- American Championship car racing
Since 1916 there has been a recognized United States national automobile racing National Championship for drivers of professional-level, single-seat open wheel race cars. The championship has been under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1909. Since 1911, the Indianapolis 500-mile race has been regarded as the marquee event of the National Championship. As of 2011, the top-level American open wheel racing championship is sanctioned by IndyCar.
The open-wheeled, winged, single-seater cars have generally been similar to those in Formula One, though there are important differences. Due to the fame of the Indianapolis 500, the term Indy Car (or IndyCar, Indycar) is a more popular term used to describe the cars that would typically compete in U.S. Championship car racing, popularized during the rising popularity of CART PPG Indy Car World Series racing in the early 1990s.
The national championship was sanctioned by the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association. The AAA first sanctioned automobile motorsports events in 1902 and introduced the first championship for racing cars as early as 1905 but it was canceled after a couple of serious incidents. Barney Oldfield was leading the championship at the point it was canceled. Official records regard 1916 as the first contested season, however, titles were later retroactively awarded back to 1909. Championship racing did not cease in the United States during World War I, however, the Indianapolis 500 itself was voluntarily suspended for 1917–1918. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, all auto racing was suspended. From 1942 to 1945 no events were contested, primarily due to rationing. Racing resumed in 1946.
AAA ceased racing participation after 1955 following a quick succession of high-profile fatal accidents — Manuel Ayulo during practice at Indianapolis on May 16; Alberto Ascari at Monza on May 26; two-time defending Indianapolis 500 winner Bill Vukovich during the Indy 500 itself on May 30; and the Le Mans disaster on June 11.
Note that through 1922 and again from 1930 to 1937, it was commonplace for the cars to be two-seaters, as opposed to the aforementioned standard single-seat form. The driver would be accompanied by a riding mechanic (or "mechanician").
The national championship was taken over by the United States Auto Club, a new sanctioning body formed by the then-owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman. It would continue in a stabilized environment for over two decades. During this time, the Indianapolis 500 continued to grow in popularity, while international participation began creeping into the series. During the 1960s, the cars evolved from front-engine roadsters to rear-engine formula-style racers. The schedule was dominated by ovals, and dirt track eventually were almost completely phased out. Technology and speed climbed at a fast rate.
Hulman died in 1977, and several USAC officials were killed in a plane crash in 1978. By the end of the 1970s, a growing dissent amongst the participants was based on many factors, including poor promotion and revenue. Events outside of Indianapolis were suffering from poor attendance, and few events were even televised.
SCCA/CART & USAC (1979–1981)
Championship Auto Racing Teams was formed by most of the existing team-owners, with some initial assistance from the SCCA. Therefore, there were two national championships run each by USAC and CART. The Indianapolis 500 remained under USAC sanction. The top teams allied to CART, and the CART championship became the de facto national championship. USAC ran a "rump" 1979 season, with few cars and fewer name drivers—the only exception being A. J. Foyt.
- In 1979, USAC denied several of the upstart CART series entries' to the 1979 Indianapolis 500. The ongoing controversy saw a court injunction during the month, which allowed the CART-affiliated traditional entrants to participate. Due to controversy over rules enforcement during the month, a special auxiliary time trials session was held the day before the race to allow those denied a chance to qualify for the field. Two cars were added to the back of the pack, bringing the total number of starters to 35 (up from the traditional 33).
- In early 1980 USAC and CART jointly formed the Championship Racing League (CRL) to run the national championship, but IMS management disliked the idea. The CRL was quickly abandoned. USAC remained as sanctioning body for the Indianapolis 500 itself, but the field was composed of CART-based teams. CART exclusively sanctioned the remainder of the season, and the national championship.
