Bobby Marshman

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Bobby Marshman
Born George Robert Marshman
(1936-09-24)September 24, 1936
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died December 3, 1964(1964-12-03) (aged 28)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Cause of death Injuries from racing accident

Bobby Marshman (September 24, 1936 - December 3, 1964), was an American racecar driver.

Born the son of auto race promoter George Marshman[1] in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Marshman died in San Antonio, Texas of injuries sustained in a tire test in Phoenix, Arizona.

He drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1961-1964 seasons, with 49 career starts, including each Indianapolis 500 contest in that span. He finished in the top ten 25 times, with one victory, in 1962 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. His 7th place finish at the 1961 Indianapolis 500 earned him co-Rookie of the Year honors with Parnelli Jones.

Marshman may be best known for his performance during the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Early in the race, following a fiery crash that clained the lives of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald, Marshman took the lead from polesitter and race favorite Jim Clark. Marshman, driving a Lotus 29-Ford, extended his lead until the 37th lap, when he was forced off the track to avoid hitting a slower car driven by Johnny White. The instant he spent off the track tore loose oil and water lines, and retired the car. Many observers felt Marshman was on his way to a comfortable victory before luck intervened. A story from the time holds that Marshman wandered the crowd for an hour before returning to the pits and his crew. Marshman, dressed in his fireproof overalls and with oily goggle-marks around his eyes, was holding a race program. Jack Beckley, Marshman's crew chief, studied him quizzically and finally asked, "what are you doing with that?" An embarrassed and crestfallen Marshman replied, "I thought if I bought it no one would know I was a driver and they wouldn't ask me silly questions."

On November 27, 1964, Marshman was conducting tire tests at the Phoenix 1-mile paved oval. When his Lotus-Ford crashed into the west retaining wall and ruptured the fuel tank, he was not wearing fire-retardant clothing to protect him according to some reports. First able to leave the wreck unassisted, Marshman succumbed to his second and third degree burns six days later.[2][3][4][5]

About a year after her husband's death, Marshman's widow, Janet F. Marshman, sued Ford Motor Company for $5 million, claiming that the crash resulted from negligence by the car owner, purported to be Ford, which also failed to comply with a warranty that the car was safe according to the suit.[6]

The first Bobby Marshman Memorial race, which featured ARDC midget cars and was promoted by George Marshman, was held at Hatfield Speedway in June 1966.[7]

Indy 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1961 Epperly Offy 33rd 7th
1962 Epperly Offy 3rd 5th
1963 Epperly Offy 7th 16th
1964 Lotus Ford 2nd 25th
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jim Hurtubise
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year

1961
With Parnelli Jones
Succeeded by
Jim McElreath

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lukas, Paul (January 1, 1958). "MARSHMAN SWITCH". Reading Eagle. 
  2. ^ "Bobby Marshman Burned As Auto Crashes Into Wall". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. November 28, 1964. 
  3. ^ "Bobby Marshman Critical Today". The Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. November 30, 1964. 
  4. ^ "Car Crash Burns Claim Marshman". The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. December 4, 1964. 
  5. ^ "Race Driver Bobby Marshman Dies". Prescott Evening Courier. United Press International. December 4, 1964. 
  6. ^ "Widow Of Marshman Sues Ford". Lodi News-Sentinel. United Press International. November 30, 1965. 
  7. ^ Lukas, Paul (June 14, 1966). "MEMORIAL". Reading Eagle. 

External links[edit]