The 71st Indianapolis 500 was held Sunday May 24, 1987 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During the month of May, an unusually high 25 crashes occurred during practice and qualifying. After dominating practice, qualifying, and most of the race, leader Mario Andretti slowed with mechanical problems with only 23 laps to go. Five laps later, Al Unser, Sr. assumed the lead, and won his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.


Defending Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal went on to win the 1986 CART championship. During the offseason, his Truesports racing team made a highly-publicised switch from the March chassis to the up-and-coming Lola chassis. Truesports, however, stayed with the proven Cosworth engine. Rahal was a strong favorite to repeat as winner.

For 1987, the Ilmor Chevrolet Indy V-8 began expanding its participation into Indy car racing. Penske Racing fielded a three-car effort with the powerplant, while resuming its in-house chassis program. The PC-16 chassis was the primary car for the team, but as a backup, three 1986 March chassis were also entered. Newman Haas Racing joined the Ilmor Chevrolet program, and Mario Andretti scored the engine's first victory a month earlier at Long Beach. Patrick Racing was the third team to utilize the Illmor Chevrolet.

During the offseason at Penske Racing, three-time Indy 500 winner ('70, '71, '78), and two-time CART champion ('83, '85) Al Unser, Sr. was released. Businessman and media mogul Ted Field arranged a deal with Roger Penske to field Indy veteran Danny Ongais in the third Penske entry. Unser, Sr. was unable to secure a ride before the month of May, and arrived at the track unemployed.

Goodyear arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time with a new radial tire. After a few years of development in the CART series, the radials were ready for competition in the Indy 500.

The most noticeable construction project completed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a series of electronic dot matrix scoreboards installed around the track.

Practice - week 1Edit

May 2
Practice started on Opening Day, Saturday May 2. Rookie Ludwig Heimrath, Jr. was the first car on the track. A somewhat light day of activity saw several drivers pass their rookie tests. Michael Andretti posted the fasted lap of the day, at 210.772 mph (339.205 km/h).[1][2] His father Mario, however, did not take any laps.[1]

May 3
On the second day of practice, Sunday May 3, saw increased activity. Mario Andretti posted the fasted lap of the day at 213.371 mph (343.387 km/h). Later in the day, the weather cooled, and wind picked up. At 5:58 p.m., Pancho Carter suffered a spectacular crash. His car spun in turn three,[1] air got underneath, and flipped upside-down. The car landed on the pavement on its roll bar, and proceeded to skid about 600 ft (180 m) through the North chute.[1] The car hit the outside wall in turn four, and came to a rest still upside-down. Carter, however, was not seriously injured.[1] His helmet had three major scrapes from rubbing along the pavement.[2] Carter later proudly showed off the helmet, showing where he had rotated his head to spread the abrasion damage.

May 4
On Monday May 4, high winds kept the speeds down.[2] Dennis Firestone and Roberto Guerrero tied for fast lap of the day (211.565 mph), while Mario Andretti was third.[1][2]

May 5
Tuesday May 5 saw the fastest lap in Indy history to date.[2] Mario Andretti blistered the track at an unofficial track record of 218.204 mph (351.165 km/h).[1][2] It made him the favorite for the pole position.[2] The next fastest time, turned in by Bobby Rahal was a full 5 mph (8km/h) slower. The second crash of the month occurred, involving Dennis Firestone. He spun and crashed in turn four, breaking bones in his left foot and fracturing his left leg.[2]

May 6
Four crashes occurred during practice on Wednesday May 6.[2] Kevin Cogan drifted high exiting turn 1, and crashed into the outside wall. Later, Scott Brayton hit the wall in turn four. Derek Daly and Dick Ferguson both brushed the wall in the south short chutes, but both nursed their cars back to the pits. None of the four drivers were seriously injured. Mario Andretti continued his dominance of practice, leading the speed charts again, at 216.502 mph (348.426 km/h).[1] A surprising second-fastest was Jim Crawford, driving a Buick powered 1986 March to a lap of 215.982 mph (347.587 km/h). Cogan, Brayton, and Daly were all driving 1987 March chassis. By mid-week, teams fielding the 1987 March chassis were finding the cars difficult to handle with the new Goodyear radial tires.[2] Coupled with the warmer temperatures, and often windy conditions, many teams were finding the search for speed difficult.

