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Hap Sharp: 1962 Hoosier Grand Prix at Indianapolis Raceway Park


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#1 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 01:34

While sifting through my shoe box of racin' negatives...looking for some material for an as yet undisclosed and unrelated and super secret project, I unearthed something which you may find of interest.

Apparently, in my haste, I overlooked these photos due to my recalcitrant and malingering and sloppy nature...

Anyhoo...these are a few shots I found of oil magnate and part-time Texas racer Hap Sharp. He and Jim Hall pooled their substantial lunch monies and developed and raced sports cars and F1 rigs back in the old days.

Here's Hap with a chart of the starting grid. Some pretty big names there. His boss Jim Hall won the race... Hap probably had to let Hall win. That's what I think.

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This kinda looks like Tony Hulman driving the Impaler pace car at Raceway Park. Tony is having fun too. I bet Tony would drive over to IRP to relax and chill and decompress after a hard days work of operating the world's greatest racing facilty just up the road. Yes. IRP was like Tony's Comfort Girl, or something...

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Here's the start of the race and some dramatic post race images for you! Looks like Hap has his own version of a Comfort Girl, or maybe it's his wife, or something. Sorta.

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I Googled Hap Sharp on the intardnets and found out he killed himself in 1993.

That is unfortunate.

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#2 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 16:29

Walter you sure have some great pictures.
Hap Sharp did not let Jim Hall win. That would have been very uncharacteristic for the two friends. Hall won by consistency, finishing 3rd and 2nd in this two-heat event. Rodger Ward came in second with a 5th and 3rd heat finishes, Herb Swan finishing third with 6th and 4th heat results and Hap Sharp fourth 12th in heat 1 and winning heat 2, which is when the photos with his wife were taken.
all research Willem Oosthoek.

#3 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 18:26

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
Walter you sure have some great pictures.
Hap Sharp did not let Jim Hall win. That would have been very uncharacteristic for the two friends. Hall won by consistency, finishing 3rd and 2nd in this two-heat event. Rodger Ward came in second with a 5th and 3rd heat finishes, Herb Swan finishing third with 6th and 4th heat results and Hap Sharp fourth 12th in heat 1 and winning heat 2, which is when the photos with his wife were taken.
all research Willem Oosthoek.


Actually, unless I missed something, there were two separate races at IRP, each heat counting as a points-paying event. There were cases where the the promoters of such events may have added the results of the two events for the purposes of further splitting the payout from the purse, but points were always awarded by USAC for each individual event and not a combined, overall result.

Having said that, I really like the pictures. Thank you for allowing us to see them.

#4 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 19:39

Great pictures!! It is the first time I have seen pictures from this track, where Jo Bonnier raced in '61.

#5 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 19:57

It is true that USAC Road Racing Championship points were awarded based on individual heat results [with heats serving as individual races], but IRP purses were awarded based on the elapsed times of both heats combined. So even the combined individual heat positions were not necessarily indicative how the purse would be split. Lloyd Ruby found that out in the 1961 edition at IRP, where he lost the winner's purse to Augie Pabst, in spite of scoring first and second place heat results. Pabst scored a first and third overall, but since Augie's combined time was 7 seconds faster than Lloyd's, he got most of the marbles.
Case in point: Roger Penske is remembered as winning the 1962 Pacific Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, another 2-heat USAC Championship race, although he did not win any of the heats. Money was more important than points anyway for a lot of these professionals. The USAC Road Racing Championship crown itself did not offer any compensation.
all research Willem Oosthoek.

#6 Jerry Entin

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 21:10

Tomas: Jo Bonnier and IRP in 1961 may seem like a strange combination, but the USAC sports car races did have international FIA status in those days. Bonnier was the only international driver to show at IRP, having raced at Mosport the day before. He ran a 1.6-liter Porsche RS-61, qualifying 8th on the grid and finishing the heats in 6th and 5th overall. Only Ken Miles in a similar Porsche beat him in under-2-liter class.

Don: Overall positions based on track time, as published by USAC, plus heat results:
1. Augie Pabst [M.B. Scarab], 3 - 1
2. Lloyd Ruby [Maserati 570S], 1 - 2
3. Chuck Sargent [Maserati Tipo 61], 5 - 3
4. Ken Miles [Porsche RS-61], 2 - 4
5. Jo Bonnier [Porsche RS-61], 6 - 5
6. Rodger Ward [Porsche 550RS], 7 - 6
all research Willem Oosthoek.

#7 HistoricMustang

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 22:19

Well, Mr. Sharp's name is in granite so he is not going anywhere! :wave:

Henry

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#8 TIPO61

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 22:27

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie
While sifting through my shoe box of racin' negatives...looking for some material for an as yet undisclosed and unrelated and super secret project, I unearthed something which you may find of interest.

Apparently, in my haste, I overlooked these photos due to my recalcitrant and malingering and sloppy nature...

Anyhoo...these are a few shots I found of oil magnate and part-time Texas racer Hap Sharp. He and Jim Hall pooled their substantial lunch monies and developed and raced sports cars and F1 rigs back in the old days.

Here's Hap with a chart of the starting grid. Some pretty big names there. His boss Jim Hall won the race... Hap probably had to let Hall win. That's what I think.

Here's the start of the race and some dramatic post race images for you! Looks like Hap has his own version of a Comfort Girl, or maybe it's his wife, or something. Sorta.

I Googled Hap Sharp on the intardnets and found out he killed himself in 1993.

That is unfortunate.


Jim Hall was NOT Hap's boss! They were the best of friends and business partners.
"Hap probably had to let Hall win. That's what I think."

YOU THINK WRONG lad. Hall won it fair and square.

You are correct that "it's his wife."
Her name is Susie and she created the first Chaparral uniform 'look' with a Texas flag on it.

Hap may, or may not, have "killed himself." Strange choice of words at best. He did leave us in '93.

HE WAS A HELLUVA RACE DRIVER,
A VERY NICE PERSON,
AND HE IS MISSED!

Your pics are wonderful.

#9 vashlin

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 22:54

I love these pictures!

And I really like that they are in B & W as this captures the era so well. What a great find!

LinC :up:

#10 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:02

I found this... Atlas F1

USAC Road Racing Championship Round: 3

200 mil Indianapolis
Indianapolis Date: 29.7.1962

Circuit length: 4,02336 km Race distance: Winner's average speed:

1. - Jim Hall (USA) Lotus ICF
2. - Rodger Ward (USA) Offy Midget
3. - Bob Swan Porsche RS60
4. - Hap Sharp (USA) Cooper ICF 1.
5. - Don Hulette (USA) Maserati 250F
Other starters:
- Harry Washburn (USA) Porsche RS60
- Bob Holbert (USA) Porsche RS60
- Dan Gurney (USA) Lotus ICF
- Roger Penske (USA) Cooper ICF

Heat 1
Circuit length: 4,02336 km Race distance: 160,9344 km Winner's average speed: 136,07 km/h

1. - Roger Penske (USA) Cooper ICF 40
2. - Dan Gurney (USA) Lotus ICF
3. - Jim Hall (USA) Lotus ICF
4. - Bob Holbert (USA) Porsche RS60
5. - Rodger Ward (USA) Offy Midget
6. - Bob Swan Porsche RS60
7. - Don Hulette (USA) Maserati 250F
12. - Hap Sharp (USA) Cooper ICF

Heat 2
Circuit length: 4,02336 km Race distance: 160,9344 km Winner's average speed: 132,4007 km/h

1. - Hap Sharp (USA) Cooper ICF 40
2. - Jim Hall (USA) Lotus ICF
3. - Rodger Ward (USA) Offy Midget
4. - Bob Swan Porsche RS60
5. - Harry Washburn (USA) Porsche RS60
6. - Don Hulette (USA) Maserati 250F


I used the above knowledge and remembered I had some pictures of Rodger Ward in his Offy midget at IRP.

The intardwebs is kinda cool like that because you can connect the dots and make sense outta fragmented information and photos you have scattered around in a shoebox or in your mind.

