People: Jun. 14, 1982

In 17 outings at the Indianapolis 500, Gordon Johncock, 45, had been stymied by broken crankshafts, flat tires, dry gas tanks and fuel-pump failures. His one earlier Indy win, in 1973, had come in a race that was stopped by rain after 332.5 miles. "It seems throughout my career," he says, "that it hasn't been meant for me to run 500 miles." This year Johncock managed to hold on for a full-length victory, though the jaws of defeat were snapping close behind. With 13 laps left, Johncock's STP Wildcat-Cosworth was 12 sec. ahead of...

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