March 85C - "Spin And Win"

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One of the truly great moments in Indy 500 history occurred during the 1985 race. It was Danny Sullivan’s first year at Team Penske and he started the race with the number 5 March 85C/Cosworth in the middle of the third row.

At the start of the race, pole sitter, Pancho Carter in his March/Buick immediately developed trouble due to a failing oil pump. By lap 16, Mario Andretti driving a Lola / Cosworth was leading the race. By the halfway point, Sullivan was in second place.

With more than 80 laps left in the race, Danny Sullivan misunderstood a radio call from his crew, erroneously believing there were only 12 laps to go in the race. He turned up the turbocharger boost of his March 85C / Cosworth machine and rapidly closed in on Andretti’s Lola .

Sullivan made his move on lap 120. Going into turn 1, he went low to the inside and took the lead. Andretti held his ground, forcing Sullivan to pass down below the yellow line on the flat apron. After crossing back over the line in the short chute, the car suddenly slipped. Incredibly, Sullivan was able to gain control of the car before it made contact with anything. Certainly the recovery was due to a combination of situational awareness, skill and just plain luck as well as the skill of Mario Andretti who deftly dodged the spinning car.

The yellow caution flag was flown and both Andretti and Sullivan pitted for fresh tires and fuel when reaching the front side of the track. On lap 140, Sullivan caught and passed Andretti again and went on to win the race.

This artwork is a depiction of the legendary moment in Indianapolis 500 history which has become known as “Spin and Win”.