1954 Indianapolis 500

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38th Indianapolis 500
Indy500winningcar1953-1954.JPG
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body AAA / World Championship
Date May 31, 1954
Winner Bill Vukovich
Winning Entrant Howard B. Keck
Average speed 130.840 mph (210.567 km/h)
Pole position Jack McGrath
Pole speed 141.033 mph (226.971 km/h)
Most laps led Bill Vukovich (90)
Pre-race
Pace car Dodge Royal 500
Pace car driver W. C. Newberg
Chronology
Previous Next
1953 1955

The 38th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 31, 1954. The event was part of the 1954 AAA National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1954 World Drivers Championship.

Bill Vukovich won his second consecutive 500. Vukovich died the following year attempting to win his third consecutive Indy 500.

Time trials[edit]

Time trials was scheduled for four days.

  • Saturday May 15 – Pole Day time trials
  • Sunday May 16 – Second day time trials
  • Saturday May 22 – Third day time trials
  • Sunday May 23 – Fourth day time trials

Classification[edit]

Pos Grid No Driver Constructor Qual Rank Laps Led Time/Retired Points
1 19 14 United States Bill Vukovich (W) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.470 14 200 90 3:49:17.27 8
2 3 9 United States Jimmy Bryan Kuzma-Offenhauser 139.660 5 200 46 + 1:09.95 6
3 1 2 United States Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 141.030 1 200 47 + 1:19.73 5
4 11 34 United States Troy Ruttman (W)
(Relieved by Duane Carter)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.730 31 200 0 + 2:52.68 1.5
1.5
5 14 73 United States Mike Nazaruk Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 139.580 6 200 0 + 3:24.55 2
6 24 77 United States Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.740 30 200 0 + 3:47.55  
7 6 7 United States Don Freeland Phillips-Offenhauser 138.330 16 200 0 + 4:13.35  
8 32 5 United States Paul Russo
(Relieved by Jerry Hoyt)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.670 32 200 0 + 5:01.17  
9 25 28 United States Larry Crockett (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 139.550 8 200 0 + 7:07.24  
10 13 24 United States Cal Niday Stevens-Offenhauser 139.820 3 200 0 + 7:07.69  
11 27 45 United States Art Cross
(Relieved by Johnnie Parsons)
(Relieved by Sam Hanks)
(Relieved by Andy Linden)
(Relieved by Jimmy Davies)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.670 13 200 8 + 8:22.19  
12 5 98 United States Chuck Stevenson
(Relieved by Walt Faulkner)
Kuzma-Offenhauser 138.770 12 199 0 + 1 Lap  
13 22 88 United States Manny Ayulo Kuzma-Offenhauser 138.160 22 197 0 + 3 Laps  
14 9 17 United States Bob Sweikert Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.200 21 197 0 + 3 Laps  
15 8 16 United States Duane Carter
(Relieved by Marshall Teague)
(Relieved by Jimmy Jackson)
(Relieved by Tony Bettenhausen)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.230 19 196 0 + 4 Laps  
16 20 32 United States Ernie McCoy Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.410 15 194 0 + 6 Laps  
17 7 25 United States Jimmy Reece Pankratz-Offenhauser 138.310 17 194 0 + 6 Laps  
18 31 27 United States Ed Elisian (R)
(Relieved by Bob Scott)
Stevens-Offenhauser 137.790 29 193 0 + 7 Laps  
19 33 71 United States Frank Armi (R)
(Relieved by George Fonder)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.670 33 193 0 + 7 Laps  
20 10 1 United States Sam Hanks
(Relieved by Jimmy Davies)
(Relieved by Jim Rathmann)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.990 25 191 1 Spun Off  
21 12 35 United States Pat O'Connor (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.080 23 181 0 Spun Off  
22 16 12 United States Rodger Ward
(Relieved by Eddie Johnson)
Pawl-Offenhauser 139.920 2 172 0 Retirement  
23 17 31 United States Gene Hartley
(Relieved by Marshall Teague)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 139.060 10 168 0 Clutch  
24 4 43 United States Johnny Thomson
(Relieved by Andy Linden)
(Relieved by Jimmy Daywalt)
Nichels-Offenhauser 138.780 11 165 0 Retirement  
25 23 74 United States Andy Linden
(Relieved by Bob Scott)
Schroeder-Offenhauser 137.820 27 165 0 Suspension  
26 30 99 United States Jerry Hoyt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.820 28 130 0 Engine  
27 2 19 United States Jimmy Daywalt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 139.780 4 111 8 Accident  
28 28 38 United States Jim Rathmann
(Relieved by Pat Flaherty)
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.220 20 110 0 Accident  
29 21 10 United States Tony Bettenhausen Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.270 18 105 0 Wheel Bearing  
30 29 65 United States Spider Webb
(Relieved by Danny Kladis)
Bromme-Offenhauser 137.970 26 104 0 Fuel pump  
31 26 33 United States Len Duncan (R)
(Relieved by George Fonder)
Schroeder-Offenhauser 139.210 9 101 0 Brakes  
32 15 15 United States Johnnie Parsons (W) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 139.570 7 79 0 Engine  
33 18 51 United States Bill Homeier (R) Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.000 24 74 0 Accident  

