Indianapolis 500 started since 1911, and up-to-date, we have 4 time Indy 500 winners in different races. They include:
- J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977)
- Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987)
- Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988,1991)
Here, we will look at the three winners and how they were able to win the races in different years.
Foyt won the Indy 500 in 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977, and he was the first driver to have four wins from the most prestigious race of the century.
Foyt stated that he was under pressure from Tony Hulman, the track owner, to win the race, and he wasn’t sure he could win the race.
That race saw Foyt having doubts about making it to the finish line after his car experienced fuel problems. He actually used another team’s fuel apparatus, something that wasn’t allowed and was later banned after that race.
Luckily, Foyt was second, and when Eddie Sachs went for a late pit stop because of a damaged right rest tire, he was able to come first and finished as the winner.
Three years later, Foyt won the 1964 Indy race that saw him lead with 146 laps and finished by more than 84 seconds.
The win was overshadowed by the death of his immediate rival Eddie Sachs when he collided with another driver, Dave MacDonald.
Another three years, now in 1967, Foyt was taking second place.
But after 196 laps, Pamelli Jones, who dominated the race, had his car failing, and this gave Foyt a chance to take the lead with a two-lap victory.
The last victory came 10 years after he won his third race in 1967.
Foyt and Gordon Johncock were leading the race, and after 184 laps, Gordon’s engine failed, giving way for Foyt to take his last and fourth win at the Indy 500.
He is the first driver to have won the Indy 500s four times, and only two other drivers, Al Unser and Rick Mears have managed to reach his level.
Al Unser was the second driver to win the Indy race four times. He won the race in 1970, 1971, 1978, and 1987.
Al Unser won by 32 seconds after leading 190 laps out of the allocated 200 laps. There was no one stopping him, and this was his first win at the Indy 500.
Consecutively, the next year in 1971, Al Unser won his second race, becoming the first driver to achieve back-to-back race championship since 1953-54 when Bill Vukovich won the two consecutive races.
It was his 32nd birthday, and he marked it well with a back-to-back win.
7 years later, Al Unser won his third race.
Al Unser had damaged the car he was supposed to drive in, but he acquired a new machine and faced no competition.
He won by 8 seconds.
9 years later, Al Unser won his last and fourth race at the Indy 500. He is still the oldest winner at Indy 500, with 47 years old.
He was able to reach the record that was set 10 years earlier when A.J. Foyt won his fourth race in 1977.
Rick Mears is the last driver to reach the bars set by A.J. Foyt and Al Unser by winning the Indy 500 race four times in 1979, 1984, 1988, and 1991.
Rick Mears won the race after Bobby Unser suffered gear problems.
He won the race by 45 seconds.
5 years later, Mears won his second race, where he was too far ahead than the other driver with two laps.
4 years later, Mears finished first after Danny Sullivan, who had taken the lead of the first half, crashed.
This was his third title win even though he had faced handling issues that were quickly solved by his crew.
3 years later, Mears won his last and fourth Indy race to be at the same achievement level as A.J. Foyt and Al Unser.
It’s was the most exciting race that saw Mears beat Michael Andretti to win by 3 seconds.
The above three drivers have at least four Borg-Warner Trophy each after scooping this prize as 4 time Indy 500 winners. And that’s why they are regarded as the legends of the game. Who will be able to reach their level soon?