1955 Indianapolis 500
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Sanctioning body||AAA / World Championship|
|Date||May 30, 1955|
|Winning Entrant||John Zink|
|Average speed||128.209 mph (206.332 km/h)|
|Pole position||Jerry Hoyt|
|Pole speed||140.045 mph (225.381 km/h)|
|Most laps led||Bob Sweikert (86)|
|Pace car||Chevrolet Bel Air|
|Pace car driver||Thomas H. Keating|
The 39th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 30, 1955. The event was part of the 1955 AAA National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1955 World Drivers Championship.
The race is notable to many as the race in which Bill Vukovich was killed in a crash while seemingly on his way to an unprecedented third consecutive Indy 500. .
- 1 Time trials
- 2 Classification
- 3 Broadcasting
- 4 Notes
- 5 Drivers' Championship standings after the race
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
Time trials was scheduled for four days.
Saturday May 14 – Pole Day time trials
Gusty winds, as well as the threat of rain, was observed on pole day, therefore nearly all of the competitors stayed off the track. Around the garage area, the drivers and teams agreed amongst themselves to sit out time trials for the afternoon, and instead qualify together in better conditions on Sunday. However, in the final 20 minutes, Jerry Hoyt suddenly put his car in line, and pulled away for an unexpected qualifying attempt. His speed of 140.045 mph was not spectacular, but as the fastest (and only) car thus far of the day, he sat on the pole position. Without hesitation, Tony Bettenhausen, Sr. took to the track moments later. After two fast laps, he was slowed by a gust of wind, and qualified second. Sam Hanks and Pat O'Connor got their cars ready, but neither were able to complete attempts. The day closed with only two cars in the field, and Hoyt the surprising pole winner – to the dismay of several in the garage area.
Sunday May 15 – Second day time trials
Qualifying resumed in better conditions, and most of the drivers who stayed off the track Saturday took to the track on Sunday. Jack McGrath (142.580 mph) was the fastest qualifier, and lined up third. Hoyt's pole-winning speed from the day before ended up being only the 8th-fastest overall in the field – a record slowest ranked pole speed.
Near the end of the day, Manny Ayulo crashed due to a possible steering fault and died the following day.
Saturday May 21 – Third day time trials
Sunday May 22 – Fourth day time trials
|1||14||6||Bob Sweikert||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.99||11||200||86||3:53:59.53||8|
|2||2||10|| Tony Bettenhausen
(Relieved by Paul Russo; 77 laps)
|3||10||15||Jimmy Davies||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140.27||5||200||0||+3:32.36||4|
|5||7||77|| Walt Faulkner
(Relieved by Bill Homeier; 24 laps)
|6||8||19||Andy Linden||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.09||22||200||0||+5:57.94|
|7||16||71||Al Herman (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.81||15||200||0||+6:24.24|
|8||19||29||Pat O'Connor||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.19||21||200||0||+6:41.60|
|9||17||48||Jimmy Daywalt||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.41||18||200||0||+7:09.81|
|10||12||89||Pat Flaherty||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140.14||7||200||0||+7:46.54|
|11||18||98||Duane Carter||Kuzma-Offenhauser||139.33||19||197||0||+3 Laps|
|12||25||41||Chuck Weyant (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||138.06||25||196||0||+4 Laps|
|13||32||83||Eddie Johnson||Trevis-Offenhauser||134.44||32||196||0||+4 Laps|
|14||20||33||Jim Rathmann||Epperly-Offenhauser||138.7||24||191||0||+9 Laps|
|16||9||22||Cal Niday||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140.3||4||170||0||Accident|
|17||24||99||Art Cross||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||138.75||23||168||24||Engine|
|18||31||81||Shorty Templeman (R)||Trevis-Offenhauser||135.01||31||142||0||Transmission|
|19||6||8||Sam Hanks||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||140||10||134||0||Transmission|
|20||28||31||Keith Andrews (R)||Schroeder-Offenhauser||136.04||28||120||0||Fuel Pump|
|21||27||16||Johnnie Parsons (W)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.8||27||119||0||Magneto|
|22||13||37||Eddie Russo (R)||Pawl-Offenhauser||140.11||8||112||0||Ignition|
|23||23||49||Ray Crawford (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.2||20||111||0||Engine|
|24||11||1||Jimmy Bryan||Kuzma-Offenhauser||140.16||6||90||1||Fuel Pump|
|25||5||4||Bill Vukovich (W)✝||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||141.07||3||56||50||Died in crash||1|
|26||3||3||Jack McGrath||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||142.58||1||54||6||Magneto|
|27||22||42||Al Keller (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||139.55||17||54||0||Accident|
|29||26||39||Johnny Boyd (R)||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.98||26||53||0||Accident|
|30||29||68||Ed Elisian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.33||29||53||0||Retirement|
|31||1||23||Jerry Hoyt||Stevens-Offenhauser||140.04||9||40||0||Oil Leak|
|32||4||14||Fred Agabashian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||141.93||2||39||0||Spun Off|
The race was carried live on the IMS Radio Network. Sid Collins served as chief announcer. The broadcast was carried by 237 affiliates in all 48 states (there were only 48 states at the time), as well as Armed Forces Radio. The broadcast was dedicated to the memory of Wilbur Shaw, who was killed in a plane crash in October.
Luke Walton reported from the north pits for the third year. Charlie Brockman, in his fourth appearance on the network, conducted the winner's interview in victory lane.
All five of the major radio stations in the Indianapolis area carried the broadcast. The broadcast was notable as it reported the fatal crash of Bill Vukovich.
The 1955 broadcast was the first to feature the famous out-cue "Stayed tuned for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Due to the increased number of affiliates, the network needed a scripted "out-cue" to alert producers when to manually insert local commercials. A young WIBC marketing staff member named Alice Green is credited with inventing the phrase, and chief announcer Sid Collins coined it on-air for the first time in 1955.
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network|
|Booth Announcers||Turn Reporters||Pit/garage reporters|
South Turns: Bill Frosch
|Luke Walton (north)
Greg Smith (south)
Charlie Brockman(victory lane)
- Pole position: Jerry Hoyt – 1:04.27 (while Hoyt started on the pole, Jack McGrath set the fastest time but started on the outside of the first row)
- Fastest Lead Lap: Bill Vukovich – 1:03.67
- Shared Drives:
- While in the lead, Bill Vukovich hit the 3-car pileup of Al Keller, Johnny Boyd, and Rodger Ward. He was killed (by fracture to the skull) when his car became airborne and went out of the course on the back long straightaway, landing upside down and on fire. His death concluded a streak of three straight years leading the most laps in the race (likely to have been four straight, 1955 inclusive), a feat unequaled since.
- Formula 1 championship debut for Keith Andrews, Johnny Boyd, Ray Crawford, Al Herman, Al Keller, Eddie Russo, Shorty Templeman and Chuck Weyant
Drivers' Championship standings after the race
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1955 Indianapolis 500.|
|1||Maurice Trintignant||11 1⁄3|
|2||Juan Manuel Fangio||10|
|1||4||Nino Farina||6 1⁄3|
- Note: Only the top five positions are included.
- Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats – Official Site
- 1955 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network: Re-released by "Speedway Audio" – WIBC-AM (2004)
- 1955 Indianapolis 500 at RacingReference.info (Relief driver statistics)
1955 Monaco Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1955 Belgian Grand Prix
1954 Indianapolis 500
|1955 Indianapolis 500
1956 Indianapolis 500