RACE: 71st Indianapolis 500
DATE: May 24, 1987
WINNER: Al Unser Sr.
AVERAGE SPEED: 162.175 mph
WHAT HAPPENED: In one of the biggest upsets in Indy 500 history, Unser won his record-tying fourth 500 despite starting the month of May with no sponsorship and on the sidelines for the first week of practice. But Roger Penske hired him to replace Danny Ongais, who suffered a concussion during a crash. Unser won in a backup car that had been on display in a hotel lobby in Reading, Pennsylvania, just weeks before the race. Mario Andretti dominated the month — he had the strongest car in practices and qualifying — but suffered a mechanical problem while leading with 23 laps remaining.
NOTABLE: There were 25 crashes during practice and qualifying and driver Jim Crawford suffered serious leg injuries. A spectator was killed when an errant tire flew into the grandstands. It was the first spectator fatality at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1938.