- In 1981–1982, the Indianapolis 500 remained an independent race sanctioned by USAC and composed CART teams. Other independent "one-off" teams entered at Indianapolis as well. Indianapolis was not included as a points-paying round of the CART national championship. In addition, by that time USAC had designated Indianapolis an "invitational" race, offering entries only to invited teams. That moved to prevent the uproar over denied entries which occurred in 1979.
- One further race in 1981 was run by USAC at Pocono. This race was not supported by many CART teams, and featured a mixed field filled out by converted dirt track cars. USAC ultimately withdrew from sanctioning championship races outside of the Indianapolis 500. USAC ceremoniously created the Gold Crown Championship, an essentially meaningless title as the season consisted of only one paved championship-level round (the Indy 500) after 1981. The situation was such that the season ended with the Indianapolis 500, thus it spread over two calendar years.
CART & USAC (1982–1995)
Stability returned and the national championship was now run by CART full-time. The Indianapolis 500 was sanctioned singly by USAC, but points were paid towards the CART season championship. The Indy 500 field would consist of the CART regulars, and several one-off entries. The season was conducted similarly to the sanctioning of professional golf — the four golf majors are sanctioned by separate organizations, but they still count as the most important events on the PGA Tour calendar.
USAC's Gold Crown Championship continued, settling into an unusual June through May schedule calendar (spreading across two calendar years), which provided that the Indianapolis 500 would be the final race of the respective season. However, during that period, the USAC schedule never included more than one race (i.e., Indianapolis).
CART & IRL (1996–2003)
In 1996, Tony Hulman's grandson, Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway created the Indy Racing League (IRL), a separate championship that initially leveraged the fame of the Indianapolis 500, which saw the exclusion of many of CART's top teams from that event. The IRL's results are either listed alongside the existing national championship  or treated as an entirely separate entity and not included.  
- In March 1996, CART filed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an effort to protect their license to the IndyCar mark which the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had attempted to terminate. In April, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway filed a countersuit against CART to prevent them from further use of the mark. Eventually a settlement was reached in which CART agreed to give up the use of the IndyCar mark following the 1996 season and the IRL could not use the name before the end of the 2002 season.
- George initially let the USAC continue to sanction the IRL, however after judging controversies at 1997 Indy 500 and Texas Motor Speedway, the USAC was replaced by the IRL's in-house officiating.
- CART's existing national championship remained dominant after the split for some time, initially retaining top drivers, teams, sponsors, and fans. In 1998, CART went public and raised $100 million USD in its stock offering. However, in 2000, CART teams began to return to the Indy 500, eventually defecting to the IRL. CART also suffered negative publicity over the cancellation of the Firestone Firehawk 600 in 2001. For 2003, it lost title sponsor FedEx and engine providers Honda and Toyota to the IRL.
IRL & CCWS (2004–2007)
The rights to CART's assets were purchased by a consortium called Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) in 2004 and the series was renamed the Champ Car Open Wheel Racing Series, later renaming it to Champ Car World Series (CCWS) LLC. However, the sanctioning body continued to be plagued by financial difficulties, In 2007, CCWS's presenting sponsors Bridgestone and Ford Motor Company withdrew and CCWS lacked the resources to mount the 2008 season.
Prior to the start of the 2008 season, the CCWS Board authorized bankruptcy and Champ Car was absorbed into the IRL, creating one unified series for the national championship for the first time since 1978. The unified series competed under the name Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. All historical record and property of CART/CCWS was assumed by the IRL. In 2011, the sanctioning body dropped the Indy Racing League name, becoming simply IndyCar.
Car names and trademarks
Race cars participating in national championship events have been referred to by various names. Early nomenclature was to call the machines "Championship Cars," which was later shortened to "Champ Cars." The ambiguous term "Big Cars" was also commonplace in early years. A term that reflected the machines being larger and faster than junior formulae such as sprints and midgets. That term has disappeared from use. In the post WWII era, the term "Speedway Cars" was also used, a loosely descriptive term, distinguishing the machines as those driven at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other major speedways, as opposed to those driven at local dirt tracks, for instance.
