1952 Indianapolis 500

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1952 Indianapolis 500
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Winning car of the 1952 Indianapolis 500
Winning car of the 1952 Indianapolis 500
Race details
Date 30 May 1952 (1952-05-30)
Official name 36th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes
Location Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.023 km (2.5 miles)
Distance 200 laps, 804.672 km (500 miles)
Weather Warm and sunny
Attendance 200,000[1]
Pole position
Driver Cummins Engines
Time 4:20.85 (4 laps)
Podium
First J. C. Agajanian
Second Grancor Auto
Third Ed Walsh

The 36th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was a motor race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 30, 1952. It was the opening race of the 1952 AAA National Championship Trail and was also race 2 of 8 in the 1952 World Championship of Drivers.

Troy Ruttman won the race for car owner J. C. Agajanian. Ruttman, aged 22 years and 80 days, set the record for the youngest 500 winner in history. It was also the last dirt track car to win at Indy. Ruttman's win also saw him become the youngest winner of a World Drivers' Championship race, a record he would hold for 51 years until the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix when Spanish driver Fernando Alonso won at the age of 22 years and 26 days.

Bill Vukovich led 150 laps, but with 9 laps to go, he broke a steering linkage while leading.[2] He nursed his car to a stop against the outside wall, preventing other cars from getting involved in the incident.

In the third year that the 500 was included in the World Championship, Ferrari entered the race with Alberto Ascari on Ferrari 375 Indianapolis. The effort gained considerable attention, but Ascari was forced to retire after a few laps when the hub of a wheel on his car collapsed. He was classified 31st. It was the only World Championship race in 1952 that Ascari entered and did not win.

Fifth place finisher Art Cross was voted the Rookie of the Year. Though at least one rookie starter was in the field every year dating back to 1911, this was the first time the now-popular award was officially designated.

Time trials[edit]

Time trials was scheduled for four days, but rain pushed qualifying into a fifth day.

  • Saturday May 17 – Pole Day time trials
  • Sunday May 18 – Second day time trials (rained out)
  • Saturday May 24 – Third day time trials
  • Sunday May 25 – Fourth day time trials (rained out)
  • Monday May 26 – Fifth day time trials (rain make up day)

Box score[edit]

Pos Grid No Driver Constructor Qual Rank Laps Led Time/Retired Points
1 7 98 United States Troy Ruttman Kuzma-Offenhauser 135.36 18 200 44 3:52:41.88 8
2 10 59 United States Jim Rathmann Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.34 7 200 0 +4:02.33 6
3 5 18 United States Sam Hanks Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.73 14 200 0 +6:11.61 4
4 6 1 United States Duane Carter Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.52 16 200 0 +6:48.34 3
5 20 33 United States Art Cross  R  Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.28 26 200 0 +8:40.15 2
6 21 77 United States Jimmy Bryan  R  Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.14 27 200 0 +9:24.32
7 23 37 United States Jimmy Reece  R  Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 133.99 29 200 0 +10:35.24
8 14 54 United States George Connor Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.60 15 200 0 +12:00.61
9 9 22 United States Cliff Griffith Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.61 6 200 0 +12:23.76
10 31 5 United States Johnnie Parsons  W  Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 135.32 19 200 0 +13:37.78
11 3 4 United States Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.66 5 200 6 +14:21.72
12 26 29 United States Jim Rigsby  R  Watson-Offenhauser 133.90 33 200 0 +16:05.10
13 16 14 United States Joe James Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.95 22 200 0 +16:55.65
14 15 7 United States Bill Schindler Stevens-Offenhauser 134.98 20 200 0 +18:48.66
15 13 65 United States George Fonder Sherman-Offenhauser 135.94 13 197 0 +3 Laps
16 24 81 United States Eddie Johnson  R  Trevis-Offenhauser 133.97 30 193 0 +7 Laps
17 8 26 United States Bill Vukovich Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 138.21 2 191 150 Steering 11
18 11 16 United States Chuck Stevenson Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 136.14 9 187 0 +13 Laps
19 12 2 United States Henry Banks Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.96 11 184 0 +16 Laps
20 28 8 United States Manny Ayulo Lesovsky-Offenhauser 135.98 10 184 0 +16 Laps
21 33 31 United States Johnny McDowell Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 133.93 32 182 0 +18 Laps
22 29 48 United States Spider Webb Bromme-Offenhauser 135.96 12 162 0 Oil leak
23 22 34 United States Rodger Ward Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.13 28 130 0 Oil Pressure
24 30 27 United States Tony Bettenhausen Deidt-Offenhauser 135.38 17 93 0 Oil Pressure
25 4 36 United States Duke Nalon Kurtis Kraft-Novi 136.18 8 84 0 Supercharger
26 32 73 United States Bob Sweikert  R  Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.98 21 77 0 Differential
27 1 28 United States Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft-Cummins diesel 138.01 3 71 0 Turbocharger
28 18 67 United States Gene Hartley Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 134.34 24 65 0 Exhaust
29 25 93 United States Bob Scott  R  Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 133.95 31 49 0 Transmission
30 27 21 United States Chet Miller Kurtis Kraft-Novi 139.03 1 41 0 Supercharger
31 19 12 Italy Alberto Ascari  R  Ferrari 134.30 25 40 0 Wheel
32 17 55 United States Bobby Ball Stevens-Offenhauser 134.72 23 34 0 Gearbox
33 2 9 United States Andy Linden Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 137.00 4 20 0 Oil Pump
Source:[3]
Notes
  • ^1 – 1 point for fastest lead lap

