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  • 1977 Indianapolis 500

    Watching this one because I'm incredibly depressed but I found these factoids interesting.

    11 drivers are 40+ years old.
    Only 4 are under 30.
    The last time a foreign engine to win the race was in 1940.
    Center Grove Trojans
    2008 5A Football State Champs
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    2014, 2015 & 2017 IEFA State Champs

  • #2
    Wow. Kay Bignotti started Janet Guthrie's engine. I never realized that.
    Center Grove Trojans
    2008 5A Football State Champs
    2015 6A Football State Champs
    2011 Track State Champs

    Center Grove Jr. Trojans
    2014, 2015 & 2017 IEFA State Champs

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Truth Detector View Post
      Wow. Kay Bignotti started Janet Guthrie's engine. I never realized that.
      That was to force Tony Hulman to acknowledge Guthrie being in the field. Technically whoever engaged the starter in the rear starts the engine. The driver just sits there. So if it was man starting Janet's car Hulman could say "Gentlemen, start your engines" and be correct because everyone who started the engines was a man. Kay was having none of that and insisted on starting Janet's car so Hulman would have to modify the command.
      The Ayn Rand of Indycar

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      Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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      • #4
        That's incredible. I never EVER thought of it that way.
        ...---...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DaveL View Post

          That was to force Tony Hulman to acknowledge Guthrie being in the field. Technically whoever engaged the starter in the rear starts the engine. The driver just sits there. So if it was man starting Janet's car Hulman could say "Gentlemen, start your engines" and be correct because everyone who started the engines was a man. Kay was having none of that and insisted on starting Janet's car so Hulman would have to modify the command.
          During the week, the press was needling Tony about changing the words on the biggest moment of his year, and he got his feathers ruffled a bit. So he said something like, since it's the mechanics that start the engines, I don't have to change anything. Kay, who had a USAC mechanic's license, heard it and told Janet he's not getting away with that. Hulman then came up with the overwrought spiel he used on race morning.
          You have the IndyCar you deserve.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dalz View Post

            During the week, the press was needling Tony about changing the words on the biggest moment of his year, and he got his feathers ruffled a bit. So he said something like, since it's the mechanics that start the engines, I don't have to change anything. Kay, who had a USAC mechanic's license, heard it and told Janet he's not getting away with that. Hulman then came up with the overwrought spiel he used on race morning.
            The Ayn Rand of Indycar

            No one had to badge the Offy.

            Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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            • #7
              Different time. Different era.

              Not very nice of the reporters to be hooting on Tony Hulman about the command. I wonder if Hulman knew that 1977 might be "it" for him, and to have the media having a field day with him had to be upsetting.

              According to everything I've ever read, Hulman was nothing but gracious and welcoming to all the drivers over the years. Now, what was the problem with "Lady and gentlemen" in 1977? Nothing. But, see my first two sentences.

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              • #8
                I still have the 1977 Indy 500 VHS highlight tape that I bought from the gift shop in the early 90s.
                Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MS View Post
                  Different time. Different era.

                  Not very nice of the reporters to be hooting on Tony Hulman about the command. I wonder if Hulman knew that 1977 might be "it" for him, and to have the media having a field day with him had to be upsetting.

                  According to everything I've ever read, Hulman was nothing but gracious and welcoming to all the drivers over the years. Now, what was the problem with "Lady and gentlemen" in 1977? Nothing. But, see my first two sentences.
                  He was a fine gentleman, but he and the Speedway were really digging their heels in and were being stubborn about it. They were just 6-7 years from a time when women weren’t even allowed in the pits, much less racing.
                  Doctorindy.com

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                  • #10
                    1977 a year of firsts;
                    1st 4-time winner
                    1st female driver
                    1st time a 17-year old me gets to shoot the 500 from the infield with a motor-drive camera where I expertly captured Eldon Rassmussen's spin in T3 from start to finish
                    "Charging a man with murder here was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."- Capt. Willard, Apocolypse Now
                    "Ain't nuthin' like [being with a woman], 'cept maybe the Indy 500."- Bunny, Platoon
                    "To alcohol! The cause of- and solution to- all of life's problems."- Homer J. Simpson

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                    • #11
                      Other facts:

                      Only 2 cars finished on the lead lap

                      Only 12 cars finished

                      Only one car crashed

                      20 cars dropped out with mechanical failure

                      5 Cosworth engines

                      3 Ford/Foyt engines

                      24 Offy/DGS engines

                      1 AMC stock block engine
                      "It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny." - James Fenimore Cooper

                      "One man with courage is a majority." - Thomas Jefferson

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Truth Detector View Post
                        Watching this one because I'm incredibly depressed but I found these factoids interesting.

