Top 25 IndyCar drivers of all-time

Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Will Power, IndyCar (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Will Power, IndyCar (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Rodger Ward, IndyCar
Rodger Ward, IndyCar (Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images) /

Top IndyCar drivers of all-time: #13 – Rodger Ward

The late Rodger Ward, a WWII P-38 aviator in the United States Army Air Forces, endured several tough seasons of American open-wheel racing competition before breaking through for an impressive stint that lasted for several years. He won twice in his fourth season, but he secured just those two wins in his first seven seasons in the sport.

But in 1957, he broke through with three victories, and he added two more in 1958. Then in 1959, he went on a roll. He competed in 12 of the 13 races on the schedule, and he finished eight of them, winning four and placing in the top three in the other four.

Among his four victories en route to winning the 1959 championship was his first Indy 500 victory, a 23.28-second victory over Jim Rathmann in second place after leading 130 of 200 laps. It was classified as a Formula 1 victory as well, given the fact that the Indy 500 was featured on the Formula 1 schedule back in the 1950s.

In every year from 1959 to 1962 and in every year except for 1963 from 1959 to 1964, his Indy 500 result matched his championship result. He finished in second place in 1960, third and 1961 and won both the race and the title again in 1962.

His first Indy 500 victory, which began a streak of four straight top three finishes and six straight top four results in the race, came after he had only finished the race once in eight previous starts.

It’s safe to say the wait was worth it for Ward, who went on to win 26 total races, including 23 during his peak from 1957 to 1963. Only four drivers have ever ended up with more wins, championships and Indy 500 victories than Ward earned throughout his career.