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The 34th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 30, 1950. The event was part of the 1950 AAA National Championship Trail. It was also race 3 of 7 in the 1950 World Championship of Drivers and paid points towards the World Championship. The event, however, did not attract any European entries for 1950. Giuseppe Farina originally planned to enter, but his car never arrived. The Indianapolis 500 would be included on the World Championship calendar through 1960.

1950 Indianapolis 500
Winning car of the 1950 Indianapolis 500
Winning car of the 1950 Indianapolis 500
Race details
Date 30 May 1950 (1950-05-30)
Official name 34th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes
Location Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.023 km (2.5 mi)
Distance 138 laps, 555.224 km (345 mi)
Weather Rainy
Attendance 175,000[1]
Pole position
Driver Wynn's Friction / Kurtis Kraft
Time 4:27.97 (4 laps)
Podium
First Wynn's Friction / Kurtis Kraft
Second Lou Moore
Third Howard Keck

The race was originally scheduled for 200 laps (500 miles), but was stopped after 138 laps (345 miles) due to rain.

A rumor circulated in racing circles during and after this race that Johnnie Parsons's team discovered an irreparable crack in the engine block on race morning. The discovery supposedly precipitated Parsons to charge for the lap leader prizes.[2] Presumably, he set his sights on leading as many laps as possible before the engine inevitably was to fail. Furthermore, the race ending early due to rain supposedly saved Parsons's day allowing him to secure the victory before the engine let go. However, the engine block crack was proved to be an urban myth,[3] and it was said to be a very minor but acceptable level of porosity, which did not significantly affect the performance.

Parsons's win saw him score 9 points move to equal first in the first ever World Drivers' Championship alongside Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio, and also saw him become the first American to win a World Championship race. Despite the 500 being his only race in the 1950 World Championship, it would be enough to see him finish 6th in points.

During the month, Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck were at the track to film scenes for the film To Please a Lady. Stanwyck was on hand in victory lane after the race for the traditional celebratory kiss to the winner.

Time trialsEdit

 
1950 Cummins Diesel

Time trials was scheduled for six days.

  • Saturday May 13: Walt Faulkner won the pole position with a record run of 134.343 mph.
  • Sunday May 14
  • Saturday May 20: The third day of time trials saw six cars complete runs. Bayliss Levrett (131.181 mph) was the fastest of the afternoon. Charles Van Acker was ruled physically disqualified, after a crash he suffered at the Speedway from 1949.[4]
  • Sunday May 21
  • Saturday May 27: The day began with 11 spots open in the grid.[5]
  • Sunday May 28: Only one driver managed to bump his way into the field. Johnny McDowell bumped Cliff Griffith, while 15 other cars failed to make the field. The two Novi entries failed to qualify – Chet Miller had engine trouble in one of the cars, while the other snapped a supercharger shaft. Rain and two crashes cut the track time to less than three hours. Cy Marshall was among the few left in line when time trials closed at 6 p.m.[6]

ClassificationEdit

Pos Grid No Driver Constructor Qual Rank Laps Led Time/Retired Points
1 5 1   Johnnie Parsons Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 132.040 8 138 115 2:46:55.97 91
2 10 3   Bill Holland (W) Deidt-Offenhauser 130.480 21 137 8 + 1 Lap 6
3 3 31   Mauri Rose (W) Deidt-Offenhauser 132.310 6 137 15 + 1 Lap 4
4 12 54   Cecil Green (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 132.910 2 137 0 + 1 Lap 3
5 9 17   Joie Chitwood
(Relieved by Tony Bettenhausen)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 130.750 19 136 0 + 2 Laps 1
1
6 23 8   Lee Wallard Moore-Offenhauser 132.430 5 136 0 + 2 Laps  
7 1 98   Walt Faulkner (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.340 1 135 0 + 3 Laps  
8 4 5   George Connor Lesovsky-Offenhauser 132.160 7 135 0 + 3 Laps  
9 19 7   Paul Russo Nichels-Offenhauser 130.790 18 135 0 + 3 Laps  
10 11 59   Pat Flaherty (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 129.600 30 135 0 + 3 Laps  
11 16 2   Myron Fohr Marchese-Offenhauser 131.710 11 133 0 + 5 Laps  
12 13 18   Duane Carter Stevens-Offenhauser 131.660 12 133 0 + 5 Laps  
13 26 15   Mack Hellings Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 130.680 20 132 0 + 6 Laps  
14 6 49   Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 131.860 10 131 0 Spun Off  
15 24 55   Troy Ruttman Lesovsky-Offenhauser 131.910 9 130 0 + 8 Laps  
16 31 75   Gene Hartley (R) Langley-Offenhauser 129.210 32 128 0 + 10 Laps  
17 27 22   Jimmy Davies (R) Ewing-Offenhauser 130.400 23 128 0 + 10 Laps  
18 33 62   Johnny McDowell Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 129.690 27 128 0 + 10 Laps  
19 20 4   Walt Brown Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 130.450 22 127 0 + 11 Laps  
20 14 21   Spider Webb Maserati-Offenhauser 129.740 26 126 0 + 12 Laps  
21 15 81   Jerry Hoyt (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 129.520 31 125 0 + 13 Laps  
22 29 27   Walt Ader (R) Rae-Offenhauser 129.940 25 123 0 + 15 Laps  
23 30 77   Jackie Holmes Olson-Offenhauser 129.690 28 123 0 Spun Off  
24 28 76   Jim Rathmann Wetteroth-Offenhauser 129.950 24 122 0 + 16 Laps  
25 21 12   Henry Banks
(Relieved by Fred Agabashian)
Maserati-Offenhauser 129.640 29 112 0 Oil Line  
26 22 67   Bill Schindler (R) Snowberger-Offenhauser 132.690 4 111 0 Transmission  
27 17 24   Bayliss Levrett
(Relieved by Bill Cantrell)
Adams-Offenhauser 131.180 14 108 0 Oil Pressure  
28 2 28   Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 132.790 3 64 0 Oil Leak  
29 32 61   Jimmy Jackson Kurtis Kraft-Cummins 129.200 33 52 0 Compressor  
30 25 23   Sam Hanks Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 131.590 13 42 0 Oil Pressure  
31 8 14   Tony Bettenhausen Deidt-Offenhauser 130.940 16 30 0 Wheel Bearing  
32 18 45   Dick Rathmann (R) Watson-Offenhauser 130.920 17 25 0 Stalled  
33 7 69   Duke Dinsmore Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 131.060 15 10 0 Oil Leak  
Source:[7]
Notes
  • ^1 – Includes 1 point for fastest lead lap

