Jim Crawford (racing driver)

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For other people named Jim Crawford, see Jim Crawford (disambiguation).
Jim Crawford
JimCrawford1988Indy500.JPG
Crawford at the 1988 Indianapolis 500
Born (1948-02-13)13 February 1948
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Died 6 August 2002(2002-08-06) (aged 54)
Tierra Verde, Florida
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 1975
Teams Lotus
Entries 2
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1975 British Grand Prix
Last entry 1975 Italian Grand Prix

Jim Crawford (13 February 1948 in Dunfermline, Fife – 6 August 2002 in Tierra Verde, Florida, United States) was a British racing driver from Scotland. His first motorsport experience came behind the wheel of a Mini that he drove in several rallies. After an unsuccessful stint in Formula Ford he landed a drive in his friend Stephen Choularton's team in Formula Atlantic, after showing great promise in a couple of Formula Libre races at Croft. He went on to spend a number of years driving alongside Choularton at SDC Racing in Formula Atlantic and was spotted by Lotus Cars and offered a test drive by them. He participated in two World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 19 July 1975. He was also the winner of the 1982 British Formula One Championship. He is notable for being the 500th person to start a Formula One World Championship race.

Crawford moved to the USA in the early 1980s, finishing runner-up twice in the Can-Am series. He finished fourth on his CART debut at Long Beach in 1984 and went on to become a regular in the Indianapolis 500. It was there in 1987 that Crawford suffered a crash in practice which resulted in serious leg injuries. However, he recovered sufficiently to return to the 500 in 1988, leading the race for a few laps. A late race puncture dropped him from 2nd to 6th.

Crawford's final 500 was in 1993, although he made unsuccessful attempts to qualify old cars in 1994 and 1995.

1988 Indianapolis 500[edit]

Crawford's most notable run at Indy occurred in 1988. After nearly a year of rehabilitation from leg and foot injuries, Crawford returned for the 1988 Indianapolis 500. He signed with King Racing as a teammate to Johnny Rutherford, driving a Buick entry. He was a last-minute addition to the team, joining just prior to opening day. He made little headlines during time trials, quietly making the field late on the second day. He was still recovering from his leg injuries, and walked the month with the aid of a cane.

On race day, however, Crawford created quite a stir. The race was dominated by the Penske Team, however, Crawford was in contention all afternoon, and was the only driver other than the Penske cars to lead laps during the race. Crawford took the lead near the midpoint, and led 8 laps. He drove a highly aggressive race, dicing in and out of traffic at will, and frequently dropping well below the white lines in the turns. Crawford set a blistering pace during his stint in the lead, and was running second as late as lap 194. With six laps to go, he got sideways in turn three, and flat-spotted his tires. He ducked into the pits for new tires, but the crew had difficulties, and he lost several seconds. He lost a lap, and finished 6th. It was the highest finish at the time for the Buick V-6 Indy engine, and Crawford was praised for his strong effort.

Later years[edit]

Crawford returned to Indy in 1989 with high expectations after his 1988 performance. He qualified 4th, the highest of the non-Chevrolet teams, but dropped out with mechanical problems on race day.

In 1990, Crawford joined the Menard team, and during practice, suffered a spectacular crash. He spun and hit the wall in turn one, then became airborne 10–15 feet above the ground in the south short chute. He was not seriously injured. He finished 15th on race day.

Crawford's final notable appearance at Indy was in 1992. Crawford re-joined the King Racing team, as a teammate to Roberto Guerrero driving once again the Buick V-6 engine. Crawford and Guerrero led the speed charts all through practice, with Crawford setting an all-time unofficial track record of 233.433 mph. Both drivers were heavy favourites for the pole position, but on the morning of pole day, Crawford blew an engine. Rain pushed time trials into the next day, which gave the team time to install a new engine. However, on the second day, he blew another engine, and wound up missing his opportunity to qualify during the pole round. He qualified 6th fastest, but as a second day qualifier, lined up 21st. On race day, he was a factor early, but crashed out on lap 75 collecting Rick Mears.

The 1988 race would end up being Crawford's best Indy car finish (6th), and his final start came in 1993. He failed to qualify in 1994–1995, and retired from driving.

Personal life[edit]

After retirement from racing, Crawford lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he bought a fishing boat he used for charters. He died in 2002[1] of liver failure. He was survived by his second wife Annie and his children from his first marriage, Geoffrey and Emily.

Racing record[edit]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 WDC Pts
1975 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 72F Ford Cosworth DFV ARG BRA RSA ESP MON BEL SWE NED FRA GBR
Ret
GER AUT ITA
13
USA NC 0

American Open Wheel racing results[edit]

(key)

PPG Indycar Series[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1984 Ed Wachs Motor Sports LBH
4
PHX INDY
DNQ
MIL POR MEA
21
CLE MCH ROA POC MDO SAN MCH PHX 27th 12
H&R Racing LAG
23
CPL
1985 Wysard Racing LBH
4
INDY
16
MIL
DNS
POR MEA
9
CLE
13
MCH ROA POC MDO 20th 16
Canadian Tire Racing SAN
20
MCH LAG
Pace Racing PHX
15
MIA
16
1986 Team ASC PHX LBH INDY
29
MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MCH POC MDO SAN MCH ROA LAG PHX MIA NC 0
1987 Patrick Racing LBH PHX INDY
DNQ
MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MCH POC ROA MDO NAZ LAG MIA NC
1988 King Racing PHX LBH INDY
6
MIL POR CLE TOR MEA MCH POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG MIA 27th 8
1989 King Racing PHX LBH INDY
19
MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG 47th 0
1990 Team Menard PHX
19
LBH INDY
15
MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG 36th 0
1991 King Racing SRF LBH PHX INDY
26
MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG 50th 0
1992 King Racing SRF PHX LBH INDY
25
DET POR MIL NHA TOR MCH CLE ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG 56th 0
1993 King Racing SRF PHX LBH INDY
24
MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH NHA ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG 49th 0
1994 Riley & Scott SRF PHX LBH INDY
DNQ
MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO NHA VAN ROA NAZ LAG NC
1995 Hemelgarn Racing MIA SRF PHX LBH NAZ INDY
DNQ
MIL DET POR ROA TOR CLE MCH MDO NHA VAN LAG NC

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
1984 Theodore 83 Ford Cosworth DFX DNQ Ed Wachs Motor Sports
1985 Lola T900 Ford Cosworth DFX 27 16 Wysard Racing
1986 March 86C Buick 26 29 Team ASC
1987 March 86C Buick Injured Patrick Racing
1988 Lola T87/00 Buick 18 6 King Racing
1989 Lola T87/00 Buick 4 19 King Racing
1990 Lola T89/00 Buick 29 15 Team Menard
1991 Lola T91/00 Buick 8 26 King Racing
1992 Lola T92/00 Buick 21 25 King Racing
1993 Lola T93/00 Chevrolet 265C 31 24 King Racing
1994 Lola T91/00 Buick DNQ Riley & Scott
1995 Lola T92/00 Buick DNQ Hemelgarn Racing
Sporting achievements
Preceded by
Emilio de Villota
(1980)
British Formula One Champion
1982
Succeeded by
none

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Scottish Indy driver dies". Motorsports (BBC). 8 August 2002. Retrieved 13 September 2012.