1959 Indianapolis 500

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
43rd Indianapolis 500
Indy500winningcar1959.JPG
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body AAA / World Championship
Date May 30, 1959
Winner Rodger Ward
Winning Entrant Leader Cards
Average speed 135.857 mph (218.641 km/h)
Pole position Johnny Thomson
Pole speed 145.908 mph (234.816 km/h)
Most laps led Rodger Ward (130)
Pre-race
Pace car Buick Electra 225
Pace car driver Sam Hanks
Chronology
Previous Next
1958 1960

The 43rd International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1959. The event was part of the 1959 USAC National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1959 World Drivers Championship.

Rodger Ward won the first of two career Indy 500 victories. A record sixteen cars completed the full 500 miles.

Practice and time trials[edit]

Two drivers, Jerry Unser and Bob Cortner, were killed in separate crashes during the month. On May 2, Unser lost control in Turn Four, spun, and flipped down the main stretch. The car caught fire and Unser suffered significant burns; he died from complications of his burns on May 17. On May 19, rookie Cortner crashed in turn three after being pushed by a wind gust. He was killed instantly of head injuries.[1]

Time trials was scheduled for four days:

  • Saturday May 16 - Pole Day time trials
  • Sunday May 17 - Second day time trials
  • Saturday May 23 - Third day time trials
  • Sunday May 24 - Fourth day time trials

Classification[edit]

Pos Grid No Driver Constructor Qual Rank Laps Led Time/Retired Points
1 6 5 United States Rodger Ward Watson-Offenhauser 144.03 7 200 130 3:40:49.20 8
2 3 16 United States Jim Rathmann Watson-Offenhauser 144.43 4 200 19 + 0:23.28 6
3 1 3 United States Johnny Thomson Lesovsky-Offenhauser 145.9 1 200 40 + 0:50.64 5
4 15 1 United States Tony Bettenhausen Epperly-Offenhauser 142.72 18 200 0 + 1:47.09 3
5 16 99 United States Paul Goldsmith Epperly-Offenhauser 142.67 19 200 0 + 2:06.44 2
6 11 33 United States Johnny Boyd Epperly-Offenhauser 142.81 16 200 0 + 3:16.98  
7 12 37 United States Duane Carter Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 142.79 17 200 0 + 4:09.92  
8 8 19 United States Eddie Johnson Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 144 9 200 0 + 4:10.53  
9 27 45 United States Paul Russo Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 142.38 22 200 0 + 4:11.04  
10 17 10 United States A.J. Foyt Kuzma-Offenhauser 142.64 20 200 0 + 4:14.48  
11 9 88 United States Gene Hartley Kuzma-Offenhauser 143.57 10 200 0 + 5:42.48  
12 7 74 United States Bob Veith Moore-Offenhauser 144.02 8 200 0 + 6:09.73  
13 23 89 United States Al Herman Dunn-Offenhauser 141.93 29 200 0 + 6:40.40  
14 13 66 United States Jimmy Daywalt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 144.68 3 200 0 + 6:41.54  
15 21 71 United States Chuck Arnold Curtis-Offenhauser 142.11 24 200 0 + 8:19.86  
16 33 58 United States Jim McWithey Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 141.21 33 200 0 + 11:41.69  
17 2 44 United States Eddie Sachs Kuzma-Offenhauser 145.42 2 182 0 Spun Off  
18 28 57 United States Al Keller Kuzma-Offenhauser 142.05 27 163 0 Engine  
19 18 64 United States Pat Flaherty Watson-Offenhauser 142.39 21 162 11 Accident  
20 4 73 United States Dick Rathmann Watson-Offenhauser 144.24 5 150 0 Fire  
21 30 53 United States Bill Cheesbourg Kuzma-Offenhauser 141.78 30 147 0 Magneto  
22 25 15 United States Don Freeland Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 143.05 14 136 0 Magneto  
23 32 49 United States Ray Crawford Elder-Offenhauser 141.34 32 115 0 Accident  
24 10 9 United States Don Branson Phillips-Offenhauser 143.31 12 112 0 Suspension  
25 24 65 United States Bob Christie Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 143.24 13 109 0 Engine  
26 5 48 United States Bobby Grim Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 144.22 6 85 0 Magneto  
27 14 24 United States Jack Turner Christensen-Offenhauser 143.47 11 47 0 Fuel leak  
28 29 47 United States Chuck Weyant Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 141.95 28 45 0 Accident  
29 19 7 United States Jud Larson Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 142.29 23 45 0 Accident  
30 31 77 United States Mike Magill Sutton-Offenhauser 141.48 31 45 0 Accident  
31 26 87 United States Red Amick Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 142.92 15 45 0 Accident  
32 22 8 United States Len Sutton Lesovsky-Offenhauser 142.1 26 34 0 Accident  
33 20 6 United States Jimmy Bryan Epperly-Offenhauser 142.11 25 1 0 Engine  

Alternates[edit]

Race notes[edit]

  • Fastest Lead Lap: Johnny Thomson - 1:01.89
  • Two drivers, Jerry Unser and Bob Cortner, were killed as a result of accidents during practice for this race.
  • Bobby Grim qualified 5th and won the Rookie of the Year award despite dropping out of the race before the halfway point. On lap 85, he suffered magneto failure, and began coasting to the pits. As was customary for drivers of the time, he raised his arm to signify to the other drivers he had lost power. However, due to the high speed he was still traveling, he dislocated his arm in the process. Visibly in pain, the crew thought he was coming in for relief, and quickly Jack Turner jumped behind the wheel, but the car would not run.[3]

Championship standings after the race[edit]

  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Also, points scored in the 500 did not count towards the F1 constructors championship.

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

The race was carried live on the IMS Radio Network. Sid Collins served as chief announcer. Fred Agabashian joined the crew for the first time as "driver expert."

Lou Palmer (turn 3) and Jim Shelton (turn 4) were part of the broadcast team.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Works cited[edit]


Previous race:
1959 Monaco Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1959 season
Next race:
1959 Dutch Grand Prix
Previous race:
1958 Indianapolis 500
Jimmy Bryan
1959 Indianapolis 500
Rodger Ward
Next race:
1960 Indianapolis 500
Jim Rathmann