Ed Elisian

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Ed Elisian
Born (1926-12-09)December 9, 1926
Oakland, California, California, U.S.
Died August 30, 1959(1959-08-30) (aged 32)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United States American
Active years 19541958
Teams Stevens, Kurtis Kraft, Watson
Races 5
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1954 Indianapolis 500
Last race 1958 Indianapolis 500

Ed Elisian (born Edward Gulbeng Eliseian; December 9, 1926 Oakland, California – August 30, 1959 Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was an American racing driver, mainly competing in the National Championship. He died in a crash at the Milwaukee Mile.[1]

In the 1955 Indianapolis 500, he stopped his car in a futile attempt to help Bill Vukovich when Vukovich's car crashed and burned during the race. He is one of only two drivers in Indy 500 history to stop a non-damaged car to help another driver, the other being Gary Bettenhausen. He received a sportsmanship award for his efforts, as well as the wrath of the car owner.[1][2]

In June 1956, Elisian was engaging in a wheel-to-wheel duel with Bob Sweikert, who had won the race in which Vukovich was killed, in a Sprint car race at Salem Speedway when Sweikert made contact with the rail, overleapt it and rolled over outside of the track, suffering fatal skull injuries. Elisian was exonerated as no collision had taken place.[3][4]

In the 1958 Indianapolis 500, Dick Rathmann and Elisian started the race on the front row, with Jimmy Reece on the outside of the front row. Elisian spun in Turn 3 of the first lap, and collected Rathmann, sending them both into the wall, and starting a 15-car pileup. According to A. J. Foyt, Pat O'Connor's car hit Reece's car, sailed fifty feet in the air, landed upside down, and burst into flames. Although medical officials said that O'Connor was probably killed instantly from a fractured skull, he was incinerated in the accident, in full view of fans and drivers.[1][5] Widely blamed for the accident, Elisian was suspended by USAC[6] (reinstated a few days later), and was shunned by the racing community. Rumors spread that Elisian tried to lead the first lap in order to pay gambling debts owed to a syndicate.[1]

In June 1958, Elisian collided with Jim Davis in a Sprint car race at New Bremen Speedway in Auglaize County, Ohio. After Davis had run over one of the wheels of Elisian's spinning car when trying to pass him at the south turn, both cars flipped over and slid down the track. Elisian sustained minor injuries, but Davis, who suffered a skull fracture and chest injuries, died at Memorial Hospital in St. Marys, Ohio. While absolved of blame in the incident,[7] Elisian's unpopularity with drivers deepened.[1][8]

In September 1958, Elisian was suspended for being charged with passing fraudulent checks among other things, but reinstated as of end of May 1959.[9][10]

In August 1959, Elisian entered the USAC Indy car 200-mile (320 km) race at the "Milwaukee Mile," known in those days as Wisconsin State Fair Park. Driving a metallic green Watson-style roadster owned by Ernie Ruiz, he crashed on lap 29 when he spun in oil from A. J. Foyt's engine. The car hit the wall, rupturing the fuel cell, and rolled over. Some sixty gallons of fuel caught fire, and took over nine minutes to extinguish.[1] The crash claimed the life of Elisian.[10][11]

Indy 500 results[edit]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1954 H.A. Chapman Stevens Offenhauser L4 ARG
500
18 *
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
SUI
ITA
ESP
NC 0
1955 Westwood Gauge / Wales Kurtis Kraft 4000 Offenhauser L4 ARG
MON
500
30
BEL
NED
GBR
ITA
NC 0
1956 Hoyt Machine / Fred Sommer Kurtis Kraft 500C Offenhauser L4 ARG
MON
500
23 †
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
ITA
NC 0
1957 McNamara / Kalamazoo Sports Kurtis Kraft 500D Offenhauser L4 ARG
MON
500
29
FRA
GBR
GER
PES
ITA
NC 0
1958 John Zink Watson Indy Roadster Offenhauser L4 ARG
MON
NED
500
28
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
POR
ITA
MOR
NC 0
* Indicates shared drive with Bob Scott.
† Indicates shared drive with Eddie Russo.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ed Elisian". Wheelsofspeed.com. 
  2. ^ "Historic Racing Drivers". Historicracing.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  3. ^ "Sweikert Killed In Racer Crash". Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, Kentucky). Associated Press. June 18, 1956. 
  4. ^ Owens, Bob (August 31, 1959). "Ed Elisian Followed Path Of Controversy". The Miami News. 
  5. ^ Indy 500 deadly accidents, 1958
  6. ^ "Elisian Suspended". The Milwaukee Journal. May 31, 1958. 
  7. ^ "Ed Elisian Involved in Fatal Crash Again". The Milwaukee Journal. June 30, 1958. 
  8. ^ Motorsport Memorial
  9. ^ "Ed Elisian Reinstated". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. May 26, 1959. 
  10. ^ a b "RACE DRIVER ED ELISIAN DIES IN CRASH". Prescott Evening Courier. Associated Press. August 31, 1959. 
  11. ^ "Driver Killed at Fair Race". Milwaukee Sentinel. August 31, 1959.