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
Sarah Fisher
 
Santa Claus To Share A Ride With Sarah Fisher
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is partnering with Century 21 and Clay Terrace in welcoming Santa in true Indianapolis 500 fashion when he completes his victory lap in an IndyCar two-seater driven by Fisher.
Read More
CICOA at IMS
 
Carpenter Helps Celebrate CICOA Meals & More Program's 18 Millionth Meal
The CICOA Meals & More program works to combat that, providing 2,000 meals every weekday in clients’ homes and at 27 Central Indiana meal sites. And on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, CICOA served its 18 millionth meal to a senior guest.
Read More
Kevin Harvick Wins the 2014 NASCAR Championship
 
Harvick's Move To Stewart-Haas Pays Off With a Championship
The 38-year-old Californian finally grabbed his title on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning the final race of the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase. An “elimination” format was implemented for the final 10 races of the season, emphasizing consistency and winning with a few sudden-death moments, and Harvick answered the call each time.
Read More
NASCAR at Homestead
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Harvick Takes it All at Homestead
Title contenders Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman battled near the front virtually all afternoon on Sunday at Homestead, and Harvick took the Sprint Cup not by just finishing the highest of the four – but by winning the race.
Read More
NASCAR Chase Final 4
 
One Race, One Champion: NASCAR Championship Preview
Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman are the last four standing from the original 16 that opened the Chase at Chicagoland in mid-September. Few could have predicted that foursome – and not a single fan did out of the tens of thousands who submitted Chase grids on a NASCAR.com online contest.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,778
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 Phil Sparks at (317) 492-6463 or email at psparks@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
We at IMS have a lot to be thankful for - great racing, fast cars and AWESOME fans. We share more on the blog: http://t.co/tXyH4YyDXI
about 23 hours ago