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1946 Indy 500


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#1 Russ Snyder

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 19:44

As the 2008 Indy 500 draws closer I am reminded of past Indy 500's.

I will not start a thread on each race...just certain special ones from my families past.

The 1946 Indy 500 is one of the many Indy races that my late father attended with my grandfather.

My Father told me how the crowd: "was mesmerized by Ralph Hepburn and his blue Novi. We stood and watched him overtake car after car, with many daring passes down the fronstretch and into the turn 1. We had never seen a car move so fast on the track" ....for those unaware, the normal qualifying speed for the pole sitter in those days was around 128 mph. Hepburn showed up after pole day and qualifyied at 133-134 mph, placing him in the back of the field at 19th. I believe he made it all the way to 4th place before the Novi gave out in the pits around lap 44.


Ted Horn was given the chance to drive "umbrella Mike" Boyles maserati aka wilbur shaws winning "money car" of 1939-40, and he jumped at it. Ted Horn, one of the most steady and dependable drivers of his day, was thought to be the next big winner at Indy; "his time will come in victory lane" most said. Starting in 7th and ending up 3rd in 1946 was nothing new to Ted Horn. His record of being in the top 4 finishes, w/o a victory, for 10 yrs straight @ Indy, will probably be a record that is never broken!

Ted Horns Indy record from 1936-48
1936 - 2nd
1937 - 3rd
1938- 4th
1939 - 4th
1940 - 4th
1941 - 3rd
1946 - 3rd
1947 - 3rd
1948 - 4th

btw - Eventual winner of the 1946 Indy 500 was George Robson

Do any of the other TNF folks have any thoughts about this interesting, and often overlooked, Indy 500?

I welcome all comments.

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#2 T54

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 20:03

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#3 Lotus23

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 23:14

1946 was the year I attended my first auto race: midgets on a paved 1/4 mile bullring. Instant addiction. 62 years and counting, and I've yet to find a cure.

Of course I'd heard of "The 500" as a kid, but in those days Indy might as well have been run on the far side of Jupiter. I was 20 before I traveled more than 200 miles from Boston. And I was considered "footloose" by my peers!

I keep a small b+w photo above my desk. It shows RH in the cockpit of the wire-wheeled #2 Novi and says: "Ralph Hepburn in Novi Governor Spl. Fastest Lap Ever Made 134.449 mph. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 1946"

istr Ralph was no spring chicken by then.

#4 ZOOOM

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 19:18

Don't want to be TOO picky, but the car driven in 1946, by Ted Horn, was the old Boyle Masarati, Shaw's '39 and '40 winner. The "Pay Car" was Shaw's '37 winner that he built himself.
ZOOOM

#5 Russ Snyder

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 19:55

Originally posted by ZOOOM
Don't want to be TOO picky, but the car driven in 1946, by Ted Horn, was the old Boyle Masarati, Shaw's '39 and '40 winner. The "Pay Car" was Shaw's '37 winner that he built himself.
ZOOOM


thanks zoom

"Pay car" was 1937 boyle/Gilmour shaw

"Money car" was 1939/40/41 Maserati (Brock yates called it this in the book 'umbrella' mike)

#6 Russ Snyder

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 20:00

Originally posted by Lotus23
1946 was the year I attended my first auto race: midgets on a paved 1/4 mile bullring. Instant addiction. 62 years and counting, and I've yet to find a cure.

Of course I'd heard of "The 500" as a kid, but in those days Indy might as well have been run on the far side of Jupiter. I was 20 before I traveled more than 200 miles from Boston. And I was considered "footloose" by my peers!

I keep a small b+w photo above my desk. It shows RH in the cockpit of the wire-wheeled #2 Novi and says: "Ralph Hepburn in Novi Governor Spl. Fastest Lap Ever Made 134.449 mph. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 1946"

istr Ralph was no spring chicken by then.


nice

Ralph was around 50 at the time, and I believe he had driven the most miles at Indy (up till that time) with no victory?

My Dad and Grandfather sat near turn 4/front stretch and when Hepburn came around the corner the crowd instinctively stood and was clapping and whooping. Dad was 16 yrs old at the time and he said that it was always his most memorable due to Ralphs daring drive for 44 laps. Imagine, having a car with the power of 5 mph over the pole sitter? Unheard of today....

#7 ensign14

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 20:11

Was this the one where Horn lost a number of laps at the start due to sabotage? Or is that urban myth?

#8 Lotus23

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 22:18

I don't know about Horn/sabotage, but a quick review of the top 3 finishers in '46 shows there was a huge gap between 2nd and 3rd:

1st: George Robson 4h, 21m, 26.70 sec
2nd: Jimmy Jackson 4h, 22m, 00.74 sec
3rd: Ted Horn 4h, 33m, 19.60 sec

So Robson's m.o.v. over Jackson was 34.04 sec, but the gap from Jackson back to Horn was well over 11 minutes!

Hepburn, in the Novi, was credited with 14th/121 laps.

#9 Russ Snyder

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 14:09

Originally posted by ensign14
Was this the one where Horn lost a number of laps at the start due to sabotage? Or is that urban myth?


His troubles in 1946 are reported in my 1966 Jack Fox edition as; "faulty magneto"...it kept him in the pits for some time.

Ralph Hepburn, for all intents and purposes, was a non-contender after the 1st 44 laps. He was in the pits for an extended time and when he came back out, he was too far behind to make any noise.

