News & Multimedia

Indianapolis 500 Veteran Grant Dies At 77

Jerry Grant, a 10-time competitor in the Indianapolis 500 and the first person to qualify for a race faster than 200 mph in an Indy car, died Sunday, Aug. 12. He was 77.

Grant, a prominent American road racer, turned his historic 201.414-mph lap in 1972 at Ontario, Calif. But he is probably best remembered for nearly winning the 1972 Indianapolis 500.

Driving the purple Mystery Eagle as teammate to Bobby Unser on Dan Gurney's All-American Racers team, Grant led at the 188-lap mark when he had to pit to replace a tire which was losing air. Instead of pitting in his stall, he went to the adjoining one of Unser, who had retired much earlier in the day. Whether or not Grant actually took on any fuel from Unser's refueling tank is up for discussion, but the hoses were momentarily hooked up, and it became known that the tank in his own pit was apparently empty, the maximum allotment of 275 gallons having been exhausted.
While Grant did finish the 500 miles, taking the checkered flag in second place behind Mark Donohue, officials subsequently disallowed Grant's final 12 laps, thus dropping him from second to 12th.

Such an occurrence was hardly a new experience for Grant. With only five minutes remaining in the 1966 Sebring 12 Hours, the Ford GT Mk. II he shared with Gurney was in front when a mechanical issue forced Gurney to stop on the course. Gurney then proceeded to push the stricken car the final 300 yards to the finish line, whereupon he was disqualified.

Gurney and Grant would have placed second, based on distance covered, if the car remained untouched at the side of the road. Less than three months later, Gurney and Grant were seemingly on their way to winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans when a mechanical issue eliminated them while leading at the 21-hour mark.

The diversified Grant, who climbed from 43rd to fifth in the 1967 Daytona 500, finished fifth in the 1966 Dixie 400 at Atlanta, co-drove a Ford Cobra in the 1964 Targa Florio (shared second in the GT class with Gurney) and had three top-10 finishes in the Indianapolis 500, topped by a seventh place in 1970. He competed in 49 USAC National Championship races between 1965-77, placing third in the 1974 Ontario 500 and fourth in a 150-mile event in 1969 on the road course at Castle Rock, Colo.

An entertaining speaker and story teller, Grant became part of Champion Spark Plug Company’s Highway Safety program, lecturing on highway safety to students and service personnel, eventually succeeding Fred Agabashian as Champion’s senior lecturer.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Indianapolis 500 Veteran Grant Dies At 77
 
Indianapolis 500 Veteran Grant Dies At 77
Jerry Grant, a 10-time competitor in the Indianapolis 500 and the first person to qualify for a race faster than 200 mph in an Indy car, died Sunday, Aug. 12. He was 77.
Read More
Related Media
Will Power
 
Power Wins Honda Indy Toronto to Continue Charge
It was never a certainty for Team Penske’s Will Power, but speed, strategy and a nail-biting one-lap dash at the Honda Indy Toronto culminated in the Australian scoring his third win of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season – all in the past four races – and climbing one step higher on the all-time victory list.
Read More
Graham Rahal
 
Pruett's Preview: Honda Indy Toronto
On the surface, this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto race is part of the Verizon IndyCar Series 16-round championship, and while that kernel of information is undoubtedly true, it paints a false picture of how many teams perceive the event.
Read More
Josef Newgarden
 
Newgarden Dominates to Win Iowa Corn 300
Driving the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet, Newgarden cruised from a front-row start to his third career win. Newgarden, who sustained a fractured clavicle and right hand in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway last month, showed no signs of struggle from the injury as he led a record 282 laps en route to his first oval win by 4.2828 seconds over Will Power.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Pruett's Preview: Iowa Corn 300
Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 Honda and Josef Newgarden’s No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy produced an unforgettable finish to Iowa’s 2015 race as they pitted for fresh tires during a late yellow and charged to the front. But with the shift from night to day, and the same downforce guidelines used by the series on the 1-mile Phoenix oval, the 2014 Indy 500 winner says it’s hard to predict how the 300-lap race will play out.
Read More
Carl Haas
 
IMS Statement on the Passing of Carl Haas
Carl Haas, one of the most influential men in motorsports for nearly a half-century and a frequent competitor at the Indianapolis 500 as a car owner, died June 29 at the age of 86.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,202
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
67 days until the @Redbullairrace comes to IMS! RETWEET if you're ready for the action! https://t.co/rAdA6ZNehL
about 4 hours ago