The 2022 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest

The tradition continues! This site is now officially in its fourteenth year of existence. Beginning in May of 2009, there has been an Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest every year except for 2011. Don’t ask me why there wasn’t one then, because I can’t remember. Maybe I just didn’t have the time to come up with thirty-three new questions that year, after doing it the previous two.

Whatever the case, this will be the eleventh straight Trivia Contest on this site and the thirteenth overall. Each year, there are thirty-three questions and a tie-breaker; except for the messed up year that was 2020, when there were only twenty questions.

Many of you are familiar with “The Official Indy 500 Trivia Book: How Much Do You Know About the Indianapolis 500?” by the late Pat Kennedy, who passed away in 2020 with COVID. It contains roughly 600 trivia questions related to the Indianapolis 500. It is one of those enjoyable books you can pick up and entertain yourself for two minutes or two hours. I own a copy of the book, but I pride myself that I have never once lifted a question for the Trivia Contest for this site. I can’t say for certain that none of the questions I use are not in the book, but if such a duplication does exist – it is purely by accident and is coincidental.

The vast majority of the questions come from listening to archived podcasts of The Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson. I have every episode that was broadcast from 2002 through Donald’s retirement in 2020. Plus, I have some random episodes I’ve found from 2000 and 2001 and even a couple from 1980 and 1981. Altogether I have 341 episodes totaling over 250 hours of trivial listening pleasure.

For the last several years, I’ve also relied on my good friend, Paul Dalbey of, to send me some questions. Usually starting each February we will randomly send each other texts, trying to stump each other with random pieces of trivia. If the other doesn’t know the answer, we verify it and then it is added to the list.

As usual, there will be a prize for winning; this beautiful T-Shirt, made out of 100% cotton – no dri-fit or polyester here.

Oilpressure T-Shirt

But the biggest prize is bragging rights for an entire year, because this isn’t easy. Not to name-drop (I will anyway), but one year – Donald Davidson had it printed out and showed it to me in the IMS Media Center, where someone had e-mailed it to him for help. Good for them, because that’s getting creative! But Donald complimented me on the level of difficulty on the quiz. That meant a lot.

The rules are pretty simple. You will have up to two weeks to e-mail your answers to, but the earlier time stamp will be the ultimate tie-breaker. Please try to answer the tie-breaker. It has come into play before. One year there was a tie and both answered the tie-breaker correctly. I had to go back see who sent it in first. Answers are due back to me on Tuesday May 24 by 6:00 pm EDT. Anything sent after that date and time cannot be counted.

Also, please number your answers. I don’t have the time, nor the desire to go back and match up your answers with the questions. E-mails with unnumbered answers will not be counted. Each numbered question counts as one point. For example, Question 1 has three separate questions to it. You must get all three questions correct to earn the point. There is no partial credit. Getting two of the three correct, still makes your answer wrong, and you get no credit for the question. I know, it’s tough.

This is intended to be fun, but some take it very seriously. That’s fine, but please understand that I have the ultimate and final say on things. One year, someone got pretty contentious with me, because they thought their answer was right. If I find that other answers are also acceptable – I’m usually pretty flexible on that.

So, get your thinking caps on and start doing your research. I’ve learned a lot in putting these together, and I hope all of you do to. Just remember…this is supposed to be fun. The answers will be posted here on Wednesday May 25. Good luck!

1. Who was the first woman to drive a lap in a race car around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? What was the date and the type of car?

2. When Jim Rathmann won the 1960 Indianapolis 500 over Rodger Ward, at the time it was the second closest finish in the history of the race. What year had the closest finish at that time, and what was the margin of victory?

3. In 1986, Mario Andretti and Tom Sneva finished thirty-second and thirty-third respectively. Prior to that year, when was the last time two former winners finished in the final two positions?

4. It is not unusual for the fastest car in the field to start further back, due to qualifying after the first day. Only once, has a driver set one-lap and four-lap records in being the last successful qualifier on the last day of qualifications. Who was the driver and in what year did he accomplish this?

5. Which driver was originally scheduled to drive the very first Sumar Special, before breaking his arm in a sprint car accident?

6. Name a driver entered in this year’s race that has a consecutive stretch of Indianapolis 500 finishes of 32, 32, 28, 26,19 and 24; as part of his Indianapolis 500 driving career.

