RACE: 45th Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 30, 1961
WINNER: A. J. Foyt
AVERAGE SPEED: 139.130 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: Foyt, one of the greatest drivers in history, breaks through and wins the first of his four Indianapolis 500s. He took the lead with four laps left and nipped Eddie Sachs by just 8.28 seconds. Foyt won the last race with exposed brick as the entire Indianapolis Motor Speedway surface was paved in asphalt, with just a single yard of bricks at the start/finish line left exposed — the same as it is today.
NOTABLE: Tony Bettenhausen Sr. was killed in a crash during practice in early May. Also, track worker John Masariu of the fire/safety crew was killed following a wreck on the track.