#10 ensign14

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 14:50

Jimmy Jackson...so tell me about him. :)

His bare stats are here. 5 actual races, all at Indy, four top ten finishes. :eek: And a couple of odd Pike's Peak appearances that make me wonder if it was a different Jimmy Jackson.

Was he a one-hit wonder that benefitted from several years of mouldering machinery to get a freak 2nd and could normally be expected to get it home? Was he a genuine talent who lost a lot of years to the war? How come he seemed to vanish? Why nowhere but Indy? What else was he doing?

And didn't he have a green car? Hoodoo wagon...not superstitious then, I take it...

I know he was a pre-war riding mechanic, but that's about it.

#11 Russ Snyder

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 17:53

Originally posted by ensign14
Jimmy Jackson...so tell me about him. :)

His bare stats are here. 5 actual races, all at Indy, four top ten finishes. :eek: And a couple of odd Pike's Peak appearances that make me wonder if it was a different Jimmy Jackson.

Was he a one-hit wonder that benefitted from several years of mouldering machinery to get a freak 2nd and could normally be expected to get it home? Was he a genuine talent who lost a lot of years to the war? How come he seemed to vanish? Why nowhere but Indy? What else was he doing?

And didn't he have a green car? Hoodoo wagon...not superstitious then, I take it...

I know he was a pre-war riding mechanic, but that's about it.


I await, as many I am certain, answers to those question(s).

I have failed to mention 3 time Indy 500 winner, Wilbur Shaw, in this thread.

An oversight perhaps, but if it had not been for Shaw selling Tony Hulman on buying the speedway from Capt Eddie Rickenbacker?...then this race, and future Indy 500 races, may not have happened. His dedication and desire to the survival of this spectacle is inspsiring. He became the face of the 500 until his death via plane crash in 1954.

#12 fines

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 16:11

Originally posted by ensign14
Jimmy Jackson...so tell me about him. :)

Well, as already mentioned in the other 1946 thread, he's very much the mystery man. Listed hometowns include Indianapolis (IN), Palm Springs (CA) and Dearborn (MI), all in the same month! What I found out in the meantime is that he was racing Midgets in the late thirties and apparently through much of the forties, mainly in the East and the Midwest - he was 5th in CSRA points in 1939, hometown listed as Detroit (MI). And, unless I'm VERY much mistaken, it's him alright at Pikes Peak - at that time his hometown was mostly listed as Desert Hot Springs (CA). He was also described as a "former track star at Technical High School in Indianapolis", meaning athletics I'm sure.

Originally posted by ensign14
Was he a one-hit wonder that benefitted from several years of mouldering machinery to get a freak 2nd and could normally be expected to get it home? Was he a genuine talent who lost a lot of years to the war? How come he seemed to vanish? Why nowhere but Indy? What else was he doing?

Was he any good? He certainly wasn't a slouch! But he wasn't outstanding, either, just a "good shoe" in difficult times, meaning not enough good cars around for a lot of driving talent. And JJ always had good cars, that's for sure! Where did he go? He was late thirties already when he started his Indy career, not much time left for the average guy. Soon he did some officiating for the AAA, starter duties and the like, "easing out" of "the game". Offhand I do not know anymore.

Don will hate me for that, but let's have some statistics for an argument: the performance of the cars Jackson drove throughout the years, qualifying and race, with their different drivers.

1) 1938 front-drive Boyle Indycar, 4398 cc 8-cylinder Miller engine

1938 Bill Cummings, Q7 (12'15.34" over 10 laps, equates to 4'54.14" over 4), retired
1939 Ted Horn, Q6 (4'41.86"), 4th (4:28'08.82")
1940 Ted Horn, Q4 (4'46.75"), 4th (flagged)
1941 Chet Miller, Q23 (4'56.20"), 6th (4:28'02.75")
engine changed to 4184 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser, at some point before 1950 enlarged to 4428 cc
1946 Jimmy Jackson, Q25 (4'59.36"), 2nd (4:22'00.74")
1947 Jimmy Jackson, Q12 (4'54.44"), 5th (4:25'52.65")
1948 Louis Tomei, DNQ
1949 Doc Williams, Q36 (4'47.63"), DNS
1950 Cliff Griffith, Q34 (4'39.04"), DNS
1951 Norm Houser, DNQ

2) 1948 front-drive Keck Indycar, 4428 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine

1948 Jimmy Jackson, Q7 (4'42.33"), 10th (flagged)
1949 Jimmy Jackson, Q15 (4'41.20"), 6th (4:14'31.00")
1950 Mauri Rose, Q6 (4'32.07"), 3rd (flagged)
1951 Mauri Rose, Q18 (4'29.82"), retired

3) 1950 Kurtis 3000, 6570 cc 6-cylinder Cummins Diesel engine

1950 Jimmy Jackson, Q33 (4'38.62"), retired
car not raced again in that configuration

4) 1951 Kurtis 3000, 4428 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine

1951 Carl Forberg, Q23 (4'30.90"), 7th (flagged)
1952 Jimmy Jackson, Q35 (4'29.01"), DNS
engine changed to 4434 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine
1953 Spider Webb, Q17 (4'24.38"), retired
1954 Billy Devore, DNQ
engine changed to 4428 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine
1955 Spider Webb/Danny Kladis, DNQ
1956 Leroy Warriner, DNQ
engine changed to 4113 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine
1958 Bob Cortner, DNQ

Finally, in 1954 he did some relief driving on a Kurtis 4000/4434 cc 4-cylinder Offenhauser, being flagged off in 15th position, but there's no data to compare his performance here.

