A collection of spectacular Indianapolis 500 photos from the "glory years"

Yahoo Autos

Racing will always be a dangerous sport, but the Indianapolis 500 personifies bravery. Here's a look at some sights from the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, as well as some of the wildest crashes anyone has ever lived through. Be sure to read our story with Bobby Unser on how race car drivers were so fearless back in the day:

Crew members push the STP-Paxton turbine-powered car of Parnelli Jones before the 51st running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana on May 31, 1967. (AP Photo)
Indianapolis 500
Crew members push the STP-Paxton turbine-powered car of Parnelli Jones before the 51st running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana on May 31, 1967. (AP Photo)
At top: An action photo of the first Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Speedway, May 30, 1911, and at bottom is the start of the 1962 race as racers are led into the first turn. (AP Photo)
Indy 500 1911 And 1962
At top: An action photo of the first Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Speedway, May 30, 1911, and at bottom is the start of the 1962 race as racers are led into the first turn. (AP Photo)
At top: Ralph De Palma sits at the wheel of his racer in the pit area of the Indianapolis Speedway, May 30, 1911, in a photo made by Henry Ford. At bottom is a prototype car built by Lotus Cars Ltd. of London, with Jim Clark of Scotland at the wheel, during a test run at the Speedway, May 1963. (AP Photo)
Indy 500 Historic Cars 1911 And 1963
At top: Ralph De Palma sits at the wheel of his racer in the pit area of the Indianapolis Speedway, May 30, 1911, in a photo made by Henry Ford. At bottom is a prototype car built by Lotus Cars Ltd. of London, with Jim Clark of Scotland at the wheel, during a test run at the Speedway, May 1963. (AP Photo)
Al Unser Sr., driving a Penske March-Cosworth, heads down the main straightaway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind., May 24, 1987. Unser won his fourth Indy race with a time of 3:04:59 at an average speed of 162.175 miles per hour. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
INDY 500 UNSER
Al Unser Sr., driving a Penske March-Cosworth, heads down the main straightaway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind., May 24, 1987. Unser won his fourth Indy race with a time of 3:04:59 at an average speed of 162.175 miles per hour. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
This was the scene at the southwest turn of the Indianapolis Speedway, May 30, 1956, as spinning racers crashed into each other. Sam Hanks (4) and Keith Andrews (89) spun. Troy Ruttman (53) spins into the inner apron, while an unidentified car spins in the background. Jim Rathmann (24) and Fred Agabashian (42) get safely past the mishap. (AP Photo)
Indy 500 Spinouts 1956
This was the scene at the southwest turn of the Indianapolis Speedway, May 30, 1956, as spinning racers crashed into each other. Sam Hanks (4) and Keith Andrews (89) spun. Troy Ruttman (53) spins into the inner apron, while an unidentified car spins in the background. Jim Rathmann (24) and Fred Agabashian (42) get safely past the mishap. (AP Photo)
Emerson Fittipaldi, bottom, takes the lead at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with less than two laps remaining as Al Unser Jr. crashes into the wall in the 1989 Indy 500. Fittipaldi, driving a Penske-Chevrolet, took the checkered flag to win the 73rd running of the race at an average speed of 167.581 miles per hour. (AP Photo/Ron Weaver)
INDY 500 FITTIPALDI UNSER
Emerson Fittipaldi, bottom, takes the lead at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with less than two laps remaining as Al Unser Jr. crashes into the wall in the 1989 Indy 500. Fittipaldi, driving a Penske-Chevrolet, took the checkered flag to win the 73rd running of the race at an average speed of 167.581 miles per hour. (AP Photo/Ron Weaver)
Drivers line up in front of their cars just before the start of the first Indianapolis 500-mile race on the Brickyard in Indianapolis, Ind., Tuesday, May 30, 1911. This photo was taken by Henry Ford from the judge's stand. (AP Photo)
INDY 500 FIRST RACE 1911
Drivers line up in front of their cars just before the start of the first Indianapolis 500-mile race on the Brickyard in Indianapolis, Ind., Tuesday, May 30, 1911. This photo was taken by Henry Ford from the judge's stand. (AP Photo)
Mrs. Tony Bettenhausen tousles the hair of son Gary in April 1963. Gary, the eldest of three racing sons, drove stock cars for Roger Penske; excelled in sprint car racing; and led the Indianapolis 500 in 1972 until his engine seized op lap 182. His father was the second most successful all-time Indy driver until his death in 1961 while testing in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)
