Johnny Hannon

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John Hrankaj, publicly known as Johnny Hannon (November 10, 1908, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania – May 20, 1935, Speedway, Indiana) was an American racecar driver and boxer. He was killed while testing a car for the 1935 Indianapolis 500, in his first year of attempting to qualify for the race. He had previously had success on the dirt track circuit.

Racing career[edit]

In 1934 Hannon was the AAA Eastern Circuit dirt track racing champion.[1] In 1935 he was to attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, but lost control of his car in practice and went over the Northwest wall. The crash occurred on his first lap at racing speed. He was thrown from the vehicle, which then landed on top of him, causing his immediate death.[2] The following year driving skill tests for first time drivers became mandatory for the 500.

He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2006.


Hannon was born in the United States but grew up in Germany. Before racing he was a professional boxer, winning 13 of 14 bouts. At the time of his death he was married with a three-year-old daughter and living in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.[3]


  1. ^ English, M. Conshohocken and West Conshohocken Sports. Montgomery News Press, 2009, pp. 77
  2. ^ Norristown Auto Racer Killed at Indianapolis United Press, as reported by the Pittsburgh Press, May 21, 1935. Retrieved on September 4th, 2011 from Google News.
  3. ^ Biography at the site of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum (pdf) written by Donald Davidson.