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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Vukovich
Bill Vukovich 2.jpg
Born(1918-12-13)December 13, 1918
Fresno, California
DiedMay 30, 1955(1955-05-30) (aged 36)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, Indiana
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited States American
Active years19501955
TeamsKurtis Kraft, Trevis, Rounds Rocket, Maserati
Entries6 (5 starts)
Championships0
Wins2
Podiums2
Career points19
Pole positions1
Fastest laps3
First entry1950 Indianapolis 500
First win1953 Indianapolis 500
Last win1954 Indianapolis 500
Last entry1955 Indianapolis 500

William John Vukovich Sr. (/ˈvjuːkəvɪ/; December 13, 1918 – May 30, 1955) was an American automobile racing driver. He won the 1953 and 1954 Indianapolis 500 plus two more American Automobile Association National Championship races. Several drivers of his generation have referred to Vukovich as the greatest ever in American motorsport.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Dave MacDonald & Eddie Sachs' Fatal Crash
  • ✪ 1961 Indianapolis 500 Champion's Film
  • ✪ Black Side of the Race: Tribute to Death Driver (lKollar's Original Video)
  • ✪ Bill Vukovich fatal Crash @ Indy 500 1955
  • ✪ 1969 Indy 500 Feature (CBS Evening News)

Transcription

Contents

Racer

Midget car

Before he began Indy racing, Vukovich drove midget cars for the Edelbrock dirt track racing team. He raced on the West Coast of the United States in the URA, and won the series' 1945 and 1946 midget car championships. Vukovich won the 1948 Turkey Night Grand Prix at Gilmore Stadium, and six of the last eight races at the stadium track before it was closed for good.[2] He won the 1950 AAA National Midget championship. Vukovich was known for racing midgets powered by Drake engines. The Drake was a Harley V-twin with specially built Drake water cooled heads. His last Drake powered midget was a Kurtis-Kraft that was built by Ed and Zeke Justice, the Justice Brothers, in their shop in Glendale from a Kurtis kit. Previous to this car Vukovich drove a "Frame Rail" midget that was also powered by a Drake engine.

Indianapolis 500

In 1952, his sophomore year in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 500-Mile Race, he quickly moved up from his starting position in the middle of the third row to take the lead, and led 150 laps in dominant fashion before suffering steering failure on the 192nd of the 200 laps. He returned to win the race in consecutive years, 1953 and 1954. He led an astounding 71.7% of laps that he drove in competition at the track, and remains the only driver ever to lead the most laps in the race three consecutive years.[2]

Death at Indianapolis

Vukovich was killed in a chain-reaction crash while holding a 17-second lead on the 57th lap of the 1955 Indianapolis 500. He was exiting the second turn, trailing three slower cars—driven by Rodger Ward, Al Keller, and Johnny Boyd—when Ward's car hit the backstretch outer wall and flipped, resting in the middle of the track as a result of a broken axle. Keller, swerving into the infield to avoid Ward, lost control and slid back onto the track, striking Boyd's car and pushing it into Vukovich's path. After his car went over the outside wall and become airborne, it cartwheeled through the air multiple times landing on top of a group of parked cars before coming to rest upside down and bursting into flames. The cockpit side of his car struck a low bridge near Turn 2 when it was airborne. Boyd's car also flipped over and landed upside down as well. As the car burned, Ed Elisian stopped his undamaged car and raced towards Vukovich in an attempt to save him. It did not matter; Vukovich had perished instantly. He had been partially decapitated upon his car's impact with the low bridge. Two spectators were also injured when Vukovich's car landed on their Jeep. [3]

Vukovich was the second defending Indy 500 champion to die during the race, following Floyd Roberts in 1939, and the only former winner to have been killed while leading. Roberts' car was also thrown over the backstretch fence after exiting the second turn in his fatal accident. Since the 1955 race was counted as part of the Formula One World Championship, Vukovich is also the first driver to be killed during a World Championship race.[citation needed]

Lifetime achievement awards

Family

His son, Bill Vukovich II, and his grandson, Bill Vukovich III, also competed in the Indianapolis 500, with Vukovich II taking second in 1973, and Vukovich III being named Rookie of the Year in 1988.

World Championship career summary

The Indianapolis 500 was part of the World Drivers' Championship (which later became the FIA Formula 1 World championship) from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Vukovich participated in 5 F1 World Championship races. He started on the pole once, won 2 races, set 3 fastest lead laps, and finished on the podium twice. He accumulated a total of 19 championship points.

Motorsports career results

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Pts
1950 Indianapolis Race Cars Maserati 8CTF Maserati 3.0 L8s GBR MON 500
DNQ
SUI BEL FRA ITA NC 0
1951 Central Excavating Trevis Offenhauser 4.5 L4 SUI 500
29
BEL FRA GBR GER ITA ESP NC 0
1952 Fuel Injection Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offenhauser 4.5 L4 SUI 500
17
BEL FRA GBR GER NED ITA 22nd 1
1953 Fuel Injection Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offenhauser 4.5 L4 ARG 500
1
NED BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA 7th 9
1954 Fuel Injection Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offenhauser 4.5 L4 ARG 500
1
BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA ESP 6th 8
1955 Hopkins Kurtis Kraft KK500C Offenhauser 4.5 L4 ARG MON 500
25
BEL NED GBR ITA 25th 1
Source:[4]

Indianapolis 500 results

Year[5] Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1950 10 Did not qualify
1951 81 20 133.725 16 29 29 Oil tank
1952 26 8 138.212 2 17 191 150 Steering
1953 14 1 138.392 1 1st 200 195 Running
1954 14 19 138.478 15 1st 200 90 Running
1955 4 5 141.071 3 25 56 50 Accident
Totals 676 485
Starts 5
Poles 1
Front Row 1
Wins 2
Top 5 2
Top 10 2
Retired 3

See also

References

  1. ^ "ESPN Classic - Vukovich was a fearless racing legend". www.espn.com. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Biography Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Retrieved January 4, 2007
  3. ^ "Sarasota Journal - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Bill Vukovich – Involvement". StatsF1. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  5. ^ Bill Vukovich Indy 500 Race Stats Archived May 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine

External links

Preceded by
Troy Ruttman
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1953-1954
Succeeded by
Bob Sweikert
Preceded by
Manny Ayulo
Formula One fatal accidents
May 30, 1955
Succeeded by
Eugenio Castellotti
This page was last edited on 10 July 2019, at 21:53
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