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:
|1. A.J. Foyt||2. Rick Mears||3. Al Unser|
|4. Bobby Unser||5. Helio Castroneves||6. Johnny Rutherford|
|7. Mario Andretti||8. Wilbur Shaw||9. Bill Vukovich|
|10. Emerson Fittipaldi||11. Al Unser Jr.||12. Louis Meyer|
|13. Mauri Rose||14. Parnelli Jones||15. Gordon Johncock|
|16. Arie Luyendyk||17. Rodger Ward||18. Jim Clark|
|19. Dario Franchitti||20. Tom Sneva||21. Bobby Rahal|
|22. Mark Donohue||23. Michael Andretti||24. Ralph DePalma|
|25. Ray Harroun||26. Tommy Milton||27. Danny Sullivan|
|28. Graham Hill||29. Dan Gurney||30. Jim Rathmann|
|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.
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