What better way to kick off past Indianapolis 500 broadcasts on ESPN Classic than one of the most talked-about races in the history of the event – the 1985 “spin and win” by Danny Sullivan.

The race, to be broadcast at 3 p.m. (ET) May 3, is among the dozen to air on the network in May – all leading up to the Indianapolis 500 on the 30th. A marathon – tailor-made for your DVR – showing is scheduled for May 29.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

If you haven’t seen the “spin and win,” I don’t want to spoil it other than to say pay attention on Lap 120 in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2. After heading to the pits for new tires, Sullivan roared back for another great move with 20 laps left. Enjoy.

The lineup (all times ET):

May 3

3 p.m. – The 1985 race won by Danny Sullivan by 2.4 seconds over Mario Andretti.

May 10

3 p.m. (1987) – Mario Andretti leads a field-high 170 laps, but Al Unser, who started 20th in the Cummins/Holbert Turbo leads the final 18 laps.

May 17

3 p.m. (1990) – Emerson Fittipaldi sets the pace, but Arie Luyendyk battles Bobby Rahal in the later stages and takes the victory.

5 p.m. (1992) – Al Unser Jr. wins the first of his two at the Brickyard, holding off Scott Goodyear (who started 33rd) and his father, Al (who started 22nd).

May 24

1 p.m. (1991) – Rick Mears wins from the pole, his fourth 500 Mile Race victory.

3 p.m. (2008) – Scott Dixon holds off a hard-charging Vitor Meira by 1.7 seconds for the victory that set up his series championship run.

May 29

Noon (1971) – Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning car starts fifth, leads 103 laps and beats Peter Revson to the checkered flag.

2 p.m. (1981) – Bobby Unser holds off Mario Andretti for the victory.
4 p.m. (2001) – Helio Castroneves surprises everyone by climbing the fence after winning his first.

6 p.m. (2002) – Helio Castroneves wins his second from the 13th starting position.
8 p.m. (2009) – Helio Castroneves wins his third.

10 p.m. (2005) – Dan Wheldon prevails. Rookie Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to lead laps in the history of the race.

Which is your favorite of the bunch and of all-time?


There are 24 comments for this post.

  1. BP on May 2, 2010 5:06 pm

    It would be great if IMS sold DVDs of these races, too. I know they have editions of the recent years, but how about races like 1985 or ‘92? It’d be fantastic.

  2. Larry on May 2, 2010 5:11 pm

    One time ESPN Classic had the 1969 race on their schedule. It was preempted by a ‘Instant Classic Football game or something like that. It’s NEVER been rescheduled and looks like it’s not here again. Come on!!!

  3. Duno on May 2, 2010 5:30 pm

    Does anyone even have ESPN classic?

  4. Larry on May 2, 2010 5:41 pm

    Yeah, about 85% of the country.

  5. Andrew on May 2, 2010 5:47 pm

    1995 Indy 500 was one for the ages.

  6. David Leiting on May 2, 2010 6:10 pm
    David Leiting

    Why isnt the 1995 or 2006 race on!? Also even last years

  7. is it May yet? » Blog Archive » Whoawhoawhoa on May 2, 2010 8:44 pm
    is it May yet? » Blog Archive » Whoawhoawhoa

    [...] You’ll likely need a TiVo, but instead of just airing three classic 500s the Saturday before the race, they’re giving us six races the day before the race *AND* six races through May.  Get the details over at the MotherBlog. [...]

  8. Marc on May 2, 2010 9:12 pm

    I am part of the 15% that do NOT get ESPN Classic (Comcast Cable sucks) … how can I watch these HISTORIC INDY EVENTS online?!?! (I checked Hulu and Googled some other resources — does anyone know a certain way we can watch it online?)

  9. JD on May 2, 2010 10:02 pm

    I am happy for the coverage ESPN is giving to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but it’s disappointing some real gems like Johncock and Mears’ battle in ‘82 or Hornish and Marco Andretti’s battle in ‘06 aren’t there.

  10. ScottyRich on May 2, 2010 10:52 pm

    I have DirecTV’s basic package and its not included on that. I went and bought the Sports Pack that includes it for a month just so I could watch these! It is disappointing that a race like 1982 isnt airing this year (considering its aired every year for how long), but I’d like to see years like 1986 or 1989!

  11. Casey on May 3, 2010 8:25 am

    How in the world do you not have 2006? The ONLY last lap pass to win in the history of the 500!!!

  12. Classic Indy 500’s during the month of May | Indycar on May 3, 2010 10:20 am
    Classic Indy 500’s during the month of May | Indycar

    [...] Share this on Facebook [...]

  13. ironhead on May 3, 2010 11:57 am

    i saw the TV schedule on ESPN and indy program is not on it.
    Was it successful today?


  14. Russ B on May 3, 2010 3:06 pm
    Russ B

    Enough of Danica patrick and Danny Sullivan’s “Spin & Win”. What BS!!! Danica runs about 25th this season and they all fall out about it. Let her go to NASCAR, let the “Good Old Boys” deal with the waste of time! How about showing 1981 when Unser ceated and won, or Foyt’s 4th Win? Something other than 85, 87 and 95!

  15. Jim on May 3, 2010 8:30 pm

    For those without ESPN Classic that want to see vintage races, you can go to iTunes, and in the TV section under ESPN you can buy 5 classic Indy 500’s (including 1985 and 1982) for $7.99. And there are no commercials! :)

  16. Maura Kennedy on May 4, 2010 1:26 pm
    Maura Kennedy

    Official Indy 500 Trivia Book came out this week! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway liscenced “How Much Do You Really Know About The Indianapolis 500?” Written by long time race fan Patrick W. Kennedy. The book features over 500 multiple choice questions to educate and test your knowledge of the Indy 500. Topics include drivers, track information, teams, race information, cars, rules, records, and information over the last 100 years. To read the foreword written by Donald Davidson, view sample trivia questions, or purchase the trivia book visit our website http://www.autoracingtrivia.com or in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Gift Shops

  17. Larry on May 4, 2010 1:53 pm

    1995 was the LAST Indy 500. Getting back to respectability though…at last.

  18. Larry on May 4, 2010 1:56 pm

    There is a DVD set of all Indy 500’s from the 60’s through the 90’s at least. I have it…great stuff! Show’s qualifying and the race! Try Ebay.

  19. de on May 4, 2010 1:57 pm

    I agree with Russ B. Every year it seems to be the same race replays. Though enjoyable, I’d like to see more of some older races. The 1971 race is special because of all the different car styles running at the same time (and how can you not like Al Unser). How about include the 72 and 73 races as a retro weekend.
    I know it is asking a lot but I think it would be incredible if you would have a month of Indy classics showing two races a day going back 40 + years. The ratings (if advertised) would be higher than soccer.

  20. J.B. on May 4, 2010 3:47 pm

    this will be a great race to watch because it gave the 2d driver in history to get a 4th win……….

  21. de on May 6, 2010 11:44 am

    EBAY Question for Larry (above). Are these EBAY DVD’s full flag to flag races or are they 30 minute highlights of races.

  22. Michael on May 8, 2010 3:42 pm

    Topauktion Al Unser Jr. Race Clinic for Two http://bit.ly/aA8lfr

  23. Andrew on January 26, 2011 5:33 pm

    You can watch a bunch (not 1981 unfortunately :( ) of the Indy 500 races on youtube in their entirety. They have some great races up there. Sullivan “spin it to win it”, Little Al’s big win, Arie’s win, etc. Check it out.

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