1935 Indianapolis 500

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23rd Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body AAA
Date May 30, 1935
Winner Kelly Petillo
Winning Entrant Kelly Petillo
Average speed 106.240 mph (170.977 km/h)
Pole position Rex Mays
Pole speed 120.736 mph (194.306 km/h)
Most laps led Kelly Petillo (102)
Pre-race
Pace car Ford V8
Pace car driver Harry Mack
Honorary referee Amelia Earhart
Chronology
Previous Next
1934 1936

The 23rd International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 30, 1935. Despite attempts to improve participant safety by requiring crash helmets and installing green and yellow lights around the track, the event that year would prove to be one of the worst in terms of fatalities.[1]

Kelly Petillo won the race, accompanied by riding mechanic Jimmy Dunham.

Pre-race and qualifying[edit]

Ten-lap (25 mile) qualifying runs were utilized.

On May 21, nine days before the race, three prospective participants lost their lives. Rookie Johnny Hannon, on just his first lap at racing speed, had his car go over the outside retaining wall and was killed from a fractured skull. Later that day, driver Hartford "Stubby" Stubblefield also had his car go over the outside wall, and both he and his riding mechanic Leo Whittaker died from injuries they received being thrown from the vehicle.[2] Kelly Petillo, the eventual winner, had his own difficulties getting into the field. His initial qualifying run (a record-breaking 121.687 miles per hour (195.836 km/h) was voided when his car was ruled to have exceeded the fuel limit. Returning to the track, he had an engine blow, before finally having a qualifying run of 115.095 that placed him 22nd in the field.[3]

Qualifying Results
Date Driver Lap 1
(mph)
Lap 2
(mph)
Lap 3
(mph)
Lap 4
(mph)
Lap 5
(mph)
Lap 6
(mph)
Lap 7
(mph)
Lap 8
(mph)
Lap 9
(mph)
Lap 10
(mph)
Average Speed
(mph)
Sat 5/18/1935 Rex Mays 121.310 121.425 121.819 120.773 121.212 121.359 120.208 119.936 119.506 119.856 120.736

Race[edit]

Driver Clay Weatherly would beg Leon Duray, the owner of Hannon's crashed car, to allow him to drive it in the race. The car would prove no luckier for Weatherly, who would be killed when the car crashed through the inner guard rail coming out of turn four on lap nine. Rex Mays would lead most of the first 300 miles (480 km) before being forced out with mechanical failure. Petillo had climbed to second, and after Mays' departure led most of the remainder other than briefly following a pit stop. Petillo easily broke the record for the fastest average speed (106.240 mph) despite being slowed somewhat by rain near the end of the race.[4] Petillo received approximately $33,000 in winnings for the race.

Aftermath[edit]

The driver deaths in 1935 caused the Speedway to develop a program to test rookie drivers which was instituted in 1936. Adjustments were also made to the configuration of the turns.[3] Petillo would race in five more 500s, never again finishing higher than 18th. Six of the thirty-three drivers who started the race would end up having their lives ended in accidents at the Indy Speedway.

Results[edit]

Finish Start No Name Qual Rank Laps Led Status
1 22 5 United States Kelly Petillo 115.095 15 200 102 Running
2 20 14 United States Wilbur Shaw 116.854 7 200 5 Running
3 5 1 United States Bill Cummings (W) 116.901 6 200 0 Running
4 3 22 United States Floyd Roberts (R) 118.671 3 200 0 Running
5 7 21 United States Ralph Hepburn 115.156 13 200 0 Running
6 19 9 United States Shorty Cantlon 118.205 4 200 0 Running
7 9 18 United States Chet Gardner 114.556 17 200 0 Running
8 13 16 United States Deacon Litz 114.488 18 200 0 Running
9 15 8 United States Doc MacKenzie 114.294 20 200 0 Running
10 17 34 United States Chet Miller 113.552 24 200 0 Running
11 8 19 United States Fred Frame (W) 114.701 16 200 0 Running
12 4 36 United States Louis Meyer (W) 117.938 5 200 0 Running
13 16 15 United States Cliff Bergere 114.162 23 196 0 Out of gas
14 31 62 United States Harris Insinger (R) 111.729 30 185 0 Flagged
15 21 4 United States Al Miller 115.303 12 178 0 Magneto
16 26 43 United States Ted Horn (R) 113.213 27 145 0 Steering
17 1 33 United States Rex Mays 120.736 1 123 89 Spring shackle
18 23 7 United States Lou Moore 114.180 22 116 0 Rod
19 14 37 United States George Connor (R) 114.321 19 112 0 Transmission
20 10 2 United States Mauri Rose 116.470 9 103 0 Studs
21 6 44 United States Tony Gulotta 115.459 11 102 0 Magneto
22 30 39 United States Jimmy Snyder (R) 112.249 29 97 0 Spring
23 24 41 United States Frank Brisko 113.307 26 79 0 Universal joint
24 27 42 United States Johnny Seymour 112.696 28 71 0 Grease leak
25 12 17 United States Babe Stapp 116.736 8 70 4 Radiator
26 29 35 United States George Bailey 113.432 25 65 0 Steering
27 11 3 United States Russ Snowberger 114.209 21 59 0 Exhaust pipe
28 32 26 United States Louis Tomei (R) 110.794 32 47 0 Valve
29 33 46 United States Bob Sall (R) 110.519 33 47 0 Steering
30 2 6 United States Al Gordon 119.481 2 17 0 Crash T4
31 28 27 United States Freddy Winnai 115.138 14 16 0 Rod
32 25 45 United States Clay Weatherly (R) 115.902 10 9 0 Died in crash at T4
33 18 66 United States Harry McQuinn 111.111 31 4 0 Rod
[5]

Alternates[edit]

Race details[edit]

For 1935, riding mechanics were required.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fatalities – May 1935, indymotorspeedway.com
  2. ^ Three Auto Racers Killed, One Injured, In Memorial Day Trials at Indianapolis Associated Press, May 22, 1935, as seen on page 1 of the New York Times
  3. ^ a b Reed, Terry Indy. The Race and Ritual of the Indianapolis 500. Potomac Books 2005. ISBN 1-57488-907-9.
  4. ^ 155,000 See Petillo Capture Indianapolis Auto Race; One Driver Is Killed. Associated Press, May 31, 1935, as seen on sports page 19 of the New York Times
  5. ^ "Indianapolis 500 1935". Ultimate Racing History. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  6. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
  7. ^ Blazier, John E. and Rollings, Tom (1994). Forgotten Heroes of the Speedways: The Riding Mechanics. 


1934 Indianapolis 500
Bill Cummings
1935 Indianapolis 500
Kelly Petillo
1936 Indianapolis 500
Louis Meyer
Preceded by
104.863 mph
(1934 Indianapolis 500)
Record for the fastest average speed
106.240
mph
Succeeded by
109.069 mph
(1936 Indianapolis 500)