Overall verdict? Not a "hot qualifyer", so much's for sure - acknowledged aces such as Cummings, Horn, Rose and Webb always managed to find a few more miles an hour in the same car, and even some of the lesser drivers didn't look bad in comparison. Tiny nuances sometimes make a lot of difference, such as 1952 when several virtually identical Kurtis 3000/Offenhauser combos made the race, and finished 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th and 11th - Jackson lacked that final "ace quality" to run fast enough that month, and consequently was a spectator on May 30.

Race performances are more difficult to compare due to the vagaries of race day conditions, but it is well apparent that he was a steady and reliable runner. Perhaps here's a reason for why he failed to show anywhere else than at Indy: apparently he had the staying power to come good in the gruelling conditions of a 500-miler, but not the speed to shine on the Champ or Sprint Car circuit!

#13 cabianca

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 16:36

1946 was interesting on a couple of other historic notes.

The Sparks engine was the last non-Offy to win until Clark's Lotus-Ford in 1965.

Robson's car was the seond in a series of California-built winners that ended when Floyd Trevis' Pennsylvania-built car carried Foyt to victory in 1961. Trevis was a master, but the car was inspired by A.J. Watson's California design.

#14 fines

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 16:44

Pennsylvania? Wasn't Trevis's shop in Ohio?

#15 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 12:44

Paul Russo's Fageol twin engine ride

Its Possibly the oddest car entered in the history of the Indy 500.

A 4 cyl drove the front wheels and an 4 cyl drove the rear.

started in 2 on row one and was running well....until lap 16 where he drove it into the infield of turn 3, sprayed a massive amount of dirt in the air, crossed the track and slammed into the outside wall breaking his leg. You see him in pain stradling the wall to get out of traffic.

My question for the communtity is:

Why 2 engines in a race car? What was the purpose behind that.

....and how could those 2 engines work in unision over time? wouldn't one begin to lag and cause a millisecond delay?

#16 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 12:46

Originally posted by ZOOOM
Don't want to be TOO picky, but the car driven in 1946, by Ted Horn, was the old Boyle Masarati, Shaw's '39 and '40 winner. The "Pay Car" was Shaw's '37 winner that he built himself.
ZOOOM


Zooom - a little clarification from me over the 2 terms

Pay car was indeed Shaws 1937 winner

"money" came from Dynamic films narrator calling the 1951 race: "there goes Wilbur Shaws old money car, the maserati, out of the race"

Brock Yates re-used that term to describe the Maserati - two 1st place wins

#17 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 12:53

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
As the 2008 Indy 500 draws closer I am reminded of past Indy 500's.

I will not start a thread on each race...just certain special ones from my families past.

The 1946 Indy 500 is one of the many Indy races that my late father attended with my grandfather.

My Father told me how the crowd: "was mesmerized by Ralph Hepburn and his blue Novi. We stood and watched him overtake car after car, with many daring passes down the fronstretch and into the turn 1. We had never seen a car move so fast on the track" ....for those unaware, the normal qualifying speed for the pole sitter in those days was around 128 mph. Hepburn showed up after pole day and qualifyied at 133-134 mph, placing him in the back of the field at 19th. I believe he made it all the way to 4th place before the Novi gave out in the pits around lap 44.


Ted Horn was given the chance to drive "umbrella Mike" Boyles maserati aka wilbur shaws winning "money car" of 1939-40, and he jumped at it. Ted Horn, one of the most steady and dependable drivers of his day, was thought to be the next big winner at Indy; "his time will come in victory lane" most said. Starting in 7th and ending up 3rd in 1946 was nothing new to Ted Horn. His record of being in the top 4 finishes, w/o a victory, for 10 yrs straight @ Indy, will probably be a record that is never broken!

Ted Horns Indy record from 1936-48
1936 - 2nd
1937 - 3rd
1938- 4th
1939 - 4th
1940 - 4th
1941 - 3rd
1946 - 3rd
1947 - 3rd
1948 - 4th

btw - Eventual winner of the 1946 Indy 500 was George Robson

Do any of the other TNF folks have any thoughts about this interesting, and often overlooked, Indy 500?

I welcome all comments.


I did a little more research on Hep's Novi drive and here it is

Started 19th.......

....was in 1st place by lap 3!

Held the lead, lapping MOST of the field until lap 44!

Spent a lot of time in the pits and was back out in 13th place and a few laps down.

started charging to the front again making up laps.....

until the Novi stalled in the pits on lap 121.

I will re-iterate that my Dad said it was the most exciting racing he ever saw at Indianapolis.

This coming from a man whom saw so many of those great races, I do not take it lightly.

I purchased a copy of the 1946 Indy 500 on DVD and saw for myself the charge through the field. Amazing

#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:11

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
Paul Russo's Faegol twin engine ride

Its Possibly the oddest car entered in the history of the Indy 500.

A 4 cyl drove the front wheels and an 4 cyl drove the rear.

started in 2 on row one and was running well....until lap 16 where he drove it into the infield of turn 3, sprayed a massive amount of dirt in the air, crossed the track and slammed into the outside wall breaking his leg. You see him in pain stradling the wall to get out of traffic.

