Open main menu

The 19th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1931. Race winner Louis Schneider, who led the final 34 laps, was accompanied by riding mechanic Jigger Johnson.[3]

19th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning bodyAAA
DateMay 30, 1931
WinnerLouis Schneider
Winning EntrantB. L. Schneider
Average speed96.629 mph (155.509 km/h)
Pole positionRuss Snowberger
Pole speed112.796 mph (181.528 km/h)
Most laps ledBilly Arnold (155)
Pace carCadillac 370 Twelve
Pace car driver"Big Boy" Rader
StarterBarney Oldfield[1]
Honorary refereeWilliam S. Knudsen[1]
Estimated attendance165,000[2]
Previous Next
1930 1932

The start of the race was delayed two hours due to rain.[4] Defending race winner Billy Arnold charged from 18th starting position to lead the race by lap 7. Arnold, who had dominated the 1930 race (led 198 laps), proceeded to lead the next 155 laps, and built up a five-lap lead over second place. His rear axle broke on lap 162. He spun in turn four, was hit by another car, driven by Luther Johnson, and went over the outside wall. One of his errant wheels bounced across Georgetown Road, and struck and killed an 11-year-old boy, Wilbur C. Brink. Arnold suffered a broken pelvis, and his riding mechanic Spider Matlock broke his shoulder.[5]

The race was part of the 1931 AAA Championship Car season.


Race scheduleEdit

Race schedule — May 1931
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Time Trials
Time Trials
Time Trials
Time Trials
Time Trials
Indy 500
Color Notes
Green Track Available for Practice
Dark Blue Time trials
Silver Race day
Blank No track activity

Practice – Week 1Edit

The deadline for entries to be received was midnight on Friday May 1.[6] A record 72 cars were entered, for 40 starting positions.[7] The track was made available for practice at the beginning of the month, and most entries were expected to arrive mid-month.

  • Tuesday May 5: A total of seven complete cars had arrived to the garage area. Tony Gulotta was one of few cars to take to the track during the first few days, turning in laps around 100 mph.[8]
  • Thursday May 7: breakups in the track surface were being repaired. Floyd "Sparky" Sparks practiced during the repair work, turning laps around 75-80 mph.[9]

By the end of the first full week of practice, track activity had been sparse.[10] Several of the top teams were expected to arrive within the next week. In addition, rain and cold weather kept drivers off the track over the weekend and into Monday.[11][12]

Practice – Week 2Edit

  • Tuesday May 12: Joe Russo, Jerry Houck, and L. L. Corum, were among at least four cars that took practice laps. Houck lost a wheel on the backstretch, but suffered no other damage to the car.[12]
  • Wednesday May 13: Track activity picked up in earnest on Wednesday, owing much to the fair weather. Leon Duray took to the track for the first time in his supercharged two-cycle, 16-cylinder, Stutz Bearcat, after much anticipation. But Duray suffered a stuck piston, sometime after running a lap of 112 mph. Other drivers taking laps included Tony Gulotta (103 mph) and Phil Pardee (90 mph). Billy Arnold and Harry Hartz took turns in Arnold's car, with laps reported in the 109-110 mph range.[13] Joe Russo, repeating a stunt he performed a year earlier, took a lap around the Speedway blindfolded.[13][14]
  • Thursday May 14: Billy Arnold turned the fastest practice lap of the month at 110 mph. Owner Harry Hartz also took some test laps in Arnold's car. Russ Snowberger was the second-fastest of the day, clocking in at 106 mph. Other drivers on the track included, Ernie Triplett (103 mph), Buddy Marr (100 mph), L. L. Corum (93 mph), Joe Caccia (96 mph), Tony Gulotta, Howard Seecomb, and Phil Pardee. Louis Schneider took some initial laps with his riding mechanic Jigger Johnson, but an oil leak persisted. Johnson tried to plug the hole with his fingers, so the pair could complete at least a handful of laps, to no avail.[15]
  • Friday May 15: Stubby Stubblefield (109 mph) led the practice speeds on a fairly light day of track activity. Ernie Triplett (109 mph), Chet Miller (100 mph), L. L. Corum (94 mph), and Jerry Houck (over 90 mph), were among others that took to the track. Some participants left the grounds to attend the Kentucky Derby.[16]
  • Saturday May 16: Louis Meyer ran his first laps of the month in the 16-cylinder Sampson Special. Meyer completed a lap of 113.63 mph. Milton Jones fishtailed his car exiting turn three, and made contact with the inside wall. The cars was expected to be repaired.[17]

Practice – Week 3Edit

  • Sunday May 17: Cliff Durant took laps in Leon Duray's supercharged 16-cylinder car, hitting top speeds of 125 mph on the straights. The car, which had been suffering from overheating problems for the past few days, blew the top off the radiator. The team went to work to install a new radiator and water pump in time for qualifying. Louis Schneider and Tony Gulotta were both over 103 mph, while Joe Russo, and Chet Miller both hit laps of 100 mph. L. L. Corum (96 mph) was steadily increasing his speed as the days passed.[17]
  • Monday May 18: Cliff Durant was forced to fly to Michigan to tend to urgent business, leaving Leon Duray as the driver remaining behind to qualify their supercharged 16-cylinder machine. The team was still waiting for a replacement radiator from Detroit. Durant was expected to return and drive relief in the race if needed. Cliff Bergere was named to the Elco Royale entry, having tested it at around 102-104 mph. Babe Stapp also arrived at the track.[18]
  • Tuesday May 19: By Tuesday, at least 30 cars had arrived at the track. Arriving at the track were car builder Harry Miller and car owner William S. White. Their two cars, a 301-cubic inch, 16-cylinder machine to be driven by Shorty Cantlon, and a four-cylinder for Bert Karnatz, were en route from Los Angeles, expected for delivery on Wednesday. Miller and White kept the details of the much-anticipated 16-cylinder machine guarded. Of the cars on the track, Lou Moore in the twin 4-cylinder Coleman Special, raised eyebrows with a 104 mph lap.[19]
  • Wednesday May 20: Track activity was bustling by Wednesday, with many cars, mechanics, and representatives in the garage area. Russ Snowberger got some attention after he turned a lap of 113 mph in his nearly-stock motor Studebaker. Also fast for the day was Ernie Triplett (111 mph). The Bill White/Harry Miller 16-cylinder car was delivered to the track at noontime, and driver Shorty Cantlon immediately took to the track for some shakedown laps.[20]
  • Thursday May 21: One day after arriving at the track, Shorty Cantlon's Bill White/Harry Miller 16-cylinder machine broke a connecting rod and blew a hole in the crankcase. The catastrophic engine failure was traced to an error during assembly. Cantlon was out of contention for the pole position, and now had to wait for replacement parts and an engine rebuild. Also on the sidelines was Leon Duray, still waiting for delivery of a replacement radiator for the Durant 16-cylinder machine. At about 5 p.m., the steering failed on Frank Brisko's car, causing him to lose control in turn 4 and hit the inside wall. The car then rebounded and hit the outside wall, coming to rest in the middle of the track. The car suffered heavy damage to the front end and front axle. Brisko and his riding mechanic Fred Winnai were not seriously injured, and planned to make repairs.[21]
  • Friday May 22: The much-anticipated and much-talked about Cummins Diesel Special, entered by Clessie Cummins, arrived at the Speedway on Friday. Dave Evans took the diesel to the track and ran off laps of about 96-97 mph.[22] Earlier in the month, officials had announced a special exemption rule for diesel-powered entries, to encourage their participation. Any diesel that completed the four-lap qualifying attempt in excess of 80 mph average, would qualify for the field, regardless of overall speed rank.[23][24] The other gasoline-powered engines had a minimum speed of 90 mph in time trials.

Time trialsEdit

1931 Cummins Diesel

Four-lap (10 mile) qualifying runs were utilized, with 90 mph set as the required minimum speed. Diesel entries were allowed a special rules exception, given them a guaranteed starting position provided they complete their run at a speed of greater than 80 mph.[24] Riding mechanics were required to accompany the drivers on all cars during qualifying.

Saturday May 23Edit

The first day of time trials was held Saturday May 23, with the track available for qualifying from 10:00 a.m. to 7:01 p.m. (sundown). The minimum qualifying speed for gasoline powered engines was set at 90 mph. Dave Evans was the first car out to qualify, in the Cummins Diesel Special. Evans completed his run at 96.871 mph, well above the 80 mph minimum speed required for diesel-powered entries.

Russ Snowberger won the pole position with a four-lap average speed of 112.796 mph. A total of 19 cars took to the track, but only 17 cars officially qualified. Rounding out the front row was Bill Cummings and first year driver Paul Bost. Snowberger winning the pole was a surprise, not only because his nearly-stock motor Studebaker outperformed Cummings and others, but three of the favorites for the pole did not even get to put in a time. Cummings first attempt early in the day started out with a lap of 115.001 mph, but he suffered a failed clutch. Cumming's second attempt run managed only a 112.563 mph, just 0.66 seconds shy of bumping Snowberger from the pole.

