the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 under USAC sanction?

20. Al Unser was the oldest driver to win the Indianapolis 500, when he won in 1987 at the age of 47 years, 360 days. Who was the second oldest winner?

21. What winning driver finished his qualifying run in the rain, in the same year in which he won?

22. What year saw a second-day qualifier start on the outside of the front row, alongside two first-day qualifiers? Who was the driver on the outside of the front row?

23. In one Indianapolis 500, two different drivers made two separate trips to the infield care center in the same race. What year was the race and who were the drivers?

24. Driver Pancho Carter is known to have not gotten a haircut until he was over three years-old, by which time he had very long ringlets. What former Indianapolis 500 starting driver gave him his first haircut?

25. What year did the slowest qualifier start in the second row? Who was the driver?

26. What pole-winning driver went by a fictitious first name, while his given name was Levon?

27. Who was George Bignotti’s father-in-law at one time?

28. Who set the first official track qualifying record at IMS in the “500” era? What was the year and the speed?

29. Dallara owns the most Indianapolis 500 victories for a chassis manufacturer with seventeen. What chassis manufacturer holds the second-most with how many?

30. Firestone has the most Indianapolis 500 wins by a tire manufacturer with sixty-eight wins. Which two manufacturers are tied for the fewest number of wins (zero wins does not count).

31. When Troy Ruttman won the Indianapolis 500 in 1952, he became the youngest winner at the age of 22 years, 86 days – a record that still stands today. Whose record did Ruttman break?

32. On four separate occasions, the winning Indianapolis 500 driver was entitled to carry car No.1 as the defending series champion, yet chose not to. Name the drivers and the year of the four wins.

33. Although the Mercedes 209 was the most famous engine to take advantage of the purpose-built pushrod rule, what was the other purpose-built pushrod engine to enter the 1994 Indianapolis 500?

Tie-Breaker: What is my dog’s name and what was she named after?

9 Responses to “The 2018 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest”

  1. Well without looking anything up I know two answers- one is the tiebreaker. Looks like I’ve got a lot of research to do.

  2. S0CSeven Says:

    I nailed #4 so my record of 1 correct answer/year stands.

  3. billytheskink Says:

    Oh yes! My favorite blog post of the year!

  4. Ron Ford Says:

    Just curious as to whether that Davidson fella has ever provided you with any feedback about his enjoyment of your contest or a degree of difficulty grade?

  5. Brent Blaine Says:

    Might want to revisit question number 3. I believe there were two.

  6. Ron Ford Says:

    Perhaps you could license your contests to Donald Davidson for his Talk of Gasoline Alley shows. Have your people talk to his people.

  7. […] my “Random Thoughts” article up here tomorrow morning. Also, don’t forget – answers to the Trivia Contest are due on Tuesday at 6:00 pm […]

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