Bill Holland

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Bill Holland
NationalityUnited States American
Born(1907-12-18)December 18, 1907
DiedMay 19, 1984(1984-05-19) (aged 76)
Related toWillard Holland (father)
American Automobile Association (AAA)
Best finish2nd in 1947
Previous series
1940, 1941AAA Eastern Series
Championship titles
1941AAA Eastern Series
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1950, 19531954
TeamsDeidt, Kurtis Kraft
Entries3 (2 starts)
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums1
Career points6
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1950 Indianapolis 500
Last entry1954 Indianapolis 500

Willard Holland (December 18, 1907 – May 19, 1984[1]) was an American race car driver from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1949 and finished second in 1947, 1948 and 1950. He also was runner up in the 1947 American Automobile Association (AAA) National Championship.

Background[edit]

Holland was born on December 18, 1907, the son of major league baseball player Willard Holland.[2] He was excellent at skating and tried out for the 1932 Olympics.[2]

Racing career[edit]

Holland was getting better results in big car (now sprint car) in 1937.[2] He recorded his first win on July 30, 1938 at Mineola, New York.[2] He won three times in 1939 and nine times in 1940.[2] Holland finished second to Joie Chitwood in the 1940 AAA Eastern championship and he won the championship in 1941.[2] No racing happened in the United States between 1942 and 1945 due to World War II.[2]

In 1946, Holland won 15 Eastern and 1 Midwestern "big car" (now sprint car) races to finish fourth in the AAA national championship.[2] On July 20, 1946, Holland won the first race at Selinsgrove Speedway in an American Automobile Association-sanctioned event.[3] He nearly won the 1947 Indianapolis 500 as a rookie, but slowed and allowed teammate Mauri Rose to pass him seven laps from the end, mistakenly believing that Rose was a lap down. In 1949 Holland led late in the race when Rose (still teammate to Holland on Lou Moore's Blue Crown Spark Plug team) began to slowly close on Holland. Moore saw what was happening out on the track and hung out a pit board ordering both drivers to hold their respective positions to the finish. Rose picked up the pace, closing on Holland. But with 8 laps to go, Rose suffered a magneto failure and Holland cruised to the victory. When Rose returned to the pits, Moore fired Rose on the spot.

On November 14, 1951, Holland was suspended from AAA Indy Car racing for one year after competing in a three-lap Lion's Charity race at Opa-locka, Florida which was a NASCAR event. The American Automobile Association, at the time the sanctioning body for Indycar races, had a strict rule forbidding its drivers from participating in any races other than their own, and would blacklist violators. He returned to Indycar racing in 1953.[4]

Holland raced until 1965.[4] He is believed to have got over 40 sprint car feature wins and 150 podiums.[2]

Life after racing and death[edit]

Holland and his wife Myra ran skating rinks in Bridgeport, Connecticut.[4] They lived briefly in Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Tucson, Arizona in the early 1970s.[4]

Holland was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in November 1983 and died from complications of the disease on May 19, 1984.[4] He had remained active throughout his life and would regularly ride a bicycle for 50 miles per day until a year before his death.[4]

Legacy[edit]

He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2005. When Selinsgrove Speedway held its first United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown race in 2020, it was named the Bill Holland Classic.[3] The race was 74 laps long as it was the 74th year after Holland's win to open the track.[3]

Complete AAA Championship Car results[edit]

Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pos Points
1947 INDY
2
MIL
1
LAN
1
ATL
2
BAI
2
MIL
18
GOS
14
MIL
8
PIK SPR
9
ARL
DNQ
2nd 1,610
1948 ARL
DNS
INDY
2
MIL
9
LAN
11
MIL
DNQ
SPR
MIL
DUQ
ATL
PIK SPR
DUQ
7th 840
1949 ARL
INDY
1
MIL
9
TRE
16
SPR
4
MIL
DUQ
2
PIK SYR
DNP
DET
7
SPR
12
LAN
9
SAC
13
DMR
3rd 1,420
1950 INDY
2
MIL
LAN
SPR
MIL
PIK SYR
DET
SPR
SAC
PHX
BAY
DAR
13th 552
1953 INDY
15
MIL
SPR
DET
SPR
DNQ
MIL
18
DUQ
PIK SYR
5
ISF
SAC
PHX
34th 100
1954 INDY
DNQ
MIL
LAN
DAR
SPR
MIL
DUQ
PIK SYR
ISF
SAC
PHX
LVG
- 0

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]

Year[5] Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1947 16 8 128.755 1 2 200 143 Running
1948 2 2 129.515 3 2 200 0 Running
1949 7 4 128.673 9 1 200 146 Running
1950 3 10 130.482 21 2 137 8 Running
1953 49 28 137.868 2 15 177 0 Cam gear
Totals 914 297
Starts 5
Poles 0
Front Row 1
Wins 1
Top 5 4
Top 10 4
Retired 1
  • Although Holland started the 1947 race from the middle of the third row, he posted the fastest qualifying time.

World Championship career summary[edit]

The Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Bill Holland participated in 2 World Championship races, finishing on the podium once and scoring 6 World Championship points.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Pts
1950 Deidt Offenhauser GBR MON 500
2
SUI BEL FRA ITA 7th 6
1953 Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser ARG 500
15
NED BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA NC 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ "oldracingcars.com Where Are They Now?". Retrieved 2007-12-03.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bill Holland at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame
  3. ^ a b c "2020 Bill Holland Classic". USAC Silvercrown. August 9, 2020. Event occurs at 21:08. FloRacing.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Ex-Indy Winner Bill Holland dies". The Madison Courier. May 21, 1984. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Bill Holland Indy 500 Race Stats Archived May 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
Preceded by
Mauri Rose
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1949
Succeeded by
Johnnie Parsons