INDIANAPOLIS — As we gear up for the 2023 Indianapolis 500, we're taking a look back at some of the races that are marking anniversary milestones this year.
5 years ago
Will Power took over the race lead with four laps to go and cruised to his first Indianapolis 500 victory in 2018.
The Australian, who led 59 laps of the 102nd edition of the race, beat pole winner Ed Carpenter by three seconds. Carpenter led 65 laps in the race, the most of any driver in the race.
Danica Patrick, making the final start in her racing career, crashed on Lap 68 and finished 30th.
10 years ago
In one of the most memorable Indianapolis 500s in recent history, fan favorite Tony Kanaan finally broke through to take the checkered flag at Indianapolis.
Racing in his 12th Indy 500 with a second- and two third-place finishes on his resume, Kanaan led the race 15 times for a total of 34 laps, second only to Carpenter's 37.
Starting 12th, the Brazilian quickly raced to the front, taking the lead on Lap 9 and swapping the front position with Carpenter and then Marco Andretti for the next 19 laps.
Late in the race, Kanaan swapped the lead with Ryan Hunter-Reay, regaining the top spot on a restart on Lap 197. One lap later, Dario Franchitti crashed in the back of the field, bringing out a yellow flag and clinching Kanaan's first Indianapolis 500 win.
Fourteen different drivers led the race, tying an Indy 500 record. The 68 lead changes in the race is still the most in Indy 500 history.
20 years ago
Helio Castroneves entered the 2003 Indianapolis 500 with a perfect record. It would take a Team Penske teammate to cool him off.
Castroneves won his debut at Indy in 2001, then won a second Borg-Warner Trophy in a controversial finish the following year. He started his third race at IMS on the pole for the first time.
The Brazilian led 58 laps in the race, but his was his teammate, Gil de Ferran, who took the lead from Tora Takagi on Lap 169 and led the rest of the way, beating Castroneves to the line by .299 seconds for his first Indy 500 win and a 1-2 finish for Team Penske.
25 years ago
Eddie Cheever Jr. entered the 1998 race with eight Indy 500s under his belt, but only once had he finished all 200 laps of the race, including a first-lap crash in 1995.
Starting 17th, Cheever took his first lead on Lap 68, dueling with the likes of Arie Luyendyk, Kenny Brack and Buddy Lazier for control of the race. He led Laps 155-176, giving up the top spot for one lap to Lazier before regaining the lead on Lap 178 and cruising to a 3.191-second win over the 1996 winner.
50 years ago
While Gordon Johncock would go on to win his first of two Indianapolis 500s in 1973, the race is most known for a fiery crash that changed the life of one of the drivers involved.
As the green flag flew to start the race, cars in the middle of the pack spread four wide across the front straightaway, eventually making contact and spinning out of control in a fiery collision. Salt Walther's car spun into the outside wall, spraying fuel across the grandstand and into a ball of flame.
"Looks like a freeway traffic jam, as they said. It shouldn't even have...look at it, there's not three cars of 33, you'll see where I get tapped in the back and it gets me going sideways and I went over the top of, I think Jerry Grant," Walther told Dave Calabro in a 2008 interview. "It breaks arms, legs, fingers, toes, plus the burns."
Walther was burned over 70% of his body, changing the course of his skyrocketing young career. He died in December 2012.
The race was postponed until Monday, when rain pushed it back another day. The weather again played a factor when the race went off on Tuesday, May 30. Johncock led three laps early in the race, then took over control on Lap 72, leading the final 31 laps before rain stopped the race for good after 133 laps, giving Johncock the victory.
Only Johncock and Bill Vukovich II, who trailed the winner by more than 20 seconds shortly before the rain started, finished the race on the lead lap.
75 years ago
In the third race after the Indianapolis 500 resumed following World War II, Mauri Rose became just the second driver to win the race three times.
Rose, who teamed up with Floyd Davis to win the 1941 race before competition was halted for four years during the war, won his second Indy 500 in 1947, setting up a chance to tie Louis Meyer's record three victories.
Starting third, Rose led twice for a total of 81 laps, including the last 58 laps of the race en route to a one-minute, 24-second victory over Bill Holland.
100 years ago
The 11th Running of the Indianapolis 500 saw the race's first two-time winner.
Tommy Milton, who won the 1921 race two years prior, started on the pole for the 1923 Indy 500.
The race saw six drivers swap the lead a record 28 times, smashing the mark of 12 lead changes in the inaugural Indy 500 in 1911. In fact, Milton and defending champion Jimmy Murphy traded the lead eight times in the first 25 laps. Howdy Wilcox, who won the 1919 race, took his first lead on Lap 39, with the three former winners recording 20 lead changes by Lap 62.
Wilcox dropped out of the race with a broken clutch and finished 17th in the 24-car field. But his day of driving wasn't done, as he replaced Milton behind the wheel for Laps 103 to 151, leading 41 laps during his stint.
Milton picked back up where his replacement left off, leading the rest of the way and cruising to a three-minute, 15-second win over Harry Hartz to claim his second title.
The 28 lead changes in the race remained an Indy 500 record until 1960.