Highlights from the the Indianapolis 500, Runnings 31-40

Bill Vukovich. Photo: IMS Archive
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The Associated Press has compiled a list of highlights of all past Indianapolis 500 races, as the buildup to the 100th running presented by PennGrade Motor Oil takes place this May 29.

Here are runnings 31-40, from 1947 through 1956.

Past pieces:

  • Runnings 1-10
  • Runnings 11-20
  • Runnings 21-30

RACE: 31st Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1947

WINNER: Mauri Rose

AVERAGE SPEED: 116.338 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: The race went out without defending champion George Robson, who died in another race months after winning Indy. Rose passed Lou Moore teammate Bill Holland for the lead with eight laps left. But the race was marred by yet another death, to driver Shorty Cantlon. Cantlon swerved into the outside retaining wall to avoid a spinning car and was killed instantly.

NOTABLE: Only seven of 30 cars were on the lead lap at the end of the race. Several top drivers of the American Society of Professional Auto Racing group threatened to boycott the race over the purse size.

RACE: 32nd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1948

WINNER: Mauri Rose

AVERAGE SPEED: 119.814 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Rose topped Holland for the second straight 1-2 finish between the teammates. Rose also became the second driver to win the Indianapolis 500 two straight years. He became a three-time Indy winner, with a victory in the 1941 race.

NOTABLE: Sid Collins joined the radio crew as a turn reporter. He would eventually become the official radio voice of the Indianapolis 500 and coined the phrase “the greatest spectacle in racing.” In what would have been his 30th year as the “Voice of the 500,” Collins committed suicide at 54 after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

RACE: 33rd Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1949

WINNER: Bill Holland

AVERAGE SPEED: 121.327 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Holland finally broke through after consecutive runner-up finishes and won his first Indianapolis 500. He gave team owner Lou Moore his third straight Indy 500 win. Holland would finish second again in 1950.

NOTABLE: George Metzler was killed attempting to qualify for the race. Trying to get his car into the field on the final day of qualifying, Metzler drove into the wall on turn one and was pronounced dead six days later.

RACE: 34th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1950

WINNER: Johnnie Parsons

AVERAGE SPEED: 124.002 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Parsons won a race shortened to 138 laps and 345 miles because of rain. He was the only driver to finish the race on the lead lap and just three other drivers in the 33-car field completed 137. Bad enough he had to win under rain, Parsons had his name misspelled on the Borg-Warner Trophy. “Johnny” instead of “Johnnie” Parsons was inscribed on the winner’s trophy.

NOTABLE: The 1950 film “To Please A Lady” starring Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck was filmed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indy 500 driver Joie Chitwood had a role in the film and Stanwyck was in victory lane for the celebratory kiss to the winner.

RACE: 35th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1951

WINNER: Lee Wallard

AVERAGE SPEED: 126.244 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Wallard led 159 laps in the No. 99 Belanger Special in what would become his greatest and final racing triumph. He was injured in a race one week later in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was burned when his car caught fire. He needed more than two dozen skin grafts and never raced again.

NOTABLE: Duke Nalon returned to the race for the first time since his car burst into flames in the 1949 race and he suffered serious burns. He missed the 1950 race, the won the pole for the 35th Indy 500 in a Novi.

RACE: 36th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1952

WINNER: Troy Ruttman

AVERAGE SPEED: 128.922 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: At just 22 years and 80 days, Ruttman became the youngest winner in Indianapolis 500 history. He still holds the record. Bill Vukovich led a race-high 150 laps and seemed poised to win the race until a busted steering linkage with nine laps left cost him the checkered flag.

NOTABLE: The Indy 500 introduced what would become a popular staple of the race, the rookie of the year. The award goes to the top first-year driver who has qualified or started the race. Art Cross finished fifth and was the first winner.

RACE: 37th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1953

WINNER: Bill Vukovich

AVERAGE SPEED: 128.740 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Vukovich won the first of two straight Indianapolis 500s. This one was known as “The Hottest 500” because the track temperature reached 130 degrees. At least 16 of the 33 starters needed relief drivers.

NOTABLE: Chet Miller, known as “Dean of the Speedway, was killed in a crash during practice for the race.

RACE: 38th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 31, 1954

WINNER: Bill Vukovich

AVERAGE SPEED: 130.840 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Vukovich won his second straight Indianapolis 500. By this point, more cars (some with relief drivers) were finishing on the lead lap. There were 11 cars that completed all 200 laps and one more that finished 199.

NOTABLE: The 1954 race was believed to be the first time Indy was dubbed “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

RACE: 39th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1955

WINNER: Bob Sweikert

AVERAGE SPEED: 128.209 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Tragedy again struck the race. Two-time winner Bill Vukovich was killed when he seemed on his way toward a third straight checkered flag. His car landed upside down after going over the outside backstretch retaining wall and burst into flames. He joined Floyd Roberts in 1939 as the only defending race winners to die in the race the next year.

NOTABLE: Vukovich led 50 laps and officially finished 25th, ahead of eight other drivers.

RACE: 40th Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1956

WINNER: Pat Flaherty

AVERAGE SPEED: 128.490 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: Flaherty dominated and led 127 of the 200 laps at the Brickyard. Flaherty did not get the chance to defend his victory because he was severely injured in a race car crash a month later that sidelined him from the 1957 race.

NOTABLE: The track was paved with asphalt, leaving only about 600 yards of the mainstretch still remaining brick.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage