1953 Indianapolis 500

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37th Indianapolis 500
Indy500winningcar1953-1954.JPG
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body AAA / World Championship
Date May 30, 1953
Winner Bill Vukovich
Winning Entrant Howard B. Keck
Average speed 128.740 mph (207.187 km/h)
Pole position Bill Vukovich
Pole speed 138.392 mph (222.720 km/h)
Most laps led Bill Vukovich (195)
Pre-race
Pace car Ford Crestline Sunliner
Pace car driver William Clay Ford
Chronology
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1952 1954

The 37th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1953. The event was part of the 1953 AAA National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1953 World Drivers Championship.

Bill Vukovich, after falling short a year before, earned the first of two consecutive Indy 500 victories. With the temperature in the high 90s (°F), and the track temperature exceeding 130 °F (54 °C), this race is often known as the "Hottest 500." Driver Carl Scarborough dropped out the race, and later died at the infield hospital due to heat prostration.[1]

Due to the extreme heat conditions, several drivers in the field required relief drivers, and some relief drivers even required additional relief. Vukovich, however, as well as second place finisher Art Cross, both ran the full 500 miles solo.

Race details[edit]

Practice[edit]

Sixteen year race veteran Chet Miller died in an accident in practice on May 15.[2]

Qualifying[edit]

Time trials were scheduled for four days.

  • Saturday May 16 – Pole Day time trials (rained out)
  • Sunday May 17 – Second day time trials
  • Saturday May 23 – Third day time trials
  • Sunday May 24 – Fourth day time trials

Vukovich qualified on pole, with a speed of 138.392 mph (222.720 km/h).

Race[edit]

Polesitter Bill Vukovich dominated the race, leading 195 laps and also recording fastest lap.

Carl Scarborough retired from the race due to heat exhaustion, and died later at the infield hospital.[1]

Classification[edit]

Pos Grid No Driver Constructor Qual Rank Laps Led Time/retired Points
1 1 14 United States Bill Vukovich Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.39 1 200 195 3:53:01.69 9
2 12 16 United States Art Cross Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.31 8 200 0 +3:30.87 6
3 9 3 United States Sam Hanks
(relieved by Duane Carter)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.53 5 200 3 +4:11.50 2
2
4 2 59 United States Fred Agabashian
(relieved by Paul Russo)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.54 4 200 1 +4:39.24 1.5
1.5
5 3 5 United States Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.6 13 200 0 +7:49.64 2
6 21 48 United States Jimmy Daywalt (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.74 23 200 0 +8:10.21
7 25 2 United States Jim Rathmann
(relieved by Eddie Johnson)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.66 27 200 1 +8:46.02
8 20 12 United States Ernie McCoy (R) Stevens-Offenhauser 135.92 22 200 0 +10:04.55
9 6 98 United States Tony Bettenhausen
(relieved by Chuck Stevenson)
(relieved by Gene Hartley)
Kuzma-Offenhauser 136.02 20 196 0 Accident
10 32 53 United States Jimmy Davies Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.26 31 193 0 +7 laps
11 26 9 United States Duke Nalon Kurtis Kraft-Novi 135.46 30 191 0 Accident
12 19 73 United States Carl Scarborough
(relieved by Bob Scott)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.93 21 190 0 +10 laps
13 4 88 United States Manny Ayulo Kuzma-Offenhauser 136.38 15 184 0 Engine
14 31 8 United States Jimmy Bryan Schroeder-Offenhauser 135.5 29 183 0 +17 laps
15 28 49 United States Bill Holland (W)
(relieved by Jim Rathmann)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.86 2 177 0 Magneto
16 10 92 United States Rodger Ward
(relieved by Andy Linden)
(relieved by Duke Dinsmore)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.46 6 177 0 Axle
17 14 23 United States Walt Faulkner
(relieved by Johnny Mantz)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.11 10 176 0 +24 laps
18 22 22 United States Marshall Teague (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.72 25 169 0 Oil Leak
19 18 62 United States Spider Webb
(relieved by Johnny Thomson)
(relieved by Jackie Holmes)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.16 17 166 0 Oil Leak
20 29 51 United States Bob Sweikert Kuzma-Offenhauser 136.87 11 151 0 Suspension
21 23 83 United States Mike Nazaruk Turner-Offenhauser 135.7 26 146 0 Transmission
22 24 77 United States Pat Flaherty Kuzma-Offenhauser 135.66 28 115 0 Accident
23 7 55 United States Jerry Hoyt
(relieved by Chuck Stevenson)
(relieved by Andy Linden)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.73 24 107 0 Overheating
24 27 4 United States Duane Carter Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.26 32 94 0 Ignition
25 17 7 United States Paul Russo Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.21 16 89 0 Magneto
26 8 21 United States Johnnie Parsons (W) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.66 3 86 0 Engine
27 15 38 United States Don Freeland (R) Watson-Offenhauser 136.86 12 76 0 Accident
28 13 41 United States Gene Hartley Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.26 9 53 0 Accident
29 16 97 United States Chuck Stevenson Kuzma-Offenhauser 136.56 14 42 0 Fuel Leak
30 30 99 United States Cal Niday (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.09 18 30 0 Magneto
31 11 29 United States Bob Scott Bromme-Offenhauser 137.43 7 14 0 Oil Leak
32 33 56 United States Johnny Thomson (R) Del Roy-Offenhauser 135.26 33 6 0 Ignition
33 5 32 United States Andy Linden Stevens-Offenhauser 136.06 19 3 0 Accident

Alternates[edit]

Failed to Qualify[edit]

Race notes[edit]

  • Pole position: Bill Vukovich – 4:20.13 (4 laps)
  • Fastest lead lap: Bill Vukovich – 1:06.240
  • The purse for first place was $89,496[5] (US$788,878 in 2014 dollars[6]).
  • One of the prizes awarded to the winner was a pet dog and a year's supply of dog food.[7]

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

The race was carried live flag-to-flag on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Instead of being produced by 1070 WIBC-AM, the network pooled together talent and technical staff from all five of the major radio stations in Indianapolis. The broadcast was anchored by Sid Collins, and featured on-air talent from WIBC, WFBM, WISH, WIRE, and WXLW.

The broadcast signed on at 10:45 a.m. local time, and carried live through the conclusion, until 3:45 p.m. local time. The broadcast was carried on 135 stations across the country, and on Armed Forced Network to Europe and Asia.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network
Booth Announcers Turn Reporters Pit/garage reporters

Chief Announcer: Sid Collins
Color: Charlie Brockman

South Turns: Bill Frosch
North Turns: Jim Shelton

Luke Walton (north pits)
Sid Collins (victory lane)

Formula One Drivers' Championship standings[edit]

Pos Driver Points
1rightarrow blue.svg 1 Italy Alberto Ascari 9
1uparrow green.svg 16 2 United States Bill Vukovich 9
1downarrow red.svg 1 3 Italy Luigi Villoresi 6
1uparrow green.svg 14 4 United States Art Cross 6
1downarrow red.svg 2 5 Argentina José Froilán González 4
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yates, Brock (2005). Against Death and Time: One Fatal Season in Racing's Glory Years. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-1-56025-770-7. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  2. ^ a b Yates, Brock (1961). The Indianapolis 500: The Story of the Motor Speedway. Harper. p. 67. 
  3. ^ Davidson, Donald (2011-02-03). "Pit Lane before the 1953 Indianapolis 500". Blog.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  4. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
  5. ^ Yates, Brock (1961). The Indianapolis 500: The Story of the Motor Speedway. Harper. p. 68. 
  6. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  7. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, May 13, 2004

Works cited[edit]


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