Over the 100 years of the Indianapolis 500, barely a dozen men have won the race more than once. And only three have won it four times, each one of them a legend in motorsports. On Sunday, Helio Castroneves will have the opportunity to join one of the most exclusive clubs in racing. With victories in 2001, 2002 and 2009, Castroneves is sitting on the cusp of immortality.
You'll hear plenty about Castroneves over the next few days. Let's take a look at the guys he's trying to catch.
AJ Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977)
Foyt was one of the finest drivers ever to circle Indy. He's still the only driver to win Indy, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours at Le Mans and the 24 Hours at Daytona. Here's video of his 1964 win; try not to get too disgusted as the merry announcer chirps about the horrible deaths of two drivers as circus music plays in the background:
Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991)
Mears still holds the record for most poles at Indy with six, and his duel with Michael Andretti in the final laps of the 1991 race remains one of the most thrilling in the sport's history. But don't take my word for it; take Rick's:
Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987)
A member of one of racing's most prominent families, Unser holds the record of most laps led at Indy (644), and he's also the oldest driver ever to win the race at 47 years old. Here, Unser recalls that momentous win:
So could Castroneves join this august group? Well, he won the pole, and he's the odds-on favorite at 11/4 to win. (Scott Dixon is next at 7/2). So, yes, it's looking very good for Mr. Dancing With History. And it all goes down on Sunday.
- Helio Castroneves