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J.R. Leads Golden Salute By Speedway To 1960 Winner Rathmann

Jim Rathmann joined an elite club this month of drivers who were living to see the 50th anniversary of their Indianapolis 500 victory. Ray Harroun, Jules Goux, Rene Thomas, Peter DePaolo and Louis Meyer are the others.

To commemorate the event, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway commissioned a special trophy consisting of the Wing & Wheel logo in gold, along with one of the 3.2 million Culver Block bricks used to pave the Speedway surface in 1909.

Rathmann, who battled Rodger Ward and was part of a 500 Mile Race-record 29 lead changes before he took the checkered flag in 1960, is doing well and eagerly awaits watching the race May 30.

Three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford made the presentation to Rathmann, 81, in Melbourne, Fla.

“He made up so many of my Indy 500 memories, before I was a driver,” Rutherford said. “The first Indianapolis 500 I attended in person was the 1960 race. I still remember going to that race with fellow drivers Jim McElreath, Shady McQarter and owner H. P. Looper. We had seats in the north grandstands of the infield on the backstretch. The duel between Jim and Rodger was one for the record books. Little did we know that some 50 years later it would still be an Indy 500 record.”

Rathmann was equally enthusiastic about seeing his old pal “Lone Star J.R.” and getting the trophy.

“This is quite an honor and the trophy is beautiful,” Rathmann said. “I am as happy as anyone to celebrate my living to see the anniversary of my win 50 years ago. That was a great duel with Rodger. Ward was one of the toughest drivers out there and beating him meant a lot to me, and winning the Indy 500 changed my entire life.

“Winning the ‘500’ was and still is the all-time highlight of my racing career. To win that day, in that race against Ward, means so much to me.”

***

2010 Indy 500 tickets: Tickets for the 2010 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 30, are on sale now. Race Day ticket prices start at just $20.

Fans can order tickets online at www.imstix.com, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. Online orders can be made at any time. Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

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