1939 Indianapolis 500

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27th Indianapolis 500
Indy500winningcar1939-1940.JPG
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body AAA
Date May 30, 1939
Winner Wilbur Shaw
Winning Entrant Boyle Racing Headquarters
Average speed 115.035 mph (185.131 km/h)
Pole position Jimmy Snyder
Pole speed 130.138 mph (209.437 km/h)
Most laps led Louis Meyer (79)
Pre-race
Pace car Buick Roadmaster 80
Pace car driver Charles Chayne
Chronology
Previous Next
1938 1940

The 27th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 1939. The race was won by the number two car of Wilbur Shaw, who started in the third position.[1] The race was notable for a three car accident on lap 109, when Floyd Roberts, the reigning champion, was killed when his car went through the wooden outer wall at over 100 miles (160 km) an hour at the backstretch.[2] In Louis Meyer's final Indy 500, he too would crash at the backstretch at over 100 miles (160 km) at hour, but he walked away unharmed.

Time trials[edit]

Ten-lap qualifying runs were eliminated for 1939, and the distance reverted to four-lap (10 mile) runs. This change was made permanent, and four-lap runs have been used ever since.

Floyd Roberts crash[edit]

With Roberts on lap 109, the car driven by Bob Swanson lost control and went sideways. Roberts' car contacted Swanson's, causing Swanson's car to eject Swanson, flip over, and catch fire, while Roberts' car went through the outer wall. Chet Miller's car went into the debris field, 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 death due to brain injuries was announced before the race was completed.[3]

Results[edit]

Finish Start No Name Qual Rank Laps Led Status
1 3 2 United States Wilbur Shaw (W) 128.977 4 200 51 Running
2 1 10 United States Jimmy Snyder 130.138 1 200 65 Running
3 10 54 United States Cliff Bergere 123.835 15 200 0 Running
4 4 4 United States Ted Horn 127.723 6 200 4 Running
5 16 31 United States Babe Stapp 125.000 12 200 0 Running
6 15 41 United States George Barringer 120.935 28 200 0 Running
7 20 8 United States Joel Thorne 122.177 23 200 0 Running
8 8 16 United States Mauri Rose 124.896 13 200 0 Running
9 17 14 United States Frank Wearne 125.074 11 200 0 Running
10 33 26 United States Billy Devore 116.527 33 200 0 Running
11 27 62 United States Tony Gulotta 121.749 24 200 0 Running
12 2 45 United States Louis Meyer (W) 130.067 2 197 79 Crash BS
13 12 18 United States George Connor 123.208 19 195 0 Stalled
14 26 51 United States Tony Willman 122.771 21 188 0 Fuel pump
15 30 58 United States Louis Tomei 118.426 30 186 0 Flagged
16 19 15 United States Rex Mays 126.413 7 145 1 Rings
17 9 9 United States Herb Ardinger 124.125 14 141 0 Clutch
18 24 35 United States Kelly Petillo (W) 123.660 16 141 0 Pistons
19 14 49 United States Mel Hansen (R) 121.683 25 113 0 Crash Pits
20 32 38 United States Harry McQuinn 117.287 32 110 0 Ignition
21 5 3 United States Chet Miller 126.318 8 109 0 Crash BS
22 13 25 United States Ralph Hepburn 122.204 22 107 0 Crash BS
23 23 1 United States Floyd Roberts (W) 128.968 5 106 0 Crash BS
24 18 37 United States Ira Hall 121.188 27 89 0 Head gasket
25 25 21 United States Russ Snowberger 123.199 20 50 0 Radiator
26 6 17 United States George Bailey 125.821 9 47 0 Valve
27 29 56 United States Floyd Davis 119.375 29 43 0 Shock absorber
28 28 42 United States Al Miller 123.233 18 41 0 Accelerator
29 11 29 United States Frank Brisko 123.351 17 38 0 Air pump
30 21 44 United States Emil Andres 121.212 26 22 0 Spark plugs
31 22 32 United States Bob Swanson 129.431 3 19 0 Rear axle
32 7 47 United States Shorty Cantlon 125.567 10 15 0 Main bearing
33 31 53 United States Deacon Litz 117.979 31 7 0 Valve
[4]

Alternates[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.indy500.com/stats/view/boxscore/year/1939
  2. ^ "Wilbur Shaw Wins. Floyd Roberts Dies". Associated Press. May 31, 1939. Retrieved 2012-10-08. "Shaw swept through a trail of death and destruction Tuesday to win the twenty-seventh running of the Indianapolis motor speedway 500 mile race and stand ..." 
  3. ^ 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 ...." 
  4. ^ "Indianapolis 500 1939". Ultimate Racing History. Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004


1938 Indianapolis 500
Floyd Roberts
1939 Indianapolis 500
Wilbur Shaw
1940 Indianapolis 500
Wilbur Shaw