1947 Indianapolis 500

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31st Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning bodyAAA
DateMay 30, 1947
WinnerMauri Rose
Winning EntrantLou Moore
Average speed116.338 mph (187.228 km/h)
Pole positionTed Horn
Pole speed126.564 mph (203.685 km/h)
Most laps ledBill Holland (143)
Pace carNash Ambassador
Pace car driverGeorge W. Mason
StarterSeth Klein[1]
Honorary refereeRalph F. Gates[1]
Estimated attendance165,000[2]
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1946 1948

The 31st International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 30, 1947. It was the opening round of the 11 races that comprised the 1947 AAA Championship Car season. The 1946 winner, George Robson, had been killed on September 2, 1946 in a racing incident. Driver Shorty Cantlon would be killed in an accident during the race.

Beginning in 1947 the Speedway issued "Bronze" and "Silver" badges. Bronze badges allowed gate and garage access during the month and silver badges did the same but also allowed pit access. On race day, one needed a Back Up Card Early bronze badges were indeed bronze, but silver badges were only a silver colored pot metal. Bronze badges began being made of a bronze colored pot metal sometime in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

Time trials & ASPAR boycott[edit]

Time trials was scheduled for five days. The minimum speed to qualify was set at 115 mph. In the months leading up to the race, several top drivers that were members of a union, the American Society of Professional Auto Racing (ASPAR), threatened to boycott the race over the purse size.[3] The AAA Contest Board refused to heed their demands, and when the entry list was closed on May 8, many of the top drivers, particularly several popular west coast drivers, were not on the list. A total of 35 cars were entered, but at least nine had no driver listed, and 13 of the entries were inexperienced novice drivers. After the practice began for the month, officials decreed that the boycotting drivers would not be allowed late entry. After several weeks of dispute, an agreement was made for the ASPAR drivers to participate midway through the month.[4]

  • Saturday May 17 (Pole Day): Intermittent showers, and the holdout of several ASPAR drivers, meant that only four cars completed qualifying runs. Ted Horn claimed the pole position with a speed of 126.564 mph. Novi teammates Cliff Bergere and Doc Williams both suffered spins during the afternoon. Both rebounded to qualify, with Bergere taking the middle of the front row. Williams completed a rather slow run (120.733 mph), not noticing his crew, who was trying to signal him to abort the run. Williams would be replaced by Herb Ardinger on race day.[5][6]
  • Sunday May 18: Three cars qualified, bringing the field to seven cars. Shorty Cantlon (121.462 mph) was the fastest of the day.[7][8]
  • Saturday May 24
  • Sunday May 25
  • Wednesday May 28: The final scheduled day of qualifying closed with 28 cars in the field.

When qualifying closed at 6 p.m. on Wednesday May 28, the field had only been filled to 28 cars.[9] Duke Dinsmore was the final qualifier, completing his run amidst some scoring confusion by the officials, just as the time had run out.[10] Race officials initially stressed that Wednesday would be the final day available to qualify. However, a day later, they re-opened qualifying for one hour late on Thursday May 29 in an effort to fill the field. Mel Hansen and Emil Andres were the only two cars to complete attempts, and after approval by the other entries, were added to the grid to bring the field to 30 cars.[11]

The heartbreak story of the day belonged to driver Billy Devore. After failing to make the field on Wednesday, the Bill Schoof crew worked diligently to make repairs to their car, hoping that officials would re-open qualifying. When word was announced that additional time trials would be held Thursday, the crew scrambled to get the car prepared. Late in the evening, with about 20 minutes left until closing, the crew drove the race car from their garage about six miles away to the track with a police escort. When they arrived at the gate at 6:58 p.m., however, officials closed time trials, and DeVore was not permitted to qualify. [12]

Starting grid[edit]