My question for the communtity is:

Why 2 engines in a race car? What was the purpose behind that.

....and how could those 2 engines work in unision over time? wouldn't one begin to lag and cause a millisecond delay?

Two separate drive trains: according to DCN in "Motor Racing Mavericks" the only connection between them was a "coupled throttle linkage". The idea behind a twin-engine layout was to equalise weight front and rear as Fageol reckoned a conventional 4WD was losing traction on the "light end". The engines could also be individually disconnected, so it could actually run as either front- or rear-wheel drive!

Lack of synchronisation might have been the cause of the spin - but equally, he might just have hit a patch of oil. We'll never know.

#19 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:26

Originally posted by Vitesse2

Two separate drive trains: according to DCN in "Motor Racing Mavericks" the only connection between them was a "coupled throttle linkage". The idea behind a twin-engine layout was to equalise weight front and rear as Fageol reckoned a conventional 4WD was losing traction on the "light end". The engines could also be individually disconnected, so it could actually run as either front- or rear-wheel drive!

Lack of synchronisation might have been the cause of the spin - but equally, he might just have hit a patch of oil. We'll never know.


Thank you my friend. I appreciate the info sharing!

The amount of dirt chewed up in the various angles I have on the crash seem to indicate a strict drive at speed into the grass followed by an over-correction of steering to head straight into the outside retaining wall. An oil slick is usually not so forgiving, but it could have been a patch of oil, as you said, we will never know.

It reminds me of what must have happened to R Hepburn in the Novi circa 1948 qualifying and Chet Miller in his Novi circa 1953 qualifying. Hit the grass, bobble and oversteer straight into the outside wall for their deaths. Russo had certainily dug into the dirt and slowed his progress into the wall noticeably and he only (I say that lightly) had a broken leg.

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#20 Flat Black

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 14:23

FWIW, there's a great pic in the '61 Indy program of Jimmy Jackson yukking it up with Johnnie Parsons. So JJ was still hanging around the Speedway in the early 60s. In some official capacity or not, I do not know.

#21 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 14:41

Originally posted by Flat Black
FWIW, there's a great pic in the '61 Indy program of Jimmy Jackson yukking it up with Johnnie Parsons. So JJ was still hanging around the Speedway in the early 60s. In some official capacity or not, I do not know.


Thanks FB for that Jimmy Jackson tidbit.

I know he was at qualifying 1976 (Jimmy Jackson that is) along with 1927 winner George Sounders!

I am embarrassed by this revelation, but the last time I was at Indy was 1977!

Dad and I went to our last qualifying/museum trip and ....AJ's 4th win!

My Dad's words ring true 31 years later in regards to the GREAT Anthony Joseph Foyt: "We witnessed history today Russ, and we are lucky to be a part of this. I never thought I would see the day"

Dad saw Lou Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose all attempt for their 4th....some food for thought on how darn hard it is to get to that milestone.

I need to get back to that museum and see what I have missed over the last 31 years!

#22 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 15:52

A fascinating thread on what sounds to have been a great race, and won by an Englishman too!. I believe that George Robson was actually born in Newcastle-On-Tyne, and therefore, probably the only 'Geordie' to have won the Indy 500.

I wonder if Mr Snyder has any information regarding the Alfa-Romeo that Louis Durant took to 6th place and where we can obtain that DVD of the 1946 race?.

#23 Flat Black

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 16:49

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


Dad and I went to our last qualifying/museum trip and ....AJ's 4th win!

My Dad's words ring true 31 years later in regards to the GREAT Anthony Joseph Foyt: "We witnessed history today Russ, and we are lucky to be a part of this. I never thought I would see the day"

Dad saw Lou Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose all attempt for their 4th....some food for thought on how darn hard it is to get to that milestone.


When Helio won back-to-back very early in his career, I thought he was well on his way to winning four or even five 500s. Alas, he has yet to win even a third and with each passing year the window narrows for him to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

#24 ensign14

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 16:51

Well, he had the best car with no opposition...as soon as either of those slipped it becomes more difficult.

#25 fines

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:28

Originally posted by Eric Dunsdon
I wonder if Mr Snyder has any information regarding the Alfa-Romeo that Louis Durant took to 6th place

I hope Mr. Snyder won't mind me budging in here:

Alfa Romeo Tipo 308, serial number purportedly 422022, ex-Scuderia Ferrari => Raymond Sommer => Richard Wharton, now (1946) owned by Milt Marion, sold to Johnny Mauro => Walt Woestman, raced at Spa-Francorchamps, Indianapolis and Pikes Peak in the main from 1938 to ca. 1953

#26 Jim Thurman

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:46

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
"Money car" was 1939/40/41 Maserati (Brock yates called it this in the book 'umbrella' mike)

Russ, please don't take Yates' last two books literally. "Against Death and Time" was true faction (IMO, it's a lot closer to having an "i" as the second letter). There are errors a plenty in "Against Death and Time" and "Umbrella Mike". For one, Yates has drivers being killed in racing crashes that were not.

It's especially disappointing in the latter case because Mike Boyle is a fascinating subject, but now one that will not likely be tackled properly.

If you search you'll find some discussion here on those books. Look into it.

And, none of this is to knock Yates earlier work. At his best, he was very, very good.

