The 2019 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest

It’s become an annual event at this site – The Trivia Contest. It started out with some fairly tough questions that were multiple choice. It was too easy, because several times there would be multiple entries that were all correct. At some point, I went to short answers. I was surprised by how many nearly correct entries there were even then. A couple of years ago, I decided to really toughen things up with some of the most obscure facts out there.

Not only has this quiz become an annual event, but lately – so has the winner. For the third year in a row, the 2018 winner was “Mike from Vernon Hills” – a regular caller to Donald Davidson’s The Talk of Gasoline Alley. Last year, he only missed two of the thirty-three questions. This was even more impressive when you consider how tough last year’s quiz was. It was so tough, that entries were down significantly. I think people grew tired of seemingly impossible questions and didn’t even bother to try.

Therefore, I’ve made the decision to make this one a tad bit easier. Most of the questions are still tough, but a lot of them can be Googled. There are a couple of softies thrown in just to give some a chance, but it is still tough enough that if you win – you’ve got something to brag about. Bragging rights not withstanding, I will also throw in a brand-new (with tags) T-shirt (100% cotton, of course) to the winner. And if Mike wins again, it’ll be his fourth crown in a row, so he’ll deserve to get another one.

The rules are the same, but pay attention. I basically have two rules. First, all entries must be e-mailed to me no later than 5:00 pm CDT by Tuesday May 21 to That’s two weeks from yesterday. But keep in mind, the final tie-breaker is which one was sent first. Second (and this is just as important), your answers must be numbered to the corresponding question. If I receive an entry that has answers with no numbers, that entry will be disqualified. I do not have the time, energy or desire to go back and match up your answers to my questions. So please, number your answers. There are thirty-three questions (for obvious reasons), plus one tie-breaker.

Aside from the free T-shirt and bragging rights – this is for fun. In the past, I’ve found that if my answer to a question was not completely accurate or there was more than one correct answer – I’m usually pretty lenient and will accept another answer. But I’m the final judge and jury. If you disagree with my answers or decision, please don’t make threats or bombard me with nasty e-mails like someone did a few years ago. It’s just for fun, so get over it. But pay attention to the wording. I don’t think there are any trick questions, but you will get tripped up if you don’t pay attention to the wording.

Anyway, without any more fanfare – here is this year’s quiz. I hope you enjoy it. The answers and our winner will be posted here on Wednesday May 22. Good luck!

1. Only three drivers have ever started the Indianapolis 500 and driven a Top-Fuel Dragster in an NHRA National Event. Name them.

2. Who is the only person to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500 as both a driver and a riding mechanic?

3. What was the first year that an entry blank for the Indianapolis 500 did not have a space to enter a riding mechanic?

4. What was the first year that the top four finishers finished on the same lap?

5. What former Indianapolis 500 winner later became the race’s Chief Steward?

6. What driver drove more laps than anyone without leading a single lap?

7. Who was the oldest driver to be fatally injured at IMS?

8. Which driver earned the nickname “Dean of the Speedway”?

9. What was the most recent year that the entire front row was made up of “Indy-only” one-offs? Name the drivers.

10. There are nine living drivers that drove in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. Seven are former winners. Name the two living drivers from the 1965 starting grid that never won the Indianapolis 500.

11. Who was the last Hoosier-born driver to win the Indianapolis 500?

12. What former Indianapolis 500 winner later invented a device that allowed amputees to drive an automobile?

13. What driver led the first lap and the final lap of the same Indianapolis 500, but in two different cars?

14. Two former Indianapolis 500 winners would later commit suicide. Name them.

15. Two former Indianapolis 500 winners would later perish in airplane crashes. Name them.

16. Who was the first to drive a Cosworth and the first Ilmor Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500?

17. Which non-winning Indianapolis 500 driver finished second, more times than anyone else? How many times?

18. Only twice has a rookie driver qualified on the pole. Name the two drivers and in what years?

19. Mario Andretti is third on the list of all-time lap leaders for the Indianapolis 500. How many laps did he lead throughout the 1970s?

20. Cyrus Patschke drove relief for Ray Harroun in the 1911 Indianapolis 500. What other driver did Patschke drive relief for in that same race, and where did that driver finish?

21. What was the last year a driver in Victory Lane drank water from the cup with the engraving “Water from Wilbur”? Who was the winning driver?

22. What was the pre-World War II name of the engine that eventually became the Novi?

23. Heading into the 2011 Indianapolis 500, which driver in that field had the most previous “500” starts? How many?

24. Name a driver who finished last in his first Indianapolis 500, and finished first in his last Indianapolis 500.

25. What prominent car-owner claimed to have been born in Chicago, but had actually been born in Germany and immigrated to the US with his parents?

26. Roger Penske leads all car-owners with seventeen Indianapolis 500 victories. In 2017, Michael Andretti became tied for second-place behind Penske. Who did Michael Andretti tie and with how many victories?

27. What driver holds the record for most Indianapolis 500 starts on the front row?

28. What is the smallest time difference between the two fastest qualifiers? Who were the drivers and in what year?

29. Who was the last person to sing (Back Home Again in) Indiana before Jim Nabors sang it for the first time in pre-race ceremonies?

30. What driver holds the record for completing the first fifty laps in the shortest amount of time? What was the year?

31. Who was the last driver to put a front-engine car on the pole? What was the year?

32. When Jim Clark won the 1965 Indianapolis 500 in a Lotus powered by Ford, it was the first time an Offenhauser engine had failed to win in quite a while. Prior to 1965, when was the last time an Offenhauser failed to win the Indianapolis 500?

33. What was the original name of the race car that sat atop the Safety Auto Glass Company in Indianapolis until the fall of 2012?

Tie-Breaker: How many cars have completed the full race without a pit stop? Name the drivers and the years they accomplished that feat.

4 Responses to “The 2019 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest”

  1. Well now I’m not getting anything done today.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    Curse my work deadline! I’m still doing this, though, just a tick later than usual.

    Mike From Vernon Hills, I’m coming for… well… second place probably.

  3. Ooo Ooo Ooo!! I know most of these! 🙂

  4. Oh, well, too tough for me but as a Top Fuel Fan, I know one person for the first question but never realised there had been 3. Fascinated to know the answer!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: