Indianapolis 500: 100th Anniversary Field for Indianapolis 500 "Greatest 33" Set

No NameAnalyst IMay 15, 2011

The results are in for the voting of "The Greatest 33." After months of voting all around the world, the numbers have been tallied and the field has been set.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway launched the terrific idea months ago, and the fans have responded. Media members, former drivers and team members have all voiced their opinions of who belongs in the field and who got "bumped."

The front row was quite obvious though; the only four-time Indy 500 winners—AJ Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser. The next 30 drivers were up for debate, and what a debate it will become. There are many drivers that fans think should not have made the field, while other drivers got the shaft.

Here is the official list of "The Greatest 33" field:

Row 1

1. A.J. Foyt 2. Rick Mears 3. Al Unser

  Row 2

4. Bobby Unser 5. Helio Castroneves 6. Johnny Rutherford

  Row 3

7. Mario Andretti 8. Wilbur Shaw 9. Bill Vukovich

  Row 4

10. Emerson Fittipaldi 11. Al Unser Jr. 12. Louis Meyer

  Row 5

13. Mauri Rose 14. Parnelli Jones 15. Gordon Johncock

  Row 6

16. Arie Luyendyk 17. Rodger Ward 18. Jim Clark

  Row 7

19. Dario Franchitti 20. Tom Sneva 21. Bobby Rahal

  Row 8

22. Mark Donohue 23. Michael Andretti 24. Ralph DePalma

  Row 9

25. Ray Harroun 26. Tommy Milton 27. Danny Sullivan

  Row 10

28. Graham Hill 29. Dan Gurney 30. Jim Rathmann

  Row 11

31. Juan Pablo Montoya 32. Tony Bettenhausen 33. Scott Dixon

The field was set by total number of votes (Foyt getting the most, Dixon getting the 33rd most).

It seemed to many that there was bias to drivers of recent years, because there were only nine drivers that raced in the 500's first five decades. The list has all the obvious selections. Each of the 17 drivers who won multiple 500s made it, although Tommy Milton (1921, 1923) was among the lowest (26th).

One interesting note; Roger Penske has won a record 15 Indy 500s with 10 drivers. Eight of those were included, with four being among the top five. Left out of the field were Gil de Ferran and Sam Hornish Jr.

Juan Montoya had arguably the greatest three hours in IMS history, leading 167 of the 200 laps in 2000, but that was his only Indy 500. Three non-winners made the field. Michael Andretti ranked 23rd. Dan Gurney and Tony Bettenhausen made the list, as they will likely be the two most debated.

Some other notable names that people have been mentioning that didn't make the list: Billy Arnold (12th all time in laps led, won the 1930 race from the pole), Ted Horn (finished in the top four in nine consecutive races), and Rex Mays (only driver in the Speedway's first 50 years to have more than two poles).

While there will be some interesting debate in the coming days, weeks and months, the idea was simply brilliant, and only adds to the excitement that is the Month of May at Indianapolis.