#27 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:47

Originally posted by fines

I hope Mr. Snyder won't mind me budging in here:

Alfa Romeo Tipo 308, serial number purportedly 422022, ex-Scuderia Ferrari => Raymond Sommer => Richard Wharton, now (1946) owned by Milt Marion, sold to Johnny Mauro => Walt Woestman, raced at Spa-Francorchamps, Indianapolis and Pikes Peak in the main from 1938 to ca. 1953


Of course not Michael. Ace material drips from your keyboard. Altho we may not agree on everything, the knowledge spread in this forum is phenomenal.

I hope I enlighten folks on either side of the pond, or in the Outback, in Asia and Africa (not too mention the Artic & Antartic!) on racing history....as they continue to enlighten me.

Eric - Alpha Romeo ...exc question. I will give further 1946 race info tonight when I get home with qualifying speed and finish and so forth. I will say that Alpha's found their way into the speedway at least in the 1930's, if not earlier. One that sticks in my mind is Chet Miller. I will double check, but I am sure he was one of the first to drive those fine machines.

It makes me ask, why didn't Rex Mays take his 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Alpha (where he finished a respectable third to Rosemeyer and Seaman) to Indy for the 1938 race? I know he didn't own it outright and was under contract, but by all accounts, he did a masterfull job handling the Alpha.

"geordie" ...well, he wasn't a scouser! that I know ;-)...ah, Prem league kicks off in America tomorrow at 10am. I can't wait!

#28 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:51

Originally posted by Flat Black


When Helio won back-to-back very early in his career, I thought he was well on his way to winning four or even five 500s. Alas, he has yet to win even a third and with each passing year the window narrows for him to accomplish the seemingly impossible.


me too Flat Back...me too.

Rick Mears missed his 5th victory by .02 seconds to Johncock in 1982. That was the closest so far. I don't think even AJ was that close to a 5th between 1958-1991.

Helio danced with the stars...but can't win his 3rd in the racing cars! go figure...

#29 ensign14

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:51

Originally posted by Russ Snyder

"geordie" ...well, he wasn't a scouser! that I know ;-)...ah, Prem league kicks off in America tomorrow at 10am. I can't wait!


):

#30 Flat Black

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:03

That '82 classic was the first 500 I ever saw from start to finish, and I was a big fan of Wee Gordie. What a race! I was fit to bust a gut as Mears inexorably closed on Johncock those last several laps. Just knew that Mears was gonna overhaul him. Jubilation when he didn't quite git r dunn.

:up:

#31 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:09

It is worth keeping in mind that the 1946 International Sweepstakes event was run under the CSI's Formule Internationale which began with the 1938 season in both Europe and the United States. The 1938-41 and 1946 events at the IMS were, for all intents and purposes, grands prix, something the IMS definitely intended to be the case.

#32 fines

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:11

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
It makes me ask, why didn't Rex Mays take his 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Alpha (where he finished a respectable third to Rosemeyer and Seaman) to Indy for the 1938 race? I know he didn't own it outright and was under contract, but by all accounts, he did a masterfull job handling the Alpha.

Well, he did - kind of! The car was owned by "Hollywood Bill" White, Rex's team boss, and Mays as number one driver had the choice of cars, and he chose the Alfa - in 1937 already, when Indianapolis still prescribed two-seater bodies and riding mechanics! So, White had metal man Ernie Weill tailor a new dress for the Italian beauty, and it wasn't exactly haute couture, but more importantly, Freddie Mangold was able to slip inside to ride with Rex in the '500', but they retired early, I believe. Then, Ernie set to work once more, shaping another new overcoat, but to put it bluntly, the car got progressively more and more ugly as it was used and re-used over many years, well into the late forties. Was it still an Alfa at all? Many box scores today call it an "Alfa-White", or an "A. R. Weill" or whatever. It was once a proud Italian lady! :(

#33 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:11

Originally posted by ensign14


):


sorry if i offended any scousers.

I haved liked LFC (Liverpool football club) since the Kevin Keegan days.

#34 ensign14

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:13

I was thinking more the fact that the REAL League had kicked off the week before.

#35 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:41

Originally posted by ensign14
I was thinking more the fact that the REAL League had kicked off the week before.


ok .... whew!

I never want to offend.

thanks Michael - I will check Jack fox tonight for some more Rex Mays/ Alpha....and Alpha history.

I am wondering if the ride Louis Durant took in 1946 was the same ride Chet Miller had in the 30's? Chet Miller changed cars/makes, if not teams, many times at Indy looking for that elusive win.

#36 fines

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 18:48

All that talk about "Prem League", "REAL League" etc. - I thought the Indy Racing League was already started! :confused:

#37 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 19:01

Originally posted by fines
All that talk about "Prem League", "REAL League" etc. - I thought the Indy Racing League was already started! :confused:


lol

Fines is not a bundesliga fan...established during euro 2008...claims he couldn't care less.


Michael , you are the very first German that I have met ANYWHERE that does not enjoy that type of footie. I am sure there are many many Germans that do not enjoy...just never met one until you.

#38 fines

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 19:24

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
thanks Michael - I will check Jack fox tonight for some more Rex Mays/ Alpha....and Alpha history.

I am wondering if the ride Louis Durant took in 1946 was the same ride Chet Miller had in the 30's? Chet Miller changed cars/makes, if not teams, many times at Indy looking for that elusive win.