In most years since the USAC era, the term "Indy cars" (after the Indy 500) has been the preferred moniker. Apropos to that, when CART was founded in 1979, its acronym stood for Championship Auto Racing Teams, which reflected the historical use of the term "Championship Car." Soon thereafter, CART started exclusively marketing itself with the two-word "Indy Car" term, advertising itself as the "CART Indy Car World Series."
Through the 1980s, the term "Indy car" was used to describe the machines used to compete in events sanctioned by CART, as well as the machines competing in the Indianapolis 500 (singly sanctioned by USAC). All references to the name "CART" were being increasingly discouraged as the series sought to eliminate possible confusion from casual fans with Kart racing.
In 1992, the CamelCase term "IndyCar" was trademarked by IMS, Inc. It was licensed to CART through 1997. After the inception of the IRL in 1996, the terms of the contract were voided after a lawsuit. As part of the settlement, the term was shelved by a six-year non-use agreement. Following the settlement, and the lack of direct connection to the Indianapolis 500, CART decided to revert back to the former term. It re-branded itself as Champ Car and the machines were referred to as "Champ cars."
Complicating the situation resulting from the open-wheel split, Champ Car races held outside the United States were still permitted to use the Indy moniker (e.g., Toronto Molson Indy and Lexmark Indy 300). Foreign venue promoters took advantage of the marketing power of the Indy 500 name for their events, even though the Champ Car series they were promoting no longer had any ties to that race. The exceptions created confusion, and Champ Car gradually phased out the usage to distance itself further from the IRL.
After the settlement expired in 2003, the IndyCar term was brought back. The top level of the Indy Racing League was re-branded as the "IndyCar Series." The machines in the series were also referred to as "IndyCars." Despite the official acknowledgment, media and fans alike would continue to use the term "IRL" to describe the series, and to a lesser extent, "IRL cars" to describe the machines. Removing the "IRL" term from use proved difficult.
In 2008, when Champ Car merged into the Indy Racing League, the term "Champ Car" was abandoned, and all open wheel racing fell under the "IndyCar" name once again. On January 1, 2011, the name "Indy Racing League" (and "IRL") was officially abandoned, with the sanctioning body re-branded as IndyCar.
Comparison with Formula One
At first, American and European open-wheel racing were not distinct disciplines. Races on both continents were mostly point-to-point races, and large ovals tracks emerged on both continents. But in America, racing took off at horse-race tracks and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while in Europe, racing from point to point and around large circuits gained in popularity. Grand Prix racing (which became Formula One) and rally racing then diverged in Europe. Formula One was established after World War II as the World Championship for road racing, and F1 cars became increasingly specialized and high-tech.
In the 1960s, road racing gained popularity in North America, and Formula One-style design ideas changed IndyCars, which until then had all been classic-styled front-engined roadsters. When North America's road racing championship, Can-Am Challenge, collapsed in the 1970s, the IndyCars were ready to fill the void. IndyCar was a combination road- and oval-racing championship from this time until the Split. Compared to F1 cars, IndyCars were partly specialized for oval-racing: they were larger and had other safety features, and were designed to run at the higher speeds necessary for oval racing. Because IndyCars were usually "customer" cars that the teams purchased from constructors, and because of rules to contain costs, they were considerably less expensive than F1 cars, each model of which was designed by the team that used it. After the Split in the 1990s, CART maintained the old formula while the IRL drifted toward the "spec" design that has been the only IndyCar model since 2003 (though this is slated to change in 2012).
As engine formulas have changed, and as engine technology has developed over time, F1 cars and IndyCars have each produced more power than the other at different times. But for the foreseeable future, F1 cars will have considerably more power than the spec IndyCar.
Alex Zanardi, who drove both in F1 and CART, said that the lighter, naturally aspirated F1 car was more responsive and accelerated off the turns faster, while the turbocharged CART car was more stable and accelerated to top speed faster.
There is debate on which series is more demanding. Some point out that champions that retired from F1 have won CART championships, and that drivers that did not excel in F1 have continued their careers and succeeded in IndyCar. In fact, since IndyCar's heyday in the 1990s, the difference between the money and attention spent on IndyCar and on F1 has become more pronounced. Others argue that IndyCar is more demanding because the cars are more difficult to drive as they do not handle as well, IndyCar races on both road/street courses as well as high-speed ovals, as well as the similarity between the cars places more demands on the drivers and engineers to come up with competitive car setups rather than simply having better equipment. Oval racing, which is a part of the IndyCar schedule but not Formula One, requires skills that road racing does not (and vice versa) and has proven to be far more dangerous.
Caution periods are also done differently in Formula One and IndyCars. Largely because of IndyCar's oval-racing heritage, incidents that leave a hazard on or near the track always draw a full-course caution period. Because the entire field of cars gathers behind the leader for each restart, IndyCars that have fallen back in the field can earn a chance to challenge the leaders by making strategic pit stops. IndyCar-style caution periods also force the leader to withstand a possible challenge with every restart. By contrast, caution periods are usually only called in F1 for hazards on the track itself, so F1 drivers are by comparison more likely to be judged by their lap driving ability alone than by their pit strategy or aggression during restarts. However with a recent change in racing tyre for F1, pit strategies have played a much larger role in more recent races and have contributed to a more varying and unpredictable race.
Open wheel cars
- "Indy car" is a generic name for championship open wheel auto racing in the United States. "Indy car" initially described an open wheel car that participated in the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Originally, the cars were generally referred to as "Championship cars". However, as the result of the genre's fundamental link to Indianapolis, many people started to use the Indy car name in order to differentiate the Indianapolis-style open-wheel cars from other types of open-wheel cars, such as those used in Formula One.
- In general, Indy cars of both CART and IndyCar are slower on street and road courses, being less expensive and technology-centric platforms than their Formula One counterparts. This was even the case during the CART PPG era during the mid to late 1990s. Currently, with the bid to keep costs down around teams, a competitive Indy car team like Newman-Haas Racing operates on approximately US$20 Million per season, while the McLaren-Mercedes F1 team has an annual budget of US$400 million. In particular, the Formula One chassis was required to be built by their respective team/constructor, whereas an Indy car chassis could be purchased. The dominance of a select few manufacturers has essentially turned the IndyCar Series into a spec series. CART/CCWS became a spec series more intentionally for cost savings purposes.
- Indy car racing historically tended to take place on high speed ovals, while Formula One used primarily permanent road courses. Recently, however, Champ Car had no oval tracks for the 2007 season which was its last, while the IRL added street courses to what was originally an all-oval series, and currently IndyCar has a nearly equal balance of ovals and non-ovals. Recently, however, IndyCar has seen less ovals on its schedule than non-ovals.
- Indy car racing was dominated by North American drivers until the 1990s, which saw incursions from European and South American drivers. This led to Tony George forming the IRL in order to promote American drivers. Conversely, American drivers have never found great success in Formula One since the 1970s, the last drivers' champion and race winner was Mario Andretti.
- Due to the lack of American drivers, Formula One has struggled to establish itself in that market, at certain years not having a United States Grand Prix on the calendar (the most recent was from 2000 to 2007; F1 will return to the U.S. in 2012). In a parallel, CART/CCWS/IRL has made little headway outside of the United States and Canada, even though it regularly has a handful of tracks around the world.
Types of circuits
The American National Championship is notable for the wide variety of racetracks it has used compared to other series, such as Formula One and the various forms of Endurance sports car racing. The mainstays of the championship are as follow:
- Paved ovals and tri-ovals (e.g. Indianapolis, Texas)
- Permanent (or "Natural") road courses (e.g. Barber, Mid-Ohio)
- Temporary street courses (e.g. Long Beach, St. Pete)
- Combined road course (the IndyCar series tested at Daytona in 2006–2007)
Until 1970 the championship frequently raced on dirt and clay tracks, but all such tracks were removed permanently by USAC before the 1971 season.
