1952 Indianapolis 500

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36th Indianapolis 500
Indy500winningcar1952.JPG
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body AAA / World Championship
Date May 30, 1952
Winner Troy Ruttman
Winning Entrant J. C. Agajanian
Average speed 128.922 mph (207.480 km/h)
Pole position Fred Agabashian
Pole speed 138.010 mph (222.106 km/h)
Most laps led Bill Vukovich (150)
Pre-race
Pace car Studebaker Commander
Pace car driver P.O. Peterson
Chronology
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1951 1953

The 36th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 30, 1952. The event was part of the 1952 AAA National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1952 World Drivers Championship.

Troy Ruttman won the race for car owner J.C. Agajanian. Ruttman, aged 22 years and 80 days, set the record for the youngest 500 winner in history. It was also the last dirt track car to win at Indy. Ruttman's win also saw him become the youngest winner of a World Drivers' Championship race, a record he would hold for 51 years until the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix when Spanish driver Fernando Alonso won at the age of 22 years and 26 days.

Bill Vukovich led 150 laps, but with 9 laps to go, he broke a steering linkage while leading.[1] He nursed his car to a stop against the outside wall, preventing other cars from getting involved in the incident.

In the third year that the 500 was included in the World Championship, Ferrari entered the race with Alberto Ascari. The effort gained considerable attention, but Ascari spun out and finished 31st. It was the only World Championship race in 1952 that Ascari entered and did not win.

Fifth place finisher Art Cross was voted the Rookie of the Year. Though at least one rookie starter was in the field every year dating back to 1911, this was the first time the now-popular award was officially designated.

Time trials[edit]

Time trials was scheduled for four days, but rain pushed qualifying into a fifth day.

  • Saturday May 17 - Pole Day time trials
  • Sunday May 18 - Second day time trials (rained out)
  • Saturday May 24 - Third day time trials
  • Sunday May 25 - Fourth day time trials (rained out)
  • Monday May 26 - Fifth day time trials (rain make up day)

Classification[edit]

Pos Grid No Driver Constructor Qual Rank Laps Led Time/Retired Points
1 7 98 United States Troy Ruttman Kuzma-Offenhauser 135.360 18 200 44 3:52:41.88 8
2 10 59 United States Jim Rathmann Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.340 7 200 0 +4:02.33 6
3 5 18 United States Sam Hanks Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.730 14 200 0 +6:11.61 4
4 6 1 United States Duane Carter Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.520 16 200 0 +6:48.34 3
5 20 33 United States Art Cross Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.280 26 200 0 +8:40.15 2
6 21 77 United States Jimmy Bryan Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.140 27 200 0 +9:24.32
7 23 37 United States Jimmy Reece Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 133.990 29 200 0 +10:35.24
8 14 54 United States George Connor Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.600 15 200 0 +12:00.61
9 9 22 United States Cliff Griffith Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.610 6 200 0 +12:23.76
10 31 5 United States Johnnie Parsons Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.320 19 200 0 +13:37.78
11 3 4 United States Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.660 5 200 6 +14:21.72
12 26 29 United States Jim Rigsby Watson-Offenhauser 133.900 33 200 0 +16:05.10
13 16 14 United States Joe James Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.950 22 200 0 +16:55.65
14 15 7 United States Bill Schindler Stevens-Offenhauser 134.980 20 200 0 +18:48.66
15 13 65 United States George Fonder Sherman-Offenhauser 135.940 13 197 0 +3 Laps
16 24 81 United States Eddie Johnson Trevis-Offenhauser 133.970 30 193 0 +7 Laps
17 8 26 United States Bill Vukovich Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.210 2 191 150 Steering 1
18 11 16 United States Chuck Stevenson Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.140 9 187 0 +13 Laps
19 12 2 United States Henry Banks Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.960 11 184 0 +16 Laps
20 28 8 United States Manny Ayulo Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.980 10 184 0 +16 Laps
21 33 31 United States Johnny McDowell Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 133.930 32 182 0 +18 Laps
22 29 48 United States Spider Webb Bromme-Offenhauser 135.960 12 162 0 Oil leak
23 22 34 United States Rodger Ward Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.130 28 130 0 Oil Pressure
24 30 27 United States Tony Bettenhausen Deidt-Offenhauser 135.380 17 93 0 Oil Pressure
25 4 36 United States Duke Nalon Kurtis Kraft-Novi 136.180 8 84 0 Supercharger
26 32 73 United States Bob Sweikert Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.980 21 77 0 Differential
27 1 28 United States Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft-Cummins Diesel 138.010 3 71 0 Turbocharger
28 18 67 United States Gene Hartley Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.340 24 65 0 Exhaust
29 25 93 United States Bob Scott Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 133.950 31 49 0 Transmission
30 27 21 United States Chet Miller Kurtis Kraft-Novi 139.030 1 41 0 Supercharger
31 19 12 Italy Alberto Ascari Ferrari 134.300 25 40 0 Wheel
32 17 55 United States Bobby Ball Stevens-Offenhauser 134.720 23 34 0 Gearbox
33 2 9 United States Andy Linden Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.000 4 20 0 Oil Pump

Failed to qualify[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Pole position: Fred Agabashian – 4:20.85 (4 laps)
  • Agabashian's Cummins Diesel Special was the first entry in the Indianapolis 500 to be powered by a turbocharged engine (then described as "turbosupercharged"). Gear-driven centrifugal blowers known as "superchargers" had been used since the 1920s to increase the volumetric efficiency and power output of racing engines, but the Cummins Diesel was the first to make use of the "free" energy contained in the engine exhaust stream to drive a turbine wheel connected to a centrifugal blower (thus, "turbo-supercharging").
  • Fastest Lead Lap: Bill Vukovich – 1:06.60 (135.135 mph)
  • As of 2009, Troy Ruttman remains the youngest driver to win the Indianapolis 500, at 22 years and 80 days.[2]
  • Ruttman also became the youngest driver to win a race counting for the Formula One championship. His record was broken by Fernando Alonso at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix.
  • Alberto Ascari marked the first instance of a driver competing seriously for the World Drivers' Championship (of which the 500 was a points-scoring race) to race in the 500. Although he finished 31st at Indy, he went on to win all of the remaining races and the title.
  • 1952 was the only occasion when the fastest (Chet Miller) and slowest (Jim Rigsby) qualifiers for the race started next to each other.[3]

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

The race was carried live on the radio on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. During the offseason, the Speedway management created the network to handle broadcasting duties in-house. The arrangement was under the flagship of 1070 WIBC-AM of Indianapolis, and featured a crew consisted mostly of WIBC talent. Sid Collins served as booth announcer. Jim Shelton was among the turn reporters, reporting from turn 4.

Like previous years, the broadcast featured live coverage of the start, the finish, and 15-minute live updates throughout the race.

Drivers' Championship standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points
Nuvola single chevron right.svg 1 Italy Piero Taruffi 9
1uparrow green.svg 20 2 United States Troy Ruttman 8
1downarrow red.svg 1 3 Switzerland Rudi Fischer 6
1uparrow green.svg 18 4 United States Jim Rathmann 6
1downarrow red.svg 2 5 France Jean Behra 4
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "More Indy Hearbreaks". Autoweek 62 (11): 82. May 28, 2012. ISSN 0192-9674. 
  2. ^ Davidson, Donald. (2007). "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" [Radio program]. WIBC (FM), April 30, 2007. Archived at http://media.wibc.com/av/audio/talk_gas/2007/april30.mp3, retrieved on May 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Greuter, Henri. "1952: Ferrari at Indianapolis". www.forixautosport.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 

Works cited[edit]


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1952 Swiss Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1952 season
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1952 Belgian Grand Prix
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1951 Indianapolis 500
Lee Wallard
1952 Indianapolis 500
Troy Ruttman
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1953 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich