How Much Do You Know About American Open-Wheel Racing?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons via Carey Akin

About This Quiz

In many people's minds, open-wheel racing is the BEST form of car racing. They would choose it above any other kind of racing, including NASCAR, 24-hour endurance racing, touring cars and go-karts, for example.

But what makes open-wheel racing so exciting? Well, it has a rich history and time and time again, it has proved that close racing is something people want to see. And in American open-wheel racing, this is certainly what they get with driver skill often playing a crucial part in separating evenly matched cars.

Of course, the race they all want to win is the big daddy of the sport, the Indy 500. Held for over 100 years, this race comes with not only an incredible history but with the honor and prestige only a top race such as this can give. If you win the Indy 500, you certainly have made it in open-wheel racing in America. And some drivers have won it four times!

Just how much do you know about open-wheel racing in America? Here, we are primarily talking about IndyCar series or the various names that it has been called over the years.

Let's see how you do!

Start your engine and go!

How many seats will you find in a car in American open-wheel racing?

Yes, only space for a driver. A very brave driver! These cars can reach over 350 km/h!


How much fuel does an Indy Car carry?

Although this has changed regularly over the years, at present (2018) they carry 18.5 gallons or 70 liters.


What defines a modern open-wheel race car?

All open-wheel racing in America features single seat vehicles. The most important characteristic is that the wheels are outside of the main bodywork of the vehicle.


In what year was the first open-wheel race held in the United States?

Not much after the car was invented, people wanted to race them. Some things just never change!


In what year was the first drivers' championship for open-wheel racing in America held using a points system?

Just a few years after the first open-wheel race, the first driver's championship with points awarded for race positions, was held.


When was the Indy 500 first held?

The most prestigious race on the American open-wheel calendar, the Indy 500 was held for the first time in 1911.


What is the nickname of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the Indy 500 is held?

Yes, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is called 'The Brickyard'. It was given this name soon after completion.


Who was the first winner of the Indy 500?

The first man to taste glory at Indy was Ray Harroun in 1911. He raced between 1905 and 1911 and managed 19 wins in his career. He was nicknamed 'The Little Professor' because he was an excellent engineer. He also used a rear-view mirror during the race, the first time anyone had done so.


Which vehicle did the first winner of the Indy 500 drive?

A product of the Marmon Motor Company, Ray Harroun, the winner of the first Indy 500, helped design the Wasp.


Open wheel racing is a dangerous sport. Who was the first person to die at the Indy 500?

Sam Dickson was killed at the inaugural Indy 500 in 1911. A riding mechanic, Dickson was flung into a fence after an accident. Riding mechanics actually took part in the race along with drivers in the early races in America.


Why is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway called 'The Brickyard'?

Yes, the raceway at the Indianapolis Speedway was originally made from bricks. Part of the original track, around 3 feet in length, can still be found today.


Who was the last driver to lose his life at the Indy 500?

The pole-sitter for the Indy 500 in 1996 died in a crash on the Friday afternoon practice session after he hit the wall at almost 200 mph.


Which board governs open-wheel racing in the United States?

Many different organizations have governed open-wheel racing in America. Currently, it falls under the IndyCar organization.


In American open-wheel racing, most circuits are ______ in shape.

Many tracks in the IndyCar series are ovals with banked corners although other track types do exist.


Of course, there are other circuits normally using roads around a city. What are these called?

A street circuit takes in existing roads in a city, blocks them off with Armco barriers and forms a racetrack. Street circuits generally are very narrow and difficult to overtake on, making a good qualifying position a priority.


Who is the current (2018) IndyCar series champion?

Scott Dixon won the IndyCar Series in 2018. He secured three wins and nine podiums in 17 races.


Who is the most successful driver in American open-wheel racing?

AJ Foyt had an incredibly long and successful racing career. He is a true legend of American open-wheel racing.


How many championships did AJ Foyt win between 1959 and 1981?

AJ Foyt was crowned American open-wheel racing champion on seven occasions. That's incredibly impressive! And what a long and distinguished career he had.


How many races did AJ Foyt win during 1959 and 1981?

Foyt won 62 races between 1958 and 1981. Mario Andretti, a legend himself, trails him by 10 wins with 52.


Only three drivers have won the Indy 500 four times. They are...

AJ Foyt was the first do so. He won in '61, '64. '76 and '77. Al Unser won at Indy in '70, '71, '78 and '87 and Rick Mears won his races in '79, '84, '88 and '91.


Who won the Indy 500 in 2018?

Australian Will Power was the Indy 500 winner in 2018. It was his first win in the prestigious race. Power won the IndyCar Series in 2014.


Which Hollywood actor was heavily involved in open-wheel racing in America, and had part ownership in a team?

Together with Carl Haas, Paul Newman formed the Newman/Haas racing team. It went on to win 8 open-wheel championships in the CART division.


Which of these drivers is NOT an open-wheel racer at events in America?

Max Verstappen races in Formula One for Red Bull Racing. He is seen as a future world champion.


Which of these drivers IS an open-wheel racer at events in America?

Ryan Hunter-Reay won the 2012 IndyCay Series and was crowned Indy 500 champion in 2014. As of the end of the 2018 season he has won 16 races in his 193-race career.


Who was the first female driver to win an open-wheel event?

In 2008, Danica Patrick won the Japan Indy 300, making her the only female driver to win an open-wheel event.


Who was the first female to compete at the Indy 500?

Not only was Janet Guthrie the first person to compete in the Indy 500 but she competed in another showcase American racing event, the Daytona 500. She had a best finish of 9th at Indy in 1978.


Which of these drivers has won both the CART open-wheel championship and a Formula 1 championship?

The super talented Mario Andretti won the F1 world championship in 1978 as well as the IndyCar series in 1969 which included a win at the Indy 500, the only time he won it.


Which Formula One driver gave up the chance to race at the Monaco Grand Prix to compete in the 2017 Indy 500?

With McLaren struggling in Formula One, Fernando Alonso took the decision to have a crack at the Indy 500. A blown engine ruined his race after he was running fairly high up the field.


In what year did the winning driver first clock an average speed of over 100 mph at the Indy 500?

Peter DePaolo driving a Duesenberg was the first winner to finish at an average speed of over 100 mph. He clocked 101.127 mph in a race that took 4 hours and 45 minutes to complete.


Who won the Indy 500 in 2000?

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was the winner of the first Indy 500 of the new century. Driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, Montoya finished in a time of 2 hours 59 minutes.


Name the Hollywood blockbuster that revolves around open-wheel racing in the United States.

Starring Sylvester Stallone, "Driven" shows an insight into the world of open-wheel racing. Sadly, it wasn't particularly good.


What fuel do cars in the Indycar series use?

Cars in the IndyCar series use ethanol because it does not burn as fiercely as gasoline in the event of a crash.


What engine do Indycar vehicles use?

A powerful, lightweight engine is needed in open-wheel racing and that's what the cars have. Honda and Chevrolet are the engine suppliers.


What is the top average speed ever recorded at the Indy 500?

Let's be honest, that's pretty fast. Obviously the average speed can be influenced by accidents that may happen during the race.


What does the winner of the Indy 500 traditionally drink after the race?

Yes, the tradition is to drink from a glass bottle of milk after having one the Indy 500. Louis Meyer first did it in 1936, as buttermilk was his favorite refreshment and it stuck from there.


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