Alternates[edit]

  • First alternate: Eddie Johnson (#26)[1] — Johnson drove relief during the race

Notes[edit]

  • Pole position: Jack McGrath – 4:15.26 (4 laps)
  • Fastest Lead Lap: Jack McGrath – 1:04.04
  • Relief drivers:
    • Troy Ruttman (130 laps) & Duane Carter (70) shared car no 34. Shared points for 4th position.
    • Paul Russo (150) & Jerry Hoyt (50) shared car no 5.
    • Art Cross (120), Jimmie Davies (30), Johnnie Parsons (22), Andy Linden (17) & Sam Hanks (11) shared car no 45.
    • Chuck Stevenson (82), Walt Faulkner (117) shared car no 98.
    • Duane Carter (76), Jimmy Jackson (57), Tony Bettenhausen (34) & Marshall Teague (29) shared car no 16.
    • Ed Elisian (148) & Bob Scott (45) shared car no 27.
    • Frank Armi (179) & George Fonder (14) shared car no 71.
    • Sam Hanks (112), Jimmie Davies (36) & Jim Rathmann (43) shared car no 1.
    • Rodger Ward (105) & Eddie Johnson (67) shared car no 12.
    • Gene Hartley (151) & Marshall Teague (17) shared car no 31.
    • Andy Linden (113) & Bob Scott (52) shared car no 74.
    • Johnny Thomson (113), Andy Linden (27) & Jimmy Daywalt (25) shared car no 43.
    • Jim Rathmann (95) & Pat Flaherty (15) shared car no 38.
    • Spider Webb (54) & Danny Kladis (50) shared car no 65.
    • Len Duncan (43) & George Fonder (58) shared car no 33.

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

The race was carried live flag-to-flag on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. It was the second time the race was carried in its entirety. The broadcast was anchored by Sid Collins, his third as chief announcer, and seventh year overall with the crew. Charlie Brockman served as booth analyst and statistician, and also reported from victory lane.[2]

The network expanded to include four qualifying wrap-up shows, and the number of affiliate stations increased to 210. All five major radio stations in Indianapolis carried the broadcast. The 1954 broadcast is notable in that it featured for the first time the famous phrase "Stayed tuned for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Due to the increased number of affiliates at the time, the network needed a scripted "out-cue" to alert producers when to manually insert local commercials. A young WIBC marketing staff member named Alice Greene (née Bunger) is credited with inventing the phrase, and chief announcer Sid Collins coined it on-air. It has been used ever since, with all of the chief announcers proudly reciting it during their respective tenures.

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

Chief Announcer: Sid Collins
Color: Charlie Brockman

South Turns: Bill Frosch
Backstretch: Jack Shapiro
North Turns: E. Z. Gwynn

Luke Walton (north pits)
Greg Smith (south pits)

Drivers' Championship standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points
Nuvola single chevron right.svg 1 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio 8
1uparrow green.svg 16 2 United States Bill Vukovich 8
1downarrow red.svg 1 3 Italy Nino Farina 6
1uparrow green.svg 14 4 United States Jimmy Bryan 6
1downarrow red.svg 2 5 Argentina José Froilán González 5
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included.

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Talk of Gasoline Alley1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
  2. ^ "Heroes of the 500 – The 1954 Radio Broadcast" WFNI, May 2014

Works cited[edit]


Previous race:
1954 Argentine Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1954 season
Next race:
1954 Belgian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1953 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich
1954 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich
Next race:
1955 Indianapolis 500
Bob Sweikert
Preceded by
128.922 mph
(1952 Indianapolis 500)
Record for the Indianapolis 500 fastest average speed
130.840
mph
Succeeded by
135.601 mph
(1957 Indianapolis 500)