May 7
Breezy conditions continued on Thursday May 7.[2] The most serious crash of the month to date occurred less than an hour into the day. Danny Ongais, driving the third Penske entry, crashed hard into the outside wall in turn 4. He suffered a concussion and was sidelined for the rest of the month. The crash added to the frustration the Penske team was having so far during the month. While they were having little trouble with the Ilmor Chevrolet engine, the PC-16 chassis was deemed a lemon.[2] Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan were struggling to keep pace, and were rarely amongst the top ten each day on the speed chart.[1] Meanwhile, Mario Andretti continued to top the speed chart, again by 2 mph (3.2 km/h), with a lap at 218.234 mph (351.214 km/h). Rocky Moran upped the crash tally for the week to eight, when he crashed exiting turn 2.[1][2]

Late in the afternoon of May 7, Penske Racing decided to park the PC-16 chassis in favor of their stable of 1986 Marches. However, none were presently at the track, nor immediately race ready. In some cases, they were serving as show cars. The first car would arrive the following morning, and Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan flipped a coin to see who would drive it. Mears won the toss.[2]

May 8
The final day of practice, Friday May 8 was warm and windy. Mario Andretti led the speed chart once again (216.242 mph), but Bobby Rahal was a close second (215.568 mph). Four more crashes occurred, bringing the total for the month to twelve.[1][2] Tom Sneva crashed exiting turn one. Dick Ferguson crashed for the second time, and suffered major damage. Gary Bettenhausen spun, and Phil Krueger suffered rear suspension damage after tagging the turn four wall.

Time trials - weekend 1Edit

Pole day qualifyingEdit

During morning practice on Saturday May 9, Bobby Rahal led the speed chart at 216.609 mph (348.598 km/h). Mario Andretti was second-fastest. Rick Mears, who only a day earlier stepped into a 1986 Marches, already had the car up to speed at 213.371 mph (343.387 km/h). Stan Fox was involved in the 13th crash of the month, when he spun out of turn three and tapped the inside wall.

Hot and windy conditions were observed during pole day. Many teams who had struggled during the week with handling problems, sat idle on pole day, waiting for better track conditions. The first two cars waved off, and Rick Mears became the first car in the field at 211.467 mph (340.323 km/h).

Bobby Rahal secured the provisional pole with a run of 213.316 mph (343.299 km/h). Over the next hour and a half, five cars started runs, but all were waved off. By 1 p.m., still only two cars were qualified.

At 1:09 p.m., Mario Andretti took to the track. Despite hot conditions, and gusty winds, Andretti took the pole position with a speed of 215.390 mph (346.637 km/h). After Andretti's run, sparse activity took place until late in the day. Most teams stayed off the track altogether. Veteran drivers, Johnny Rutherford and Dick Simon managed successful runs, and filled the field to five cars.

Jim Crawford, a darkhorse favorite for the front row, made his first attempt at 2:25 p.m. The crew waved off after a slower-than-expected speed. A little over an hour later, Crawford returned to the track. After a quick warm-up lap, he lost control in turn one, and hit the wall nose-first. He suffered severe ankle injuries, and was sidelined for the rest of the year. Johnny Parsons also brushed the wall in turn 2 during a practice run, upping the total to 15 accidents during the month.

Late in the day, several veterans took to the track in an attempt to qualify. Among the fastest were Roberto Guerrero and Arie Luyendyk. Shortly after 5 p.m., A. J. Foyt qualified in 4th position, extending his streak to a record 30 consecutive Indy 500 races. With reluctance, Danny Sullivan completed a slow qualifying run his PC-16/Chevrolet.

At the close of pole day, only 11 cars had completed qualifying runs.

Second day qualifyingEdit

Three more crashes occurred on Sunday May 10, lifting the total for the month to 18. The most serious by Tom Sneva, his second crash in three days.

Former winner Gordon Johncock was announced as the replacement for the injured Jim Crawford. Johncock initially retired before the 1985 race, but had tentative plans for a return in 1986. Johncock was expected to immediately begin practicing on the track.

