Billy Arnold (racing driver)

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Richard William Arnold[1] (December 16, 1905 Chicago, Illinois – November 10, 1976 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) won the 1930 Indianapolis 500 after leading all but first two laps of the race, the most ever by a winner of the race. He won by a margin of 7 minutes and 17 seconds. He was 24 years old at the time. In 1931 he led 155 laps but crashed on lap 162 while holding a five-lap lead, becoming seriously injured along with his riding mechanic Spider Matlock. A tire came off the car, bounced over the fence and killed a young boy playing in his front yard outside the track. In 1932 Arnold led 57 laps before crashing on lap 59. He suffered a broken shoulder and riding mechanic Matlock suffered a broken pelvis. At the urging of his wife, Arnold retired from racing.

Married to LaFrance Arnold.

Arnold earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois and, following his racing career, a Ph.D. from the Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT).

During WWII, he served with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as Chief of Maintenance for the U.S. 8th Air Force and left the service in 1945 as a one-star general.

Following the war, Arnold owned an automobile dealership after the war and entered the construction business. Between 1950-58, he developed water skis and was among the pioneers of the sport.

Arnold died November 10, 1976 of a cerebral hemorrhage, aged 70. He is buried at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery in Oklahoma City, OK.

Indy 500 results[edit]

Preceded by
Ray Keech
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Louis Schneider


  1. ^ "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" May 26, 2011

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