BETTENHAUSEN
Mrs. Tony Bettenhausen tousles the hair of son Gary in April 1963. Gary, the eldest of three racing sons, drove stock cars for Roger Penske; excelled in sprint car racing; and led the Indianapolis 500 in 1972 until his engine seized op lap 182. His father was the second most successful all-time Indy driver until his death in 1961 while testing in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)
Crew members change tires and refuel Mario Andretti's car during running of the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis, Indiana, May 30, 1993. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
INDY 500 ANDRETTI
Crew members change tires and refuel Mario Andretti's car during running of the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis, Indiana, May 30, 1993. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Mario Andretti talks to a crew member while car builder Colin Chapman checks the instrument panel after a run in Indianapolis, Indiana, Friday, May 16, 1969. Andretti, from Nazareth, Pa., drove his turbocharged Ford-powered Lotus to a fastest lap that day at 171.789 miles per hour.  (AP Photo)
INDY 500 PRACTICE ANDRETTI
Mario Andretti talks to a crew member while car builder Colin Chapman checks the instrument panel after a run in Indianapolis, Indiana, Friday, May 16, 1969. Andretti, from Nazareth, Pa., drove his turbocharged Ford-powered Lotus to a fastest lap that day at 171.789 miles per hour.  (AP Photo)
Race car driver Bobby Unser is shown in the winner's circle, May 24, 1969. (AP Photo)
Bobby Unser 1969
Race car driver Bobby Unser is shown in the winner's circle, May 24, 1969. (AP Photo)
The race car of three-time Indy 500 champion Johnny Rutherford disintegrates as it flies along the turn three wall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wednesday, May 9, 1990. Rutherford, of Fort Worth, Texas, suffered a concussion in the incident and was taken to Methodist Hospital where he later made a full recovery (AP-PHOTO/Steve Weaver)
INDIANAPOLIS RACE
The race car of three-time Indy 500 champion Johnny Rutherford disintegrates as it flies along the turn three wall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wednesday, May 9, 1990. Rutherford, of Fort Worth, Texas, suffered a concussion in the incident and was taken to Methodist Hospital where he later made a full recovery (AP-PHOTO/Steve Weaver)
Bobby Unser is all smiles in the victory circle after he won the California 500, March 10, 1974. He beat his brother Al by less than a second. At the left is Tony Hulman of Indianapolis, one of the track operators, and in the background is Dan Gurney, builder of the winning car. (AP Photo)
Bobby Unser 1974
Bobby Unser is all smiles in the victory circle after he won the California 500, March 10, 1974. He beat his brother Al by less than a second. At the left is Tony Hulman of Indianapolis, one of the track operators, and in the background is Dan Gurney, builder of the winning car. (AP Photo)
Arie Luyendyk waves to the crowd after winning the 74th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday, May 28, 1990 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Second-place finisher and former winner Bobby Rahal follows close behind. Luyendyk finished 10.7 seconds ahead of Rahal. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Indy 500 1990
Arie Luyendyk waves to the crowd after winning the 74th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday, May 28, 1990 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Second-place finisher and former winner Bobby Rahal follows close behind. Luyendyk finished 10.7 seconds ahead of Rahal. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Bobby Unser waves as he cautiously drives his Eagle-Turbo Offy across the finish line to win the rain-shortened Indy 500-mile race at Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday, May 25, 1975. A heavy downpour caused termination of the race after 437.5 miles. It was Unser's second of three wins. (AP Photo)
INDY 500 UNSER
Bobby Unser waves as he cautiously drives his Eagle-Turbo Offy across the finish line to win the rain-shortened Indy 500-mile race at Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday, May 25, 1975. A heavy downpour caused termination of the race after 437.5 miles. It was Unser's second of three wins. (AP Photo)
A.J. Foyt directs his team from the pits at the sidelines during the 77th Indianapolis 500 race in Indianapolis, Indiana, May 31, 1993. Foyt had just retired after racing in 35 Indy 500 races. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
INDY 500 RETIREE FOYT
A.J. Foyt directs his team from the pits at the sidelines during the 77th Indianapolis 500 race in Indianapolis, Indiana, May 31, 1993. Foyt had just retired after racing in 35 Indy 500 races. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Indy 500 record holder Tom Sneva hits the turn one wall after his right front tire blew out on May 14, 1980, during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sneva had to get a few stitches in his left shin; the car, which he had qualified for the May 25 race, was a total loss. (AP Photo/Don Larson)
Tom Sneva Crash
Indy 500 record holder Tom Sneva hits the turn one wall after his right front tire blew out on May 14, 1980, during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sneva had to get a few stitches in his left shin; the car, which he had qualified for the May 25 race, was a total loss. (AP Photo/Don Larson)
May 3, 1987: Pancho Carter's car goes airborne and flips upside down during practice for the Indianapolis 500. (AP Photo/Bill Stalions)
IRL Indy History Auto Racing
May 3, 1987: Pancho Carter's car goes airborne and flips upside down during practice for the Indianapolis 500. (AP Photo/Bill Stalions)
Danny Ongais's car crashes against the wall of turn three on the 65th lap of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24, 1981 in Indianapolis. Ongais sustained serious injuries in the crash, but miraculously lived (AP Photo)
Indy 500 1981
Danny Ongais's car crashes against the wall of turn three on the 65th lap of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24, 1981 in Indianapolis. Ongais sustained serious injuries in the crash, but miraculously lived (AP Photo)
Track workers clean up debris in background after a series of crashes in Turn 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 76th running of the Indy 500, May 24, 1992. Unseasonably cold temperatures were blamed for many of the wrecks. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
INDY 500 TURN TWO CRASHES
Track workers clean up debris in background after a series of crashes in Turn 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 76th running of the Indy 500, May 24, 1992. Unseasonably cold temperatures were blamed for many of the wrecks. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
A.J. Foyt, still wearing his goggles and victory wreath, smiles in the garage area of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 30, 1961 after winning the Indy 500. (AP Photo/ File)
IRL Foyt Fiftieth Auto Racing
A.J. Foyt, still wearing his goggles and victory wreath, smiles in the garage area of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 30, 1961 after winning the Indy 500. (AP Photo/ File)
Scottish racing driver Jim Clark tries a bag pipe with two of his countrymen in traditional tartan dress at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the 47th running of the Indy 500, May 30, 1963. Clark finished second in his first attempt at the race. (AP Photo)
Indy 500 Clark
Scottish racing driver Jim Clark tries a bag pipe with two of his countrymen in traditional tartan dress at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the 47th running of the Indy 500, May 30, 1963. Clark finished second in his first attempt at the race. (AP Photo)
Jim McElreath, Arlington, Texas, leaps from his burning racer on the homestretch at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 1969 in Indianapolis, during the 500-mile race. McElreath, racing in a turbo-charged Offenhauser, escaped injury. (AP Photo)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 1969
Jim McElreath, Arlington, Texas, leaps from his burning racer on the homestretch at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 1969 in Indianapolis, during the 500-mile race. McElreath, racing in a turbo-charged Offenhauser, escaped injury. (AP Photo)
Race driver Stan Fox is exposed as his car disintegrates after hitting the first-turn wall on the opening lap of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29, 1995. Fox's feet were hit by the rear wing of Eddie Cheever's car. Fox survived the incident, despite multiple injuries (AP Photo/Martin Seppala)
DISINTEGRATING CAR INDY 500
Race driver Stan Fox is exposed as his car disintegrates after hitting the first-turn wall on the opening lap of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29, 1995. Fox's feet were hit by the rear wing of Eddie Cheever's car. Fox survived the incident, despite multiple injuries (AP Photo/Martin Seppala)
