1990 Indianapolis 500
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Date||May 27, 1990|
|Average speed||185.981 mph|
|Pole position||Emerson Fittipaldi|
|Pole speed||225.301 mph|
|Rookie of the Year||Eddie Cheever, Jr.|
|Most laps led||Fittipaldi (128)|
|National anthem||Sandi Patti|
|Back Home Again in Indiana||Jim Nabors|
|Starting command||Mary F. Hulman|
|Pace car||Chevrolet Beretta|
|Pace car driver|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Paul Page, Sam Posey, and Bobby Unser|
The 74th Indianapolis 500 was held at Indianapolis on Sunday, May 27, 1990. Arie Luyendyk took the lead with 32 laps to go, and earned his first-ever victory in championship-level competition. Luyendyk completed the 500 miles at an average speed of 185.981 mph (299.307 km/h), a record that still stands as of 2011.
Defending champion and race polesitter Emerson Fittipaldi dominated the first half of the race, looking to become the first back-to-back winner in 20 years. In the second half of the race, however, he fell victim to blistering tires, lost a lap, and wound up finishing third. Bobby Rahal, the 1986 winner, was poised to win his second Indy 500, be he too suffered handling problems, which dropped him to second at the finish.
A. J. Foyt finished 6th in the race, his final career top 10 in Indy 500 competition. Rookie Jeff Andretti attempted to become the unprecedented fourth member of the Andretti family to qualify for the same race, but was bumped on the final day of time trials.
Rain hampered much of the month, washing out nearly the entire first weekend of time trials. The 1990 race was also the first Indy 500 presided over by Tony George, who was named president of the Speedway in January.
Controversy hovered over the month, regarding new aerodynamic rules. All teams utilizing 1989 (or older) model year chassis were required to affix a "diffuser" to the underbody ground effects tunnels, to reduce their size by 2 inches - a rule intended to reduce downforce and curtail speeds. Competitors complained that the diffusers made their cars unstable and unbalanced, and were responsible for the increased number of practice crashes involving the older cars. Despite voiced complaints and meetings with officials, no changes were made the rules. Ultimately, no major crashes occurred amongst the older cars during the race itself.