Shorty Cantlon was kept off the track for the whole weekend, still awaiting an engine rebuild. He was expected to qualify on Tuesday. Louis Meyer, another favorite, took to the track to make an attempt in the 16-cylinder Sampson Special. He came down the mainstretch, but lost control in turn one, brushing the inside and outside wall. He drove back to the pits with a bent frame, and would be forced to make repairs.

Defending pole position and race winner Billy Arnold was having trouble finding speed over the past couple of days, but scrambled to make an attempt late in the day on Saturday. He wheeled to the line at 7:08 p.m., past the deadline for the track to close. Officials decided to allow the run, and his four-lap average of 113.848 mph tentatively took the pole position. After the run, some drivers protested, and during a post-qualifying inspection, it was found that Arnold's brake cables were not connected. During the rush to get the car on the track, the crew had neglected to connect the brake cables, and technical committee chairman Louis H. Schwitzer disallowed the run.

Pos No. Name Lap 1
Lap 2
Lap 3
Lap 4
Average Speed
1 4   Russ Snowberger 112.542 112.542 113.023 113.080 112.796
2 3   Bill Cummings 111.579 112.824 112.938 112.923 112.563
3 31   Paul Bost (R) 111.510 112.164 112.374 112.458 112.125
4 5   Deacon Litz 110.947 111.386 111.635 112.164 111.531
5 25   Ernie Triplett 112.191 110.592 111.193 110.294 111.034
6 39   Babe Stapp 110.429 110.105 110.375 109.596 110.125
7 17   Speed Gardner 109.556 109.569 110.335 109.676 109.820
8 34   Fred Frame 110.524 108.696 109.329 108.565 109.273
9 36   Stubby Stubblefield (R) 108.985 108.486 108.630 109.091 108.797
10 19   Ralph Hepburn 107.656 107.810 108.643 107.630 107.933
11 32   Phil Pardee (R) 107.591 107.746 108.134 107.617 107.772
12 57   Luther Johnson (R) 106.257 108.056 107.940 108.382 107.652
13 23   Louis Schneider 107.901 107.527 106.952 106.471 107.210
14 28   Cliff Bergere 106.207 106.749 107.130 107.041 106.781
15 27   Chet Miller 106.193 106.458 105.845 106.245 106.185
16 41   Joe Russo (R) 105.461 105.758 105.312 102.810 104.822
17 8   Dave Evans 96.577 96.267 97.213 97.464 96.871
  7   Lou Meyer (W) Hit wall       Incomplete
DQ 1   Billy Arnold (W) 113.536 114.242 113.910 113.708 113.848*

* Disqualified

Sunday May 24Edit

The second day of time trials was held on Sunday May 24. The track was for available for qualifying from 1 p.m. to 7:01 p.m. (sundown).[22] Only two cars completed qualifying runs. One day after having his run disallowed, Billy Arnold put his car in the field at 116.080 mph. he became the fastest qualifier in the field.

During a practice run, the car of Floyd "Sparky" Sparks caught on fire down the backstretch, ignited from an oil or gasoline leak. Attempting to close off the fuel line, he hit the retaining wall in turn three. The car was badly burned. Sparks would not be able to qualify.

Tony Gulotta was the only other driver to complete a qualifying attempt. Gulotta left the Bowes Seal Fast team and instead moved over to the Hunt Special entered by Ab Jenkins. Freddy Winnai took his old seat. Gulotta would have been fast enough for the second row, but as a second day qualifier, he would line up 19th on the grid. Lou Moore tried to qualify Pete DePaolo's Boyle Valve Special, but a broken clutch prevented the attempt. At the end of the day, the field was filled to 19 cars, with 21 spots remaining.

Pos No. Name Lap 1
Lap 2
Lap 3
Lap 4
Average Speed
18 1   Billy Arnold (W) 116.009 116.294 116.505 115.518 116.080
19 37   Tony Gulotta 110.497 111.885 112.122 112.416 111.725
  • Source: The Indianapolis News[26]

Monday May 25Edit

The third day of qualifying was held Monday May 25, with the track available from 2 p.m. to 7:02 p.m. (sundown).[22] The day was marred by the fatal accident of Joe Caccia and his riding mechanic Clarence Grover. Caccia was on the track in the morning for a practice run, when the car skidded out of control entering turn 2. The car slid about 150 feet, and then slid into the outside barrier. The car ripped a hole through the outside retaining wall, hurtled 100 feet down the embankment, and crashed into a tree. Both drivers were likely thrown from the car, landed next to it, and the car had burst into flames. Both drivers were killed instantly, and were enveloped by the flames.[27]

Five cars completed qualification runs, filling the field to 24 cars. Jimmy Gleason (111.400 mph) was the fastest car of the day. Frank Farmer, formerly of the M.A. Yagle entry, took over the Jones-Miller Special, and was the second-fastest car of the day.

