April 14, 1912|
|Died||January 3, 1988
Tampa Bay, Florida
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First race||1950 Indianapolis 500|
|Last race||1950 Indianapolis 500|
George Rice "Joie" Chitwood (April 14, 1912 – January 3, 1988) was an American racecar driver and businessman. He is best known as a daredevil in the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show.
Chitwood started his racecar driving career in 1934 at a dirt track in Winfield, Kansas. From there, he began racing sprint cars. In 1939 and 1940 he won the AAA East Coast Sprint car championship. He switched to the CSRA and won its title in 1942. Between 1940 and 1950 he competed at the Indianapolis 500 seven times, finishing fifth on three different occasions. He was the first man ever to wear a safety belt at the Indy 500.
Joie Chitwood Thrill Show
Chitwood also operated the "Joie Chitwood Thrill Show", an exhibition of auto stunt driving that became so successful he gave up racing. Often called "Hell Drivers," he had five units that for more than forty years toured across North America thrilling audiences in large and small towns alike with their death-defying automobile stunts.
On May 13, 1978, Joie Chitwood Jr. set a world record when he drove a Chevrolet Chevette for 5.6 miles (9.0 km) on just 2 wheels. His sons, Joie Jr. and Tim both joined the auto thrill show and continued to run the "Joie Chitwood Chevy Thunder Show" after their father's retirement. His grandson, Joie Chitwood III, is the President of Daytona International Speedway and a former president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The show was featured during season 3 of CHiPs in an episode entitled "Thrill Show". Joie Jr. did stunts for "Miami Vice" on several occasions.
Chitwood was frequently hired by Hollywood film studios to either do stunt driving for films or to act as auto-stunt coordinator. On a few occasions he appeared in a minor role, notably with Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck in the 1950 film about auto racing, To Please a Lady.
In 1973,Joie Chitwood Jr. is credited as a Stunt Coordinator for the hugely successful James Bond film Live and Let Die (film), where he was also the stunt driver and acted in a minor part.
Joie Chitwood Jr. also acted as a car safety consultant, intentionally crashing vehicles for subsequent investigation. He had intentionally crashed more than 3000 vehicles by the time he appeared on the game show I've Got A Secret in 1965. Joie Jr. and Joie Sr. test-crashed guardrails and breakaway Interstate signs for US Steel and aluminum light poles for ALCOA. The highways are safer today because of these tests.
Indy 500 results
* shared drive with Tony Bettenhausen
Complete Formula One World Championship results
|1950||Ervin Wolfe||Kurtis Kraft 2000||Offenhauser L4||GBR
- * Indicates shared drive with Tony Bettenhausen.
- Sport: Joie Chitwood's Indianapolis Thrill Show (De Lachance Productions)
- Joie Chitwood 1951 Photographs collections at the University of Missouri–St. Louis