Indy 500 Field of the Century: Row 7
Today we really start to rock and roll. Our seventh row includes a Scottish legend many Europeans and a lot of Americans swear was the best racing driver who ever lived, on the inside. The most aggressive lap leader never to win the 500 starts in the middle, and outside sits a little French Canadian who finished second, then first, then left Indy for keeps at age 24 and never looked back.
19. Jim ClarkIndy 500 starts: Five
Best finish (year): First (1965)
Laps led: 298
It took the Flying Scot three tries to establish a beachhead for the British Invasion, but when he did win, in 1965, he and his rear-engine Lotus Ford were simply overwhelming. He led 190 laps.
That first Indy win by a rear-engine car turned out to be the death knell for traditional front-engine roadsters, which would never win the 500 again.
Just how important was the presence of Clark to the image of Indy as the Olympus of world motor racing? He is widely considered the greatest Formula One driver of all time. In recent years he was recognized by The Times of London as the best ever in F1, beating out even Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
Clark returned to Indy in '66 and finished second to a fellow Briton and F1 star Englishman Graham Hill, who drove home the point for the Lotus Fords. Clark's fifth and final start at Indy, in 1967, was the only one in which he led no laps. Piston failure knocked him out of the race and he wound up 31st.
He never made it back. On April 7, 1968, a month before practice was to open at Indy, Clark was killed at Hockenheim, Germany, in -- of all things -- a Formula Two race. Reportedly he was fulfilling contractual obligations to Firestone.
20. Michael AndrettiIndy 500 starts: 16
Best finish (year): Second (1991)
Laps led: 431
Led the most laps of any non-500 winner in history and displaced his father, Mario, as the living epitome of heartbreak at Indy. At least Mario won it once.
Just when it seemed it couldn't get any gloomier for Michael than 1991 -- he led with 12 laps to go, then lost one of Indy's classic duels ever, with Rick Mears -- came the awful day in '92.
That was by far the most tragic Indy 500 for the Andretti family. First his younger brother, Jeff, and then his father suffered severe foot and leg injuries in crashes. But as the race went on, Michael dominated, bound -- it surely seemed -- to make the day bittersweet.
As Mario and Jeff were transported to a hospital downtown, nobody could catch Michael on the track, or even come close.
"Only God can stop Michael now," a Sports Illustrated writer reported to the managing editor in New York.
Then with 11 laps to go, "silence," Michael has recalled since. "Nothing." That was what he heard in the cockpit after a little belt on the fuel pump had broken, bringing his car to a stop in the infield grass.
21. Jacques VilleneuveIndy 500 starts: Two
Best finish (year): First (1995)
Laps led: 22
Many purists believe Villeneuve won the last truly great Indy 500, the year before the split. If that's so, he had the greatest final flourish in the history of the race.
He finished second his rookie year, 1994, won in his second year, and then he was gone -- off to Formula One, where he would win the world championship of 1997 in a showdown with the supposedly invincible Michael Schumacher.
The son of late F1 star Gilles Villeneuve came virtually out of nowhere to become rookie of the year at Indy in '94. To win in '95, he had to come back from nowhere -- from a two-lap penalty, the stiffest penalty any driver had ever overcome in the 500.
But after being nailed for not properly falling in behind the pace car early in the race, Villeneuve unlapped twice as his team owner, Barry Green, kept repeating on the radio, "Soldier on, Jacques. Soldier on, mate."
Villeneuve has declined to return to Indy in recent years, even though he's been out of F1 since 2006. His reasoning is that IndyCar racing has fallen woefully behind NASCAR in prestige in the U.S.
Ed Hinton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE RACING HEADLINES
- James Stewart banned for most of 2015 season
- Ecclestone re-appointed to F1 board as CEO
- Trophies stolen from Red Bull found in lake
- Hand to team with Pruett in Chip Ganassi car
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
95TH INDIANAPOLIS 500-MILE RACE
It's time for the 95th running of the Indianapolis 500, but it's the number 100 that counts in 2011. This is the 100th anniversary of the running of the first 500, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Centennial Era celebration is in high gear.
Indianapolis 500 Home
Race Day, May 29• Blount: The thrill and agony
• Hinton: Oh yeah, Indy is back!
