IndyCar: The Five Greatest Drivers Who Never Won At Indy

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /
7 of 7
Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Michael Andretti

Who else could top the list of greatest drivers who failed to win the Indianapolis 500? Michael Andretti was as successful elsewhere as any other great racer and as dominant at Indianapolis as anyone could wish. Andretti has 42 Indy car wins, 32 pole position wins, and one overall championship title. But, he never found his way to victory circle in the ‘500’.

Andretti followed in the footsteps of his legendary father Mario Andretti and seemed to inherit what’s become known as the “Andretti Curse”. While his father managed to snag a ‘500’ win in 1969, the Andretti family has largely dealt with heartbreak at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Michael Andretti’s Indianapolis career may be the most indicative of that fact. He made 16 starts between 1984 and 2007 and found his way to the lead in nine of those starts. In fact, he’s led 431 laps in his Indy 500 career, which is the most of any driver who never won the event.

Next: IndyCar: The End of Spec Racing?

Andretti’s most striking defeat came on a day that he seemed unbeatable. In 1992, Andretti surged to the front at the start and dominated the event. He led 160 of the first 189 laps and built up a nearly 30-second lead on the field. With just 12 laps to go, Andretti’s fuel pump let go and he was forced to coast to a stop on the backstretch. However, his heartbreaking ending gave way to a thrilling final shootout between Al Unser Jr. and Scott Goodyear that resulted in the closest finish ever.