To save you the effort ;):

The Bill White Alfa Romeo 8C-35, serial number purportedly 50012, was apparently an unraced spare car at the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup, subsequently purchased by Bill White and rebodied for Rex Mays to drive in 1937 (ret Indy, 3rd Vanderbilt) and 1938 (ret Indy), then Babe Stapp in 1939 (5th Indy), Harry McQuinn in 1940 (11th Indy) and 1941 (7th Indy, with relief by Kelly Petillo), Duke Nalon in 1941 (ret Milwaukee & Syracuse - yes, dirt tracks!), Jimmie Wilburn in 1946 (ret Indy), Cy Marshall in 1947 (8th Indy) and Art Scovell the same year (10th/ret? Milwaukee, ret Langhorne). As already remarked, the car changed in appearance quite a bit over the years!

The Alfa Chet Miller ran in 1940 (17th Indy, with relief by Henry Banks) was indeed "422022", the car used by Durant in '46 (6th Indy), then Lee Wallard the same year (ret Langhorne), Walt Brown in 1947 (7th Indy), Johnny Mauro in 1948 (8th Indy, with relief by Louis Durant, 3rd Pikes Peak), Tony Bettenhausen in 1949 (dns Indy), also Mauro again the same year (dnq Indy, ret Pikes Peak) and in 1950 (dnq Indy, 9th Pikes Peak), possibly Ray Shadbolt (sp?) in 1951 (dns? Pikes Peak), then probably Charlie Bryant in 1952 (7th Pikes Peak) and 1953 (ret Pikes Peak), and Jimmie Good in 1954 (dns Pikes Peak).

Chet's teams & cars at Indy and on the Championship trail:
1928 William Horn, Miller 122-91 (dns Indy)
1930 S. L. Reed & T. J. Mulligan, Fronty-Ford (13th Indy, with relief by Paul Bost, 5th Detroit, ret Altoona Flag Day)
1931 R. G. Marr, Marr/Hudson 'IC-31' (10th Indy, with relief by Bryan Saulpaugh, 10th Detroit, ret Altoona Ind. Day, 3rd Altoona Lab. Day, 5th Syracuse)
1932 R. G. Marr, Marr/Hudson 'IC-32' (ret Indy, with relief by Al Miller, dns Detroit June, dns Roby, ret Syracuse, 8th Detroit Sep.)
1933 R. G. Marr, Marr/Hudson 'IC-32' (ret Indy, with relief by Shorty Cantlon)
1934 L. W. Welch (?), Welch (?)/Ford (ret Indy)
1935 Fred Frame, Miller-Hartz Mk I (10th Indy)
- Michael de Baets, De Baets/Miller 'IC-34' (dns Springfield)
- Leon Duray, Duray/Miller 'IC-31' (dns Syracuse)
- W. J. Cantlon, Miller S183/220 (7th Altoona)
1936 M. J. Boyle, Miller-Hartz Mk I (5th Indy)
- J. S. Carew, Carew/Cragar 'IC-35' (26th Vanderbilt)
1937 M. J. Boyle, Miller-Hartz Mk I (ret Indy), Boyle/Offenhauser 'IC-32' (drove 8 laps in relief for Bill Cummings, 6th Indy)
1938 M. J. Boyle, Miller-Hartz/Offenhauser Mk I (3rd Indy), Maserati 6CM (3rd Pikes Peak)
1939 M. J. Boyle, Miller-Hartz/Offenhauser Mk I (ret Indy)
1940 R. T. Wharton & Tom Dewart, Alfa Romeo 308 (17th Indy, with relief by Henry Banks)
1941 M. J. Boyle, Boyle/Miller 'IC-38' (6th Indy)
- C. Magnee & T. Nowiak, LMN/Studebaker 'IC-35' (8th Milwaukee, dns Syracuse)
1946 M. Williams, Williams/Offenhauser 'IC-39' (ret Indy, with relief by Louis Tomei)
1948 L. W. Welch, Novi V8 (dnq Indy)
- T. S. Lee, Mercedes-Benz W154/M163 (ret Indy, with relief by Ken Fowler & Louis Tomei)
1949 L. W. Welch, Novi V8 (dnq Indy)
- IRC, Maserati 8CTF (dnq Indy)
- Tom Sarafoff, Boyle/Offenhauser 'IC-38' (dns Indy)
1950 L. W. Welch, Novi V8 (dnq Indy)
1951 L. W. Welch, Novi V8 (ret Indy)
1952 L. W. Welch, Novi V8 (ret Indy)
1953 L. W. Welch, Novi V8 (dns Indy)

#39 fines

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 19:24

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
Michael , you are the very first German that I have met ANYWHERE that does not enjoy that type of footie. I am sure there are many many Germans that do not enjoy...just never met one until you.

I never met one, either! :rolleyes: :

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#40 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 20:43

Originally posted by fines

I never met one, either! :rolleyes: :


But ....he knows the difference between Chet Miller, Al Miller, Al Keller & Al Bundy ...all of our racing hero's from the past. well, all except for mr bundy...watch, Michael will find info on an "Al bundy" whom raced in the great city Peoria to Moline race of the early 1900's

Chet Miller RIP.

He was going for the Pole in 1953 in the haunted Novi and some thought he would "officially" break the 140 mph barrier and his own lap record of 139mph. Rumors are that he was un-officially clocked doing 141mph at practice the morning he died.

