INDIANAPOLIS — Its going to have been 30 years now since we’ve last witnessed a four time winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in regards to the Indianapolis 500. Rick Mears last did it in 1991. That came four years after Al Unser joined the club in 1987. That came a decade after AJ Foyt being the first to accomplish this exclusive feat in 1977.
Since then, no one has been able to do it. Some have been close, but just can’t get it done. Seven drivers have won this race three times but only one of them is active – Helio Castroneves. But, his stats as a one-off have declined. It’s been 11 years since he last won a ‘500 here. Can he win again? He’s moving further and further away from doing so instead of closer. In 2014 and 2017, he was close. 2018, 2019 and 2020 he’s moved further away than ever before.
Also, this was likely Castroneves’ last NTT IndyCar Series start with Penske. He wants a full time shot at the series again, which in my mind will help his cause, but it all depends on whom he’s going to land with. You can rest assured that Penske isn’t going to show up to Indy in 2021 and look like they did in 2020. They’re not going to stand for how lack of success that he showed this month. They’ll be tough to beat next year and I can almost guarantee you that.
Then you have Takuma Sato. He’s the only other driver in the field with multiple Indy 500 wins. Heck, only 20 drivers in this world can say that they’ve won this race more than once. Sato, has two wins in four years, but can he realistically win two more soon? He’s already the fifth oldest winner ever at 43. Does he have enough time to get to four wins?
For Castroneves, he’s already 45. The oldest to win this race is Al Unser at 47.
No one else left has more than one Indy 500 win in their career. With the field as competitive as it’s arguably ever been and only four drivers having won this race more than once since 1998, what makes you think we’ll get drivers winners at least three times over the next decade? I mean, we’ve only had two repeat winners of this race in the last 66 years, so Sato winning in 2021 doesn’t seem likely.
The four win feat may be one of those stats that as low as it sounds, may be unreachable for quite some time.
Then you have the Triple Crown feat. Fernando Alonso has been trying to become just the second driver to accomplish this. But, like Castroneves, Alonso is moving further and further apart from doing so.
Alonso, just didn’t have it this month. Will he ever? If the last two years have shown anything, it’s proving just how difficult it is to win in Indy Car let alone the Indy 500.
Alonso, now goes back to F1 for two years before wanting to come back in 2023. Is that too much time away? I think if he wants to win this race, he needs to be full time to make that happen and even so, he will be 42 in July of 2023. Does he have enough time to make this happen?
These are two feats that will be popular to happen, but I don’t know if we will see any time soon.