7. Who was the first Japanese-born driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500? What was the year?

8. Prior to Takuma Sato winning his first Indianapolis 500 in 2017, what was the best finish in the Indianapolis 500 by a Japanese-born driver? What was the year?

9. There was once a rule that a driver had to get out of his car during a pit stop. What winning driver was heavily fined for not getting out of his car during his two pit stops, but was still allowed to be declared the winner? What was the year?

10. Manny Ayulo was fatally injured in practice for the 1955 Indianapolis 500. Who drove the same car Ayulo lost his life in, in the 1956 race?

11. Twice there have been races that had only one rookie in the field – a rookie being defined as never having started the Indianapolis 500. What two years did this happen and who were the drivers?

12. There has never been an Indianapolis 500 that had no rookies in the starting field. True or False?

13. Before Conor Daly led forty laps in the 2021 Indianapolis 500, who was the last Indiana-born driver to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500, and in what year?

14. What well-known national household product had its logo derived from an Indianapolis 500 tradition?

15. Ray Keech won the 1929 Indianapolis 500, then was fatally injured just sixteen days later in a race at Altoona. What other Indianapolis 500 driver was involved in the accident, but survived?

16. What driver showed up as a rookie in the twenty-first century, and did not realize the race started three-abreast?

17. Unfortunately, many drivers have left IMS in the ambulance of Conkle Funeral Home. What driver actually arrived on Race Morning in the Conkle ambulance?

18. What driver was a champion parachutist and was actually questioned by the FBI for possibly being DB Cooper (younger folks probably need to Google DB Cooper)?

19. What future winner’s future wife tended to victims of the 1960 infield scaffolding collapse?

20. What future winning Chief Mechanic was the riding mechanic for Jimmy Snider in 1937, when he led twenty-four of the first twenty-seven laps after starting nineteenth?

21. When was the last time the winning driver of the Indianapolis 500 could stand in Victory Lane and say “I once drove a roadster in the Indianapolis 500”? Who was the driver?

22. What is the only year that the entire front row, finished in the Top-Three positions? Who were the drivers?

23. Who holds the IMS record for fastest official lap on the all-brick surface (meaning no asphalt in the turns)?

24. Who is the only driver to lead the first lap and the last lap of the Indianapolis 500 in two different cars?

25. Who was the first driver to get bumped, then bump his way back into the field? What year?

26. In 1941, the winning car was originally assigned to what driver at the beginning of the month?

27. In 1990, Rick Mears set the record for the best starting streak over a five-year period, with a 1.6 average starting position from 1986 through 1990. Whose record did he break?

28. Bill Vukovich was fatally injured on Lap 56 of the 1955 Indianapolis 500. Who was the driver that drove the exact same car just prior to Vukovich?

29. What driver is credited with first using what is now generally considered the racing groove at IMS?

30. The Baby Blue Crown Special was built primarily as a dirt car, but it ran in several Indianapolis 500s. What year did the Baby Blue Crown Special have its best finish in the 500, and who was the driver?

31. What rookie driver led the most laps in an Indianapolis 500, without winning the race? What was the year, and how many laps did he or she lead?

32. Spain’s Alex Palou came in second in the 2021 Indianapolis 500, then went on to win the IndyCar championship in only his second year. Who was the first Spaniard to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and what was the year?

33. When was the first time the track ran the four-day/two-weekend qualifying format for the Indianapolis 500?

Tie-breaker:  Pat Vidan was the Chief Starter for the Indianapolis 500 from from 1962 through 1979. According to Donald Davidson; where and in what year, was the first time that Tony Hulman met Pat Vidan?

4 Responses to “The 2022 Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest”

  1. Can’t wait to get started on this! What? No mention of last years winner? As you said the greatest prize is bragging rights. Good luck everyone.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    Always hard and always fun! Thanks for putting this together year after year, George.

    I hope to compete for the win, but will be satisfied competing for second if Mike from Vernon Hills comes out of retirement…

  3. Jim Exline Says:

    I’m a super fan but this is hard ! Tougher than the NYT crossword
    Dang you George lol

  4. Rick Johnson Says:

    Best of luck to everyone. Yes, it’s very hard…that’s what I love about it. George, thanks for doing this every year.

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: