The 2009 Official Record Book of the IndyCar Series has been released, and we are no longer faced with the laughable suggestion that Sam Hornish is the all time wins leader with 19 IRL victories. Scott Dixon was closing in on this farcical number with 16 IRL hardware collections.
But clearly, these records disregarded the true legends of the sport that ran under different sanctioning bodies. The IndyCar series has finally done what it said it would do after it gained the rights to the historical records from CCWS. They have combined all the stats from the National Championship going back to 1909. This includes all races ran under AAA, USAC, CART, CCWS & IRL sanction.
It is no surprise that A.J Foyt resumes his place on top of the list with an amazing 67 wins racked up in the USAC days. A.J. is followed by Mario Andretti at 52 under USAC and CART and then Michael Andretti at 42 under CART.
Current active drivers (and one that may return if his current F1 deal falls apart before the end of the season) making an appearance on the list in the top 25:
7th (tied) – Paul Tracy – 31 wins – CART & CCWS
7th (tied) – Sebastian Bourdais (PT’s sparring mate) – 31 wins – CART
18th (tied) – Helio Castroneves – 20 wins – CART & IRL
23rd – Dario Franchiti – 18 wins – CART & IRL
24th (tied) – Scott Dixon – 17 wins – CART & IRL
Sam Hornish had a great career in IndyCar, but he has been relegated from the top spot on the list to being tied for 20th with Jimmy Murphy (AAA) and Jimmy Bryan (AAA/CART).
For a series that has its roots firmly planted in the history steeped grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it seems silly that it took this long to officially recognize the heroes of the past in the IRL record book. A return to tradition makes me breathe easier when I consider the potential future of the series. Too bad that some of the other traditions of the National Championship cannot be relived in future schedules. Take for instance the 1968 season ran under USAC sanction. It consisted of 13 paved ovals, 9 road courses, 5 dirt ovals and one Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Talk about versatility.
You can view the new version of the record book here. It makes for a fascinating browse.