Sunday, August 5, 2018

"2-Time Indy 500 Winner" Gordon Johncock Born - August 5, 1936

August 5, 1936
Gordon Johncock 
Born in Hastings, Michigan, USA.
Most often simply referred to as "Gordy," Johncock is best known as a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the 1976 USAC Marlboro Championship Trail champion. Johncock also competed in twenty-one NASCAR Cup Series events in his career. He earned three top-fives and four top-tens in his limited schedules. The best of those finishes were a pair of fourths in 1973 at Daytona and 1966 at Rockingham.

Johncock's first USAC victory was scored at the Milwaukee Mile in August 1965. He won six further races before winning the Indy 500 in 1973.

At the 1973 Indianapolis 500, Johncock was racing for STP/Patrick Racing. A major accident at the start involving Salt Walther, coupled with two days of rain, postponed the race until late Wednesday afternoon. When the race was held, Johncock's teammate Swede Savage was severely injured in a fiery crash on lap 58. When the race resumed, Johncock who had led the most laps, was leading when rain fell again on the 133rd lap. Nearing 6 p.m. in the evening, the race was red flagged and declared over. After a short and muted victory lane celebration, Johncock went to visit Savage at the hospital. Afterward, the celebratory victory banquet was cancelled. Instead, Johncock and his crew went to a local fast-food joint for hamburgers. About a month later, Savage died from his injuries.

Johncock took a second Indianapolis 500 victory in 1982, winning by 0.16 second over Rick Mears. Mears was rapidly closing on Johncock in the final laps. In Mears' final pit stop, Mears' team made a miscalculation and filled his car with more fuel than it needed to finish the race. As a consequence Mears had to catch up a significant distance on Johncock, and on the 197th and 198th laps came from 3 seconds back to within car lengths. Johncock's tires were deteriorating by the lap, and with each turn the car understeered more severely. On the final lap, Mears tried to pass Johncock for the win, with Johncock making a decisive defense of first place in Turn One.

Johncock retired after the 1992 Indianapolis 500. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2002.


  1. Watched him and his cousin drive super mods at the Grand Rapids Speedrome in the 50''s/early 60's.