The second day of time trials opened with two attempts, by rookie Ludwig Heimrath, Jr. and Rich Vogler. Over hour and half hours later, more cars lined up to qualify. By the end of the day, the field was filled to 18 cars, with Heimrath the fastest of the afternoon. Among those not yet in the field were Al Unser, Jr., Tom Sneva, and Kevin Cogan.

Practice - week 2Edit

May 11
Gordon Johncock took to the track for his first stint of laps at speed. At night, the first significant rain in many days washed the track of some rubber buildup.

May 12
On Tuesday May 12, Penske Racing driver Danny Ongais was officially withdrawn from his entry. Following his crash on May 7, Ongais was diagnosed with a concussion, and was not medically cleared to drive. No replacement was yet announced, but Al Unser, Sr. was rumored as the choice.

Track activity was leisurely, with Mario Andretti leading the speed chart at 212.916 in a back-up car. Rookie Fabrizio Barbazza was the fastest driver not yet qualified at 206.091. Dominic Dobson, another rookie, used the afternoon to finish the final phases of his rookie test.

May 13
On Wednesday May 13, three-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Sr. was officially announced as the replacement for the injured Danny Ongais at Penske Racing. Unser took his first laps of the month, driving a newly arrived 1986 March/Cosworth. Unser had entered the month unemployed, and was at the track supporting his son Al Unser, Jr. in his efforts at Doug Shierson Racing. Unser, Jr. struggled to get his car up to speed during the first week of practice, and was unable to qualify during the first weekend of time trials. Unser, Sr. planned to go home to Albuquerque by Monday, but decided to stay through the week to help Unser, Jr. get up to speed.[3] About a day later, he was approached to drive for Penske.

Al Unser, Sr.'s Penske Racing teammate Danny Sullivan started taking laps for the first time in another 1986 March chassis, powered by an Ilmor Chevrolet Indy V-8. Plans were being made to withdraw Sullivan's PC-16/Chevrolet from the qualified field, and re-qualify in the year-old March.

Late in the day by Geoff Brabham broke a wheel, and slid into the wall in turn three. It was the 19th crash of the month.

May 14
On Thursday May 14, Al Unser, Jr., after two weeks of struggling with speed, led the non-qualified cars at 208.913 mph (336.213 km/h). Mario Andretti continued to practice in his back-up car, posting the fourth-fastest speed of the day. Two single-car crashes by Johnny Parsons and Rick Miaskiewicz respectively, brought the total of the month to 21 crashes. Parsons suffered a broken ankle, and was sidelined for the rest of the month.

May 15
The final regular day of practice took place on Friday May 15. Dennis Firestone suffered his second crash in a week, and 22nd overall for the month. In turn four, he slid into the outside wall, suffering a neck fracture and concussion. Al Unser, Jr. again led the non-qualified cars at 210.231 mph (338.334 km/h).

Time trials - weekend 2Edit

Third day qualifyingEdit

The third day of time trials took place on Saturday May 16. Several veteran drivers, as well as a couple rookies, completed qualifying runs, and filled the field to 30 cars.

Among the veterans qualifying early on were Al Unser, Jr., Gordon Johncock, and Al Unser, Sr. Danny Sullivan withdrew his already-qualified PC-16 Chevrolet, and re-qualified with a 1986 March/Chevrolet. His qualifying speed increased by Template:Convert/mi/h.

Late in the afternoon, Kevin Cogan made the field, as well as Tony Bettenhausen. Tom Sneva, after two crashes during the month, finally put a car in the field at over Template:Convert/mi/h. Shortly after, the track closed for the day.

Bump day qualifyingEdit

The final day of qualifying was held on Sunday May 17. At the start of the day, three positions in the starting field were vacant. Steve Chassey was the first driver to attempt to qualify, but waved off after only one lap of Template:Convert/mi/h. Pancho Carter withdrew his qualified car, and re-qualified faster in a backup.

Phil Krueger was the third car out on the track, and his first lap would have been fast enough to ultimately make the field. On his second lap, however, he dipped low in turn one, hit the outside wall, then spun and hit the wall again. It was the 24th crash of the month. After the crash, the track stayed mostly quiet until 4:45 p.m.

