We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to longtime reader and commenter Billy the Skink, for winning the 2023 Oilpressure.com Indianapolis 500 Trivia Contest. Billy is a multi-time winner (I think maybe his fourth, but I’m not sure), and missed only two questions. I was lenient and allowed some answers where there was a debate, but I didn’t even need to do that with Billy. Last year’s winner, Rick Johnson, came in second with five missed questions. A lot of people sent in some submissions with some blank answers. Please at least give it a guess – you might be right. Some say to make this easier in the future, but those that always finish near the top enjoy the difficulty. Thanks to everyone who played. I’ll start working on next year’s quiz right after Christmas. Here are the correct answers:

1. Once it became common for spouses/significant others to be in the pits for Race Day, they were required to wear flame-retardant clothing. Who was the first spouse/significant other for a driver to wear street clothes (not a driving suit) to be made completely out of Nomex, in the pits for Race Day? What was the year? Sandy Andretti, then-wife of Michael (and Marco’s mother). 1992.

2. What Indianapolis 500 legend was born in Mansfield, Ohio before moving to California at an early age? AJ Watson

3.  Roman Slobodynskj and Lindsey Hopkins once collaborated to create what chassis? The Romlin Lightning Chassis

4. When the Lotus-Fords first arrived in the US in 1963, which driver was responsible for actually delivering them to IMS? Eddie Sachs. He owned Speedway Van Lines, which had been contracted to receive the cars when they arrived in Detroit and ship them directly to IMS.

5. What driver set the all-time fastest pole speed? What was the year? Scott Dixon in 2022

6. Three drivers from the 1910s drove ceremonial laps in vintage cars on the morning of the 1961 race to help celebrate the golden anniversary of the Indianapolis 500; Ray Harroun, Eddie Rickenbacker and who? Earl Cooper

7. The 1967 Indianapolis 500 was rained out after eighteen laps. Lloyd Ruby was the first out after only three laps. When the race re-started the following day, Ruby was back in the race in another car the next day. What driver did he replace? George Snider

8. The primary business of car-owner Rolla Vollstedt was what? Lumber business

9. When George Snider decided he no longer wanted to drive in the Indianapolis 500, by qualifying a car with little or no practice in; who replaced him in the car? Stan Fox

10. What was the first year for car-owner Tassi Vatis to have a car make the starting field? Who was the driver and what was the name of the car? 1962, Jimmy Daywalt in the City of Albany, NY Special

11. Sid Collins used to refer to the “motors” in his race broadcasts, until he was corrected by someone telling him that there are no motors in the Indianapolis 500, only engines. Who told him that, and what was the year? Harlan Fenglar in 1951

12. Despite legends and myths to the contrary, what was the first year that Wilbur Shaw gave the command “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”? 1953

13. Driver Bobby Grim sold his house in Indianapolis to another driver, but that driver was fatally injured before he could ever move in. Who was the driver? Don Branson, who was fatally injured at Ascot Park in November of 1966; in a crash that also took the life of fellow-driver Dick Atkins.

14. How many years transpired between motorcycle races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? 99, from 1909 to 2008.

15. Who is the only driver to finish second three times in the Indianapolis 500, yet never win the race? Harry Hartz; 1922, 1923 & 1926.

16. When Jim Hurtubise failed to qualify his Mallard in 1967, there was another driver trying to qualify a Mallard that spun and crashed during practice on a qualifying morning. Who was the driver? Ebb Rose

17. One very successful Indianapolis 500 driver’s father was a violinist with the Cincinnati Orchestra. Who was the driver? Ted Horn

18. Who was the first driver to officially break the 180 mph barrier? Billy Vukovich II during an incomplete qualifying run in 1972

19. AJ Foyt broke the record for the most Indianapolis 500 starts in a career in 1974. Whose record did Foyt break? Cliff Bergere, who had sixteen starts in his career.

20. In 1992, Scott Goodyear finished second in a car qualified by Mike Groff. That tied a record for the highest finish for a driver that started the race in a car qualified by another driver. Who was the driver that Goodyear tied? What was the year and who qualified the car? Mario Andretti in 1981; in a car qualified by Wally Dallenbach, who had retired and was already into his tenure as CART Chief Steward

21. One year, Packard brought what today would be known as a three-driver Super Team that was not very successful. What was the year and who were the drivers? 1923. Ralph DePalma, Dario Resta and Joe Boyer.

