Editor’s Note: This is the first reader request; originally published May 9, 2017
What a fun project this turned out to be! It was fascinating seeing how much those who submitted grids both agreed and disagreed. Some drivers got just one mention, while others appeared on every ballot. There was near unanimous placement for some drivers, and some drivers were near the front on some grids and near the back on others. The driver nearly everyone agreed should be on the pole is Michael Andretti (pictured above, from 1992).
I noticed the rankings were along age lines. Older fans close to my age seemed to have near identical grids, and younger fans as a group submitted similar lineups. Many drivers from long ago in general fared better on the lists from the older group. I was surprised how well the current drivers stacked up against the racers of the past. Another interesting detail is that all 50 driver finalists had at least one mention. I didn’t expect that.
To rank the drivers, I assigned points to the drivers corresponding to their spot on each person’s grid. A driver on pole got 1 point, the last driver got 33. If a driver was listed on pole on five grids, his total was 5. The lowest total won the pole. If a driver did not appear on someone’s grid, he/she was given 34 points. To my shock, there were only two ties. I resolved placement by averaged each driver’s highest and lowest rank of all the grades, with the lowest average getting the higher spot. One of the ties was for 32nd and 33rd. It was just like qualifying for the 1963 500.
The front row- Michael Andretti, Rex Mays, and Ted Horn, is strong. These drivers were in the top 10 on everyone’s grid. Andretti led 431 laps, the most by any non-winning driver. he started on the front row three times and had 5 top 5 finishes. Rex Mays, in the middle of the front row is the only other driver to lead more than 200 laps and not win. Mays was on the pole four times. Ted Horn, on the outside of the front row, finished in the top five 9 times in 10 starts.
So here they are, the Greatest 33 Non-Winners of the Indianapolis 500:
it’s kind of fitting that Snider is last on the grid. his trademark was jumping into a car on Bump Day and getting into the field starting near the back. Thanks to everyone who submitted a grid. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and reasoning as to how yo put your grids together.
I will be back tomorrow with some 500 news and a report on my visit to the A. J. Foyt exhibit at the Speedway Museum. The cars were great to see, but the memorabilia was even more amazing to me. Thursday I will have my Indianapolis Grand Prix preview with my normally inaccurate winner’s prediction.
James Hinchcliffe will be part of the NBC motorsports broadcast team this year, beginning with the NTT Indycar Series season opener in St. Pete. Hinchcliffe has what is now a three race deal with Andretti Autosport todrive in the GMR Grand Prix, the 104th Indianapolis 500, and the Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
He will serve as a driver analyst on pit road at St. Pete, Long Beach, Toronto, and Laguna Seca in addition to working as a part of NBC’s coverage in the week prior to the Indianapolis 500. Hinchclffe will also be part of the team covering select IMSA races beginning with the Sebring 12 hour March 20-21.
From Earlier: Season Preview Part I
Hinchcliffe will also work on the broadcast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4th weekend. Additional duties include Indy Lights commentary on NBC Gold.
I think this can only enhance NBC’s coverage. Hinchcliffe was in the booth in 2015 while recovering from injuries in a practice accident at Indianapolis. He was a huge hit with the fans. He also had a few great experiences on Wind Tunnel.
All Times Pacific
Thursday, September 19
9:15-11:15- Open Test
1:30-5:30 Open Test
Friday, September 20
10;30 Practice 1
2:10 Practice 2
Saturday, September 21
10:00 Practice 3
Sunday, September 22
!2:15 Green Flag for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
Practices will be on NBC Gold. Qualifying is on NBCSN. The race is on NBC. You may need to set your DVR to record on NBC.
Photo: Kyle McInnes
Was that qualifying or boxing match? What a tremendous battle between Colton Herta and Will Power. They traded the lead back and forth for three rounds before Herta emerged on the pole. Power’s miscue in turn one on his next to last lap may have cost him the pole. Herta was quick all weekend, though, and the result isn’t a surprise.
