August 2, 1987 – Michael Andretti sets Indy speed record

On this day in 1987 Michael Andretti set the current average speed record for an entire Indy race, coming to a first place finish at the Marlboro 500 at the Michigan International Speedway with an average speed of 171.490 miles per hour. Michael Andretti made his debut on the Indy circuit three years earlier, quickly becoming a top competitor. In racing to his quick win at the 1987 Marlboro 500 Andretti benefited from his legend of a father, Mario Andretti’s, bad luck. The elder Andretti is one of the most decorated auto racers of all time. When the father’s engine failed after building a two-lap lead Michael was able to overtake him. Michael then held off Al Unser Sr. and Bobby Rahal over the final 94 laps to win. Unser finished 9.11 seconds after the winner, edging out Rahal for the number two spot. Rahal held the previous speed record for an Indy race, winning the 1986 Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 170.722 mph.
Photo: Michael Andretti in 1987

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