22 Things You May Have Missed From The 2022 Indianapolis 500

This year’s Indianapolis 500 had its share of drama, intrigue and lore, as racing usually does. It produced a first winner in Marcus Ericsson, marked a return to a full capacity crowd for the first time since 2019, and for the first time in 30 years a driver was trying to make history with his fifth victory at Indianapolis 500.

But behind the headlines, there are thousands of smaller stories and facts you may have missed. We’ve picked out a few of our favorites to share with you while the post-race buzz is still high – we hope you enjoy!

So grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugly of Sunday’s 106th Indianapolis 500 race:

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Chip Ganassi in the 1982 Indianapolis 500. Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Archives

  1. Marcus Ericsson’s victory in the 2022 Indianapolis 500 for Chip Ganassi Racing marks Chip Ganassi’s fifth victory as a car owner (2000 with Juan Pablo Montoya, 2008 with Scott Dixon, and 2010 and 2012 with Dario Franchitti). The victory marks 10 years since Ganassi last won the Indy 500 as a car owner and came exactly 40 years after Ganassi’s first Indianapolis 500 appearance as a driver in 1982.

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Marcus Ericsson enjoys winning the 2022 Indianapolis 500. Photo: Penske Entertainment/Travis Hinkle

Marcus Ericsson enjoys winning the 2022 Indianapolis 500. Photo: Penske Entertainment/Travis Hinkle

2. Marcus became the first driver named “Marcus” to win the Indianapolis 500. Most popular name? Al (or Alfred) won the race 6 times (between Al Unser and Al Unser Jr.)

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3. No driver using a surname beginning with the letter “E” had ever won the race before Ericsson’s victory on Sunday. The most common first letter in winners’ surnames is R (14 times). No driver whose last name begins with I, N, Q, X, Y or Z has ever won the race. (Note: Both of these statistics above consider pilots’ names to have been known professionally in their piloting careers and may be different from their given/birth names in their native language. For example, Takuma Sato’s name in Japanese is佐藤琢磨, and Rinus van Kalmthout goes by Rinus VeeKay in his career as a professional pilot.

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4. Ericsson joins a club of three former Formula 1 drivers who have won the Indy 500 in 5 of the last 8 races (Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015, Alexander Rossi in 2016 and Takuma Sato in 2017 and 2020).

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5. Ericsson won $3.1 million (with bonuses) for winning the race in 2022 – the biggest winner’s payout in the history of the race. That’s about 30 times more than Stefan Wilson’s smallest race day payout of $102,000 on Sunday.

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6. Despite being two of the smallest and worst performing teams in Formula 1 and eventually disappearing from the F1 grid, Caterham and Manor have produced Indy 500 winners among the drivers who ran for them. (Ericsson made 16 starts for Caterham in 2014 and Alexander Rossi made 5 appearances for Manor in 2015 before winning Indy in the 100th race of the 500 in 2016).

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7. There are now 791 different drivers who have qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in its 106-year history. Ericsson is the second Swedish driver to win the Indianapolis 500m, after 1999 winner Kenny Brack.

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Tony Kanaan after qualifying for the 2022 Indianapolis 500. Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment/John Cote

Tony Kanaan after qualifying for the 2022 Indianapolis 500. Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment/John Cote

8. The losing streak for the number 1 car at Indianapolis has extended to a 51st year. Tony Kanaan, who led 6 laps in the #1 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, finished third. The last No. 1 to win was Al Unser in 1971.

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9. With 6 laps led in 2022, Kanaan has led the Indy 500 a record 54 different times, and has led at least one lap in an incredible 15 of 21 Indy 500 starts (71% of races), including two distinct sequences leading 7 races in a row.

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10. Kanaan’s achievement on Sunday ties him to the record for most Indianapolis 500 laps led with Scott Dixon, who set the record for total laps led in Indianapolis 500 Lap history on Sunday.

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11. Despite setting the all-time lap record, Scott Dixon still has just one victory in the Indianapolis 500m (2008). A win next year would put him tied with Juan Pablo Montoya for most years between wins with 15 (2000 and 2015). Helio Castroneves holds the record for most years between first win and last win at age 20.

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Helio Castroneves during 2022 Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Photo: Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

Helio Castroneves during 2022 Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Photo: Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

12. Among drivers attempting to win their fifth Indianapolis 500, 7th-place finisher Helio Castroneves ranks third best ever. AJ Foyt’s best result after winning his fourth in 1977 was 5th in 1989. Al Unser finished 3rd twice (1988 and 1992) after his fourth win in 1987. Rick Mears finished 26th in 1992 in his only appearance to the Indy 500 after this fourth victory in 1991. .

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13. Castroneves’ 7th place finish marks the 16th time he has finished in the top 10 in 22 Indy 500 starts (72% of his starts).

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14. If Castroneves were to win his fifth Indy 500 at any time in the future, in addition to likely being the first driver to win five races, he would be the oldest race winner in Indianapolis 500 history (he will have 48 years before the 2023 Indianapolis 500). The current record is Al Unser in 1987 at 47 years, 360 days.

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Pato O'Ward during 2022 Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Photo: Penske Entertainment/James Black

Pato O’Ward during 2022 Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Photo: Penske Entertainment/James Black

15. No Mexican driver has ever won the Indianapolis 500. Pato O’Ward’s second place is the best result for a Mexican driver. The previous best result for a Mexican rider was Adrian Fernandez’ 7th place in the rain-shortened race in 2004.

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16. Alexander Rossi’s 5th place finish in the 2022 race means he’s finished in the top 7 of 5 of his 7 Indy 500 starts, including winning the 100th race of the Indy 500 in his first test at the world’s greatest racing spectacle in 2016.

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17. Now, that’s a stat that’s likely to win you a few bar bets: With his 10th-place finish in Sunday’s race, Santino Ferrucci has now finished in the top 10 in all four of his Indy 500 starts.

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18. Jimmie Johnson’s 28th-place finish after a crash was his worst showing in 18 IndyCar Series starts, dating back to his rookie season last year. But he led two laps and still won the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award from David Malukas, who was the highest-ranked rookie in 16th place.

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19. The last NASCAR regular to race in the Indianapolis 500 was Kurt Busch, who finished 6th in 2014. He also won Rookie of the Year honors that year, but didn’t stick around to accept the honor because he flew to Charlotte for that night’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 race. Busch is the latest driver to do the proverbial “double” racing at Indy and Charlotte on the same day.

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1956 Indy 500 winner Pat Flaherty and his crew after winning the big race.  Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Archives.

1956 Indy 500 winner Pat Flaherty and his crew after winning the big race. Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Archives.

20. It had been 66 years since the #8 car won the Indianapolis 500. Pat Flaherty won the 1956 race in the No. 8 John Zink special against Sam Hanks at an average speed of 128.49 miles per hour. For comparison, Marcus Ericsson’s average speed in the #8 was 175.428 mph. Number 8 has now won the race 4 times (1912, 1936, 1956, 2022).

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21. The 2022 race red flag, on lap 196, marked the 12th red flag in race history and the second last red flag in race history (1967 had a red flag on lap 200 after that winner AJ Foyt had already taken the checkered flag due to a crash behind him). And, in case you were wondering, the 2014 red flag came on lap 192, setting the second closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history at the time.

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22. Of the last nine races, four have resulted in a red flag at some point in the race (2014, 2017, 2019, 2022), compared to 8 total red flags in the first 97 races. The first red flag didn’t come until 1964, following the fatal first lap crash between Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald.

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