Still yet to qualify was Shorty Cantlon, who practiced unofficially over 118 mph, but suffered a broken universal joint during the day.

Pos No. Name Lap 1
Lap 2
Lap 3
Lap 4
Average Speed
20 33   Jimmy Gleason 111.386 111.372 111.180 111.663 111.400
21 67   Francis Quinn (R) 110.633 110.375 112.122 112.177 111.321
22 35   Frank Farmer 106.952 108.382 108.604 109.290 108.303
23 12   Phil Shafer 105.325 105.461 104.676 104.956 105.103
24 48   John Boling 102.214 103.842 102.215 103.187 102.860
  • Source: The Indianapolis News[28]

Tuesday May 26Edit

The fourth day of qualifying was held Tuesday May 26, with the track available from 2 p.m. to 7:02 p.m. (sundown).[22] Nine cars completed runs, led by Lou Meyer in the Samson Special. Meyer was qualified comfortably, though probably below his potential speed, said to be playing it safe after his crash on Saturday. After considerable delay, Shorty Cantlon put his 16-cylinder machine in the field, as did Leon Duray. Duray had been suffering from overheating issues all week, and observers noted he qualified with water boiling from the radiator, indicating the problems were still not solved.

Pos No. Name Lap 1
Lap 2
Lap 3
Lap 4
Average Speed
25 7   Lou Meyer (W) 113.953 113.236 113.536 113.364 113.522
26 2   Shorty Cantlon 111.331 110.281 109.743 110.146 110.372
27 16   Frank Brisko 106.107 106.032 106.345 106.660 106.286
28 24   Freddy Winnai 104.408 105.870 106.245 107.066 105.899
29 54   Leon Duray 103.365 103.579 102.987 102.611 103.134
30 44   George Howie (R) 102.857 103.199 103.128 102.354 102.844
31 72   Al Aspen (R) 102.203 102.951 102.308 102.576 102.509
32 58   George Wingerter (R) 99.580 100.200 100.503 100.279 100.139
33 49   Harry Butcher 99.130 99.913 99.393 99.536 99.343
  45   Marion Trexler 94 94     Incomplete
  9   Gordon Condon         Incomplete
  • Source: The Indianapolis News[29]

Wednesday May 27Edit

The final day of qualifying was held Wednesday May 26, with the track available from 2 p.m. to 7:04 p.m. (sundown).[22] The day opening with seven spots remaining in the grid. Out of a total of 72 entries, upwards of twenty cars were considered available for time trials.

During a busy day of track activity, a total of eight cars qualified for the starting field, filling the grid to 40 cars. At least twelve other cars attempted to qualify, but were too slow or failed to complete their run. The fastest car of the day was Gene Haustein (107.823 mph), followed by Myron Stevens.

Car owner Fred Clemmons managed to get both of his Hoosier Pete entries qualified, despite the cars only arriving at the track for the first time Wednesday morning. Billy Winn and Herman Schurch both took to the track for shake down laps at slow speed, and practiced for only about 45 minutes. The cars were brought to the garage for adjustments to the springs and shock absorbers, and later in the afternoon were safely qualified to the grid with only about 20 laps of practice each.

Wilbur Shaw and Ralph DePalma were both at the track Wednesday, looking to qualify. Officials deemed that DePalma had not arrived in enough time to qualify, and the car he was to drive had not shown sufficient speed. Shaw took to the track for a qualifying attempt late in the day, but he pulled off with a broken crankshaft before starting the run.

With less than fifteen minutes remaining in the day, Joe Huff was the final qualifier. Huff would have "crowded out" Harry Butcher, the slowest qualifier. After qualifying was over, however, Peter Kreis in the Coleman Special withdrew due to handling problems. As a result, Harry Butcher in the Butcher Brothers Special was restored to the starting field.

The track was to be available on Thursday for final "carburation tests." No track activity was scheduled for Friday.