From 1915 to 1931 board tracks were frequently used for championship races, however safety concerns and cost of maintenance, especially with the onset of the Great Depression, and nearly all were demolished in the 1930s.
The Pikes Peak Hillclimb was a round of the championship in the years 1947—1955 and 1965—1969.
Airport runways have also been used to create temporary circuits. The most notable used for open wheel racing was the Cleveland Grand Prix at Burke Lakefront Airport. St. Pete and Edmonton also utilize airport runways for parts of the course, however, they lead back to streets for the rest of the lap.
For the majority of the National Championship, the races have been held inside the United States. First championship event outside of US took place in 1967. American championship cars raced in Monza oval in 1957 and 1958 in a non-championship Race of Two Worlds. Also, in 1966 there was a non-championship USAC race in Japan.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, CART expanded throughout North America, venturing into Mexico (Mexico City) and Canada — Sanair, Toronto and Vancouver — the latter two becoming mainstays. Eventually international expansion reached overseas with Surfers Paradise (Australia), Rio (Brazil), Motegi (Japan), as well as Lausitz (Germany) and Rockingham (England), among others.
Currently, the IndyCar Series holds races in Canada, Brazil, and Japan.
The 1916, 1936 and 1937 Vanderbilt Cup races were included in the National Championship. The 1909–1915 races were retrospectively added to the championship in 1926. CART resurrected the Cup in 1996 as the winner's trophy for the US500 race. When that race was discontinued in 2000, the Cup changed roles and became the championship trophy. As OWRS bought all of CART's assets in 2004 they have kept rights to use the Cup.
Indianapolis 500 and 'The Split'
From its inception in 1911, to creation of the Indy Racing League in 1996, the Indianapolis 500 was a round of the National Championship. The exceptions are the 1981 and 1982 races, which were removed from the CART championship for political reasons by the USAC. However, when the race still attracted all of the regular teams despite its lack of championship status USAC relented and allowed CART to run at Indianapolis.
Winning the Indianapolis 500 has always had at least an equal profile with the winning the National Championship, although direct comparisons are difficult as many of the National Champions also won the Indy 500. 1993 is a good example of a year when the winners of each title received the same amount of attention. That year former Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi won the 500 but the current F1 champion Nigel Mansell won the National Championship, becoming the only driver to win both titles consecutively.
The creation of the IRL in 1996 with the Indianapolis 500 as its centerpiece race removed the race from the existing National Championship. This of course was a hugely controversial move in racing circles, with opinions at the time ranging from praise to ridicule—in 2004 the US Sports Illustrated magazine named the IRL's formation as one of the 'Ten Dumbest Moments in Sports'. This assessment was based on the notable decline in the number of television viewers, car entries and estimated grandstand ticket sales (the Speedway does not officially announce sales figures), since the impasse began in 1996.
By late 2007, both entities had fallen far behind NASCAR in popularity, participants, and media coverage. Several top drivers, including Americans A.J. Allmendinger and Sam Hornish Jr and 2007 IRL Champion Dario Franchitti, had switched to or were seriously contemplating a switch to stock cars. Neither the Champ Car World Series nor the Indy Racing League seemed to have an edge over the other in terms of credibility or prestige. Neither series had more than 20 cars outside of Indianapolis (compared with 25–28 as late as 2001), so a merger was the only logical move.
On February 22, 2008, both series announced the acquisition of Champ Car assets by IRL founder and Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, effectively rolling the former series into the latter, and reuniting American open wheel racing under IndyCar Series control.
- The driver with the most championship titles and race wins is A. J. Foyt. From 1959 to 1981 Foyt won 67 USAC championship races and seven USAC titles.
