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This date in sports: A.J. Foyt becomes the first driver to win four Indianapolis 500s

A.J. Foyt holds up four fingers in Victory Lane after winning his fourth Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 1977.
(Associated Press)

A.J. Foyt, behind the wheel of his Gilmore Racing Coyote, was the first driver to win four Indianapolis 500s on this date in 1977, when he overcame a tenacious bumper-to-bumper battle with leader Gordon Johncock on the race’s 184th lap.

The engine on Johncock’s car blew, and his misfortune allowed the 42-year-old Texan to pass and coast home to victory.

“I talked to the car, I talked to the good Lord and I talked to everybody that would listen that nobody would get hurt today,” said Foyt, who won in 1961, 1964 and 1967.

The race saw Janet Guthrie qualify as the first woman to drive in the 500. She was forced to drop out with mechanical problems after 27 laps.

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Today, the Dodgers were to continue their seven-game trip with the first of three against the Mets in New York. The Angels were set to meet New York’s other team, the Yankees, in the first of three games at Angel Stadium. Both contests were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a look at memorable games and other outstanding sports performances on this date:

1922 — The U.S. Supreme Court rules that organized baseball is primarily a sport and not a business and therefore is not subject to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and interstate commerce regulations. In 1972, in Flood vs. Kuhn, the court said its original ruling was “an anomaly,” Nevertheless, by a 5-3 vote, the judges let it stand.

1990 — Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker both lose at the French Open to European teenagers, the first time the top two men’s seeds are eliminated in the first round of a Grand Slam tennis event. Edberg of Sweden is swept in straight sets by Sergi Bruguera, 19, of Spain; Germany’s Becker is beaten by 18-year-old Goran Ivanisevic of Yugoslavia.

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1993 — Wayne Gretzky leads the Kings a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals and a ticket to their first Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens. Gretzky scores three goals and adds an assist. The Maple Leafs are the first NHL team to play all 21 games in the first three rounds of the playoffs.

2005 — Dan Wheldon wins the Indianapolis 500 when Danica Patrick’s electrifying run comes up short. Patrick, at 23, is the first woman to lead the 500, getting out in front three times for a total of 19 laps. But Wheldon passes her with seven to go and holds on for the first of his two Indy 500 victories.

2006 — Rafael Nadal passes Guillermo Vilas as king of clay court tennis and begins his pursuit of a second successive French Open trophy. Nadal wins his 54th consecutive match on clay, breaking the Open-era record that he shared with Vilas by beating Robin Soderling in straight sets in the first round at Roland Garros in Paris.

2010 — Roy Halladay of the Phillies pitches the 20th perfect game in big league history, beating the Florida Marlins 1-0 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Halladay strikes out 11 and goes to 3-1 or 3-2 counts seven times, twice to the first three batters. He joins Jim Bunning as the second Phillies pitcher to throw a perfect game. Bunning did it in 1964.

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2012 — In what is called the biggest upset in women’s tennis in a decade, Serena Williams loses in the first round of a major tournament for the first time, falling to Virginie Razzano of France 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 at the French Open. Williams enters the day with a 46-0 record in first-round matches at Grand Slam tournaments, but leg cramps and an error-filled third set are her undoing.

2014 — Shelly Sterling signs a binding contract to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record-breaking $2 billion. Sterling negotiates the sale after her husband Donald Sterling made racist remarks that were made public. Balmer outbids Guggenheim Partners and a group that includes NBA All-Star Grant Hill.

2016 — Alexander Rossi wins the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The rookie manages to conserve fuel while the leaders pit in the closing laps, coasting across the finish line with just enough gas to give Andretti Herta Autosport a stunning victory over runners-up Carlos Munoz and Josef Newgarden. The last rookie to win the race for the Borg-Warner Trophy was Helio Castroneves in 2001.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Associated Press


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