Row Inside Middle Outside
1 United States Ted Horn
126.564 mph (203.685 km/h)
United States Cliff Bergere
124.957 mph (201.099 km/h)
United States Mauri Rose  W 
124.040 mph (199.623 km/h)
2 United States Herb Ardinger*
120.733 mph (194.301 km/h)
United States Shorty Cantlon
121.462 mph (195.474 km/h)
United States Russ Snowberger
121.331 mph (195.263 km/h)
3 United States Les Anderson  R 
118.425 mph (190.587 km/h)
United States Bill Holland  R 
128.755 mph (207.211 km/h)
United States Ken Fowler
123.423 mph (198.630 km/h)
4 United States Jimmy Jackson
122.266 mph (196.768 km/h)
United States Milt Fankhouser  R 
119.932 mph (193.012 km/h)
United States Roland Free
119.526 mph (192.358 km/h)
5 United States George Connor
124.874 mph (200.965 km/h)
United States Walt Brown  R 
118.355 mph (190.474 km/h)
United States Frank Wearne
117.716 mph (189.446 km/h)
6 United States Hal Robson
122.096 mph (196.494 km/h)
United States Pete Romcevich R 
117.218 mph (188.644 km/h)
United States Duke Nalon
128.082 mph (206.128 km/h)
7 United States Al Miller
124.848 mph (200.923 km/h)
United States Rex Mays
124.412 mph (200.222 km/h)
United States Paul Russo
123.967 mph (199.506 km/h)
8 United States Joie Chitwood
123.157 mph (198.202 km/h)
United States Fred Agabashian  R 
121.478 mph (195.500 km/h)
Belgium Charles Van Acker  R 
121.049 mph (194.809 km/h)
9 United States Tony Bettenhausen
120.980 mph (194.698 km/h)
United States Henry Banks
120.923 mph (194.607 km/h)
United States Duke Dinsmore
119.840 mph (192.864 km/h)
10 United States Cy Marshall
115.644 mph (186.111 km/h)
United States Mel Hansen
117.298 mph (188.773 km/h)
United States Emil Andres
116.781 mph (187.941 km/h)

Failed to Qualify[edit]

Race summary[edit]

Late in the race, Lou Moore teammates Bill Holland and Mauri Rose were running 1st and 2nd. The pit crew displayed a confusing chalkboard sign with the letters "EZY" to Holland, presumably meaning for him to take the final laps at a reduced pace to safely make it to the finish. Mauri Rose ignored the board, and charged to catch up to Holland. Holland believed he held a lap lead over Rose, and allowed him to catch up. The two drivers waved as Rose passed Holland, with Holland believing it was not more than a congratulatory gesture.

In reality, the pass Rose made was for the lead, and he led the final 8 laps to take the controversial victory. The race was marred by a 41st lap crash that claimed the life of Shorty Cantlon.

Rose's distance finish time of 4:17:52.17 was the second fastest finish of the Indianapolis 500 ever, at the time. Only the 1938 Indianapolis 500 had been completed in a faster total time as of 1947.[14] After Rose completed the 500 mile distance, approximately 40 minutes was given for additional drivers to finish, before any remaining drivers who had not completed the distance by then were flagged off the track.[15] The 1947 race was also the coldest on record, with an average temperature of 50 degrees and morning low of 37.[16]


Finish Start No Name Chassis Engine Laps Led Time/Retired
1 3 27 United States Mauri Rose  W  Deidt Offenhauser 200 34 4:17:52.17
2 8 16 United States Bill Holland  R  Deidt Offenhauser 200 143 -32.12 seconds
3 1 1 United States Ted Horn Maserati Maserati 200 0 -3 minutes, 00.38 seconds
4 4 54 United States Herb Ardinger* Kurtis Kraft Novi 200 0 -6 minutes, 40.35 seconds
5 10 7 United States Jimmy Jackson Miller Offenhauser 200 0 -8 minutes, 00.48 seconds
6 20 9 United States Rex Mays Kurtis Kraft Winfield 200 0 -12 minutes, 16.33 seconds
7 14 33 United States Walt Brown  R  Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 200 0 -36 minutes, 59.30 seconds
8 28 34 United States Cy Marshall A.R.-Weil Alfa Romeo 197 0 -3 laps
9 23 41 United States Fred Agabashian  R  Kurtis Kraft Duray 191 0 -9 laps
10 27 10 United States Duke Dinsmore Wetteroth Offenhauser 167 0 -33 laps
11 7 58 United States Les Anderson  R  Maserati Offenhauser 131 0 -69 laps
12 17 57 United States Pete Romcevich  R  Miller Ford 168 0 Oil line
13 30 3 United States Emil Andres Lencki Lencki 150 0 Magneto
14 15 31 United States Frank Wearne Miller Offenhauser 128 0 Spun T3
15 9 47 United States Ken Fowler Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 121 0 Axle
16 18 46 United States Duke Nalon Mercedes Mercedes 119 0 Piston
17 12 42 United States Roland Free Wetteroth Miller 87 0 Spun
18 25 29 United States Tony Bettenhausen Stevens Offenhauser 79 0 Timing gear
19 6 25 United States Russ Snowberger Maserati Maserati 74 0 Oil pump
20 16 52 United States Hal Robson Adams Offenhauser 67 0 Universal joint
21 2 18 United States Cliff Bergere Kurtis Kraft Novi 62 23 Piston
22 22 8 United States Joie Chitwood Wetteroth Offenhauser 51 0 Gears
23 5 24 United States Shorty Cantlon Snowberger Miller 40 0 Fatal crash T1
24 26 43 United States Henry Banks Miller Offenhauser 36 0 Oil line
25 19 66 United States Al Miller Miller Miller 33 0 Magneto
26 13 14 United States George Connor Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser 32 0 Fuel leak
27 29 38 United States Mel Hansen Adams Sparks 32 0 Disqualified, Pushed
28 21 15 United States Paul Russo Shaw Offenhauser 24 0 Crash FS
29 24 44 Belgium Charles Van Acker  R  Stevens Lencki 24 0 Crash FS
30 11 53 United States Milt Fankhouser  R  Stevens Offenhauser 15 0 Stalled

