Robin Miller’s video series celebrating the tough guys of Indy resumes. Enjoy previous installments of the series at The RACER Channel on YouTube.
He qualified for 18 consecutive Indianapolis 500s and ran up front countless times, but Lloyd Ruby’s legacy will be all the ones that got away.
‘Ol Rube led 126 laps during his two decades at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but never the one that counted as he was cursed by mechanical gremlins and human error. Most consider him the greatest driver to have never made it to Victory Lane. In 1966, he held the top spot for 68 laps and looked poised to take the checkered flag when his engine expired with 34 laps left.
In 1968, he led 42 laps and was battling Bobby Unser and Joe Leonard when a long pit stop dropped him to fifth place at the finish. In 1969, he was out in front at the halfway mark when a routine pit stop turned disastrous. He was waved out before the fueler could uncouple the hose and Rube’s tank split open — and tore his heart out again. In 1970, he stormed from 25th to take the lead just as his engine started to expire and he was given the black flag.
Twice he won the Daytona 24 Hours and once he captured the 12 Hours of Sebring, but the one race he truly desired always got away from him.