In the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Helio Castroneves became the fourth driver ever to win four races when he finished with the all-time fastest time of 2:39:50.
Castroneves passed Alex Palou late before cruising to the win in the final stretch to join some elite company in dousing himself with his fourth bottle of milk.
As detailed below, the record for the most Indy 500 wins is four, and four drivers now share that record. Of all the winners in the 102-year history of the Indy 500, only five have won the race in consecutive years. Twenty Indy 500 winners have won the race after starting from the pole position, the most wins from any starting position, and there have been 10 rookie Indy 500 winners in the history of the race.
As for the car number with the most Indy 500 wins, the No. 3, currently used by Penske Racing’s Scott McLaughlin, has been to victory lane at Indianapolis 11 times.
The fact that in 105 years only 20 drivers have become an Indy 500 winner more than once should tell you all you need to know about this race — it is extremely difficult to win.
Below is the list of all-time Indy 500 winners, plus some all-time Indy 500 records.
Indianapolis 500 winners list
Among active IndyCar drivers, Castroneves has the most career Indy 500 wins with three. He is also the only active driver who has become an Indy 500 winner more than once in his career.
Below is the all-time list of Indy 500 winners.
|Year||Indy 500 winner|
|2015||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|2006||Sam Hornish Jr.|
|2003||Gil de Ferran|
|2000||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|1998||Eddie Cheever Jr.|
|1994||Al Unser Jr.|
|1992||Al Unser Jr.|
|1977||A.J. Foyt Jr.|
|1964||A.J. Foyt Jr.|
|1945||No race (WWII)|
|1944||No race (WWII)|
|1943||No race (WWII)|
|1942||No race (WWII)|
|1941||Floyd Davis/Mauri Rose|
|1924||Joe Boyer/L.L. Corum|
|1918||No race (WWI)|
|1917||No race (WWI)|
Why does the Indy 500 winner drink milk?
This strange tradition is all Louis Meyer’s fault.
We’ll let Indianapolis Motor Speedway do the explaining:
“Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Louis Meyer regularly drank buttermilk to refresh himself on a hot day and happened to drink some in victory lane as a matter of habit after winning the 1936 race. An executive with what was then the Milk Foundation was so elated when he saw the moment captured in a photograph in the sports section of his newspaper the following morning that he vowed to make sure it would be repeated in coming years. There was a period between 1947-55 when milk was apparently no longer offered, but the practice was revived in 1956 and has been a tradition ever since.”
So there you have it. As terrible as milk sounds as a refreshment after hours of racing, Castroneves, a three-time Indy 500 winner, recently told Sporting News the milk is good simply because it represents victory. We’ll take his word for it.
These days, drivers are given a choice of skim milk, two percent milk and whole milk. They make their selections days before the race in case they win.
Who has the most Indy 500 wins all time?
Four drivers share the record for the most Indy 500 wins of all time.
A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Rick Mears and Castrovenes each have won the Indy 500 four times. Foyt, who became the first four-time winner of the race, won the Indy 500 in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977. Unser won the Indy 500 in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987. Mears won the Indy 500 in 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991. Castrovenes won the Indy 500 in 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2021.
Unser remains the oldest Indy 500 winner, as he took the checkered flag when he was 47 years, 360 days old in 1987. That win also gave Unser the record for the most time — 17 years — between Indy 500 victories.
Castroneves (2001-2002) is also one of five drivers who have won the Indy 500 in consecutive years; the others are Wilbur Shaw (1939-40), Mauri Rose (1947-48), Bill Vukovich (1953-54) and Unser (1970-71).
Indianapolis 500 records
|Category||Indy 500 record||Record holder(s)|
|Most wins||4||A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves|
|Most laps led (career)||644||Al Unser|
|Most laps led (single race)||198||Billy Arnold (1930)|
|Youngest winner||22 years, 80 days||Troy Ruttman (1952)|
|Oldest winner||47 years, 360 days||Al Unser (1987)|
|Lowest starting position to win||28th||Ray Harroun (1911), Louis Meyer (1936)|
|Biggest margin of victory||13 minutes, 8.40 seconds||Jules Goux (1913)|
|Smallest margin of victory||.043 of a second||Al Unser Jr. (1992)|
|Most starts||35||A.J. Foyt (1958-92)|
|Most cars starting||42||1933|
|Fewest cars starting||21||1916|
|Most cars entered||117||1984|
|Most lead changes||68||2013|
|Fewest lead changes||1||1930|
|Most cars to finish||26||1911, 2013|
|Fewest cars to finish||7||1966|
(Indy 500 records via Indianapolis Motor Speedway)