Failed to qualify[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Pole position: Fred Agabashian – 4:20.85 (4 laps)
  • Agabashian's Cummins Diesel Special was the first entry in the Indianapolis 500 to be powered by a turbocharged engine (then described as "turbosupercharged"). Gear-driven centrifugal blowers known as "superchargers" had been used since the 1920s to increase the volumetric efficiency and power output of racing engines, but the Cummins Diesel was the first to make use of the "free" energy contained in the engine exhaust stream to drive a turbine wheel connected to a centrifugal blower (thus, "turbo-supercharging").
  • Fastest Lead Lap: Bill Vukovich – 1:06.60 (135.135 mph)
  • As of 2020, Troy Ruttman remains the youngest driver to win the Indianapolis 500, at 22 years and 80 days.[5]
  • Ruttman also became the youngest driver to win a race counting for the World Championship of Drivers. His record was broken by Fernando Alonso at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix.
  • Alberto Ascari marked the first instance of a driver competing seriously for the World Drivers' Championship (of which the 500 was a points-scoring race) to race in the 500. Although he finished 31st at Indy, he went on to win all of the remaining races and the title.
  • 1952 was the only occasion when the fastest (Chet Miller) and slowest (Jim Rigsby) qualifiers for the race started next to each other.[6]
  • 1952 was the first Indy 500 in which not a single relief driver was utilized during the race.[7]

Broadcasting[edit]

Radio[edit]

The race was carried live on the radio on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. During the offseason, the Speedway management created the network to handle broadcasting duties in-house. The arrangement was under the flagship of 1070 WIBC-AM of Indianapolis, and featured a crew that consisted mostly of WIBC talent. WIBC landed exclusive rights of the broadcast in the Indianapolis market, which eventually would draw the ire of the other major stations in the area. In later years, the broadcast would be carried on all five stations inside the city.

Sid Collins served as booth announcer. Jim Shelton was among the turn reporters, reporting from turn 4. Gordon Graham reported from the pits and from victory lane. Like previous years, the broadcast featured live coverage of the start, the finish, and 15-minute live updates throughout the race. At least twenty stations around the county picked up the broadcast.[8]

Championship standings after the race[edit]

World Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
1rightarrow blue.svg 1 Italy Piero Taruffi 9
1uparrow green.svg 20 2 United States Troy Ruttman 8
1downarrow red.svg 1 3 Switzerland Rudi Fischer 6
1uparrow green.svg 18 4 United States Jim Rathmann 6
1downarrow red.svg 2 5 France Jean Behra 4
Source: [9]
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stranahan, Bob (May 31, 1952). "Sets Race Record Of 128 MPH After Vukovich Bid Failes". The Indianapolis Star. p. 1. Retrieved June 2, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.open access
  2. ^ "More Indy Hearbreaks". Autoweek. 62 (11): 82. May 28, 2012. ISSN 0192-9674.
  3. ^ "1952 Indianapolis 500". formula1.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "1952 International 500 Mile Sweepstakes". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  5. ^ Davidson, Donald. (2007). "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" [Radio program]. WIBC (FM), April 30, 2007. Archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20070928124654/http://media.wibc.com/av/audio/talk_gas/2007/april30.mp3, retrieved on January 6, 2016.
  6. ^ Greuter, Henri. "1952: Ferrari at Indianapolis". www.forixautosport.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  7. ^ "WIBC All Night Race Party - 2007
  8. ^ Cochran, Polly (May 30, 1952). "Everyone In Reach of Radio Will Have 'Ticket' To Race". The Indianapolis Star. p. 42. Retrieved March 7, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.open access
  9. ^ "Indianapolis 1952 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.

External links[edit]


Previous race:
1952 Swiss Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1952 season
Next race:
1952 Belgian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1951 Indianapolis 500
Lee Wallard
1952 Indianapolis 500
Troy Ruttman
Next race:
1953 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich
Preceded by
126.244 mph
(1951 Indianapolis 500)
Record for the Indianapolis 500 fastest average speed
128.922
mph
Succeeded by