An Indy 500 win for Hill bathed in mystery and milk

On this day in 1966, the Indianapolis 500 was a race shrouded in confusion, ultimately leaving both victor and vanquished surprised. Graham Hill, piloting a Lola T90 for John Mecom, emerged as the unlikely winner, celebrating with the traditional swig of milk from the winner's circle. Hill's surprise mirrored that of his closest competitor, Jim Clark.

The race had begun chaotically, wiping out eleven contenders in the early stages. Hill, fortunate to survive the carnage, found himself inheriting the lead from his teammate, Jackie Stewart, with a mere eleven laps remaining. This twist of fate propelled Hill into the history books, making him the first rookie to win the Indy 500 since 1927.


However, Hill's victory was far from clear-cut. Colin Chapman, Team Lotus boss, vehemently contested the result, insisting that Jim Clark was the rightful winner. Clark had endured two spins during the race, but both times he returned to the pits for a quick inspection. Lotus argued that these incidents didn't significantly impact his position, and their calculations placed him a full lap ahead of Hill at the finish.

Adding to the confusion was the race's manually controlled scoring system. The pylon displaying the standings flickered erratically as officials attempted to unravel the complex race order, much to the frustration of Clark's crew and the bewilderment of the spectators. The initial results, displayed on the pylon, declared Hill the victor by a margin of 41.13 seconds over Clark. The following day, this result was officially confirmed, solidifying Hill's somewhat controversial win.