Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Trivia question that would probably win a bar bet

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Trivia question that would probably win a bar bet

    Did Mario Andretti ever lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500 in the decade of the seventies?

    The surprising answer is no.

    I was working on some Indianapolis 500 lap leader stats for a project over the weekend and discovered this little gem. I've never heard it or realized it before. What makes it more amazing besides the fact that it's Mario is that in one of those races he was the defending champion, he drove for Andy Granatelli in two of those races, Vel's-Parnelli in four races, and Roger Penske in three. He also never had a top five finish in the 500 in the seventies.

    Like I said, that one would probably win you a bar bet or two. ;-)

  • #2
    The Andretti Curse really started out with a bang in the 1970s.

    Mario had a bevy of mechanical issues and seemingly perpetual handling problems, crashes during practice and the race. In 1973 and 1974 he dropped out on lap 2 and 4, respectively. Even years he started near the front, it seemed he'd be forced to the pits for a long pit stop, and be laps down for the rest of the afternoon. Then he skipped the 1979 race due to Monaco.

    He finally did lead 10 laps in 1980, but the car quit on lap 71 while running 3rd.
    Doctorindy.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Mario split his time between US racing and Formula 1 in the '70s. While he was still able to win races elsewhere on the trail, this probably didn't help him at Indy, where in 1978 he actually had a REALLY fast car but then had to leave for the Belgian GP at Zolder (which he won) and have another driver qualify for him, and then he had to start in the back. He was making up places all over the place before he had to pit for a misfire, but if he had been able to start further up he probably would have easily led some laps at least with that car. He didn't even run in 1979 because he had to be in Monaco. Hard to lead a lap when you're physically not there.
      "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

      "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

      Comment


      • #4
        Andretti also ran a number of sports car races in various series in that time period...

        Comment


        • #5
          Plus F5000, plus winning the USAC short track title....
          "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

          "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Calhoun View Post
            Did Mario Andretti ever lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500 in the decade of the seventies?
            They way the question is phrased, the obvious answer is "no".

            How about: How many laps did Mario Andretti lead in the Indianapolis 500 during the seventies?


            Comment


            • #7
              It is a pretty crazy fact. He's 3rd on the all-time laps led list despite not leading a lap 1970-1979.
              Real drivers don't need fenders!

              Comment


              • #8
                His focus during that time period always seemed to be elsewhere (F1) though he and Al were determined to run the dirt cars for a couple of years. In the same time frame, 1970-1979 Mario won just THREE championship races, one in 70, 73 and 78. Granted Granatelli saddled him with the McNamara and the first Parnelli was a dud, but after that he did have capable equipment.

                In fact, Mario won more championship dirt car races (5) in a 2 year span (73-74) than he won in the rear engine cars from 70-79.
                "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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another Mario anomaly--is the only time he ever held an Indy track record is lap 1 of his 1984 qualifying run, which ended with the engine cutting out and slowing his lap 4 and hurting the overall speed? Of course later in the day Sneva blew it away.
                  You have the IndyCar you deserve.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dalz View Post
                    Another Mario anomaly--is the only time he ever held an Indy track record is lap 1 of his 1984 qualifying run, which ended with the engine cutting out and slowing his lap 4 and hurting the overall speed? Of course later in the day Sneva blew it away.
                    No, he held track records a couple times.

                    In 1965, he was one of the first cars to go out and set a 1-lap record of 159.405...but it did not hold up for long. It was soon beat and he ended up 4th.
                    In 1966 he set 1 and 4 lap records when he won the pole.
                    In 1967 he set 1 and 4 lap records when he won the pole again...but fell just short of breaking 170.

                    But I guess one could say that was before the "curse"...as he didn't hold a record (albeit briefly) again until 1984. When he won the pole in 1987, no records were set.

                    Mario's prospects of qualifying for the pole in 1988...when he was running at times faster than Mears in practice...fizzled when he went out first. Mario claims the oil dry they put down for Boesel's practice crash pole day morning wasn't properly swept up/blown off, and he slipped over it in turn four.
                    Doctorindy.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

                      No, he held track records a couple times.

                      In 1965, he was one of the first cars to go out and set a 1-lap record of 159.405...but it did not hold up for long. It was soon beat and he ended up 4th.
                      In 1966 he set 1 and 4 lap records when he won the pole.
                      In 1967 he set 1 and 4 lap records when he won the pole again...but fell just short of breaking 170.

                      But I guess one could say that was before the "curse"...as he didn't hold a record (albeit briefly) again until 1984. When he won the pole in 1987, no records were set.

                      Mario's prospects of qualifying for the pole in 1988...when he was running at times faster than Mears in practice...fizzled when he went out first. Mario claims the oil dry they put down for Boesel's practice crash pole day morning wasn't properly swept up/blown off, and he slipped over it in turn four.
                      ABC expected Carl Haas to wave the run off but they decided to take the run

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris Paff View Post

                        ABC expected Carl Haas to wave the run off but they decided to take the run
                        It was very hot that day, and Mario was fortunate to draw #1 in the qualifying order. They probably figured as the day went on, conditions would get worse, and what they had wasn't all that bad (it was still good enough for 4th), so take it and just be solidly in the field.
                        Doctorindy.com

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X