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Indiana Sports Figures: Baseball Stars, Racing Celebrities and Other Athletes

Indiana sports figures include sports celebrities from far more than the bright stars of the Indiana Pacers and the Indianapolis Colts. These famous people from Indianapolis and other cities in Indiana include stars from college athletics, baseball, swimming and especially the mega-famous world of the Indianapolis Racing League.

Here is a list of some of the famous Indiana sports figures and athletes, excluding players and coaches for the Colts and the Pacers, who require their own separate directories.

Indiana Sports Figures: Baseball, College Athletes, Racing Celebrities

Dario Franchitti – A two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, Franchitti is married to actress Ashley Judd.
Helio Castroneves – Castroneves is one of six drivers to win three Indianapolis 500’s, with his last coming in 2008. Nicknamed “Spiderman,” Castroneves is a fan favorite at IMS.
Scott Dixon – Dixon captured the checkered flag in the 2007 Indy 500 in dominating fashion.
Tony Stewart – Born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, Stewart has dominated at every level he’s raced at, and is a two-time of the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dan Wheldon – Winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500, Wheldon has finished second in the race the past two years.
Jeff Gordon – Gordon spent his formative years in Pittsboro, Indiana, racing sprint cars and dreaming of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers of all time.
Michael Andretti – Despite a dominant career as a race car driver, Andretti never won at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He holds the record for most laps led without a victory at the track.
Aldo Andretti, father of John Andretti, is also the twin brother to Mario, perhaps the most famous auto racer in history. Aldo had the potential of his twin brother but opted to quit racing after a disfiguring racing accident.
Video of the Nazareth Speedway, where Mario and Aldo Andretti began their racing careers.
John Andretti, a member of the globally-famous Andretti family, has nevertheless made a permanent name for himself among Indianapolis celebrities in the world of auto racing.
John Andretti video
A.J. Foyt – Holds the record for most career starts, most races led, and most wins in the Indy 500, a record he shares with Rick Mears and Al Unser Sr.
Roger Penske – Though he never raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske’s had tremendous success at the track as an owner, winning 15 times with 10 different drivers.
Chip Ganassi – Ganassi has competed in the Indy 500 as both a driver and as the team owner of Chip Ganassi Racing. His best finish as a driver was 8th, but he’s won three 500’s as an owner.
Mark Dismore made a name for himself as a race car ace at the Indy 500, as well as other racing venues. After breaking his neck in a horrific crash in Speedway, Indiana, Dismore nevertheless went on to a commendable career.
Mark Dismore crash video
Bobby East is a young but up-and-coming midget car driver who makes the west Indianapolis suburb of Brownsburg his home.
Bobby East video
Arthur W. Graham III – This man, now a deceased resident of Brownsburg, was USAC Director of Timing and Scoring at the world-famous Indianapolis 500-mile races for nearly twenty years.
Tony Gwynn – A favorite with the fans and part-time resident of Fishers, Gwynn became a baseball hall-of-famer for his outstanding career with the San Diego Padres.
Jaycie Phelps – Along with the other members of “The Magnificent 7,” Indy native Jaycie Phelps took home a team gold medal for gymnastics in 1996.
Bobby Plump – Creator of Plump’s Last Shot, a popular Indianapolis bar and restaurant in the Broad Ripple Village neighborhood, Bobby Plump made the last shot of the state championship game that inspired the hit movie Hoosiers.
Robbie Stanley was on the cusp of auto racing fame and already well-known among Brownsburg people, when he died in a USAC National Sprint Car Series crash in 1994.
Robbie Stanley video with fatal crash
Samuel Thompson – Known as “Big Sam,” Danville, Indiana‘s Samuel Thompson still holds two major league records: one for most RBI’s per game (.923) and one for most RBI’s in a month (61). That’s pretty impressive, considering he was active in the late 1800’s!
Brad Stevens – The head coach of the Butler University men’s basketball team. Brad Stevens was born and raised in Zionsville, Indiana, where he attended Zionsville Community High School and was a star basketball player.
Tom Crean – Crean is the head men’s basketball coach at Indiana University. He’s in his third season at the Bloomington, Indiana school.
Matt Painter – Grew up in Muncie, Indiana and later was a star basketball player for Purdue University. Painter’s the current Head Coach of the Boilers.
Ron Hunter – Hunter is in 17th season as the Head Coach men’s basketball coach at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), located in downtown Indianapolis.
Dan Dakich – Dakich played at Indiana University in the mid-1980’s, and served as an assistant coach at the school for 12 years. He currently hosts a mid-day sports talk radio program on WFNI-AM 1070 The Fan.
Gordon Hayward – Hayward played high school basketball at Brownsburg High School before leading Butler University to the 2010 NCAA Championship Game. He currently plays for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association.
Bob Knight – Knight is the legendary former coach of the Indiana Hoosiers. He is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
John Wooden – College basketball scion and legendary coach for the UCLA Bruins, this remarkable man is tops on the list of famous people from Martinsville, Indiana.

See photos and articles on other famous Indianapolis people