Billy Arnold (racing driver)
Richard William Arnold (December 16, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois – November 10, 1976 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) won the 1930 Indianapolis 500 after leading all but first two laps of the race, the most ever by a winner of the race. He won by a margin of 7 minutes and 17 seconds. He was 24 years old at the time. In 1931 he led 155 laps but crashed on lap 162 while holding a five-lap lead, suffering serious injuries along with his riding mechanic Spider Matlock. A tire came off the car, bounced over the fence and killed a young boy playing in his front yard outside the track. In 1932 Arnold led 57 laps before crashing on lap 59. He suffered a broken shoulder and riding mechanic Matlock suffered a broken pelvis. At the urging of his wife, Arnold retired from racing.
At the time of his death he was married to LaFrance Arnold, his second wife. Had earlier married Dorothy Canfield of Detroit (May 1930)
During WWII, he served with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as Chief of Maintenance for the U.S. 8th Air Force and left the service in 1945 as a LtCol. Following the war, Arnold worked at Fretwell Desoto then entered the construction business, building upscale houses and one of the first shopping centers in Oklahoma. <Daily Oklahoman May 29, 1955 p48> Between 1950-58, he developed water skis and was among the pioneers of the sport.<Daily Oklahoman May 18, 1958 p115> His AquaKing water skis became the official water ski of Cypress Gardens in Florida.
Arnold died November 10, 1976 of a cerebral hemorrhage, aged 70. He is buried at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery in Oklahoma City, OK.
Indianapolis 500 results
|Indianapolis 500 Winner
- "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" May 26, 2011
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