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1977 Indy 500: A year full of firsts

1977 Indy 500: A year full of firsts
1977 Indy 500: A year full of firsts
Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 16:34:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new Sci-Fi movie called "Star Wars" was released in 1977, ushering in a new era in film and entertainment.

In the sports world, entertainment changed leagues in the form of the Indiana Pacers participating in their first year as an NBA team.

Also new in 1977, more than 800 runners pounded the pavement in the first 500 Festival mini-marathon.
    
At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, rave reviews came in about the new track surface.

It was completely re-paved from the year before, and no one liked it more than The Gas Man, Tom Sneva, who became the first to officially turn a lap over 200 miles per hour in qualifying.

Oh, and another first: The first woman to qualify for the 500; Janet Guthrie, who later finishes the race, in 29th. 

The 61st Indianapolis 500 came down to a three-way battle between Sneva, A.J. Foyt., and Gordon Johncock.

Gordy seemingly had the win wrapped up before a mechanical failure on Lap 184.

Foyt took the lead, the win, and why not, another first: The first 4-time champion.

Track owner and Foyt's good friend Tony Hulman helped AJ celebrate with a parade lap around the track.

The gesture all the more noteworthy after Hulman passed away five months later.

MORE ON THE ROAD TO 100

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Tune in to RTV6 News at 6 p.m. every night for our Road to 100, where we take a look back at each of the races leading up to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. 

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