• Oreovicz: Bad day for power teams
• McGee: What a capper to 100 years
• espnW: A roller-coaster ride for Indy women
• Gallery: 100th anniversary of the 500
• Recap: Wheldon wins a stunner
• Watch: Full highlights
• Watch: Full booth analysis
• Watch: Wheldon so thankful
• Watch: Hildebrand crestfallen
Saturday, May 28• Blount: Hang on to your hats!
• Hinton: Back again in Indiana
• ESPN.com staff: Our podium predictions
• Racing Live! Indy 500, Sunday, noon ET
Carb Day, May 27• Blount: The weekend's best race is ...
• Hinton: Foyt legend still strong in 2011
• Gallery: A.J. Foyt, A Racing Life
• Hinton from 1991: The last ride of A.J. Foyt
• Hinton on the Field of the Century front row
• Hinton's Indy 500 Field of the Century: Row 1
• Oreovicz blog: Ganassi team leads Carb Day
• espnW: Patrick's mom, Bev, enjoying ride
• Blount blog: The way Mario Andretti sees it
• Ed Hinton chat wrap
• John Oreovicz chat wrap
• Podcast: Brent Musburger previews the race
• Podcast: Helio Castroneves is ready to roll
• SportsNation: Indy 500 predictions
Features• Oreovicz: Breaking down the field of 33
• Blount: Bumping Junqueira saved jobs
• James: Women find a niche in IndyCar
• SportsNation quiz: All-time lap leaders
• Indy 500 preview photo gallery
• James: No stopping Simona
• Blount: Indy shows NASCAR how it's done
• James: Women drivers carving a niche
• Oreovicz: Danica dodges Bump Day disaster
• James: A stormy day at the track for Danica
• Oreovicz: Wild and wacky Pole Day
• Oreovicz: Month of May primer
Practice And Qualifying• Danica makes 500 field
• Carpentier crashes in Sunday practice
• Tagliani wins Indy 500 pole
• Briscoe crashes in Saturday practice
• Di Silvestro cleared to race
• Castroneves tops speed charts
• Tagliani leads Friday at over 228 mph
• De Silvestro waiting for medical clearance
• Power leads Thursday practice
• De Silvestro burns hands in crash
• Rain scrubs practice again Wednesday
• Weather limits practice Tuesday
• Tagliani turns month's fastest lap Monday
• Opening Sunday washed out
• Opening day starts fast
Indy 500 Field Of The Century• Hinton: The method in our list
• Row 1: Foyt, Lockhart, Vukovich
• Row 2: Ma. Andretti, Mears, A. Unser
• Row 3: Shaw, Jones, DePalma
• Row 4: Meyer, B. Unser, Rutherford
• Row 5: Ward, Johncock, Fittipaldi
• Row 6: Rose, Unser Jr., Milton
• Row 7: Clark, Mi. Andretti, Villenueve
• Row 8: Luyendyk, Hill, Harroun
• Row 9: Castroneves, Franchitti, Montoya
• Row 10: Ruby, Donohue, Sullivan
• Row 11: Flaherty, Kanaan, Hurtubise
• The Social Pioneers
Indy At 100• Indy at 100: 2000 and beyond
• Indy at 100: Tony George reigns in the '90s
• Indy at 100: 1980s had stars, foreign cars
• Indy at 100: Speed and safety in the '70s
• Indy at 100: A time of change
• Indy at 100: The '50s golden era
• Indy at 100: WWII puts racing on hold
• Indy at 100: 1930-39 a dangerous era
• Indy at 100: 1920-29 a roaring time
• Indy at 100: 1911-1919 was pivotal
• Indianapolis Motor Speedway timeline
More• Indy 500 front row chat wrap
• John Oreovicz chat wrap
• Danica not tipping hand on future
• Foyt, Mears, Unser top "greatest" fan poll
• Scott Speed joins Dragon Racing
• A.J. Foyt will drive Indy 500 pace car
• China's Ho-Pin Tung eyes Indy 500
• Indy 500 to honor Tom Carnegie
• Buddy Rice heading back to Indy 500
Indy 500 Rewind• 2010 Flashback: Dario's all the way back
• 2009 Flashback: Castroneves wins again
• 2008 Flashback: Quiet Dixon makes noise • 2007 Flashback: Franchitti comes up big
• 2006 Flashback: Hornish gets his "Holy Grail"