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Best Indy 2nd place stories

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  • Best Indy 2nd place stories

    Just another way to occupy the offseason.

    What are some of the best stories of 2nd place finishes at Indy?

    Drivers have come up short for the win by fractions of seconds, and others coast in wrecked machines across the finish line.

    I suppose Sneva's last to 2nd is the most celebrated.

    One of the noblest was Jim Clark, who seemingly was on pace to pass Parnelli for the win but cautiously backed off to avoid the danger of the Calhoun's leaking oil and bid his time for the inevitable black flag to be throw so he would inherit the win. Nobel because he did not fuss about the strategy not working out (unlike Chapman).

    What are some of the other great tales of 2nd place finishes?

  • #2
    Foyt breaking down and coasting to 2nd in 1979? Would have been even more dramatic had USAC not screwed up and lost one of Mike Mosley's laps. He nearly passed the slowing car of Foyt for what would - at the time - just put him back on the same lap as A.J. but when they discovered they had not scored a lap earlier in the race it would have - in fact - given him a 2nd place finish...but guess it was irrelevant because he was not able to pass Foyt.
    Real drivers don't need fenders!

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    • #3
      Hildebrand 2011
      Gregg Sebald

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
        Foyt breaking down and coasting to 2nd in 1979? Would have been even more dramatic had USAC not screwed up and lost one of Mike Mosley's laps. He nearly passed the slowing car of Foyt for what would - at the time - just put him back on the same lap as A.J. but when they discovered they had not scored a lap earlier in the race it would have - in fact - given him a 2nd place finish...but guess it was irrelevant because he was not able to pass Foyt.
        Ah yes, I remember it well...

        Sort of. I had cluster headaches in the days leading up to the race and was on some pretty drugs. I shot some super 8 movies I can just about remember taking and got Foyt's crawl to the line on film. I remember Mom covering her ears because the cheering was so loud, but strangely it didn't both me any...
        If this hearing has taught us anything, it's that no woman alive should spend a minute worrying she's unqualified to run for office. Kate Harding

        Brian's Wish * Jason Foundation

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        • #5
          Rick Mears in 1982
          Scott Goodyear in 1992 & 97
          Marco in 2006
          Mario in 1985
          How about Al Jr in 89? Didn't even cross the line


          I always thought one of the best 2nd place stories that is overlooked was Roberto G in 1984. A genuinely nice man, not that well known in the states, ran toward the front all day kept his nose clean and finished second. A stellar job against a very stout field in 1984.
          "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

          John Kennedy at American University 1963

          "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

          A. Lincoln

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          • #6
            One more for the record books & statistics perhaps: Villeneuve in '94?

            The first one home with a DOHC engine that year yet the only postwar driver who did so without winning the race?




            Indyote

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            • #7
              Nice observation, Indyote!

              Y'all probably expect me to come up with some Stone Age Story, so here's one to consider: Spencer Wishart in 1913, who most statistic buffs probably know as the most distanced runner-up in '500' history - he was, indeed, almost 7 laps in arrears, and barely beat a burning car (Charley Merz in a Stutz) into third. But, he also had the smallest car running near the front that year, a mere 300 CID against the formula limit of 450 CID. And interestingly, it was the same car that Hughie Hughes had raced to third place in 1912 during the 600 CID formula, making the little Mercer the most successful non-winner in early '500' history.

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              • #8
                Roger Ward had a couple good ones.

                1960, second to Rathman - The Duel
                1964, second to Foyt - in a rear engine Watson/Ford which the story goes, needed an extra pit due to extra fuel fuel consumption caused by mis-adjusting an in cockpit knob that had been set on race day differently than all month.

                (It's 4am, pre coffee, I hope I got that right).

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                • #9
                  Eddie Sachs having to pit from the lead to get fresh tires. Foyt, who had to pit for fuel, because of botched pit stop, came home the winner. Sachs finished second.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Belanger99 View Post
                    I always thought one of the best 2nd place stories that is overlooked was Roberto G in 1984. A genuinely nice man, not that well known in the states, ran toward the front all day kept his nose clean and finished second. A stellar job against a very stout field in 1984.
                    He actually didn't have that clean of a day...but he hung in there and didn't give up. IIRC, he did a 360 at one point, got hit in the back by Sullivan, and twice stalled in the pits. Roberto would have been 3rd, but Al Sr. was penalized due to running over his air hose. That elevated Roberto to 2nd. Nevertheless, it was a good run.
                    Doctorindy.com

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                    • #11
                      Here is a list of drivers whose best finish was 2nd.


                      Three Second Place Finishes
                      Harry Hartz (1922, 1923, 1926)

                      Two Second Place Finishes
                      Rex Mays (1940, 1941)
                      Dan Gurney (1968, 1969)
                      Roberto Guerrero (1984, 1987)
                      Scott Goodyear (1992, 1997)
                      Vيtor Meira (2005, 2008)
                      Carlos Muٌoz (2013, 2016)

                      One Second Place Finish
                      Ralph Mulford (1911)
                      Teddy Tetzlaff (1912)
                      Spencer Wishart (1913)
                      Arthur Duray (1914)
                      Wilbur D'Alene (1916)
                      Eddie Hearne (1919)
                      Roscoe Sarles (1921)
                      Earl Cooper (1924)
                      Dave Lewis (1925)
                      Earl Devore (1927)
                      Lou Moore (1928)
                      Shorty Cantlon (1930)
                      Howdy Wilcox II (1932)
                      Ted Horn (1936)
                      Ralph Hepburn (1937)
                      Jimmy Snyder (1939)
                      Jimmy Jackson (1946)
                      Mike Nazaruk (1951)
                      Art Cross (1953)
                      Tony Bettenhausen (1955)
                      George Amick (1958)
                      Eddie Sachs (1961)
                      Len Sutton (1962)
                      Peter Revson (1971)
                      Bill Vukovich II (1973)
                      Kevin Cogan (1986)
                      Michael Andretti (1991)
                      Christian Fittipaldi (1995)
                      Davy Jones (1996)
                      Jeff Ward (1999)
                      Paul Tracy (2002)
                      Marco Andretti (2006)
                      J. R. Hildebrand (2011)
                      Will Power (2015)
                      Doctorindy.com

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                      • #12
                        One of the biggest 2nd place finishes has to be Paul Tracy.
                        “Church supper with grandma and granddad, lets go out and have ourselves the best time we ever had" - John Mellencamp

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                        • #13
                          Yep, it's a good story.

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                          • #14
                            Ralph Hepburn, 1937. From reports I've read, ran down Wilbur Shaw's ailing car, got to his tail by turn 4 of the last lap, then Shaw mashed it and used up the rest of his oil-less engine to beat him to the line by 2.16 seconds. That had to be a great race to see.
                            You have the IndyCar you deserve.

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                            • #15
                              How come Rex Mays isn't listed? 1940 500 2nd place
                              "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
                              body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
                              "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
                              >

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