1964 Indianapolis 500
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Season||1964 USAC season|
|Date||May 30, 1964|
|Winner||A. J. Foyt|
|Winning team||Ansted-Thompson Racing|
|Average speed||147.350 mph (237.137 km/h)|
|Pole position||Jim Clark|
|Pole speed||158.828 mph (255.609 km/h)|
|Fastest qualifier||Jim Clark|
|Rookie of the Year||Johnny White|
|Most laps led||A. J. Foyt (146)|
|National anthem||Purdue Band|
|Back Home Again in Indiana||Vic Damone|
|Starting Command||Tony Hulman|
|Pace car||Ford Mustang|
|Pace car driver||Benson Ford|
|TV in the United States|
|Nielsen Ratings||N/A / N/A|
The 48th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1964. It was won by A.J. Foyt, but is primarily remembered for a fiery seven-car accident that resulted in the deaths of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. It is also the last race won by a front-engined "roadster", as all subsequent races have been won by rear-engined, formula-style cars.
Race winner Foyt drove the whole 500 miles without changing tires. Goodyear supplied tires for some entries, but participated only in practice. No cars used Goodyear tires during the race itself. Foyt's 1964 winning car remains the only car in the collection of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum, regularly on display, that has never been restored to pre race condition.
Jim Clark, who finished second the previous year, won the pole position in the Lotus 34 quad-cam Ford V-8. He took the lead at the start, and led the race during the early stages. However, a tire failure caused a broken suspension, and he dropped out after only 47 laps.
Time trials was scheduled for four days.
- Saturday May 16 - Pole Day time trials
- Jim Clark captured the pole position in his rear-engined Lotus 34. Rodger Ward was the first to make headlines, as he set a one-lap track record with a lap of 157.563 mph, and a four-lap average of 156.406 mph. Bobby Marshman upped the speed to 157.867 mph. Jim Clark secured the pole with a record-setting run. His second lap (159.337 mph) set the one-lap track record, and his four-lap average was a record 158.828 mph.
- Sunday May 17 - Second day time trials
- Saturday May 23 - Third day time trials
- Sunday May 24 - Fourth day time trials
Dave MacDonald was driving a car owned and designed by Mickey Thompson, the #83 Sears-Allstate Special. It was a rear-engined car that first raced in 1963, updated with a streamlined body for 1964. The fuel was housed within rubber bladders inside of an enclosed tank that ran between the tires on the left side. The car also featured Sears Allstate tires, manufactured by Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co. It was far ahead of its time, but was badly designed, poorly built, and difficult to drive. It handled badly, a condition made worse when the body was modified to accommodate the USAC-mandated 15-inch (380 mm) tires. Graham Hill tested the vehicle before Indy, but refused to drive it in 1963. Masten Gregory crashed earlier in the month due to aerodynamic lift. Other drivers took the advice of Gregory and stayed away from the Thompson cars. Jim Clark told MacDonald on Carb Day, "Get out of that car mate, just walk away." The car was also offered to Mario Andretti, who turned it down over his lack of experience and the fact the vehicle was only for Indy. According to long-time motorsports journalist Chris Economaki, MacDonald never practiced with a full load of fuel due to Thompson's focus on high speeds. However, other reports indicate MacDonald did practice with a full load of fuel.
In the first lap of his first Indy 500, MacDonald passed at least 5 other cars. As he passed Johnny Rutherford and Sachs, Rutherford noticed MacDonald's car was handling poorly, even throwing grass and dirt up from the edge of the track. Rutherford later said, watching the behavior of MacDonald's car, he thought, "Whoa, he's either gonna win this thing or crash."
On the second lap, MacDonald's car spun coming off turn four. The car slid across the track and hit the inside wall, igniting the gasoline in the tanks and resulting in a massive fire. His car then slid back across the track, causing seven more cars to be involved. Ronnie Duman crashed, spun in flames and hit the pit lane wall, and was burned. Bobby Unser hit another car, and Johnny Rutherford's car on its left rear tire, and crashed into the outside wall. Chuck Stevenson and Norm Hall also crashed.
Sachs aimed for an opening along the main straight wall, soon closed by MacDonald's burning car. He hit MacDonald's car broadside, causing a second explosion, and died instantly of blunt force injuries. Despite Sachs' body being trapped in the burning car, his driver's suit was only scorched and he received slight burns on his face and hands. The car was covered with a tarp before being towed to the garage area for removal of his body. A lemon that had been on a string around Sachs' neck was found inside Rutherford's engine compartment after the crash.
MacDonald was pulled from the wreck and taken into the infield hospital. Though badly burned, he was conscious and alert. His lungs were seared from flame inhalation, causing acute pulmonary oedema. He died at 13:20.