#41 fines

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 20:50

Not Al Bundy, but Bill Bundy was a prominent racing driver in California in the late twenties!;)

He raced his own Rajo or Fronty, and was sometimes listed as a Long Beach resident, and from Bryn Mawr (CA) :confused: I thought that was in PeeAy, near Philly! Jim, is there a Bryn Mawr in California???

#42 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 22:46

Louis Durant started 6th with a qualifying speed of 118.973, he finished 6th 200/105.073.

Rex Mays used the Alpha for the 37 and 38 races (modified for both years as Michael alluded to)

1937 - 23rd @ 119.968 finished 33rd after 24 laps - overheating
1938 - 3rd @ 122.845 finished 28th after 45 laps - supercharger

....he switched for 1939 and used Thone engineerings Sparks

Then took Lou Meyers place in 1940-41,46,47 with the Bowes seal special

and then 1948-49 with the NOVI, leading 3 time winner Wilbur Shaw to comment "if anyone can tame the Novi's speed at Indy, its Rex Mays. I expect him to win in that car" Alas, it was not meant to be for Rex @Indy.

#43 fines

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 09:25

Perhaps more meaningful than starting positions are qualifying positions, with time gap per mile:

1936 Vanderbilt Cup: works (i.e. Scuderia Ferrari) Alfas qualified 1st (Nuvolari), 2nd (Farina, - 0.74") and 3rd (Brivio, - 2.23"), with Sommer in a private car 16th (- 4.97")
1937 Indianapolis: Mays 10th (- 1.27")
1937 Vanderbilt: Mays 3rd (- 0.90"), Nuvolari (SF) 5th (- 1.42"), Farina (SF) 6th (- 1.77"), Thorne 15th (- 4.44"), Bjørnstad 20th (- 4.66")
1938 Indy: Mays 5th (- 0.68")
1939 Indy: Stapp 12th (- 1.14"), Tomei 30th (- 2.74")
1940 Indy: McQuinn 19th (- 1.23"), Chet Miller 27th (- 1.50"), Al Miller 31st (- 1.77")
1941 Indy: McQuinn 4th (- 0.72")
1941 Milwaukee: Nalon 6th (?)
1941 Syracuse: Nalon 2nd (- 1.01")
1946 Indy: Wilburn 6th (- 1.90"), Cole 22nd (- 2.94"), Durant 32nd (- 3.38")
1946 Langhorne: Wallard 8th (- 3.78")
1947 Indy: Fowler 10th (- 1.21"), Brown 25th (- 2.46"), Marshall 30th (- 3.17")
1947 Milwaukee: Scovell 15th (?)
1947 Langhorne: Scovell 11th (?)
1948 Indy: Mauro 33rd (- 2.20"), Fowler 37th (- 2.53")
1949 Indy: Bettenhausen 37th (- 1.68")

Most remarkable performance appears to be Fowler's 10th in a 15-year old B-type at Indy in '47, barely more than a second per mile behind the brand new Blue Crown Special and a 1939 Grand Prix Benz, and about a third of a second slower than the fastest Novi - he was quite a bit more than that faster than the second V8 monster! Also remarkable: Mays outqualifying the works Twelves with the White Eight, and McQuinn's performance in the same car in '41, also Nalon on the miles - ifs and irs are hardly suitable for dirt track warfare!

P.S. Russ, I thought you might pick up on it by and by, but alpha is a Greek letter, and Alfa an Italian acronym - there's absolutely no connection 'tween the two!;)

#44 fines

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:49

Originally posted by fines
The Alfa Chet Miller ran in 1940 (17th Indy, with relief by Henry Banks) was indeed "422022", the car used by Durant in '46 (6th Indy), then Lee Wallard the same year (ret Langhorne), Walt Brown in 1947 (7th Indy), Johnny Mauro in 1948 (8th Indy, with relief by Louis Durant, 3rd Pikes Peak), Tony Bettenhausen in 1949 (dns Indy), also Mauro again the same year (dnq Indy, ret Pikes Peak) and in 1950 (dnq Indy, 9th Pikes Peak), possibly Ray Shadbolt (sp?) in 1951 (dns? Pikes Peak), then probably Charlie Bryant in 1952 (7th Pikes Peak) and 1953 (ret Pikes Peak), and Jimmie Good in 1954 (dns Pikes Peak).

In many ways, Pikes Peak is still the big mystery event of US racing. Amongst the myriad of backyard specials, many a famous racing car attacked the climb to the clouds, and I am often fascinated as well as awestruck by the stories that linger beneath the surface. Never had the time to tackle it properly, but the itch is always there! :D

What I wanted to say, I dug around here a little bit, prompted by my own post above and the mention of Roger Barlow in another thread, and found out that there is a strong possibilty that the Pikes Peak career of this car was a much shorter affair, since there was another Alfa tackling the climb in the late forties, purportedly an 8C-2900-MM-TS, a stripped touring or sports car (http://www.ppihc.com/big/ppih0033.jpg). MM probably stands for Mille Miglia, so some sports car experts may be able to budge in here? Anyway, so although there is photo evidence of Mauro at Pikes Peak with the 308, the later appearances may well have to be credited to this other car, or perhaps a special using the engine from either car?