(W) = past winner
(R) = rookie

NotesEdit

QualifyingEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Gap
1 98   Walt Faulkner Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:27.97
2 28   Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:31.10 + 3.13
3 31   Mauri Rose Deidt-Offenhauser 4:32.07 + 4.10
4 5   George Connor Lesovsky-Offenhauser 4:32.39 + 4.42
5 1   Johnnie Parsons Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:32.43 + 4.46
6 49   Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:33.00 + 5.03
7 69   Duke Dinsmore Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:34.67 + 6.70
8 14   Tony Bettenhausen Deidt-Offenhauser 4:34.92 + 6.95
9 17   Joie Chitwood Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:35.32 + 7.35
10 3   Bill Holland Deidt-Offenhauser 4:35.90 + 7.93
11 59   Pat Flaherty Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:37.76 + 9.79
12 54   Cecil Green Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:30.86 + 2.89
13 18   Duane Carter Stevens-Offenhauser 4:33.42 + 5.45
14 21   Spider Webb Maserati-Offenhauser 4:37.46 + 9.49
15 81   Jerry Hoyt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:37.95 + 9.98
16 2   Myron Fohr Marchese-Offenhauser 4:33.32 + 5.35
17 24   Bayliss Levrett Adams-Offenhauser 4:34.43 + 6.46
18 45   Dick Rathmann Watson-Offenhauser 4:34.96 + 6.99
19 7   Paul Russo Nichels-Offenhauser 4:35.25 + 7.28
20 4   Walt Brown Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:35.96 + 7.99
21 12   Henry Banks Maserati-Offenhauser 4:37.68 + 9.71
22 67   Bill Schindler Snowberger-Offenhauser 4:31.31 + 3.34
23 8   Lee Wallard Moore-Offenhauser 4:31.83 + 3.86
24 55   Troy Ruttman Lesovsky-Offenhauser 4:32.91 + 4.94
25 23   Sam Hanks Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:33.57 + 5.60
26 15   Mack Hellings Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:35.32 + 7.35
27 22   Jimmy Davies Ewing-Offenhauser 4:36.07 + 8.10
28 76   Jim Rathmann Wetteroth-Offenhauser 4:37.01 + 9.04
29 27   Walt Ader Rae-Offenhauser 4:37.05 + 9.08
30 77   Jackie Holmes Olson-Offenhauser 4:37.57 + 9.60
31 75   Gene Hartley Langley-Offenhauser 4:38.61 + 10.64
32 61   Jimmy Jackson Kurtis Kraft-Cummins 4:38.62 + 10.65
33 62   Johnny McDowell Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:37.58 + 9.61