Steve Chassey made his second attempt to qualify, but again waved off following three, slow, inconsistent laps. Rocky Moran was next, and despite only a Template:Convert/mi/h average, he completed his run. Dominic Dobson and Davy Jones (driving for Foyt Racing) then filled the field to 33 cars.

With 49 minutes to go before the 6:00 p.m. gun, George Snider took another Foyt back up car and bumped Rocky Moran. It was the fourth Foyt entry to qualify for the field. The move left Dominic Dobson (201.240 mph) on the bubble. Dobson survived attempts by Ed Pimm and Rick Miaskiewicz, and by 5:30, still clung to the starting field.

Steve Chassey made his third and final allotted attempt to bump his way into the field. At Template:Convert/mi/h, he bumped his way into the field by just over 1 second. Sammy Swindell (201.840 mph) then found himself on the bubble. Ed Pimm easily bumped him out. That move dropped Chassey down to the bubble spot. In the final 20 minutes, Chassey held on, and the field was set.

Carburetion DayEdit

On Thursday May 21, the final scheduled practice session was held. The weather continued to be hot and dry. Two incidents during the session altered the grid for race day, bringing the total for the month to 25 crashes leading up to the race.

About a half hour into the session, A. J. Foyt, who qualified 4th on the grid, got into turbulence in turn one. He lost control, did a half spin, and crashed hard into the wall. About an hour later, Emerson Fittipaldi, nursing an ill-handling car, spun and crashed in turn three.

Foyt's car was deemed repairable, and he was able to start in his qualified position. Fittipaldi's car, however, was a total loss, and he would be required to start a backup car on race day. He was moved from the 10th starting position to the rear of the field.

Mario Andretti continued his complete dominance of the month, and posted the fastest lap of the day. His speed of Template:Convert/mi/h was over Template:Convert/mi/h faster than Rick Mears, who was second-fastest. Likewise, Andretti marched closer towards a clean sweep for the month, guiding his Newman Haas team to a win in the Miller Indy Pit Stop Championship. He beat Bobby Rahal (Truesports racing) in the final round.



Race day dawned warm with clear blue skies. During the pace lap, the car of George Snider caught fire, with a turbocharger failure. Snider pulled into the pits, as the rest of the field took the green flag. Mario Andretti charged from the pole position, and led the field into turn one.

In the first turn of the first lap, Josele Garza was down low on the white line, and lost the back end of the car. Right next to Al Unser, Sr., he started spinning. Unser slipped by cleanly, but reported being tagged gently from behind. Garza spun up the track, and collected Pancho Carter. Neither driver was injured, but both cars suffered damage.

First halfEdit

On lap 6, the green came back out, with Mario Andretti continuing to lead. Driving at a blistering pace, it took only 7 laps for him to start lapping backmarkers. On lap 25, Ludwig Heimrath, Jr. was running 7th, and made his first pit stop, but one of the wheels was not properly secured. The wheel came off, and he spun in turn four. Under the caution, Mario Andretti pitted, and managed to stay in the lead. Only 7 cars remained on the lead lap.

Around the Template:Convert/mi mark, several cars were dropping out of contention. Kevin Cogan blew an engine, Randy Lewis dropped out, and Michael Andretti broke a CV joint, then had a pit fire. On lap 34, Bobby Rahal, who had been running as high as second, made an unscheduled, five minute long pit stop due to an electrical problem. After several long stops, Rahal would eventually drop out.

Mario Andretti continued to dominate, giving up the lead temporarily only through the sequence of pit stops. Roberto Guerrero and Danny Sullivan consistently were chasing him. Shortly before the halfway point, Rick Mears was forced to the pits with an electrical problem, and would also be forced to drop out.

At the 90 lap mark, Al Unser, Sr. had worked up to 4th, and Tom Sneva 5th. Andretti was still dominating, running laps in the low 200's mph range, while most other cars were in the Template:Convert/mi/h range, or slower. Dick Simon was running 7th, but ran the car out of fuel on the backstrech. He lost several laps as he was towed back to the pits, but received fuel, and returned to the track.