                        11 drivers are 40+ years old.
                        Only 4 are under 30.
                        I put that down to USAC banning rear-engine sprint cars. From then onwards, about the only US drivers to make it at Indy were those who raced in their formative years on road circuits. Even Rick Mears , for all his Baja-type experience, cut his single-seater teeth in FVee and F5000 rather than front-engined oval cars.

                        I do not know whether the skills of driving a rear-engine sprint car could have translated over to Indycar, although the evidence of Tom Sneva suggests the answer is yes. But they would surely be a better fit to Indycar than front-engined sprints.

                        Hence the front of the field in 1979 was similar to the front of the field in 1969. Drivers who had switched from front to rear-engine along with everyone else, so there was no detriment to having raced front-engines on the way up. The next lot of drivers along - the Saldanas and Bubby Joneses - had to learn the new skills while at Indy itself, against drivers who had understood them long ago. At least for someone like, say, Hurley Haywood, the main thing to get used to was the step up in raw speed, not brand-new handling characteristics that muscle memory made even more difficult to master.
                        "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stick500 View Post
                          1977 a year of firsts;
                          1st 4-time winner
                          1st female driver
                          1st time a 17-year old me gets to shoot the 500 from the infield with a motor-drive camera where I expertly captured Eldon Rassmussen's spin in T3 from start to finish
                          Don't forget the first 200 mph laps.
                          Tibi Fumus Obsidio Septum Doro

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                          • #14
                            Hear ye, hear ye, I've been saying this for 40 plus years. All things wrong with open wheel championship racing today can be traced back to this and the elimination of the dirt ovals from the schedule.

                            Originally posted by ensign14 View Post

                            I put that down to USAC banning rear-engine sprint cars. From then onwards, about the only US drivers to make it at Indy were those who raced in their formative years on road circuits. Even Rick Mears , for all his Baja-type experience, cut his single-seater teeth in FVee and F5000 rather than front-engined oval cars.

                            I do not know whether the skills of driving a rear-engine sprint car could have translated over to Indycar, although the evidence of Tom Sneva suggests the answer is yes. But they would surely be a better fit to Indycar than front-engined sprints.

                            Hence the front of the field in 1979 was similar to the front of the field in 1969. Drivers who had switched from front to rear-engine along with everyone else, so there was no detriment to having raced front-engines on the way up. The next lot of drivers along - the Saldanas and Bubby Joneses - had to learn the new skills while at Indy itself, against drivers who had understood them long ago. At least for someone like, say, Hurley Haywood, the main thing to get used to was the step up in raw speed, not brand-new handling characteristics that muscle memory made even more difficult to master.
                            I'll see YOU at the races!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ensign14 View Post

                              I put that down to USAC banning rear-engine sprint cars. From then onwards, about the only US drivers to make it at Indy were those who raced in their formative years on road circuits. Even Rick Mears , for all his Baja-type experience, cut his single-seater teeth in FVee and F5000 rather than front-engined oval cars.

                              I do not know whether the skills of driving a rear-engine sprint car could have translated over to Indycar, although the evidence of Tom Sneva suggests the answer is yes. But they would surely be a better fit to Indycar than front-engined sprints.

                              Hence the front of the field in 1979 was similar to the front of the field in 1969. Drivers who had switched from front to rear-engine along with everyone else, so there was no detriment to having raced front-engines on the way up. The next lot of drivers along - the Saldanas and Bubby Joneses - had to learn the new skills while at Indy itself, against drivers who had understood them long ago. At least for someone like, say, Hurley Haywood, the main thing to get used to was the step up in raw speed, not brand-new handling characteristics that muscle memory made even more difficult to master.
                              Yep. It's a point I tried to make over and over when we arguing at the start of the The Split in 95/96.

                              Clay Regazonni passed half the field before his fuel cell sprung a leak. Learning the oval was pretty easy (yes, I know he also crashed in practice) for a guy driving was essentially an F1 car with a turbocharger.
                              The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                              No one had to badge the Offy.

                              Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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