The car of Stan Fox, top, breaks apart as it hits the wall following a first-turn collision with Eddie Cheever (14) on the first lap of the 79th Indianapolis 500, Sunday, May 28, 1995. Fox suffered serious head injuries; Cheever had no serious injuries. (AP Photo/Martin Seppala)
INDY 500
The car of Stan Fox, top, breaks apart as it hits the wall following a first-turn collision with Eddie Cheever (14) on the first lap of the 79th Indianapolis 500, Sunday, May 28, 1995. Fox suffered serious head injuries; Cheever had no serious injuries. (AP Photo/Martin Seppala)
Driver Lloyd Ruby sits in his extensively damaged Lightning/Offy following spectacular crash in turn two during May 29, 1977 Indianapolis 500-mile race in Indianapolis. (AP Photo)
Indy 500 1977
Driver Lloyd Ruby sits in his extensively damaged Lightning/Offy following spectacular crash in turn two during May 29, 1977 Indianapolis 500-mile race in Indianapolis. (AP Photo)
Scottish racing driver Jim Clark drives his rear-engined Lotus Ford during the 47th running of the Indy 500, May 30, 1963.  (AP Photo)
Indy 500 Clark
Scottish racing driver Jim Clark drives his rear-engined Lotus Ford during the 47th running of the Indy 500, May 30, 1963.  (AP Photo)
Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N.M. slides against the turn one wall in a cloud of smoke and dirt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, May 10, 1978. The three-time Indy winner was uninjured and the car sustained little damage after the 340 foot skid had come to an end (AP Photo/MW)
Bobby Unser Racecar Driver Accident
Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N.M. slides against the turn one wall in a cloud of smoke and dirt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, May 10, 1978. The three-time Indy winner was uninjured and the car sustained little damage after the 340 foot skid had come to an end (AP Photo/MW)
Race driver Bobbie Unser, three-time winner of the Indy 500, waves to the crowd in May 1968. (AP Photo)
Bobbie Unser
Race driver Bobbie Unser, three-time winner of the Indy 500, waves to the crowd in May 1968. (AP Photo)
Driver Tom Sneva shown in action during the Indy 500 in 1983 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo)
Indy 500 1983
Driver Tom Sneva shown in action during the Indy 500 in 1983 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo)
Al Unser readies for action in 1969. (AP Photo)
Al Unser Race Car Driver Close Up
Al Unser readies for action in 1969. (AP Photo)
During practice for the Indianapolis 500, Friday, May 9, 2008. Yahoo Autos editor Alex Lloyd suffers a wreck at turn 1 after an issue with the front wing occured during Fast Friday. (AP Photo/Dick Darlington)
IRL Indy 500 Auto Racing
During practice for the Indianapolis 500, Friday, May 9, 2008. Yahoo Autos editor Alex Lloyd suffers a wreck at turn 1 after an issue with the front wing occured during Fast Friday. (AP Photo/Dick Darlington)
The 15 cars owned by Penske Racing who won the Indianapolis 500 are displayed on the main straight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 31, 2010. The cars, lined up in order from the earliest win, front to back, with the Mark Donohue No. 66 car from 1972, the 1979 No. 9 car of Rick Mears and the 1981 No. 3 car of Bobby Unser, leading the display. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
IndyCar Indy 500 Penske Auto Racing
The 15 cars owned by Penske Racing who won the Indianapolis 500 are displayed on the main straight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 31, 2010. The cars, lined up in order from the earliest win, front to back, with the Mark Donohue No. 66 car from 1972, the 1979 No. 9 car of Rick Mears and the 1981 No. 3 car of Bobby Unser, leading the display. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The 15 cars owned by Penske Racing who won the Indianapolis 500 are displayed on the main straight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 31, 2010. The cars, lined up in order from the earliest win, front to back, with the Mark Donohue's No. 66 car from 1972, the 1979 No. 9 car of Rick Mears and the 1981 No. 3 car of Bobby Unser, leading the display. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
IndyCar Indy 500 Penske Auto Racing
The 15 cars owned by Penske Racing who won the Indianapolis 500 are displayed on the main straight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 31, 2010. The cars, lined up in order from the earliest win, front to back, with the Mark Donohue's No. 66 car from 1972, the 1979 No. 9 car of Rick Mears and the 1981 No. 3 car of Bobby Unser, leading the display. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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