Second halfEdit

The dominance by Mario Andretti continued in the second half, leading Roberto Guerrero by several seconds. The rest of the field was at least one lap down. Several of the other competitors were falling by the wayside, including A. J. Foyt (who was running 9th) and Rich Vogler. Sullivan and Unser, Sr., both in the top 5, were now close to 2 laps down. Meanwhile, Tom Sneva and Arie Luyendyk, clinging to the top eight, both started losing ground to Fabrizio Barbazza.

Spectator fatalityEdit

On the 130th lap,[4] Tony Bettenhausen started suffering a handling problem exiting turn two.[5] Down the backstrech, his right-front wheel lug nut may have come off the car,[5] and the wheel began to loosen. In turn three, the wheel came off and began rolling though the north short chute.[2][5] Second place Roberto Guerrero came up on the wheel suddenly, and hit it with his nosecone.[2][5] The nosecone cover was broken off, and the wheel was punted high into the air.[2][5] The wheel cleared the catchfencing, and flew towards the "K" grandstand.[5] Spectators were witnessed fleeing the seating in a "V" shape[5] as the 18-pound wheel[5] headed their direction. The wheel came down and struck 41-year-old Lyle Kurtenbach of Rothschild, Wisconsin[2] in the head,[5] sitting in the top row the grandstand. He suffered massive head injuries, and was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital shortly afterwards.[5] The wheel bounded and came to rest in the tunnel underneath the north short chute.[5]

Guererro slowed, and nursed his car back to the pits.[2] Under the caution flag, the pit crew worked to replace the nosecone, and got Guerrero back on to the track, albeit a lap down.[4] It was not immediately discovered at the time, but striking the tire had damaged the clutch master cylinder, which was located in the nose. Fluid had begun to leak from the cylinder, which would ultimately render the clutch inoperable. At speed, use of the clutch was unnecessary, but exiting the pits would pose increasing difficulty.

The incident was reported live on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network by fourth turn reporter Bob Jenkins.[6] The extent of injury, was unknown at the time. The live ABC television broadcast, however, was at commercial when it occurred.[7] During the commercial, the incident was noticed by the producers and commentators.[8] When they returned on-air, however, footage of the incident was not shown, nor where specific details given of what had occurred.[7] Instead, still images of Guererro's nosecone and pit crew were shown.[7] No further information was given during the remainder of the race. During the post-race coverage, Jim McKay briefly announced on-air that the Associated Press wire service was reporting that a spectator fatality had occurred,[7] but he did not connect the incidents.

Late raceEdit

With 25 laps to go, Mario Andretti held a one-lap lead over second place Roberto Guerrero, and an almost two-lap lead over third place Al Unser, Sr. The field had dwindeled down to only 12 cars running, most of which were many laps down. With Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan both out of the race, Roger Penske took over the pit of Unser, Sr.

Andretti and Guerrero both had one final fuel stop to make. Unser, Sr., however, had already made his final pit stop. Roger Penske called Unser into the pits early, in an effort to "put the pressure on Guerrero"[9] in hopes of moving up to second place.

After leading 170 laps, Mario Andretti sudden slowed down the frontstrech on lap 177. An electrical failure in the fuel metering device, part of the fuel injection system, began flooding the engine with raw fuel.[1][2][10][11]

The misfortune reinforced the perceived Andretti Curse.[7][11] Andretti coasted around to the pit area, and the team immediately replaced the spark box and wastegate.[2][11] Guererro stormed into the lead, but still had one pit stop remaining. Sitting still in the pit area, the once dominating Andretti started slipping in the standings.


With 20 laps to go, Roberto Guerrero led second place Al Unser, Sr. by almost a full lap. He came upon Unser, Sr. in traffic, and put him a lap down on lap 180. Two laps later, Guerrero went into the pits for his final fuel stop. With his clutch failing from the earlier incident, entering and exiting the pits was becoming increasingly difficult.[4] During the race, Guererro had also broken third gear.[4] While stopped in the pits, his car became stuck in gear. When refueling was complete, he attempted to pull out of the pits, but the engine stalled. Unser, Sr. was driving through the third turn at the time. The crew refired the engine, and the car started to roll away. With Unser, Sr. heading down the mainstrech, Guererro's car stalled once again. The lifeless car sat on the pit road as Unser, Sr. drove by to take the lead.

