1939 Indianapolis 500
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Date||May 30, 1939|
|Winning Entrant||Boyle Racing Headquarters|
|Average speed||115.035 mph (185.131 km/h)|
|Pole position||Jimmy Snyder|
|Pole speed||130.138 mph (209.437 km/h)|
|Most laps led||Louis Meyer (79)|
|Pace car||Buick Roadmaster 80|
|Pace car driver||Charles Chayne|
The 27th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 1939. The race was won by the number two car of Wilbur Shaw, who started in the third position. The race was notable for a three car accident on lap 109, when Floyd Roberts, the reigning champion, was killed when his car went through the wooden outer wall at over 100 miles (160 km) an hour at the backstretch. In Louis Meyer's final Indy 500, he too would crash at the backstretch at over 100 miles (160 km) an hour, but he walked away unharmed.
Ten-lap qualifying runs were eliminated for 1939, and the distance reverted to four-lap (10 mile) runs. This change was made permanent, and four-lap runs have been used ever since.
Floyd Roberts crash
With Roberts on lap 109, the car driven by Bob Swanson lost control and went sideways. Roberts' car contacted Swanson's, causing Swanson's car to eject Swanson, flip over, and catch fire, while Roberts' car went through the outer wall. Chet Miller's car went into the debris field, flipped, and went into the inner wall. Two spectators were also injured by flying debris. The three drivers were taken to hospitals, while it took over 30 minutes to clear the burning wreck of Swanson's car from the track. Roberts death due to brain injuries was announced before the race was completed.
First rear-engined car
|1||3||2||Wilbur Shaw (W)||128.977||4||200||51||Running|
|12||2||45||Louis Meyer (W)||130.067||2||197||79||Crash BS|
|14||26||51||Tony Willman||122.771||21||188||0||Fuel pump|
|18||24||35||Kelly Petillo (W)||123.660||16||141||0||Pistons|
|19||14||49||Mel Hansen (R)||121.683||25||113||0||Crash Pits|
|21||5||3||Chet Miller||126.318||8||109||0||Crash BS|
|22||13||25||Ralph Hepburn||122.204||22||107||0||Crash BS|
|23||23||1||Floyd Roberts (W) ✝||128.968||5||106||0||Crash BS|
|24||18||37||Ira Hall||121.188||27||89||0||Head gasket|
|27||29||56||Floyd Davis||119.375||29||43||0||Shock absorber|
|29||11||29||Frank Brisko||123.351||17||38||0||Air pump|
|30||21||44||Emil Andres||121.212||26||22||0||Spark plugs|
|31||22||32||Bob Swanson||129.431||3||19||0||Rear axle|
|32||7||47||Shorty Cantlon||125.567||10||15||0||Main bearing|
Failed to Qualify
- Henry Banks (#39)
- Sam Hanks (R) (#42)
- Tommy Hinnershitz (R) (#33)
- Ronney Householder (#26)
- Frank McGurk (#41)
- Zeke Meyer (#27)
- Duke Nalon (#7)
- Johnny Seymour (#61)
- Lou Webb (R) (#59)
- Doc Williams (#36)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- "Wilbur Shaw Wins. Floyd Roberts Dies". Associated Press. May 31, 1939. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
Shaw swept through a trail of death and destruction Tuesday to win the twenty-seventh running of the Indianapolis motor speedway 500 mile race and stand ...
- Reginald Cleveland (May 31, 1939). "Roberts, 1938 Victor, Dies in Triple Crash as Shaw Takes Indianapolis Race. Just After Accident At Indianapolis And Finish Of The Race". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
Death in the afternoon struck at the twenty-seventh running of the 500 mile Speedway race today as Wilbur Shaw of Indianapolis, who won in 1938 ... Floyd Roberts, last year's popular victor, died in the Methodist Hospital ....
- George Bailey, indymotorspeedway.com Retrieved 7 December 2015
- "Indianapolis 500 1939". Ultimate Racing History. Archived from the original on January 17, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- The Talk of Gasoline Alley - 1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
- "1939 International 500 Mile Sweepstakes". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
|1938 Indianapolis 500
|1939 Indianapolis 500
|1940 Indianapolis 500