1955 Indianapolis 500
The 39th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 30, 1955. The event was part of the 1955 AAA National Championship Trail and was race 3 of 7 in the 1955 World Championship of Drivers.
Winning car of the 1955 Indianapolis 500
|Date||30 May 1955|
|Official name||39th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes|
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.023 km (2.5 mi)|
|Distance||200 laps, 804.672 km (500 mi)|
|Weather||Cool and windy|
|Second||H. A. Chapman|
The race is notable to many as the race in which Bill Vukovich was killed in a crash while seemingly on his way to an unprecedented third consecutive Indy 500.
Time trials was scheduled for four days.
Saturday May 14 – Pole Day time trialsEdit
Gusty winds, as well as the threat of rain, was observed on pole day, therefore nearly all of the competitors stayed off the track. Around the garage area, the drivers and teams agreed amongst themselves to sit out time trials for the afternoon, and instead qualify together in better conditions on Sunday. However, in the final 20 minutes, Jerry Hoyt, who had not been informed about the agreement, suddenly put his car in line, and pulled away for an unexpected qualifying attempt. His speed of 140.045 mph was not spectacular, but as the fastest (and only) car thus far of the day, he sat on the pole position. Without hesitation, Tony Bettenhausen, Sr. took to the track moments later. After two fast laps, he was slowed by a gust of wind, and qualified second. Sam Hanks and Pat O'Connor got their cars ready, but neither were able to complete attempts. The day closed with only two cars in the field, and Hoyt the surprising pole winner – to the dismay of several in the garage area.
Sunday May 15 – Second day time trialsEdit
Qualifying resumed in better conditions, and most of the drivers who stayed off the track Saturday took to the track on Sunday. Jack McGrath (142.580 mph) was the fastest qualifier, and lined up third. Hoyt's pole-winning speed from the day before ended up being only the 8th-fastest overall in the field – a record slowest ranked pole speed.
Near the end of the day, Manny Ayulo crashed due to a possible steering fault and died the following day.
Saturday May 21 – Third day time trialsEdit
Sunday May 22 – Fourth day time trialsEdit
|1||14||6||Bob Sweikert||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.99||11||200||86||3:53:59.53||8|
|2||2||10|| Tony Bettenhausen
(Relieved by Paul Russo; 77 laps)
|3||10||15||Jimmy Davies||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140.27||5||200||0||+3:32.36||4|
|5||7||77|| Walt Faulkner
(Relieved by Bill Homeier; 24 laps)
|6||8||19||Andy Linden||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.09||22||200||0||+5:57.94|
|7||16||71||Al Herman (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.81||15||200||0||+6:24.24|
|8||19||29||Pat O'Connor||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.19||21||200||0||+6:41.60|
|9||17||48||Jimmy Daywalt||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.41||18||200||0||+7:09.81|
|10||12||89||Pat Flaherty||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140.14||7||200||0||+7:46.54|
|11||18||98||Duane Carter||Kuzma-Offenhauser||139.33||19||197||0||+3 Laps|
|12||25||41||Chuck Weyant (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||138.06||25||196||0||+4 Laps|
|13||32||83||Eddie Johnson||Trevis-Offenhauser||134.44||32||196||0||+4 Laps|
|14||20||33||Jim Rathmann||Epperly-Offenhauser||138.7||24||191||0||+9 Laps|
|16||9||22||Cal Niday||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140.3||4||170||0||Accident|
|17||24||99||Art Cross||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||138.75||23||168||24||Engine|
|18||31||81||Shorty Templeman (R)||Trevis-Offenhauser||135.01||31||142||0||Transmission|
|19||6||8||Sam Hanks||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140||10||134||0||Transmission|
|20||28||31||Keith Andrews (R)||Schroeder-Offenhauser||136.04||28||120||0||Fuel Pump|
|21||27||16||Johnnie Parsons (W)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.8||27||119||0||Magneto|
|22||13||37||Eddie Russo (R)||Pawl-Offenhauser||140.11||8||112||0||Ignition|
|23||23||49||Ray Crawford (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.2||20||111||0||Engine|
|24||11||1||Jimmy Bryan||Kuzma-Offenhauser||140.16||6||90||31||Fuel Pump|
|25||5||4||Bill Vukovich (W)✝||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||141.07||3||56||50||Died in crash||12|
|26||3||3||Jack McGrath||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||142.58||1||54||6||Magneto|
|27||22||42||Al Keller (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.55||17||54||0||Accident|
|29||26||39||Johnny Boyd (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.98||26||53||0||Accident|
|30||29||68||Ed Elisian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.33||29||53||0||Retirement|
|31||1||23||Jerry Hoyt||Stevens-Offenhauser||140.04||9||40||0||Oil Leak|
|32||4||14||Fred Agabashian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||141.93||2||39||0||Spun Off|
Failed to QualifyEdit
The race was carried live on the IMS Radio Network. Sid Collins served as chief announcer. The broadcast was carried by 237 affiliates in all 48 states, as well as Armed Forces Radio. The broadcast was dedicated to the memory of Wilbur Shaw, who was killed in a plane crash in October.
Luke Walton reported from the north pits for the third year. Charlie Brockman, in his fourth appearance on the network, conducted the winner's interview in victory lane.
All five of the major radio stations in the Indianapolis area carried the broadcast. The broadcast was notable as it reported the fatal crash of Bill Vukovich.
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network|
|Booth Announcers||Turn Reporters||Pit/garage reporters|
South Turns: Bill Frosch
|Luke Walton (north)
Greg Smith (south)
Charlie Brockman(victory lane)
- Pole position: Jerry Hoyt – 1:04.27 (while Hoyt started on the pole, Jack McGrath set the fastest time but started on the outside of the first row)
- Fastest Lead Lap: Bill Vukovich – 1:03.67
- Shared Drives:
- While in the lead, Bill Vukovich hit the 3-car pileup of Al Keller, Johnny Boyd, and Rodger Ward. He was killed (by fracture to the skull) when his car became airborne and went out of the course on the back long straightaway, landing upside down and on fire. His death concluded a streak of three straight years leading the most laps in the race (likely to have been four straight, 1955 inclusive), a feat unequaled since.
- Formula 1 championship debut for Keith Andrews, Johnny Boyd, Ray Crawford, Al Herman, Al Keller, Eddie Russo, Shorty Templeman and Chuck Weyant
Championship standings after the raceEdit
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1955 Indianapolis 500.|
- World Drivers' Championship standings
|1||Maurice Trintignant||11 1⁄3|
|2||Juan Manuel Fangio||10|
|1||4||Nino Farina||6 1⁄3|
- Note: Only the top five positions are included.
- Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats – Official Site
- 1955 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network: Re-released by "Speedway Audio" – WIBC-AM (2004)
- 1955 Indianapolis 500 at RacingReference.info (Relief driver statistics)
- 1955 Indianapolis 500 Film - Oklahoma Historical Society Video and Film Archives
1955 Monaco Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1955 Belgian Grand Prix
1954 Indianapolis 500
|1955 Indianapolis 500
1956 Indianapolis 500