Guererro finally got back on to the track with 18 laps to go. By that time, Unser, Sr. had put him a full lap down. Meanwhile Mario Andretti's team had made some hasty repairs, and returned him to the track.[2] After one slow lap, still being scored in the top 8, he went back to the pits for more repairs.[2]

Guerrero spent the next several laps chasing Unser, Sr. in an attempt to get his lap back. With 9 laps to go Guerrero unlapped himself.[4] Meanwhile, Mario Andretti tried once again to get his car back up to speed.[2]

Mario Andretti's second return to the track was also short-lived, and his car stalled. His car coasted to a stop in turn four and brought out the caution on lap 192.[4] The yellow flag bunched up the field, and allowed Guerrero to make up the rest of the lap.[4] he lined up only six cars behind Unser, Sr. The green flag came out with four laps to go, and Al Unser, Sr. held off Roberto Guerrero by 4.496 seconds, to win his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory. By leading the final 18 laps, Unser, Sr. tied the all time record for most laps led in Indy 500 competition. At 47 years of age, Unser became the oldest winner of the 500.


Mario Andretti's dominance of the month, and subsequent failure to achieve victory, was largely unprecedented in modern times. He led the practice speed chart on 11 of the 17 days[2] (he participated in only 13 days[2]), won the pole position, won the pit stop contest, had the fastest leading lap of the race, and led 170 of the first 177 laps. Despite not running at the finish, due to high attrition, Andretti was still credited with 9th place, his 8th top-10 finish at Indy.

Al Unser, Sr.'s victory in a year-old car was unusual in the CART era. Just weeks prior to being used in the race, the car had been sitting on display at a Sheraton motel in Reading, Pennsylvania.[3] The car went from Hertz sponsorship to Cummins after a couple of days. Due to time constraints, proper decals were unavailable in time for qualifying. Unser, Sr.'s car was fitted with mixed case "Cummins" decals (the proper form of the company's logo) on the left sidepod (the most visible) and all upper case "CUMMINS" decals (an improper rendition of the company's logo) on the right sidepod (the least visible).[2][12]


Finish Start No Name Qual Rank Laps Led Status
1 20 25 USAflagsmall Al Unser 207.424 15 200 18 Running
2 5 4 22px-Flag of Colombia Roberto Guerrero 210.680 5 200 8 Running
3 17 12 22px-Flag of Italy Fabrizio Barbazza 208.039 11 198 0 Flagged
4 22 30 USAflagsmall Al Unser, Jr. 206.751 17 196 0 Flagged
5 15 56 USAflagsmall Gary Bettenhausen 204.504 29 195 0 Flagged
6 6 22 USAflagsmall Dick Simon 209.960 7 193 0 Flagged
7 26 41 USAflagsmall Stan Fox 204.518 28 192 0 Flagged
8 12 11 USAflagsmall Jeff MacPherson 205.688 23 182 0 Flagged
9 1 5 USAflagsmall Mario Andretti 215.389 1 180 170 Ignition
10 27 16 USAflagsmall Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. 203.892 30 171 0 Engine
11 8 21 USAflagsmall Johnny Rutherford 208.296 9 171 0 Flagged
12 13 91 USAflagsmall Scott Brayton 205.647 24 167 0 Engine
13 16 3 USAflagsmall Danny Sullivan 210.271 6 160 4 Engine
14 21 33 USAflagsmall Tom Sneva 207.254 16 143 0 Crash T2
15 19 77 22px-Flag of Ireland Derek Daly 207.521 14 133 0 Engine
16 33 20 25px-Brazilflag Emerson Fittipaldi 205.584 25 131 0 Lost Power
17 25 55 25px-Mexicoflag Josele Garza 205.692 22 129 0 Flagged
18 7 71 22px-Flag of the Netherlands Arie Luyendyk 208.337 8 125 0 Suspension
19 4 14 USAflagsmall A. J. Foyt 210.935 4 117 0 Oil Seal
20 11 81 USAflagsmall Rich Vogler 205.887 21 109 0 Rocker Arm
21 30 98 USAflagsmall Ed Pimm 203.284 31 109 0 Lost Boost
22 18 2 USAflagsmall Gordon Johncock 207.990 12 76 0 Valve
23 3 8 USAflagsmall Rick Mears 211.467 3 75 0 Coil Wire
24 14 15 25px-AustraliaFLAG Geoff Brabham 205.503 26 71 0 Oil Pressure
25 32 87 USAflagsmall Steve Chassey 202.488 33 68 0 Engine
26 2 1 USAflagsmall Bobby Rahal 213.316 2 57 0 Ignition
27 29 29 USAflagsmall Pancho Carter 205.154 27 45 0 Valve
28 28 44 USAflagsmall Davy Jones 208.117 10 34 0 Engine
29 9 18 USAflagsmall Michael Andretti 206.129 19 28 0 CV Joint
30 10 23 25px-Canadaflag Ludwig Heimrath 207.591 13 25 0 Spin
31 24 7 USAflagsmall Kevin Cogan 205.999 20 21 0 Oil Pump
32 23 24 USAflagsmall Randy Lewis 206.209 18 8 0 Gearbox
33 31 84 USAflagsmall George Snider 203.192 32 0 0 Fuel Leak