The crash was well documented in film and still images, and shown worldwide. For the first time in its history, the Indianapolis 500 was stopped because of an accident. Partially in response to media pressure, USAC mandated cars carry less fuel (and crafted the rules to effectively eliminate the use of gasoline, effective for the 1965 season). This resulted in a change to methanol. Another response to the crash was the 1965 introduction of the Firestone "RaceSafe" fuel cell, with technology used in military helicopters.
|14||11||56||Jim Hurtubise||152.542||14||141||0||Oil Pressure|
|17||6||12||Dan Gurney||154.487||7||110||0||Tire wear|
|18||18||14||Troy Ruttman||151.292||24||99||0||Spun T3|
|20||25||52||Jack Brabham||152.504||15||77||0||Fuel Tank|
|21||26||28||Jim McElreath||152.381||16||77||0||Filter system|
|23||4||98||Parnelli Jones||155.099||4||55||7||Pit fire|
|25||2||51||Bobby Marshman||157.857||2||39||33||Oil Plug|
|26||24||84||Eddie Johnson||152.905||11||6||0||Fuel Pump|
|27||15||86||Johnny Rutherford||151.400||23||2||0||Crash FS|
|28||29||95||Chuck Stevenson||150.830||29||2||0||Crash FS|
|29||14||83||Dave MacDonald ✝||151.464||20||1||0||Died in crash at FS|
|30||17||25||Eddie Sachs ✝||151.439||22||1||0||Died in crash at FS|
|31||16||64||Ronnie Duman||149.744||32||1||0||Crash FS|
|32||22||9||Bobby Unser||154.865||5||1||0||Crash FS|
|33||31||26||Norm Hall||150.094||30||1||0||Crash T4|
|Tire participation chart|
|Supplier||No. of starters|
|* - Denotes race winner|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1964 Indianapolis 500.|
Bernie Herman departed the crew, and newcomer Chuck Marloe was stationed at the backstretch location. During the broadcast, a young Donald Davidson visited the booth, and made a brief appearance for an interview. Charlie Brockman left the radio crew permanently in 1964 to take over anchoring the MCA closed-circuit television broadcast. John DeCamp joined the booth to serve as statistician.
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network|
|Booth Announcers||Turn Reporters||Pit/garage reporters|
Turn 1: Bill Frosh
|Jack Shapiro (north pits)
Luke Walton (center pits)
Lou Palmer (south pits)
Eddie Sachs eulogy
During the live radio broadcast of the race, IMS Radio Network anchor Sid Collins drew critical praise for an impromptu on-air eulogy for Eddie Sachs. During the red flag, track public address announcer Tom Carnegie made the official announcement of the death of Sachs (MacDonald had not yet expired, and his death was not announced until later).
|“||"It is with deepest regret that we make this announcement. Driver Eddie Sachs was fatally injured in the accident on the mainstraightaway.||”|
Silence was heard on-air for about five seconds, and at that point, Collins chimed in with a solemn, unprepared eulogy:
"You heard the announcement from the public address system. There's not a sound. Men are taking off their hats. People are weeping, over three hundred thousand fans, here; not moving; disbelieving. Some men try to conquer life in a number of ways. These days of our outer space attempts, some men try to conquer the universe. Race drivers are courageous men who try to conquer life and death, and they calculate their risks. And in our talking with them over the years, I think we know their inner thoughts in regards to racing: they take it as part of living. No one is moving on the race track. They're standing silently. A race driver who leaves this earth mentally, when he straps himself into the cockpit, to try what for to him is the biggest conquest he can make, is aware of the odds; and Eddie Sachs played the odds. He was serious and frivolous. He was fun. He was a wonderful gentleman. He took much needling and he gave much needling. And just as the astronauts do perhaps, these boys on the race track ask no quarter and they give none. If they succeed they're a hero, and if they fail, they tried. And it was Eddie's desire, I'm sure, and will to try with everything he had, which he always did. So the only healthy way perhaps we can approach the tragedy of the loss of a friend like Eddie Sachs is to know that he would have wanted us to face it, as he did: as it has happened, not as we wish it would have happened. It is God's will, I'm sure, and we must accept that. We're all speeding towards death at the rate of sixty minutes every hour. The only difference is that we don't know how to speed faster, and Eddie Sachs did. So as since death has a thousand or more doors, Eddie Sachs exits this earth in a race car. And knowing Eddie, I assume that's the way he would have wanted it...
...Byron said 'who the gods love, die young.' Eddie was 37. To his widow Nancy we extend our extreme sympathy and regret. And to his two children. This boy won the pole here in 1961 and 1962, and was a proud race driver. Well, as we do at Indianapolis and in racing: as the World Champion Jimmy Clark I'm sure would agree, as he's raced all over the world: the race continues. Unfortunately today, without Eddie Sachs. And we'll be restarting it in just a few moments."
Collins received over 30,000 letters requesting a transcript of the eulogy.
- The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 28, 2004
- Setright, L.J.K. "Lotus: The Golden Mean", in Northey, Tom, ed. The World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1232.
- Setright, p.1232.
- Mickey Thompson @ 1963 Indy 500
- The Foyt Files :: IndyCar Series
- American Driver, Lone Star JR Johnny Rutherford - Columns - Automobile Magazine
- Motorsport Memorial
- IndyStar.com: Indy 500
- "bleacherreport.com: Not so "Good Old Days"". Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
- "One on One With Mark Montieth". 2009-05-10. WFNI. http://www.1070thefan.com/oneonone/.
- 1964 Indianapolis 500 - Radio Broadcast, May 30, 1964
- Sid Collins; Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame; 1980; Jani Lange; Retrieved May 5, 2008
- Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats - Official Site
- 1964 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network
|1963 Indianapolis 500
|1964 Indianapolis 500
|1965 Indianapolis 500