22. There was a Bowes Seal Fast Special for decades in the Indianapolis 500. What was the last year Bowes Seal Fast was the primary sponsor for a car in the Indianapolis 500? Who was the driver? 1967; Jackie Stewart

23. What was the last year the cars were started in the pits, instead of the main straightaway? 1958; the first year being 1957

24. What car-owner (not the team name) provided the car that gave Gary Bettenhausen his best Indianapolis 500 finish? What was the year? Sherman Armstrong; third in 1980

25. Prior to the 1950 Indianapolis 500, Ray Nichels and Paul Russo built a car in the basement of Russo’s home in Hammond, Indiana. When it was completed, they could not get the car out and they had to disassemble it. What did this car become affectionately known as? Basement Bessie

26. Bill Holland finished second three times in a four-year span. Name another driver who accomplished this. Tom Sneva

27. Twelve drivers had Top-Ten finishes in both front-engine and rear-engine cars. Name them. Rodger Ward, AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gordon Johncock, Don Branson, Bob Harkey, Chuck Hulse, Eddie Johnson, Jim McElreath, Bobby Grim, Lloyd Ruby and Bud Tingelstad

28. Name at least three drivers who finished second, then failed to qualify the following year. Mike Nazaruk: second in 1951; failed to qualify in 1952; Len Sutton: second in 1962, failed to qualify in 1963; Rodger Ward: second in 1964, failed to qualify in 1965.

29. Name an Indianapolis 500 starter who was also a professional ice-skater. Jimmy Daywalt, who started eight races between 1953 and 1962.

30. The person that is credited with designing the Coca-Cola bottle had a grandson who eventually became a prominent Indianapolis 500 car-owner. Who was that car-owner? Chapman Root

31. Who was the first pole-winner to win the Indianapolis 500 in the same year? Jimmy Murphy in 1922

32. Two Indianapolis 500 winners were fatally injured while driving the same car several years apart. Who were the two drivers? 1938 winner Floyd Roberts and 1946 winner George Robson were both fatally injured in a car owned by Cliff Bergere, who torched the car soon after Robson’s death at Atlanta in September 1946.

33. What Indianapolis 500 driver is buried in the same cemetery as Wilbur Shaw? Pat O’Connor, who was fatally injured in the first lap crash of the 1958 Indianapolis 500. They are both buried in Vernon Cemetery in Vernon, Indiana.

Tie-Breaker Question: Name a Hamilton County, Indiana Circuit Court Judge; who entered the Indianapolis 500 twice in the 1980s. The first time he was rejected due to lack of experience. The second time, he spun in Turn One of his rookie test and later withdrew. He never returned as a driver. What was his name? Harry L. Sauce

7 Responses to “We Have a Winner!”

  1. Rick Johnson Says:

    Congratulations, Billy, a very impressive victory! And thanks, George, for going to all the work of doing this. As I’ve said many times, keep it difficult…win or lose, I love the challenge. Well done, Billy!!

  2. Big Mac Says:

    Well done, Billy!

    George, I also hope that you keep the contest tough. I don’t enter the contest, but I always learn lots of new things (or remember things that I forgot) when I read the answers each year! An easier contest would be less entertaining and informative for non-participants, in addition to being less challenging for those who enter.

    Also, I did want to mention one thing: I believe that Chet Miller is also a correct answer to question 19, as he was tied with Bergere with 16 starts.

  3. Congratulations Billy. I’m curious which two you got wrong.
    I agree with previous comments, keep it difficult.
    Hope everyone had as much fun as I did. Thanks again George!
    – Patti, 2021 winner 😉

    • billytheskink Says:

      I missed #13 and #29. I made a total guess on #13 and and an informed one on #29. For #13, Ronnie Duman seemed a good candidate based on when he passed and where he lived at the time, but he was a complete guess. Bill Holland was my guess for #29, he was indeed an accomplished ice skater but it seems only ever competed as an amateur.

      While I do my best to get every question right, I actually find it kind of fun to miss questions because I know I’ll learn something new when George posts the contest results.

  4. billytheskink Says:

    This is always a blast, George, thank you for running it year after year. I always learn a lot and I expect many of your other readers do too.

    Here’s the history of winners of this contest. It was nice of Mike from Vernon Hills (the Bill Vukovich of this contest) and Paul Dalbey (the Parnelli Jones) to retire and let the rest of us take a crack at it.

    2010: Bicklemom
    2011: *no contest*
    2012: Billy The Skink
    2013: BryanBe (prize winner) and Steven Kilsdonk
    2014: Ryan Svaboda (prize winner) and Billy The Skink
    2015: Paul Dalbey
    2016: Mike from Vernon Hills
    2017: Mike from Vernon Hills
    2018: Mike from Vernon Hills
    2019: Rick Johnson
    2020: Billy The Skink
    2021: Patti Nolen/ikissedthebricks
    2022: Rick Johnson
    2023: Billy The Skink

    (Note: the 2020 contest was not unlike the 1916 Indianapolis 500, shortened by 40% of its traditional length due to international crisis)

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