Row Inside Middle Outside
1 USAflagsmall Mario Andretti USAflagsmall Bobby Rahal USAflagsmall Rick Mears
2 USAflagsmall A. J. Foyt 22px-Flag of Colombia Roberto Guerrero USAflagsmall Dick Simon
3 22px-Flag of the Netherlands Arie Luyendyk USAflagsmall Johnny Rutherford USAflagsmall Michael Andretti
4 25px-Canadaflag Ludwig Heimrath USAflagsmall Rich Vogler USAflagsmall Jeff MacPherson
5 USAflagsmall Scott Brayton 25px-AustraliaFLAG Geoff Brabham USAflagsmall Gary Bettenhausen
6 USAflagsmall Danny Sullivan 22px-Flag of Italy Fabrizio Barbazza USAflagsmall Gordon Johncock
7 22px-Flag of Ireland Derek Daly USAflagsmall Al Unser, Sr. USAflagsmall Tom Sneva
8 USAflagsmall Al Unser, Jr. USAflagsmall Randy Lewis USAflagsmall Kevin Cogan
9 25px-Mexicoflag Josele Garza USAflagsmall Stan Fox USAflagsmall Tony Bettenhausen, Jr.
10 USAflagsmall Davy Jones USAflagsmall Pancho Carter USAflagsmall Ed Pimm
11 USAflagsmall George Snider USAflagsmall Steve Chassey 25px-Brazilflag Emerson Fittipaldi
  • † - Emerson Fittipaldi qualified 10th on pole day. On Carburetion Day, he crashed his already-qualified car, and it was damaged beyond repair. The car was replaced with a back-up car, and was moved the rear of the field.

Failed to QualifyEdit


"And history is matched as the twin checkered flags come out for our second four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, Al Unser" - Paul Page described the finish of the race for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 "1987 Indianapolis 500 Daily Trackside Report". 1987. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 Hungness, Carl (1987). The 1987 Indianapolis 500 Yearbook. Carl Hungness Publishing. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 SportsCentury - Al Unser, Sr., ESPN Classic
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Shaffer, Rick (May 25, 1987). "Hard luck forces Guerrero to settle for 2nd". Indianapolis Star 
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Smith, Bruce C.; Rosenberg, Beth L. (May 25, 1987). "Airborne tire kills spectator in stands". Indianapolis Star 
  6. 1987 Indianapolis 500 live radio, IMS Radio Network, May 24, 1987
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 1987 Indianapolis 500 Live television broadcast, ABC Sports, May 24, 1987
  8. 1987 Indianapolis 500 Live television broadcast- Satellite feed, ABC Sports, May 24, 1987
  9. "Centennial Era Moments - Al Unser - 1987". 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  10. Legends of the Brickyard - 1987 Indianapolis 500, ESPN, 1987
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 McKee, Craig (May 25, 1987). "Mario's blessed ride is cursed again". Indianapolis Star 
  12. "2007 All-Night Race Party". WIBC. May 26.
1986 Indianapolis 500
Bobby Rahal
1987 Indianapolis 500
Al Unser
1988 Indianapolis 500
Rick Mears

Indianapolis 500 seasons

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