The 2021 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest

It’s time, once again, for the Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest. As usual, my main source for these questions stems from many hours I spend listening to The Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson. He had the ability to throw in little known trivial facts when telling one of his wonderful stories.

But I had other contributors too. My friend Paul Dalbey from contributed several questions, as did Jake Query from the IndyCar Radio Network. Former contest multi-winner, Mike from Vernon Hills, contributed two questions also; since he has chosen to sit out the last couple of years. One source I can tell you that I have never used is the excellent book by the late Pat Kennedy; How Much do You Really Know About the Indianapolis 500? That would be cheating and plagiarism, in my eyes.

The format returns to thirty-three questions this year (plus a tie-breaker). Unlike last year, this year’s contest has a prize – an 100% cotton T-Shirt. But this is more about bragging rights for a year, isn’t it?

The rules are simple. Correctly answer as many questions as possible and send the to by Tue May 25 by 6:00 pm EDT. I ask one thing – please number your answers. Any e-mail I receive with just answers and non numbers will be disqualified. I have not the time nor desire to match your answers up to the questions. I also hope that I don’t get a flurry of answers in the last hour. That does not make for a fun Tuesday night. The winner will be announced on Wednesday May 26, along with the answers.

Please remember that I am the judge and jury. If several people send in a different answer and I find it is correct also; I generally will accept it. But I am the final word. Keep in mind, this is meant to be fun, not where people get angry over something ruled an incorrect answer.

So put on your thinking caps, get out the Donald Davidson book and turn on your Google machine. Even if you don’t win, you’ll probably learn something. Good luck!

1.  What was the first year for the traditional release of brightly colored balloons, just before the start of the race?

2.  In May of 1964, Mario Andretti was at the track when he met a sprint car owner who gave him his big break that propelled him into big-time auto racing. Who was the owner?

3.  Which Indianapolis 500 winning car owner was also the founder of an NFL franchise?

4.  Who was the first African-American crew chief in the Indianapolis 500? What was the year and who was his driver?

5.  Which car-owner struck a deal to run Formula One driver Lorenzo Bandini in the 1967 Indianapolis 500, who was ultimately fatally injured at the Monoco Grand Prix just a few days before Pole Day?

6.  Which drivers originally made up John Mecom’s winning team for the 1966 Indianapolis 500?

7.  Who was the first reigning Indianapolis 500 winning driver to try and defend his title the following year?

8.  In 2014, Jacques Villeneuve set a record with 19 years between starts in the Indianapolis 500. Prior to that, two drivers were tied with that dubious distinction and set the record in the same year. Who were the two drivers, and in what year did they set the record, and what was the year of their previous start before setting the record?

9.  What was the last year that a front-drive car made a qualifying attempt for the Indianapolis 500? Who was the driver?

10. Which three drivers finished thirty-third in the Indianapolis 500, in the following year after winning it?

11. What was the final year a driver from the inaugural Indianapolis 500 of 1911, drove in the race? Who was the driver?

12. Who was the only Purdue graduate to race in the Indianapolis 500?

13. We all know that Aldo Andretti sat in as a sub for twin-brother Mario, during the 1969 front-row photo shoot. Who sat in the car for Ed Elisian for the 1958 front-row photo shoot?

14. What two brothers are credited with designing the famous Novi engine?

15. Most know that there are four individuals credited with founding the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Fisher, Allison, Newby and Wheeler. There was actually a fifth original owner, who pulled out early and sold his shares to two of the other four. What was his name?

16. There was a handful of drivers that qualified for the Indianapolis 500 and started, yet never completed a lap in their racing career. Which driver was the last to do so, and what was the year?

17. What was the last year that a front-drive Novi made a qualifying attempt? Who was the driver?

18. What was the first year that Borg-Warner’s PR department arranged for a Hollywood actress to be part of the Victory Lane ceremony? Who was the actress?

19. Who was the first Indianapolis 500 winner to be born after the inaugural running of the race in 1911? What year was he born in?

20. Three drivers with the legal surname of Stewart have started in the Indianapolis 500 at least once. Name them.

21. Name two Indianapolis 500 starters that were native Tennesseans.

22. What driver finished third in the Indianapolis 500, then the next February finished third in the Daytona 500?

23. Who was the last driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and not pour milk all over his head? What was the year?

24. Who was the first relief driver to be in a winning car for the second time?

25. Two Indianapolis 500 winning cars carried the same primary sponsor name, yet they were two completely separate and different companies. What was the name of the sponsor, the drivers and the years they won?

26. AJ Foyt is one of the drivers that have led all 200 laps in his Indianapolis 500 career; meaning that he has at one time, led each individual lap of the race. What year did he accomplish this and what lap did he lead to finalize leading each of the 200 laps?

27. What was the first year that a set of brothers raced against each other in the Indianapolis 500? What were their names?

28. Assuming he qualifies, Helio Castroneves will be making his twenty-first start in the Indianapolis 500. Who was the last driver to be entered into the Indianapolis 500 to have at least twenty previous starts on their resume?

29. When was the last year that wire wheels were used on a car in the Indianapolis 500? Who was the driver?

30. Who was reportedly the heaviest driver to ever drive in the Indianapolis 500?

31. What was the first year that rookie stripes appeared on the cars to denote first-year drivers in the Indianapolis 500?

32. Who wrote the original rules for what is now the Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Competition, usually held on Carb Day each year?

33. Who was the last riding mechanic to sit on pole for the Indianapolis 500?

Tie-Breaker: What do Jacques Villeneuve, Johnny Parsons, Jr. and Arie Luyendyk have in common at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

3 Responses to “The 2021 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest”

  1. Can’t wait to get started but ugh it looks hard and with Matthew graduating and all the IndyCar activity I know I won’t have enough time. Still sounds fun though. Thanks George.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    Looks like someone is trying to draw Mike from Vernon Hills out of retirement…

    Can’t wait to dive into this, George, it looks impossible and impossibly fun.

  3. Rick Johnson Says:

    Dang, this is hard (as it should be)!!

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