George Bignotti at Indy in 2004. (LAT photo)
Legendary Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic George Bignotti passed away Friday in Las Vegas at age 97.
Bignotti tuned cars to seven Indianapolis 500 victories, more than any chief mechanic in the history of the race. His Indy-winning drivers included A.J. Foyt, Graham Hill, Al Unser, Gordon Johncock and Tom Sneva.
California native Bignotti also is the winningest chief mechanic in IndyCar history.
"We're saddened to learn of the passing of George Bignotti. George is a true legend," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles said in a statement. "He set a standard for mechanical excellence and preparation at the Indianapolis 500 that has yet to be matched and may never be reached.
"George's love and loyalty toward the '500' never waned throughout his wonderful, long life, and he had countless friends and admirers in Gasoline Alley and the IndyCar community. Everyone at IMS extends their thoughts, prayers and sympathy to the Bignotti family."
• Click here for Robin Miller's appreciation of George Bignotti.