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The Jigger Award
The Jigger Award: It’s the one no one really wants!!
Leon Duray (Jigger) Sirois, now living in Virginia, is the former race driver from whom the award is named. Jigger, who received the nickname in honor of riding mechanic "Jigger Johnson", is the son of long time 500 mechanic Frenchy Sirois (who worked on the Belond ‘laydown’ car that Sam Hanks won with in 1957 and Jimmy Bryan brought home first in 1958) and came oh-so-close to answering for all time the age-old question:
Can the pole car be bumped?
It came closest in 1969:
Sirois was the only driver to attempt qualification on a weather-plagued first weekend of time trials. His crew waved off his attempt after he recorded his first three laps at 161, 162, and 160. Had he completed his final lap at a speed in the 160-mph bracket or above, Jigger’s average would have been above that of the slowest car in the 33-car starting field - the 160.851 MPH of Peter Revson. That would seem to have put Sirois starting on the pole with the slowest speed in the 33-car field. Donald Davidson, noted Indy 500 race historian, says the pole car can indeed be bumped, when on the ‘bubble’, if it has the slowest speed in the 33-car field.
The Jigger Award is a hard-luck award presented annually by the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association at the Indianapolis 500 AARWBA breakfast. It is made up of a gold-color metal whiskey jigger (used) mounted on a base attached to a plaque. Each recipient’s name is listed on the plaque with the year that the award was presented.
Sirois took his failure to make the starting field with good grace and did not blame his crew. The Jigger Award was the brainchild of member Dick Mittman, then an auto racing writer for The Indianapolis News and now a semi-retired Speedway publicist. And the list of recipients follows. Some of the recipients have a message on their ‘keeper plaque’ some do not, they seem to be left off due to lack of imagination of the selection panel...or were lost following the breakfast.
Jigger Sirois in 1969
|1970||Tony Adamowicz||Who had three good laps|
and was on way to a solid qualifying run
when a yellow light flashed back on
momentarily ‘by mistake’.
|1971||John Mahler||He qualified the car|
and was bumped by car owner Dick Simon
because of sponsor commitments.
|1973||Johnny Parsons, Jr.||TBD|
Johnny Parsons Jr.
|1975||AARWBA||(for losing the trophy, later recovered|
by Jack Martin and John Fugate
behind a door in the museum.)
|1977||Vern Schuppan||Lap 1) - 190.436; lap 2) - 191.612;|
lap 3) - 189.633; lap 4) - NO GAS!
Schuppan graciously accepted and said,
"I owe this to my crew."
|Larry Cannon||1st attempt - Oil tank exploded;|
2nd attempt - 1st lap) - 190.476;
2nd lap) - boom, boom, ... hit the wall!
|Roger Rager||1st attempt - 188 + yellow;|
2nd attempt during the warm-up lap,
hit the wall!
|1979||United States Auto Club||For the month of May, may it rest in peace.|
|1980||Janet Guthrie||Lap 1) - 184.089; lap 2) - 184.691;|
lap 3) 184.124; lap 4) - wave off,
(by car owner).
|1981||Bob Frey||1 -Sitting at the line when the rains came;|
2 - puked engine;
3 - too slow;
4 - at line, stalled 3 times at 6 p.m
|1982||Geoff Brabham||1. Over 200 mph with ease.|
2. A warm up too long;
3. a rules change forgotten,
put him back in the pack.
|1983||Johnny Rutherford||Who wound up in hospital|
with the car(s) in a junkyard
and a rookie on the pole!
|1984||Bill Alsup||Finally he got something for being next in line.|
|1985||Chet Fillip||First he crashed,|
then was mashed by a bumper. Out of cars,
circle bars was a dumper.
|1986||Mike Nish||211, then the wall, the Nish wish went swish!|
|1987||Phil Krueger||Mechanic and driver - and a May to forget!|
|1988||Pancho Carter||A lap at 209 had Pancho feeling fine;|
but then two crashes...and left on the line.
|1989||Johnny Rutherford||The 25th race was not to be...|
a bump, and blue smoke for all to see.
|1990||Salt Walther||Longest wait to return|
- shortest wait to be bumped!
|1991||Roger Penske||Won the pole with Mears.|
Lost second in lineup by calling off Emmo.
|1992||Mike Groff||Qualified row 10, but got the business!|
|1993||Robby Gordon||Accomplished in one day,|
what the media couldn’t do in 10 years.
|1994||Mark Smith||Bumpity, bumpity, bump. Bump, bump!|
No Smith in the race again!
|1995||Emerson Fittipaldi||Lap 1) 224.955 mph|
lap 2) 225.445 mph
lap 3) 226.097 mph
lap 4) Penske Yellow.
|1996||Two 500 Mile Races On May 26th.||P H O O E Y ! !|
|1997||IRL Guaranteed 25/8 rule.||Cancelled for '98.|
Backfired in '97
|1998||Scott Harrington||"Determination is your asset|
Misfortune your regret
If you quit racing,
Boxing is your best bet."
|1999||Mike Borkowski||A Rookie Mistake:|
The Indy 500 song is NOT
"Back Home Again In Alabama"
|2000||Roberto Guerrero||Hired by AJ|
Waved off by AJ
Fired by AJ
|2001||Raul Boesel||From Brazil to Indy|
Four lap average of 221.879 miles per hour
But Treadway'd away. Back to Brazil
|2002||Billy Roe||Two times in|
Two times out
That's what the
Jigger is all about!
|2003||Jeff Ward||Won the IRL race at Texas in 2002,|
Had helmet in hand & nothing to do...
Came to Indy with the promise of a ride,
At month's end had only his pride!
Dana Garrett, IMS
|2004||A.J. Foyt, Jr. And Tony Stewart||"A pair of
|2005||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||Late to Qualify|
fighting an uphill battle.
Squeezing 215.039 mph
& 33rd for a few hours
Bumped by Giaffone
|2006||Marty Roth||Practice, spin|
Practice, spin, practice, slide -
Hit the wall - That's all.
Dana Garrett, IMS
|2007||P.J. Jones||The scale is not|
The real deal
So PJ is
Out of the field
Ron McQueeney, IMS
|2008||Mario Dominguez||Three spins|
|2009||Bruno Junqueira||Qualified late afternoon|
Bumped at Midnight
|2010||Jay Hamilton||Bubble Trouble|
In - Out
|2012||Jean Alesi||No Wave Off|
Alesi Slowest Qualifier since 1988
David Byrd accepting for Jean Alesi
|2013||Michel Jourdain Jr.||Rahal Letterman Team Lanigan Racing|
team failed to qualify for the race
|2014||Sage Karam||Missed his high school prom and his graduation|
but he qualified for the 2014 Indy 500
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