Indy 500 Field of the Century: Row 5
Our fifth row includes a roadster driver who won twice in four years and didn't finish worse than fourth in a six-year span, the sad victor in the awful Year of Fire and Rain, and a retired F1 driver who restarted his career at Indy but then wouldn't drink the milk.
13. Rodger WardIndy 500 starts: 15
Best finish (years): First (1959, '62)
Laps led: 261
After seven unremarkable starts at Indy in the '50s, Ward took off on one of the strongest, most consistent streaks for any major motor race anywhere, ever.
From '59 through '64, teamed with master mechanic A.J. Watson, Ward finished no worse than fourth, winning in '59 and '62 and finishing second in '60 and '64.
His duel with Jim Rathmann in '60 remains one of the classic late-race battles in the history of the race. They swapped the lead back and forth from Lap 183 until 197, when Rathmann took the lead for keeps.
Long after his last 500, in 1966, Ward remained a dignified, genial ambassador for the race, until his death in 2004 at age 83.
14. Gordon JohncockIndy 500 starts: 24
Best finish (years): First (1973, '82)
Laps led: 339
Perhaps no other driver's career has been more of a confluence of triumph, disaster, heartbreak and tragedy at Indy than the soft-spoken Michigan farmer known around the Brickyard simply as Gordy.
His first 500 win came in the infamous "Year of Fire and Rain," 1973. By race weekend, Art Pollard had already died of injuries suffered in a crash during practice May 12. Then came the race: three days of misery and disaster. The first day, the start was delayed for four hours by rain, and then an 11-car pileup on the start brought out a red flag. Then it rained again. Then rain washed out the race for a second straight day.
Finally, on Wednesday, the race was restarted. But Johncock's teammate, Swede Savage, was badly burned in a crash, and would later die of the injuries. Then a crewman for the team, Armando Teran, was struck and killed by a safety truck going the wrong way on the pit road. Another downpour began 67 laps short of the 200, and Johncock was declared the winner.
He would hold off a charging Rick Mears for his second win, in '82, but the 1977 race was Johncock's finest and most heartbreaking performance. He led 129 laps, challenged only by A. J. Foyt, until a crankshaft broke in Johncock's car.
Two indelible images remain from that race: Foyt in Victory Circle for his unprecedented fourth Indy win and Johncock sitting by his stalled car near the little stream inside Turn 1, crying.
15. Emerson FittipaldiIndy 500 starts: 11
Best finish (years): First (1989, '93)
Laps led: 505
For a guy who first came to Indy as an afterthought, at age 37, out of retirement from Formula One, Fittipaldi did pretty well.
He was a decade past his second F1 world championship, and four years into retirement, when he grew restless and told his wife "This is what I do -- make the racing car go very fast," he once recalled. So he went to work for CART team owner U.E. "Pat" Patrick in 1984.
The Americans nicknamed him "Emmo," and he soared into a whole new career, In 1989, he dueled with Al Unser Jr. on the 199th lap at Indy, sent Unser crashing into the wall and cruised to his first 500 win under caution.
But he outraged fans and officials when he refused to drink from the traditional bottle of milk in Victory Circle. The owner of vast orange groves in Brazil, Fittipaldi chose to drink orange juice instead.
In 1990 he signed with legendary team owner Roger Penske, and in '93 he got his second Indy win after passing another former F1 champion -- the reigning one, from '92 -- Nigel Mansell with 15 laps left.
Ed Hinton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
MORE RACING HEADLINES
- Bourdais ends long winless drought in Toronto
- Rosberg wins German GP, extends F1 lead
- Mercedes chief breaks bones in cycling crash
- Todd earns first Top Fuel victory since 2008
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"