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
Borg-Warner Trophy
 
For a '500' Answer, Start In The First Two Rows
Who will win the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500? With “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” just one day away, it’s the question Verizon IndyCar Series fans are asking--and the answer might be contained within the first two rows.
Read More
Patrick Dempsey
 
Actor Patrick Dempsey To Serve as Honorary Starter for 99th Indianapolis 500
Renowned actor, passionate racer and TAG Heuer Ambassador Patrick Dempsey will wave the green flag as honorary starter of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 24.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Can Anyone Break Away on Sunday? Previewing the '500'
Scott Dixon doesn’t envision one car running away from 32 others in Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500, but Ryan Hunter-Reay insists it’s possible.
Read More
Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
 
IMS Partners with Snapchat for 99th Indianapolis 500 'Live Story'
Snapchat, the ephemeral storytelling platform embraced by millions of users on mobile devices, is partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to create a Live Story for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Read More
Sage Karam
 
New Biotelemetry Technology Will Get "Inside" Drivers During '500' Telecast
ABC’s telecast of Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500 will introduce the use of biotelemetry, a high-tech sensing system that will, in real time, give viewers the heart and respiration rate as well as calorie burn rate of two drivers competing in the race.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 980
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
Reminder all infield parking is sold out and the North 40 is sold out. The ONLY free parking option tomorrow morning is Lot 1C.
about 7 minutes ago