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) /
14 of 25
Johnny Rutherford, IndyCar
Johnny Rutherford, IndyCar (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway) /

Top IndyCar drivers of all-time: #12 – Johnny Rutherford

Another driver for whom the wait was worth it was Johnny Rutherford. He won just one race in his first 11 seasons of American open-wheel competition, and he had just one finish of higher than 18th place in his first 10 Indy 500 starts.

Yet his stat line of wins, championships and Indy 500 victories ended up being one that is surpassed by only three drivers all-time.

Rutherford had a breakthrough year in 1973, 11 years after he arrived in the sport, winning two races, and he carried that success over into 1974 when he won the Indy 500 in his 11th attempt. He went on to win the race in 1976 before adding a third win in seven years in 1980 to become the sixth driver to win the race on three occasions.

Only four other drivers have added their names to the three-time winners list since then.

Rutherford is classified as a two-time champion, although both titles are classified as having been won in 1980. He is classified as the 1980 USAC Championship Car champion and the 1980 CART champion, and he is formally recognized as both despite the fact that the five races of the former series are included in the 12-race series of the latter.

But after the 1980 season, USAC champions were no longer recognized as national champions, and after the 1995 season, the infamous Split happened.

Rutherford retired with 27 career victories, including an Indy 500 win and two other wins which contributed to both of his 1980 titles.