Pos No. Name Lap 1
Lap 2
Lap 3
Lap 4
Average Speed
34 26   Gene Haustein (R) 107.823 107.953 108.551 109.263 108.395  
35 21   Myron Stevens (R) 108.084 107.258 107.501 107.092 107.463  
36 55   Billy Winn (R) 103.878 105.522 105.345 106.408 105.405  
37 59   Sam Ross 106.070 104.846 104.603 103.093 104.642 Bumped Decker
38 14   Lou Moore 100.435 101.420 105.845 107.540 103.725  
39 10   Herman Schurch 103.914 104.034 102.041 101.443 102.845 Bumped Chamberlain
40 69   Joe Huff 101.660 102.145 102.857 102.592 102.386  
Failed to qualify
WD   Peter Kreis 102.599 102.110 103.022 103.722 102.386 Withdrew
68   Ted Chamberlain 99.075 99.294 99.591 98.771 99.182 Bumped by Schurch
  Rick Decker 96.717 99.097 97.224 97.234 98.061 Bumped by Ross
29   L. L. Corum 97.826 98.200 97.255 96.298 97.389 Too slow
46   Bill Denver 96.164 96.630 96.144 95.673 96.085 Bumped by Decker
45   C. C. Reeder 95.592 96.010 95.694 95.278 95.643  
53   Joe Thomas 89.295 92.034 92.270 92.081 91.403  
66   Benny Brandfon 89.047 89.091 88.114 88.002 88.561 Below 90 mph minimum speed
15   Bert Karnatz 102.203 100.773 100.919   Incomplete Burned bearing
63   Malcolm Fox 102.203 102.529     Incomplete Broken connecting rod
56   Jimmy Patterson 93.091 93.950     Incomplete Engine failure
6   Wilbur Shaw         Incomplete Pulled off track
  • Source: The Indianapolis News[30]

Starting gridEdit

Row Inside Middle Outside
1   Russ Snowberger   Bill Cummings   Paul Bost (R)
2   Deacon Litz   Ernie Triplett   Babe Stapp
3   Speed Gardner   Fred Frame   Stubby Stubblefield (R)
4   Ralph Hepburn   Phil Pardee (R)   Luther Johnson (R)
5   Louis Schneider   Cliff Bergere   Chet Miller
6   Joe Russo (R)   Dave Evans   Billy Arnold (W)
7   Tony Gulotta   Jimmy Gleason   Francis Quinn (R)
8   Frank Farmer   Phil Shafer   John Boling
9   Lou Meyer (W)   Shorty Cantlon   Frank Brisko
10   Freddy Winnai   Leon Duray   George Howie (R)
11   Al Aspen (R)   George Wingerter (R)   Harry Butcher
12   Gene Haustein (R)   Myron Stevens (R)   Billy Winn (R)
13   Sam Ross   Lou Moore   Herman Schurch
14   Joe Huff    


Failed to qualifyEdit

Race recapEdit


Overnight and morning rain delayed the start from 10:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Indianapolis Drum and Bugle Corps. paraded and entertained the early arriving fans, including Governor Harry G. Leslie and his entourage of seven other state governors. At noon, pace car driver Willard "Big Boy" Rader guided the field in the Cadillac 370 V-12 pace car for one unscored pace lap. Speedway general manager Theodore E. Meyers rode as a passenger. Rader and Meyers pulled over on the mainstretch, and the green flag was displayed for the flying start. The race began with Paul Bost grabbing the lead from the outside of the front row. Bost led the first two laps. Bill Cummings took the lead for laps 3–6.[32]

Defending winner Billy Arnold, who started 18th (and was the fastest qualifier), went on a tear through the field at the start. He passed 17 cars, and took the lead on lap 7. He picked up where he left off a year earlier, and started pulling out to about a 15-second lead.

After suffering constant overheating problems during practice and time trials, Leon Duray pitted his car after only six laps. The overheating problems persisted and he finished 37th.

First halfEdit

On lap 33,[33] rain returned to the area, and brought out the yellow flag. The race was slowed and run under the yellow flag for about the next 28 laps. Drivers were required to slow down to about an 80 mph pace, and passing was not allowed unless except those cars that entered the pit area.[34]

The drizzling stopped, and the green flag came back out on the 61st lap. Only a few laps later, the yellow flag came out again when Wilbur Shaw (driving relief for Phil Pardee) wrecked spectacularly in turn three. The car leaped over the outside wall, and down the embankment. Shaw was uninjured, and walked back to the pits, ready to relieve another driver. While the crash was being cleaned up, more rain began to fall, and the yellow remained out for several minutes more.[33][34]

By lap 70, the rain had stopped and the green flag was back out with Billy Arnold still leading. Ralph Hepburn was running second, Tony Gulotta third, Russ Snowberger fourth, and Fred Frame fifth.[34] Bill Cummings dropped out after completing 70 laps due to an oil leak. On lap 94, Cummins took over the car of Deacon Litz. Also dropping out early with an oil leak was Louis Meyer (28 laps). He got back in the race on lap 73, taking over as relief for Myron Stevens.

