Pat O'Connor (racing driver)

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Pat O'Connor
Born(1928-10-09)October 9, 1928
North Vernon, Indiana, United States
DiedMay 30, 1958(1958-05-30) (aged 29)
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited States American
Active years19531958
TeamsDeidt, Kurtis Kraft, Schroeder
Entries6 (5 starts)
Career points0
Pole positions1
Fastest laps0
First entry1953 Indianapolis 500
Last entry1958 Indianapolis 500

Pat O'Connor (October 9, 1928 – May 30, 1958) was an American racecar driver. He was killed in a 15-car pileup, after sustaining a fatal head injury after rolling his car and catching fire on the first lap of the 1958 Indianapolis 500.

He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in May 1958, adding to the legend of the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx.

1958 Indianapolis 500[edit]

Dick Rathmann and Ed Elisian started the race on the front row, with Jimmy Reece on the outside of the front row. Elisian spun in turn 3 of the first lap and collided with Rathmann's car, sending them both into the wall, and starting a 15-car pileup.

According to A. J. Foyt, O'Connor's car hit Reece's car, sailed fifty feet in the air, landed upside down, and burst into flames. Although O'Connor was incinerated in the accident, medical officials said that he was probably killed instantly from a fractured skull.[1]

Widely blamed for the accident, Elisian was suspended by USAC for the accident (reinstated a few days later), and was shunned by many in the racing community.

Following the accident, race officials announced that they would change the starting procedure, abandoning the single-file trip down pit lane that was used in 1957 and 1958. Also, for the 1959 Indy 500, metal roll bars welded to the frame behind the driver's head were mandated, and helmets were required to pass safety certification by Speedway medical officials.[2]

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]

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. Pat O'Connor participated in 5 World Championship races. He started on the pole once but scored no World Championship points, as his best finish was eighth (twice).


He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Keith Andrews
Formula One fatal accidents
July 6, 1958
Succeeded by
Luigi Musso