Or something...

Here is Wardie, fresh from his 1962 Indy 500 win, looking confident and cocky at IRP. I bet Wardie was thinking how he was gonna show these Nancy-Boy-Fruitty-Cuppers a thing or two...

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If you look closely, you will see that Ward's sled says it is a 110" Offy midget. If my midget was 110" I'd tell the world too.

#11 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:02

My next jaw-dropping photo for your viewing pleasure regarding the Hoosier Grand Prix will be this:

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This is Roger Penske and Dan Gurney chit-chatting at IRP.

I bet Roger is sharing some investment strategies with Dan.

Dan had best stand there and listen attentively if he knows what's good for him!

#12 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:03

Through the miracle of Google, I found this earth-shattering factoid regarding the 1962 Hoosier Grand Prix:

http://www.500gordon...com/history.htm

The band landed its first big performance in June of 1962 at the Hoosier Grand Prix. That performance entertained and impressed the crowd at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Tony Hulman, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was in attendance that day. He enjoyed the pipes and drums so much that he invited the band to entertain for the WFBM Antique Auto Tour. In 1963 we began a 10 year affiliation with WFBM radio (now WIBC) as our sponsor.

In May of 1963, the Gordon Pipers became known as the "Gasoline Alley Gordon Pipers". This was the beginning of many performances by the Band that have become a tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The performances by the Band on Opening Day, Qualification Days, the "500 Festival Parade" and Race Day have become part of the tradition that is the Indianapolis 500 mile race.


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In case you didn't know, The Gordon Pipers are Indy legends and are cool beyond reasonable belief.

That said, I still think they should play AC/DC's It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll...

http://www.youtube.c...related&search=


:D

#13 ovfi

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:34

Wow!!!! THAT's nostalgia....

#14 RA Historian

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:58

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie
Here is Wardie, fresh from his 1962 Indy 500 win, looking confident and cocky at IRP. I bet Wardie was thinking how he was gonna show these Nancy-Boy-Fruitty-Cuppers a thing or two...

I don't think so. Rodger Ward was a racer who was not restricted to the ovals. He had an avid interest in road racing. He persuaded Leader Card Racers to purchase a Porsche Spyder for him to drive in USAC road races. He also was instrumental in Cooper coming to Indy in 1961. Besides the 59 USGP, he also drove in another Grande Eprueve, in, I believe, a Parnell Lola or Lotus. Rodger Ward understood road racing and was a well rounded and smart racer. He would not have had any thoughts as stated above.

#15 vashlin

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 13:49

Walter, I love all this stuff. The pictures and the Gordon Pipers and all.

I was a kid growing up in southern Indiana during this time period. It was Indy that first drew me to racing and my first ever race was the Indy 500 of '65. To my kid brain, Indy was about the only cool thing to be associated with the state of Indiana back then.

With the first sight and sound of the cars roaring past ( I think we had seats in the stands at turn 3) I was hooked for life! Jim Clark and his Lotus just amped up the "cool" factor even more.

Keep searching that shoebox!

LinC

#16 McGuire

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 19:18

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie

I bet Roger is sharing some investment strategies with Dan.

Dan had best stand there and listen attentively if he knows what's good for him!


Actually, both had surefire strategies. One was born with it and the other married it, clever boys.

#17 TIPO61

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 23:44

Originally posted by RA Historian
He also was instrumental in Cooper coming to Indy in 1961.


Tom (who abhors my sig which becomes truer with each passing day/revelation), as this is a Hap Sharp thread you might mention that Sharp was even more "instrumental" in bringing Charles, John, Jack and 'Noddy' to Indy.

Then there was that fun run amongst the Jrs. at your race track following the 500 with Hap and Augie at the wheel. Credit where credit is due. 'Sposetobe a Sharp thread, right?

#18 Jerry Entin

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:19

Tom Schultz is correct in that Rodger Ward was a road racing enthusiast and that he thoroughly supported John Cooper's effort at Indianapolis in 1961. Plenty of historical material to indicate he provided hand-on assistance, expertise and moral support when the Cooper did its trial runs on the Brickyard.