Billy Arnold continued to lead at the halfway point.

Second halfEdit

Louis Schneider made his first and only pit stop on lap 106, taking on gasoline and oil, as well as changing the right rear tire. After surviving a spectacular crash in the first half, Wilbur Shaw was back in the race on lap 118, this time driving a stint of relief for Jimmy Gleason.[35]

After leading 155 laps, Billy Arnold crashed on lap 162. In turn four, Arnold spun, and lost a wheel. He was hit by the car of Luther Johnson. Arnold's car burst into flames, and hit the concrete wall. It slid for about 200 feet, and Arnold and his riding mechanic Spider Matlock were thrown from the machine. A wheel from Arnold's wrecked car bounced over the wall and across the street, striking and killing an 11-year-old boy playing in his yard. Johnson's car flipped over, but he was not seriously injured.

Louis Schneider took the lead after Arnold's crash. Five laps later Tony Gulotta crashed in nearly the same spot as Arnold. Gulotta's car slid into the inside wall, then bounced up to the outside guardrail, ripping a portion of the barrier out, Neither Gulotta nor his riding mechanic were seriously injured.[35]

With 30 laps to go, Schneider and second place Bill Cummings were nose-to-tail, battling for the lead. Cummings had taken over the car of Deacon Litz. Cummings hit the wall in the south short chute on lap 177, leaving Schneider all alone out in front. Schneider led the final 39 laps en route to victory, and won by 43.19 seconds over second place Fred Frame. At the time, it was the second-closest margin of victory in Indianapolis 500 history.

Polesitter Russ Snowberger was one of three drivers in the top five to complete the race without relief help. The car of Myron Stevens, with Louis Meyer driving relief for most of the race, charged from 35th starting position to 4th place, a remarkable gain of 31 positions at the finish.

Box scoreEdit

Finish Start No Name Qual Rank Laps Led Status
1 13 23   Louis Schneider 107.210 22 200 39 Running
2 8 34   Fred Frame 109.273 14 200 0 Running
3 10 19   Ralph Hepburn
(Relieved by Peter Kreis Laps 90–143)
107.933 18 200 0 Running
4 35 21   Myron Stevens (R)
(Relieved by Louis Meyer Laps 73–200)
107.463 21 200 0 Running
5 1 4   Russ Snowberger 112.796 3 200 0 Running
6 20 33   Jimmy Gleason
(Relieved by Wilbur Shaw Laps 118–169)
111.400 8 200 0 Running
7 5 25   Ernie Triplett 111.034 10 200 0 Running
8 9 36   Stubby Stubblefield (R) 108.797 15 200 0 Running
9 14 28   Cliff Bergere 106.781 23 200 0 Running
10 15 27   Chet Miller
(Relieved by Bryan Saulpaugh Laps 104–152)
106.185 25 200 0 Running
11 30 44   George Howie (R)
(Relieved by L.L. Corum Laps 86–112)
(Relieved by Herman Schurch Laps 113–200)
102.844 35 200 0 Running
12 23 12   Phil Shafer 105.103 28 200 0 Running
13 17 8   Dave Evans 96.871 40 200 0 Running
14 31 72   Al Aspen (R)
(Relieved by Bill Denver Laps 112–161)
102.509 36 200 0 Running
15 37 59   Sam Ross 104.642 30 200 0 Running
16 40 69   Joe Huff
(Relieved by Speed Gardner Laps 117–148)
102.386 37 180 0 Flagged
17 4 5   Deacon Litz
(Relieved by Bill Cummings Laps 94–177)
111.531 7 177 0 Crash T1
18 19 37   Tony Gulotta 111.725 6 167 0 Crash T4
19 18 1   Billy Arnold (W) 116.080 1 162 155 Crash T4
20 12 57   Luther Johnson (R) 107.652 20 156 0 Crash T4
21 36 55   Billy Winn (R)
(Relieved by James Patterson Laps 55–121)
105.405 27 138 0 Flagged
22 27 16   Frank Brisko 106.286 24 138 0 Steering arm
23 34 26   Gene Haustein (R) 108.395 16 117 0 Lost wheel
24 16 41   Joe Russo (R) 104.822 29 109 0 Oil leak
25 7 17   Speed Gardner
(Relieved by Wesley Crawford Laps 58–107)
109.820 13 107 0 Frame
26 38 14   Lou Moore 103.725 31 103 0 Differential
27 26 2   Shorty Cantlon 110.372 11 88 0 Rod
28 2 3   Bill Cummings 112.563 4 70 4 Oil line
29 28 24   Freddy Winnai 105.899 26 60 0 Crash NC
30 11 32   Phil Pardee (R)
(Relieved by Wilbur Shaw Laps 27–60)
107.772 19 60 0 Crash T3
31 3 31   Paul Bost (R) 112.125 5 35 2 Crankshaft
32 22 35   Frank Farmer 108.303 17 32 0 Rod bearing
33 32 58   George Wingerter (R) 100.139 38 29 0 Fuel tank
34 25 7   Lou Meyer (W) 113.953 2 28 0 Oil leak
35 6 39   Babe Stapp 110.125 12 9 0 Oil leak/clutch
36 24 48   John Boling 102.860 33 7 0 Rod
37 29 54   Leon Duray 103.134 32 6 0 Overheating
38 33 49   Harry Butcher 99.343 39 6 0 Crash T4
39 39 10   Herman Schurch 102.845 34 5 0 Transmission
40 21 67   Francis Quinn (R) 111.321 9 3 0 Rear axle

Race detailsEdit

  • For 1931, riding mechanics were required.[37]
  • Dave Evans drove the Cummins Diesel Special entered by Clessie Cummins. During time trials, a special exception rule was made for diesel-powered engines which stated that if a diesel entry completed the four-lap qualifying run in excess of 80 mph average, it would qualify for the field, regardless of overall speed rank.[23][24] Evans qualified at over 96 mph, but ranked 43rd overall. Evans was given the 40th and last starting position. On race day he finished 13th, performing the remarkable feat of completed the entire 500 miles without a pit stop.[38] At some point during the race, Evans and his riding mechanic Thane Houser noticed that the water temperature was running high. Houser signaled back to the pit area, but Jimmy Doolittle who was working as the pit communicator, could not understand the message. Doolittle had misplaced a piece of paper which contained the key to the hand signals. Evans continued, having received no instruction from the pit area. After the race, Doolittle found the paper stuffed in his belt of his coat.[39]


See alsoEdit

Works citedEdit


  1. ^ a b Fox, Jack C. (1994). The Illustrated History of the Indianapolis 500 1911-1994 (4th ed.). Carl Hungness Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 0-915088-05-3.
  2. ^ "Crowd Estimated at 165,000 Watches Race from Grand Stands, Boxes, Field". The Indianapolis Star. May 31, 1931. p. 12. Retrieved June 3, 2017 – via 
  3. ^ "500-Mile Auto Race Is Won By Schneider. Ex-Motorcycle Policeman Is First at Indianapolis as 150,000 Look On". The New York Times. May 31, 1931. Retrieved 2012-10-08. Many Spills Mark Event. Arnold, 1930 Champion, Crashes at 400 Miles When Leading by About 7 Miles. Frame Gets Second Place. Hepburn, Meyer and Snowberger Next Across. Drizzle Adds to the Drivers' Perlis. Arnold's Car Catches Fire. Averages 96,629 Miles an Hour. Arnold Sets New Mark. Schneider's Patience Rewarded. Drivers Resume Breakneck Speed. Fate catapulted Louie Schneider, onetime Indianapolis motorcycle policeman, into a winner in a stunning upset at the 500-mile automobile race over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today.
  4. ^ Indianapolis Star/News 2002 Record & Fact Book
  5. ^ "Speedway Accident Costs Life of Youth". The Reading Eagle. Associated Press. May 31, 1931.
  6. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 2, 1931). "Entry List of Cars In Annual 500-Mile Race is Largest in History of Speedway". The Indianapolis News. p. 14. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  7. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 4, 1931). "Battle Royal of Cylinders to Feature Big Race Trials". The Indianapolis News. p. 18. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  8. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 6, 1931). "Cylinders Heard Clicking at Speedway". The Indianapolis News. p. 21. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  9. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 8, 1931). "Shipment of Speedy Race Jobs Arrives at Speedway". The Indianapolis News. p. 32. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  10. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 9, 1931). "Elimination Trials to Be Held at Speedway May 23". The Indianapolis News. p. 15. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  11. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 11, 1931). "Big Leon Duray Hopes to Give Race World Something New". The Indianapolis News. p. 21. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  12. ^ a b Sturm, William F. (May 13, 1931). "Speedway Appetizers". The Indianapolis News. p. 23. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  13. ^ a b Sturm, William F. (May 14, 1931). "Fair Weather Sends Speed Jobs Breezing Over Bricks". The Indianapolis News. p. 27. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  14. ^ Davidson, Donald (May 24, 1999). "Even blindfolded, Joe Russo could find his way around IMS". SpeedNet. Archived from the original on August 27, 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  15. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 15, 1931). "Super-Charged Cars of 1929 Faster Than Present Crop". The Indianapolis News. p. 34. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  16. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 16, 1931). "World-Wide Interest Will Focus on Cummins Diesel". The Indianapolis News. p. 17. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  17. ^ a b Sturm, William F. (May 18, 1931). "Speedway Appetizers". The Indianapolis News. p. 21. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  18. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 19, 1931). "Drivers Tune Steel Mounts for Qualification Tests". The Indianapolis News. p. 21. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  19. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 20, 1931). "Harry Miller and Bill White Silent on 16-Cylinder Car". The Indianapolis News. p. 23. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  20. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 21, 1931). "Much Rushing and Worry With Idle Gossip at Track". The Indianapolis News. p. 27. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  21. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 22, 1931). "Cantlon's Fast Car Out of First Trials With Accident". The Indianapolis News. p. 30. Retrieved April 8, 2015 – via 
  22. ^ a b c d e Sturm, William F. (May 23, 1931). "Wednesday Is Time Limit Placed by Track Officials". The Indianapolis News. p. 14. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via 
  23. ^ a b "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" - WIBC-AM, May 20, 2002
  24. ^ a b c Sturm, William F. (May 7, 1931). "Three Drivers Are Expected to Stage Thrilling Duel to Decide Fastest Car". The Indianapolis News. p. 20. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via 
  25. ^ "Oil-Burning Car Qualifies at 96". The Indianapolis News. May 23, 1931. p. 1. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via 
  26. ^ a b Sturm, William F. (May 25, 1931). "Qualification Trials To Continue Through Wednesday At Speedway Track". The Indianapolis News. p. 18. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via 
  27. ^ "Speedway Crash Kills Driver And Mechanic". The Indianapolis News. May 26, 1931. p. 1. Retrieved April 10, 2015 – via 
  28. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 26, 1931). "Drivers Scramble For Sixteen Remaining Places In Lineup At Speedway". The Indianapolis News. p. 18. Retrieved April 10, 2015 – via 
  29. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 26, 1931). "Many Drivers Scurry For Positions on Last Day of Qualification Trials". The Indianapolis News. p. 20. Retrieved April 10, 2015 – via 
  30. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 28, 1931). "Forty Cars, Meeting Qualification Tests, Make Ready For Start of 500-Mile Race". The Indianapolis News. p. 28. Retrieved April 10, 2015 – via 
  31. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
  32. ^ Sturm, William F. (May 30, 1931). "Showers Fail To Stop Event Despite Delay". The Indianapolis News. p. 20. Retrieved April 15, 2015 – via 
  33. ^ a b Sturm, William F. (May 17, 1932). "Speedway Officials Hope Yellow Flag Will Not Wave". The Indianapolis News. p. 17. Retrieved April 20, 2015 – via 
  34. ^ a b c Blanchard, Harold F. (1931), 8 Semi-Stock Cars Finish 500-mile Grind, MoToR - Reprinted in Floyd Clymer's Indianapolis 500 Mile Race History (1946)
  35. ^ a b "Official Statistics Compiled on Running of 500-Mile Race at Speedway". The Indianapolis News. June 1, 1931. p. 20. Retrieved April 15, 2015 – via 
  36. ^ "Indianapolis 500 1931". Ultimate Racing History. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  37. ^ Blazier, John E.; Rollings, Tom (1994). Forgotten Heroes of the Speedways: The Riding Mechanics.
  38. ^ Kettlewell, Mike. "Indianapolis: The Richest Race in the World", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 9, p.1015.
  39. ^ Davidson, Donald (May 16, 1999). "Cummins team completed '31 race despite signal mix-up". SpeedNet. Retrieved April 14, 2015.[dead link]

1930 Indianapolis 500
Billy Arnold
1931 Indianapolis 500
Louis Schneider
1932 Indianapolis 500
Fred Frame