First alternateEdit

No Driver Constructor
66   Cliff Griffith (R)[8] Miller-Offenhauser

Non-qualifiersEdit

No Driver Constructor
9   Andy Linden (R) Bromme-Offenhauser
9   Bud Rose (R) Bromme-Offenhauser
10   Bill Vukovich (R) Maserati-Maserati
10   Hal Cole Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser
16   Ted Duncan (R) Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser
19   Ralph Pratt (R) Bardazon-Offenhauser
19   Kenny Eaton (R) Bardazon-Offenhauser
25   Johnny Mauro Alfa Romeo-Alfa Romeo
26   George Fonder Deidt-Sparks
29   Charles Van Acker Stevens-Offenhauser
33   Joel Thorne Kurtis-Kraft-Sparks
34   Johnny Fedricks (R) Kupiec-Offenhauser
36   George Lynch Snowberger-Offenhauser
38   Duke Nalon Kurtis-Kraft-Novi
39   Danny Kladis Maserati-Maserati
41   Milt Fankhouser Stevens-Offenhauser
43   Chet Miller Kurtis-Kraft-Novi
44   Bill Cantrell Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser
47   Ralph Pratt (R) Gdula-Offenhauser
51   Mark Light (R) Stevens-Offenhauser
52   Mark Light (R) Meyer-Offenhauser
52   Dick Frazier (R) Meyer-Offenhauser
58   Billy Devore Scopa-Offenhauser
63   Joe James (R) Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser
63   Bob Gregg (R) Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser
64   Bob Sweikert (R) Wetteroth-Offenhauser
65   Marvin Burke (R) Kurtis-Kraft-Duray
65   Norm Houser Kurtis-Kraft-Duray
74   Carl Forberg (R) Miller-Offenhauser
78   Cy Marshall Miller-Miller
79   Chuck Leighton (R) Cantarano-Wayne
82   Joe James (R) Weidel-Mercury
83   Al Miller Miller-Miller
84   Mike Burch (R) Miller-Offenhauser
85   Manuel Ayulo Maserati-Offenhauser
85   Jim Rigsby (R) Maserati-Offenhauser
87   Bill Vukovich (R) Rounds Rocket-Offenhauser
99   Kenny Eaton (R) Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser
99   Emil Andres Kurtis-Kraft-Offenhauser

Championship standings after the raceEdit

World Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
  1   Nino Farina 9
  2   Juan Manuel Fangio 9
  31 3   Johnnie Parsons 9
  1 4   Luigi Fagioli 6
  1 5   Alberto Ascari 6
Source: [9]
  • Note: Only the top five positions are listed. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.

BroadcastingEdit

RadioEdit

The race was carried live on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the precursor to the IMS Radio Network. The broadcast was sponsored by Perfect Circle Piston Rings and Bill Slater served as the anchor. Sid Collins moved into the booth for the first time to serve as analyst, and conducted the victory lane interview at the conclusion of the race. The broadcast feature live coverage of the start, the finish, and live updates throughout the race.

Prior to the race, it was reported that Slater might miss the race, due to illness. WIBC personality Sid Collins was named as a replacement, however, Slater was able to arrive in time for race day. Collins, who had previously served as a turn reporter, was invited to be the co-anchor in the booth.[10] For the first time, Collins interviewed the winner in victory lane at the conclusion of the race. Collins claims he burned his trousers on Parsons's hot exhaust pipe during the interview, which took place in the rain.

Because the race was shortened, Mutual had to interrupt Queen For A Day to cover the finish of the abbreviated event. This was cited by some as a reason why the Speedway would begin flag-to-flag coverage in 1953.

Mutual Broadcasting System
Booth Announcers Turn Reporters Pit reporters

Booth Announcer: Bill Slater
Analyst: Sid Collins

South turns: E. Z. Gwynn
North turns: Jim Shelton

Gordon Graham
Sid Collins (victory lane)

TelevisionEdit

The race was carried live for the second year in a row on local television on WFBM-TV channel 6 of Indianapolis. Earl Townsend, Jr. was the announcer, along with Dick Pittenger and Paul Roberts. After the race, Speedway management disallowed WFBM from broadcasting the race live again, feeling that gate attendance had been negatively affected.

WFBM-TV
Play-by-play Pit reporters

Announcer: Earl Townsend, Jr
Color: Dick Pittenger

Paul Roberts

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Parsons Sets Record As Rain Halts 500-Mile Speedway Race". The Cincinnati Enquirer. May 31, 1950. p. 1. Retrieved June 3, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. 
  2. ^ "Great Moments From the Indy 500" (VanCamp's Pork and Beans Presents/Freetwood Sounds), 1975
  3. ^ "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" – WFNI, May 20, 2012
  4. ^ Vet Van Acker Is Ruled Out (May 22, 1950)
  5. ^ Speedway Qualifications End Tomorrow; 11 Vacancies
  6. ^ One Change In Lineup For Big Race (May 29, 1950)
  7. ^ "1950 Indianapolis 500". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  8. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
  9. ^ "Indianapolis 1950 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  10. ^ Davidson, Donald (2012-05-24). "IMS Radio Network celebrates 60th anniversary". Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Retrieved 2012-08-13.

External linksEdit


Previous race:
1950 Monaco Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1950 season
Next race:
1950 Swiss Grand Prix
Previous race:
1949 Indianapolis 500
Bill Holland
1950 Indianapolis 500
Johnnie Parsons
Next race:
1951 Indianapolis 500
Lee Wallard
Preceded by
121.327 mph
(1949 Indianapolis 500)
Record for the Indianapolis 500 fastest average speed
124.002
mph
Succeeded by
126.244 mph
(1951 Indianapolis 500)