#45 Russ Snyder

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:50

Originally posted by fines


P.S. Russ, I thought you might pick up on it by and by, but alpha is a Greek letter, and Alfa an Italian acronym - there's absolutely no connection 'tween the two!;)


oy vey ...twas a long week Michael. I told you I deal with Numbers everyday and I dream of Alpha sorrority girls in tight white....oh well, the old man in me strikes again. jeez, if only I were 24 instead of 44!

#46 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 13:36

Many thanks to Russ and Michael for their fascinating info' on the 'Indy-Alfas'. Absorbing stuff which is much appreciated. Its always good to learn more about the great 'pre- funny cars' years of the race. Rex Mays seems to have been a great driver and I'd like to know more about Duke Nalon who's picture I saw in the 'Autocar's' report of the 1947 race. Getting back to that 1946 race, I was amused to read that the Indianapolis regulars referred to Rudolf Caracciola as 'Coca-Cola'. Its a shame he couldnt have made the race.
Thank you again.

#47 Jim Thurman

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 17:21

Originally posted by fines
Not Al Bundy, but Bill Bundy was a prominent racing driver in California in the late twenties!;)

He raced his own Rajo or Fronty, and was sometimes listed as a Long Beach resident, and from Bryn Mawr (CA) :confused: I thought that was in PeeAy, near Philly! Jim, is there a Bryn Mawr in California???

Yes there is, very near...Redlands. Despite Redlands prominence in open wheel racing pre-WWII, Bryn Mawr still seems an unlikely place for a race driver to be from. There was little there in the 60's and early 70's and there weren't any drivers from there during that time.

So concludes today's California geography lesson - small communities of the San Bernardino area :)

#48 Russ Snyder

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 18:26

Originally posted by Eric Dunsdon
Many thanks to Russ and Michael for their fascinating info' on the 'Indy-Alfas'. Absorbing stuff which is much appreciated. Its always good to learn more about the great 'pre- funny cars' years of the race. Rex Mays seems to have been a great driver and I'd like to know more about Duke Nalon who's picture I saw in the 'Autocar's' report of the 1947 race. Getting back to that 1946 race, I was amused to read that the Indianapolis regulars referred to Rudolf Caracciola as 'Coca-Cola'. Its a shame he couldnt have made the race.
Thank you again.


No problem Eric from over on my side of the pond.

Rudi Caracciola's 1946 qualifying attempt is tinged with sadness I'm afraid. A superior GP driver, he was brought over by Tony Hulman's invitation. He was supposed to be in his Mercedes but....it was late/never arrived. He drove one of the old reliable Thorne engineering sparks motor cars, long a staple at Indy. Jack Fox 1966 edition has him assigned #44 with "wrecked in practice"...I know that this has been discussed elsewhere in here, but it is worth repeating. Its possible that his wreck was caused by a bird hitting him in the face, some say a piece of paper was the culprit, or a tissue. Whatever caused him to hit hard into the wall at the end of the frontstretch gave him a terrible injury with over a year to recover. Unless someone knows more, he never raced again to my knowledge.

Some of Rudi's GP trophies used to be on display at the Indy Museum, not sure if they still are.

#49 Russ Snyder

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 18:41

Originally posted by fines
Not Al Bundy, but Bill Bundy was a prominent racing driver in California in the late twenties!;)

He raced his own Rajo or Fronty, and was sometimes listed as a Long Beach resident, and from Bryn Mawr (CA) :confused: I thought that was in PeeAy, near Philly! Jim, is there a Bryn Mawr in California???


Michael - one thing about the states is that the same name of towns shows up repeatedly. I am guessing that a person from Springfield USA could mean about 48 states to choose from! (Alaska and Hawaii excluded), that said, someone from New York is generally from NY state, however someone from New York Ohio or Pa may tell you otherwise. Interesting and can be confusing. Look up "Portland" and you find more than just locations in Maine and Oregon!

end of USA geography

back to the 1946 race - Jack fox writes "Although many cars fell by the wayside and only 9 were running at the end, the battle between George Robson & Jimmy Jackson was excellant and it took all of Robson's skill to push Joel Thorne's Sparks (see Rudi Caraccolia post above!) car to the wire. Perhaps the most impressive performance was by Ralph Hepburn in the big blue Novi which, although dogged by trouble before dropping out on the 121st lap (stalled), captured the hearts of the huge crowd."

#50 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 18:51

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


No problem Eric from over on my side of the pond.

Rudi Caracciola's 1946 qualifying attempt is tinged with sadness I'm afraid. A superior GP driver, he was brought over by Tony Hulman's invitation. He was supposed to be in his Mercedes but....it was late/never arrived. He drove one of the old reliable Thorne engineering sparks motor cars, long a staple at Indy. Jack Fox 1966 edition has him assigned #44 with "wrecked in practice"...I know that this has been discussed elsewhere in here, but it is worth repeating. Its possible that his wreck was caused by a bird hitting him in the face, some say a piece of paper was the culprit, or a tissue. Whatever caused him to hit hard into the wall at the end of the frontstretch gave him a terrible injury with over a year to recover. Unless someone knows more, he never raced again to my knowledge.

Some of Rudi's GP trophies used to be on display at the Indy Museum, not sure if they still are.


Russ. The great Rudi drove for Mercedes-Benz in the 1952 Mille Miglia, finishing 4th in a 300SL which was said to be less powerful than those of his team mates. Sadly, he crashed badly in the sports car race which preceded that years Swiss Grand Prix at Berne just two weeks later suffering further injuries to his leg which led to his retirement.