- Ralph DePalma is credited with the most AAA-sanctioned victories (24).
- Michael Andretti has won the most CART/Champ Car-sanctioned races (42).
- Scott Dixon has the most IRL-sanctioned wins (22).
- Mario Andretti is the most successful driver born outside the United States with 52 wins and 4 titles.
- Canada's Paul Tracy is the most successful non-U.S. citizen (31 wins, 1 title).
- Danica Patrick is the only woman to ever win a National Championship-level open wheel race (Motegi, 2008). Sarah Fisher was the first female driver to win a pole position (Kentucky, 2002).
- Four drivers have held the crowns of CART Champion and Formula One World Driving Champion.
- Six other drivers have won both a National Championship race as well as at least one Formula One Grand Prix (except the Indianapolis 500 when it was part of the World Driving Championship). They are as follows:
Notable fatalities in competition
- Ted Horn, champion in 1946-1947-1948 died after crashing at the DuQuoin dirt track in late 1948.
- Defending Indianapolis 500 winners Floyd Roberts and Bill Vukovich were killed during the 1939 and 1955 Indy 500's respectively.
- 1951 and 1958 champion Tony Bettenhausen was killed in a crash at Indianapolis in May 1961.
- Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald were killed during the 1964 Indianapolis 500.
- Art Pollard (qualifying) and Swede Savage (race) died of injuries suffered during the 1973 Indianapolis 500.
- Gordon Smiley was killed while attempting to qualify for the 1982 Indianapolis 500.
- 1996 Indianapolis 500 polesitter Scott Brayton was killed May 17, 1996 during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500.
- Greg Moore died after an October 31, 1999 crash in the Marlboro 500 at Fontana.
- Dan Wheldon died after an 15-car pile-up on the 11th lap of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas on October 16, 2011.
- ^A From 1979 to 1995, the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the American Open Wheel National Championship were sanctioned by separate organizations, USAC and CART, respectively, with the former running a multi-race championship series, the USAC Gold Crown Championship, independent of the latter from 1979 to 1984.
- ^B From 1984 to 1995, while winners of the USAC Gold Crown Championship continued to be officially declared, such championship, officially beginning just after the previous year's race, then consisted solely of the "season-ending" race at Indianapolis, thus making such winners indistinguishable from Indianapolis winners in the respective years of such championships' conclusions.
Retrospectively awarded champions
In 1926 Val Haresnape and Arthur Means, Secretary and Assistant Secretary, respectively, of the AAA Contest Board, retrospectively calculated championship results for major AAA-sanctioned races run between 1909 and 1915 and for 1917 to 1920. The pair also initially changed the 1920 championship winner to Tommy Milton, but by no later than 1929 had restored Gaston Chevrolet.
In 1951 racing historian Russ Catlin officially revised AAA records with championship results based on all AAA races from 1902 to 1915 and 1916 to 1919, first published in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 program. This had the effect of retroactively creating seven newly credited champions and changing the 1909 champion from Bert Dingley to George Robertson and the 1920 champion from Gaston Chevrolet to Tommy Milton.
Each year from 1909 to 1915 and in 1919, the American automobile journal Motor Age selected a "driver of the year".
Year Haresnape & Means (1926–7) Russ Catlin (1951) Motor Age (yearly) 1902 — Harry Harkness — 1903 — Barney Oldfield — 1904 — George Heath — 1905 — Victor Hémery — 1906 — Joe Tracy — 1907 — Eddie Bald — 1908 — Lewis Strang — 1909 Bert Dingley George Robertson Bert Dingley 1910 Ray Harroun Ray Harroun Ralph Mulford 1911 Ralph Mulford Ralph Mulford Harvey Herrick 1912 Ralph DePalma Ralph DePalma Ralph DePalma 1913 Earl Cooper Earl Cooper Earl Cooper 1914 Ralph DePalma Ralph DePalma Ralph DePalma 1915 Earl Cooper Earl Cooper Gil Andersen 1916 Dario Resta Dario Resta none named 1917 Earl Cooper Earl Cooper none named 1918 Ralph Mulford Ralph Mulford none named 1919 Howard Wilcox Howard Wilcox Eddie Hearne 1920 Tommy Milton/ Gaston ChevroletA Tommy Milton none named 
- ^A Harsnape and Means originally awarded the 1920 championship to Milton, but subsequently reverted to Chevrolet.