Historical material also provide loads of evidence that it was Jim Kimberly, with the help of English ex-pat and SCCA honcho Frank Falkner, who funded the Cooper effort at Indy from the very start.

As for Hap Sharp, it is claimed he wrote a check, but Hap fails to show up in any of the period photos of Cooper's Indy effort -- trial runs or race -- or any of the detailed period magazine write-ups. As a Cooper Monaco owner, he may well have written his check to commit himself into buying one of the two Coopers brought to the Brickyard, after the race was finished. Selling cars in the U.S. after an event was common practice by European manufacturers in those days.
Sharp does show up at Road America in June 1961 with one of the Indy Coopers, in an exhibition run. But writing a check to purchase one of the cars after the event is over is -- in my opinion -- not quite the same level of early, close involvement displayed by Kimberly, Falkner and Ward. Rather than being involved in "making it all happen", it seems to have been more of a case of " I want the latest toy and I can afford it."
all research Willem Oosthoek.

#19 TIPO61

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 21:22

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
Tom Schultz is correct in that Rodger Ward was a road racing enthusiast and that he thoroughly supported John Cooper's effort at Indianapolis in 1961. Plenty of historical material to indicate he provided hand-on assistance, expertise and moral support when the Cooper did its trial runs on the Brickyard.

Historical material also provide loads of evidence that it was Jim Kimberly, with the help of English ex-pat and SCCA honcho Frank Falkner, who funded the Cooper effort at Indy from the very start.

As for Hap Sharp, it is claimed he wrote a check, but Hap fails to show up in any of the period photos of Cooper's Indy effort -- trial runs or race -- or any of the detailed period magazine write-ups. As a Cooper Monaco owner, he may well have written his check to commit himself into buying one of the two Coopers brought to the Brickyard, after the race was finished. Selling cars in the U.S. after an event was common practice by European manufacturers in those days.
Sharp does show up at Road America in June 1961 with one of the Indy Coopers, in an exhibition run. But writing a check to purchase one of the cars after the event is over is -- in my opinion -- not quite the same level of early, close involvement displayed by Kimberly, Falkner and Ward. Rather than being involved in "making it all happen", it seems to have been more of a case of " I want the latest toy and I can afford it."
all research Willem Oosthoek.


To disagree with ANY research by Mr. Oosthoek is to invite irrefutable reproach. I would suggest then that; Kimberly certainly funded the effort. Dr. Falkner's direct connection with John Cooper helped a great deal, and that Ward absolutely supported the effort as well. I think that Hap's commitment and cheque BEFORE the event to acquire the 'spare' really sealed the deal. J. R. (Hap) was VERY close to both John and Charles Cooper long before Indy. He didn't consider his race cars "toys" and I have it on first person authority that neither he nor Jim Hall played the "I can afford it" game over anything. Yes they were/are persons of means beyond the ordinary and perhaps that is what allowed them to donate the Cooper to the Indianapolis museum. If I've gotten any of this factually wrong...my sincere apologies to Mr. Oosthoek.

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#20 Jerry Entin

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 22:00

Tipo: I agree with you 100%. I believe Hap agreed to purchase the car when they were finished running it. This, as you say, would have made it a lot easier for the Cooper effort.
Hap was a very nice guy. I don't believe he was correctly diagnosed with whatever his physical problem was. I believe he felt that taking his own life would spare his loved ones from hard times. He died way too young and he had a lot to offer the motor racing world as a mentor.

#21 TIPO61

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 22:05

Quite the polo player as well. Therefore a pretty good horseman as well as horsePOWER. Tragically it turns out that his diagnosis of terminal cancer was, in fact, wrong.

Hap was a lotta things...plenty quick race car driver, funny, giving, original thinker, etcetera, etcetera.

So he had personal funding.
So he used it.
So?

His choice to leave us by his own hand left a giant crater for much more than motorsports.

Edited by TIPO61, 25 February 2013 - 22:06.