Floyd Marion Roberts (February 12, 1900 - May 30, 1939) was a Championship Car racing driver from Jamestown, North Dakota. He won the 1938 Indianapolis 500 with a then-record speed of 117.2 mph (188.6 km/h). He led for 92 laps. The following year, 1939, driving the same car, he was killed in a crash on the backstretch after hitting a wooden fence at 100 mph (160 km/h). Roberts was the first defending champion of the race to have been killed in competition. According to reports, Roberts intended to retire following the race.
Floyd Marion Roberts
February 12, 1900
|Died||May 30, 1939 (aged 39)|
|Cause of death||Car crash|
He was born on February 12, 1900 in Jamestown, North Dakota. Father, Frederick Augustus Roberts and Mother, Ruby Lenore Roberts. Around 1920 Roberts moved to California.  A story in the Van Nuys News reports that Floyd Roberts married Miss Edna Vincent after a surprise shower for the couple on 18 September 1925. In 1924, prior to his marriage, he was already becoming known in auto racing circles. He raced at the Ascot Speedway in California and participated in a series of races in Hawaii.
At the 1939 Indianapolis 500 Roberts was on lap 106, when the car driven by Bob Swanson lost control and went sideways. Roberts' car struck Swanson's causing Swanson's car to flip over and catch fire ejecting Swanson. Roberts' car went over the outer wall, through a fence and headfirst into a tree. Attempting to avoid the accident, Chet Miller swerved into the debris field. His car flipped, and went into the inner wall. Two spectators were also injured by flying debris. The three drivers were taken to hospitals, while it took over 30 minutes to clear the burning wreck of Swanson's car from the track. Roberts died instantly due to brain injuries. His death was announced before the race was completed.
Indy 500 resultsEdit
- Associated Press (May 31st, 1939) "Shaw is winner at Indianapolis" (retrieved 6/11/2007 from archive of Moberly Monitor-Index)
- The Van Nuys News, Van Nuys, California, 25 November 1924, Page 4.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-08-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link))
- Reginald Cleveland (May 31, 1939). "Roberts, 1938 Victor, Dies in Triple Crash as Shaw Takes Indianapolis Race. Just After Accident At Indianapolis And Finish Of The Race". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
Death in the afternoon struck at the twenty-seventh running of the 500 mile Speedway race today as Wilbur Shaw of Indianapolis, who won in 1938 ... Floyd Roberts, last year's popular victor, died in the Methodist Hospital ....
| Indianapolis 500 Winner
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