'A different lady.' Talking the Indy 500 with three-time champ Johnny Rutherford

Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Auto Racing

It didn't take long for Johnny Rutherford to describe the Indianapolis 500.

"Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a different lady," Rutherford said at Texas Motor Speedway last month.

"She can throw so many curves at you, you can't believe it. I witnessed it. In the 24 races I ran there, you learn something new and different every day. I can remember one time I went out six different times with the car the same way that we went out the first time, and all six of them, it was different every time we went out. That's part of the learning curve of Indianapolis."

Rutherford is trying to help speed up Fernando Alonso's learning curve as much as possible. He spent the day with Alonso and Team McLaren last month at TMS, and is serving in an advisory role for the team for Sunday's Indy 500.

This will be Alonso's second Indy 500. He ran in the 2017 race, leading 27 laps before a blown engine ruined his day.

But he's happy to have Rutherford in his corner, as there aren't many drivers with more track knowledge.


Rutherford is a three-time winner of the historic race, taking the checkered flag in 1974, 1976 and 1980. He had top-10 runs five other times.

Asked how much the Indy 500 has changed over the years, Rutherford said: "It is the same, but it's not. Time heals all wounds and wounds all heal. Let's see what she's got for us this year.

"It's an incredible place and I've experienced a lot of different things there."

Rutherford, a longtime Fort Worth resident, talked about Alonso, the Indy 500 and more during his recent visit to TMS. The IndyCar Series is coming to Texas next month for the DXC Technology 600 on June 8.


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