Multiple championship winners
This list of champions includes winners of all titles awarded in the "National champions" list above (including the "USAC Gold Crown Championship" which, in some years, was awarded to the winner of the Indy 500).
Wins Driver Titles 7 A. J. Foyt USAC National Championship (6), USAC Championship (1) 6 Rick Mears SCCA/CART Series (1), CART PPG Series (2), USAC Gold Crown Championship (3) 4 Mario Andretti USAC National Championship (3), CART PPG Series (1) Bobby Rahal CART PPG Series (3), USAC Gold Crown Championship (1) Al Unser, Jr. CART PPG Series (2), USAC Gold Crown Championship (2) Sébastien Bourdais Champ Car World Series (4) Dario Franchitti IndyCar Series (4) 3 Louis Meyer AAA National Championship (3) Ted Horn AAA National Championship (3) Jimmy Bryan AAA National Championship (1), USAC National Championship (2) Al Unser CART PPG Series (2), USAC Gold Crown Championship (1) Emerson Fittipaldi CART PPG Series (1), USAC Gold Crown Championship (2) Sam Hornish, Jr. Indy Racing League (2), IRL IndyCar Series (1) 2 Jimmy Murphy AAA National Championship (2) Wilbur Shaw AAA National Championship (2) Rex Mays AAA National Championship (2) Tony Bettenhausen AAA National Championship (1), USAC National Championship (1) Joe Leonard USAC National Championship (2) Tom Sneva USAC National Championship (2) Johnny Rutherford CART PPG Series (1), USAC Gold Crown Championship (1) Jacques Villeneuve CART PPG Series (1), USAC Gold Crown Championship (1) Alex Zanardi CART FedEx Championship Series (2) Gil de Ferran CART FedEx Championship Series (2) Scott Dixon IndyCar Series (2)
Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Track Statistics Race Results1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915 • 1916 1919 • 1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1929
1930 • 1931 • 1932 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1938 • 1939 • 1940 • 1941 •
19421946 • 1947 • 1948 • 1949
1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969
1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989
1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009
2010 • 2011 • 2012
Sanctioning bodies Ownership Officials Speedway Presidents Fisher • Rickenbacker • Shaw • Hulman • Joe Cloutier • John Cooper • Tony George • Joie Chitwood • Jeff Belskus Chief Stewards C. W. Sedwick • W. D. Edenburn • Charlie Merz • Ted Doescher • J. H. Mehan • Tommy Milton • Harry McQuinn • Harlen Fengler • Tom Binford • Keith Ward • Brian Barnhart Broadcasting Related events Related area Lore AAA Championship Cars (1905–1955) Seasons1905 • 1909 • 1910 • 1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915 • 1916 • 1917 • 1918 • 1919 • 1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1929 • 1930 • 1931 • 1932 • 1933 • 1934 • 1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1938 • 1939 • 1940 • 1941 • 1942–1945 • 1946 • 1947 • 1948 • 1949 • 1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 Indianapolis 500s National ChampionsBilly Arnold • Henry Banks • Tony Bettenhausen • Jimmy Bryan • Bob Carey • Gaston Chevrolet • Bill Cummings • Peter DePaolo (twice) • Sam Hanks • Harry Hartz • Eddie Hearne • Ted Horn (three times) • Rex Mays (twice) • Louis Meyer (three times) • Tommy Milton • Jimmy Murphy (twice) • Barney Oldfield • Johnnie Parsons • Kelly Petillo • Dario Resta • Floyd Roberts • Mauri Rose • Louis Schneider • Wilbur Shaw (twice) • Chuck Stevenson • Bob Sweikert AAA Contest Board
Years marked in italics are not official championship years.
