Pat O'Connor (racing driver)
Pat O'Connor (October 9, 1928 – May 30, 1958) was an American racecar driver. He was killed in a 15-car pileup, after sustaining a fatal head injury after rolling his car and catching fire on the first lap of the 1958 Indianapolis 500.
|Born||October 9, 1928|
North Vernon, Indiana, United States
|Died||May 30, 1958 (aged 29)|
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Teams||Deidt, Kurtis Kraft, Schroeder|
|Entries||6 (5 starts)|
|First entry||1953 Indianapolis 500|
|Last entry||1958 Indianapolis 500|
1958 Indianapolis 500Edit
Dick Rathmann and Ed Elisian started the race on the front row, with Jimmy Reece on the outside of the front row. Elisian spun in turn 3 of the first lap and collided with Rathmann's car, sending them both into the wall, and starting a 15-car pileup.
According to A. J. Foyt, O'Connor's car hit Reece's car, sailed fifty feet in the air, landed upside down, and burst into flames. Although O'Connor was incinerated in the accident, medical officials said that he was probably killed instantly from a fractured skull.
Widely blamed for the accident, Elisian was suspended by USAC for the accident (reinstated a few days later), and was shunned by many in the racing community.
Following the accident, race officials announced that they would change the starting procedure, abandoning the single-file trip down pit lane that was used in 1957 and 1958. Also, for the 1959 Indy 500, metal roll bars welded to the frame behind the driver's head were mandated, and helmets were required to pass safety certification by Speedway medical officials.
Indianapolis 500 resultsEdit
World Championship career summaryEdit
The Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Pat O'Connor participated in 5 World Championship races. He started on the pole once but scored no World Championship points, as his best finish was eighth (twice).
He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995.