The 2020 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest

The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 finally gets going in earnest today, with the start of practice this morning at 11:00 am EDT. Each of the three practice sessions this week will be streamed live on NBC Sports Gold. We have waited a long time for this day. Although it is tough to imagine fans not being present, it is understandable. Personally, I’m glad the race is still running and I’m looking forward to the next week and a half. August isn’t May, but it’s better than nothing.

The Month of May is all about traditions. The drinking of the milk (not pouring it or slinging it), the pursuit of breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches, the launching of the balloons prior to the start of the race, dinners at Dawson’s, the Purdue All-American Marching Band are all just a few of the May traditions that we won’t get to experience in person or at all this year in August. Some traditions will still happen, but they will be altered. Such is life in this ongoing strange year of 2020.

Another altered tradition will be the 2020 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest. Yes, it can be found below – but there are a few changes (for this year only). First of all, there will not be the usual thirty-three questions this year. There is also no tie-breaker.

Normally I begin gathering questions for this contest in February, and usually have it ready to go by the end of April. I usually get my questions by listening to old episodes of The Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson. For whatever reason, this didn’t happen this year. When it was announced that the Indianapolis 500 would be postponed until August 23, I only had about ten questions. I figured I had plenty of time this summer to get the rest of my questions together. Unfortunately, my summer had a couple of unexpected distractions and I never got to my thirty-three questions.

So in the spirit of the totally messed-up year of 2020, I give you only twenty new and original trivia questions.

Another change is that you will only have one week to complete the shortened quiz, instead of the regular two-week window. All sports are compressing their schedules, so I will too. Your answers will be due back to me by 6:00 EDT next Tuesday August 18. Please send them to me at I will announce the winner one week from today, next Wednesday August 19. One thing that has not changed is the main rule – please number your answers. I do not have the time nor the desire to match your answers up to the questions, if you don’t number them. I will simply not count your entry.

Since everyone is cutting back on everything and blaming it on the pandemic, I will too. There will be no prize for winning this year. No one really wants a possibly infected T-shirt or polo being sent to them. That’s my excuse, anyway. Your reward for winning will be getting a warm and fuzzy feeling, and getting recognized here next Wednesday.

I also want to acknowledge my good friend and fellow IndyCar blogger, Paul Dalbey from, for helping with some of these questions; as well as Jake Query from the IMS Radio Network, who supplied a couple as well (specifically Nos. 18 and 20).

So like everything else in this non-magical month of August, I present to you a truncated Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest for 2020. Next May, I promise you that things will get back to our regular normal and we will be back to thirty-three questions, a tie-breaker and a prize. In the meantime, get started on these. Although the quantity may be down, there is still a lot of quality here.

George Phillips

1. Who was the first former driver to watch his son qualify for the Indianapolis 500?

2. Who was the first former Indianapolis 500 winner to watch his son qualify for the Indianapolis 500?

3. Name the two Indianapolis 500 drivers that were lost when their ship, the SS Vestris, sank in the North Atlantic.

4. What driver is known for steering his flaming car through the pit area in the 1927 Indianapolis 500, thereby preventing injury to crew members?

5. Car No. 98 has won the Indianapolis 500 four times with four different drivers. Name the drivers and the year they won.

6. Name the only two primary sponsors to win the Indianapolis 500 three times in a row.

7. Sam Hanks and Jimmy Bryan drove the same car to Victory Lane in 1957 and 1958 respectively. The same car finished thirty-third in 1959, again with Bryan as the driver. Who drove the car in 1960 and in what position did it finish?

8. Who drove the only car with a full roll cage in the Indianapolis 500? What was the year?

9. Who was the last driver to win the Pole for the Indianapolis 500 on Goodyear tires, and in what year?

10. Which Rookie of the Year did Robin Miller once share a house with?

11. Four times in history, the same two drivers have occupied the top two finishing positions two years in a row. Name them.

12. Legendary race broadcaster Sid Collins had many skills. In the opinion of Donald Davidson, what skill did Collins excel at the most?

13. What Indianapolis 500 winning car had the engine with the largest displacement?

14. Which second-generation driver was on stand-by for Danny Sullivan during the 1989 Indianapolis 500, in case Sullivan could not continue due to a broken arm he sustained in a practice crash?

15. Who was the first driver to drive in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year?

16. The color green was considered unlucky in racing, according to an old superstition. Who was the first driver to drive a green car to a victory in the Indianapolis 500 and in what year?

17. The iconic Marlboro livery is often associated with Emerson Fittipaldi, who drove the car for several years and then brought it to Team Penske in 1990. Who was the second driver to drive a car in the Marlboro livery in the Indianapolis 500?

18. How many combinations of brothers have led the Indianapolis 500? Name them.

19. What was the first year that the Purdue All-American Marching Band performed at the Indianapolis 500?

20. Five drivers have won the Indianapolis 500 and led less than 100 miles in their Indianapolis 500 career (not counting co-winners). Who are they?

3 Responses to “The 2020 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest”

  1. Jack in Virginia Says:

    As for Traditions, you left out the Gordon 500 Pipe Band marching around the track before the race.

    • Mark Wick Says:

      The Gordon Pipers did march and play on Georgetown Road near the main gate on May 24, the original race date, so in a strange 2020 way, that tradition did continue.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    This’ll be a fun exercise this weekend. Thank you, George, for continuing to produce this contest in the face of these challenging times.

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