USAC Championship Cars (1956-1970) Seasons1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 Indianapolis 500s National Champions TracksArizona State Fair • Atlanta • Brainerd • California State Fair • Darlington • Daytona • Dover • DuQuoin State Fair • Hanford • Illinois State Fair • Indianapolis • Indianapolis Raceway Park • Indiana State Fair • Lakewood • Langhorne • Mead • Michigan • Michigan State Fair • Milwaukee • Missouri State Fair • Mosport • Nazareth • New York State Fair • Ontario • Pacific • Phoenix • Pikes Peak • Riverside • St. Jovite • Sears Point • Trenton USAC Championship Cars (1971-1995) Seasons1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981–82 • 1982–83 • 1983–84 Indianapolis 500s National ChampionsEmerson Fittipaldi (twice) • A. J. Foyt (twice) • Gordon Johncock • Joe Leonard (twice) • Arie Luyendyk • Roger McCluskey • Rick Mears (three times) • Bobby Rahal • Johnny Rutherford • Tom Sneva (three times) • George Snider • Danny Sullivan • Al Unser • Al Unser, Jr. (twice) • Bobby Unser • Jacques Villeneuve Tracks The Indianapolis 500 was the only race in the USAC National Championship from 1984-85 onwards IndyCar / CART / Champ Car (1979-2008) Seasons Indianapolis 500s ChampionsMario Andretti · Michael Andretti · Sébastien Bourdais (Four time) · Christiano da Matta · Gil de Ferran (Two time) · Emerson Fittipaldi · Nigel Mansell · Rick Mears (Three time) · Bobby Rahal (Three time) · Johnny Rutherford · Danny Sullivan · Paul Tracy · Al Unser (Two time) · Al Unser Jr. (Two time) · Juan Pablo Montoya · Jimmy Vasser · Jacques Villenueve · Alex Zanardi (Two time) TracksOvalsRoad CoursesStreet circuitsInternational IZOD IndyCar Series Seasons Indianapolis 500s Champions TracksOvalsRoad CoursesStreet CoursesFormer TracksAtlanta Motor Speedway • Charlotte Motor Speedway • Chicagoland Speedway • Dover International Speedway • Homestead-Miami Speedway • Gateway International Speedway • Kansas Speedway • Kentucky Speedway • Michigan International Speedway • Milwaukee Mile • Nashville Speedway • Nazareth Speedway • New Hampshire Motor Speedway • Phoenix International Raceway • Pikes Peak International Raceway • Richmond International Raceway • Twin Ring Motegi • Walt Disney World Speedway • Watkins Glen International Road to IndyIndy Lights • Star Mazda • U.S. F2000 History of IndyCar Racing • All-Time Winners • Races • Drivers • Teams
- ^ F1i.com
- ^ Formula One United States home page. http://www.formula1unitedstates.com/. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- ^ Rushin, Steve (September 27, 2004). "Dumbest Sports Moments". Sports Illustrated 101 (12). Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1103781/index.htm. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
- ^ "Through The Years". Champ Car Stats. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5zK2LALMt. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- ^ "Record of Champion Drivers 1909–1928 incl.". Official Bulletin, Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (Washington, D. C.) IV (6). February 8, 1929. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5zK0UJL6o.
- ^ a b c Printz, John G.; Ken M. McMaken (March 15, 1985). "The U.S. National Championship Driving Title". CART News Media Guide 1985: 265–267.
- ^ a b c d Capps, Don (29 March 2010). "Automobile Racing History and History". Rear View Mirror. 8W. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5zIz9YWkr. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
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