The ABC Broadcast of the 1992 Indianapolis 500. The finish turned out to be the closest in Indianapolis 500 history, with Little Al winning by .043 seconds.
The 76th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 24, 1992. The race is famous for the fierce battle in the closing laps, as race winner Al Unser, Jr. held off second place Scott Goodyear for the victory by 0.043 seconds, the closest finish in Indy history. Unser, Jr. became the first second-generation driver to win the Indy 500, following in the footsteps of his father Al Unser, Sr. He also became the third member of the famous Unser family to win the race.
Cold temperatures and high winds turned the race into a crash-filled, marathon day. The tone for the race was set early when pole position winner Roberto Guerrero spun out and crashed on the pace lap. The race was dominated by Michael Andretti in the debut of the Ford Cosworth XB engine. Andretti led 160 laps and was 30 seconds in front when his fuel pump suddenly failed with eleven laps to go.
Thirteen cars were eliminated in crashes during the race, and several other serious wrecks occurred during practice. Former Formula One World Champion Nelson Piquet suffered serious leg injuries in a crash on May 7. Pancho Carter and Hiro Matsushita suffered broken bones in separate crashes, and rookie Jovy Marcelo was fatally injured after a practice crash on May 15. Defending champion Rick Mears crashed during practice and during the race, while Jeff Andretti experienced the worst crash during the race itself, suffering serious injuries to his legs and feet.
Following the race, sweeping changes came about at the track, largely in the interest of safety. In addition, a noticeable “changing of the guard” followed, as the 1992 race signaled the final race for several Indy legends, including A. J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Tom Sneva, and Gordon Johncock. A race-record ten former winners started in the field.
The race was sanctioned by USAC, and was included as part of the 1992 PPG Indy Car World Series. Unser’s victory was considered by some an “upset,” as his somewhat inauspicious Galmer chassis was not expected to excel on ovals, and its first generation Chevy engine was starting to become a lame duck powerplant in the series. It was also a long-awaited victory for Unser, Jr., who was making his tenth Indy attempt. Unser, the 1990 CART champion, had recently confided with Paul Page that he was afraid he may never win the 500.