This session was the best road/street course qualifying of the year. There was drama throughout.
Scott Dixon is the only one of the top four in points to get in the Fast Six. Leader Josef Newgarden starts 13th, a dangerous place to be going into turn 1 at the start here. Simon Pagenaud starts 18 and Alexander Rossi 7th. Watching the championship contenders’ progress in the race will be an interesting task tomorrow.
Jack Harvey has done a great job all year. In eight races to date, he has finished in the top ten in four of them. Today is the fifth time Harvey has advanced to at least the second round of qualifying. Today is his second Fast Six. I can’t wait to see what he does as a full time driver next year.
Conor Daly did it again. He jumps into a car for a different team and puts it into Round 2. Daly will start 9th, his best starting spot of the season. This is his second time in Round 2. He also has two top ten finishes. Daly deserves a full time ride in 2020. I don’t know what else he can do to prove himself.
Great job the Arrow Schmidt Peterson team to get both cars into Round 2.
Five teams in the Fast Six always makes the final round fun.
Felix Rosenqvist missed turn1 in two consecutive rounds but still made the Fast Six.
Power said after qualifying that there is not as much difference between the red and black tires this year as there was last year at Portland. He still thinks cars will be able to pass during the race.
Herta gambled by waiting to run one final lap on reds. He was nearly as fast on blacks.
Chalk up another one for the 2019 rookies. The scoreboard- 3 poles, 1 win.
Back tomorrow morning with a race preview. It looks like we will have a fun race tomorrow.
Photo: Kyle McInnes
First, news I hate reporting about. Sad news from Spa. F2 driver Antoine Hubert suffered fatal injuries in a horrific crash at the start of the race this morning.
Colton Herta led his second session of the weekend in final practice this morning for the Grand Prix of Portland. Herta was the only drive to turn a lap in less than 57 seconds and turned the weekend’s fastest lap yesterday morning. His time of 57.9939 seconds beat the second quickest time of series points leader Josef Newgarden by 0.1083 seconds. Will Power was third, followed by Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi.
Red flags flew twice. Matheus Leist spun in turn 2 and stalled as he attempted to restart the car. Late in the session Santino Ferrucci’s car stopped just after exiting the pits. Practice resumed after the car was towed back to his pit. It was an adventurous session for Ferrucci. Rossi was coming out of the pits as Ferrucci entered turn 1. The cars nearly touched and Ferrucci needed to go through the chicane. He was not happy with Rossi.
Hondas again dominated practice. The Team Penske cars of Newgarden and Power were the only Chevys in the top ten.
Group 1` Group 2
Katherine Legge will drive the 2 seater at the start of tomorrow’s race. She says she is working on a ride for next year’s Indianapolis 500.
The 2020 schedule will be released near the beginning of the pre-race show on NBC tomorrow.
Another nice crowd on hand at Portland International Raceway today.
From earlier today:
Good morning from Portland International Raceway for Day two of the Grand Prix of Portland. Today’s NTT Indycar Series schedule: All times Eastern
Practice 3– 2:00 pm-2:45 NBC Gold
Qualifying- 6:00 pm- 7:15 NBC Sports
In addition to the Indycar action, all three steps on the Road to Indy run their first of two races today. Rinus VeeKay has the pole for the Indy Lights race at 4:50 pm Eastern.
Sebastien Bourdais’s practice yesterday afternoon was similar to last year’s Saturday practice here. In bot sessions he set the fastest lap then ran off course in turn 11. The difference is this year the nose of his car barely nudged the tires. Last year’s damage had Bourdais qualifying and racing a car made up of a mixture of parts.
I will try to find out about the 2020 schedule today and see if I confirm some other things I’m hearing. I’ll be back after practice 3.
Here are a couple of photos from Kyle McInnes. One is of Bourdais, the other is Simon Pagenaud preparing for next week’s BC39 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.