* Cliff Bergere relieved Herb Ardinger after his own car retired from the race, and completed the race distance in the #54 car.



The race was carried live on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the precursor to the IMS Radio Network. The broadcast was sponsored by Perfect Circle Piston Rings and Bill Slater served as the anchor. The broadcast feature live coverage of the start, the finish, and live updates throughout the race.

Barry Lake served as "roving reporter," stationed on an Army Jeep. Larry Richardson was stationed in the new Press Paddock (constructed underneath the Paddock Penthouse upper deck) on the outside of the mainstretch, relaying scoring and official information.

Mutual Broadcasting System
Booth Announcers Turn Reporters Pits/roving reporters

Announcer: Bill Slater
Analyst: Gene Kelly
Press Paddock: Larry Richardson

South turns: Mike Dunn
Mainstretch: Gordon Graham
North turns: Jim Shelton

Norman Perry
Barry Lake

See also[edit]


Works cited[edit]

  • 1947 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Mutual: Re-broadcast on "The All-Night Race Party" - WIBC-AM (May 29, 2004)


  1. ^ a b Fox, Jack C. (1994). The Illustrated History of the Indianapolis 500 1911-1994 (4th ed.). Carl Hungness Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 0-915088-05-3.
  2. ^ Brooks, Ralph L. (May 31, 1947). "165,000 See Race Classic". The Indianapolis Star. p. 11. Retrieved June 1, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  3. ^ "Indianapolis 500 Centenary Countdown: Not 33 (times 3)". Racer magazine. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  4. ^ Way Is Cleared for Auto Racers - May 20, 1947
  5. ^ Harrison, Harold (May 18, 1947). "126.564 Tops For Field of 4 (Part 1)". The Indianapolis Star. p. 1. Retrieved August 31, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  6. ^ Harrison, Harold (May 18, 1947). "126.564 Tops For Field of 4 (Part 2)". The Indianapolis Star. p. 41. Retrieved August 31, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  7. ^ Harrison, Harold (May 19, 1947). "Cantlon Paces 3 New Qualifiers (Part 1)". The Indianapolis Star. p. 1. Retrieved August 31, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  8. ^ Harrison, Harold (May 19, 1947). "Cantlon Paces 3 New Qualifiers (Part 2)". The Indianapolis Star. p. 9. Retrieved August 31, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  9. ^ Speedway Race Has Its Smallest Field - May 29, 1947
  10. ^ Milwaukee Car Last to Qualify for 500 - May 29, 1947[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Racing Classic at Indianapolis - May 30, 1947
  12. ^ Schoof Car Misses Race Dead Line After frantic Dash to Speedway - May 30, 1947[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ ""1947 International 500 Mile Sweepstakes"". ChampCarStats.com.
  14. ^ Wire Dispatches (May 31, 1947). "Rose Wins 2d 500 Miler; Cantlon Killed In Spill". The Courier-Journal. p. 10. Retrieved 2017-07-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Sainsbury, Ed (May 31, 1947). "Rose Wins '500', Holland 2d; Auto Race Crash Kills Cantlon". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 12. Retrieved 2017-07-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Indianapolis 500" (PDF). United States National Weather Service. June 25, 2019. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "Indianapolis 500 1947". Ultimate Racing History. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.

1946 Indianapolis 500
George Robson
1947 Indianapolis 500
Mauri Rose
1948 Indianapolis 500
Mauri Rose