The 99th Indy 500 gets underway in just a few days time and there will be a number of drivers who will have their eyes on the prize – a pint of milk.
Some though, have never had that bottle of milk in their hands, www.TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk takes a look at just some of the drivers who have never had a Verizon IndyCar Series win in the ‘big one’.
1. Will Power
One of the two drivers on this list that are currently competing, Team Penske’s Will Power has only seen his numerous top five starts converted to a high of fifth place.
The issue hasn’t been speed, the Australian has shown over the years he has that, but bad luck has repeatedly curtailed his plans for a podium in the past with unscheduled pit stops and incidents stopping him from clinching that elusive Indy 500.
However, this year could be the year where the luck swings in Power’s favour. A win at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis earlier in May would certainly have boosted the confidence levels, and a second place finish on qualifying day will have helped no end.
Could this year be the one?
2. Dan Gurney
If you were asked to name one of the most successful American drivers, you would probably name Dan Gurney.
The former Ferrari, Brabham and Anglo American Racer driver in F1 was a multiple race winner before moving to Champ Car and taking numerous wins in America as well.
However, one thing always evaded Gurney and that was a win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Often the bridesmaid but never the bride, he competed in nine 500s with cars including the Lotus-Ford and the Eagle-Ford – as well as the Eagle-Offy in his last race without being able to take the win.
One thing he can fall back on though, is the knowledge that he did win the race as a team owner. His All American Racers entry with Bobby Unser behind the wheel of another Eagle-Offy won the Indy 500 in 1975 and went someway to making up for his missing out.
3. Every Andretti since Mario
The best known of everyone that didn’t win, the Andretti curse has stuck with the family since Mario won in 1969.
In the following 46 years Mario, his sons Michael and Jeff, as well as grandson Marco have competed in near enough every Indy 500 for various teams – including racing for eponymous team Andretti Autosport – without any more joy.
Possibly the unluckiest of the clan was Michael, he lead hundreds of laps throughout the years but mechanical failures, crashes and last minute position dropping meant he lost out at the death.
Jeff didn’t have a proper crack at the great race with slow cars and nasty crashes summing up his experience at the Indy 500.
Marco – Michael’s son – almost broke the curse in his very first IndyCar race at IMS, he was in a battle with his father for much of the final quarter of the race but a fast charging Sam Hornish Jr. caught up and got past the Andretti pair – relegating them to second and third.
For Andretti Autosport, things have thankfully faired much better with three wins – one each for Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti and most recent winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Can Marco break the curse this year? Starting in eighth place he has a good chance of exploiting the misfortune of those ahead of him.
4. Nigel Mansell
This is a bit of a left field choice considering the other drivers on this list have years of races behind them, compared to the solitary pair of Indy 500s Nigel Mansell entered.
However, coming into the series as the current Formula One world champion, Mansell had a lot of people rating his chances of winning the Indy 500 in his rookie year.
Indeed, in the 1993 race he was running at the sharp end for a while with team mate Mario Andretti. However, an error in a pit stop saw him drop to sixth place and a recovery drive to third place saw him achieve a podium.
A year, and a championship crown later and Mansell was back at Indianapolis. Unfortunately, the race could be best described as a disaster with Dennis Vitolo hitting the back of John Andretti’s car and landing on top of Mansell’s machine. Mansell later angrily refused treatment in the medical centre and alienated a lot of the remaining fans he had left in America with an increasingly bad attitude.
After the sad death of Ayrton Senna, the Englishman returned to F1 and the Williams Team, leaving the Indy 500 behind him.