Skip to comments.50 Years Ago At The Indy 500 - Fire, Death, and a GREAT race!
Posted on 05/24/2014 5:02:09 PM PDT by Loud Mime
These are just a few observations. I encourage other Freepers to add to this thread.
I just just in the 8th grade at this time and was addicted to the race, having attended the '62 and '63 races. This event I watched on closed circuit TV at Graumann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Shortly into the race there was a picture that I cannot forget, a screen filled with smoke and fire in a wreck that was so bad it stopped the race and claimed the lives of two drivers.
Dave McDonald drove Micky Thompson's car, which used gasoline. He lost control coming out of turn four. and crashed into the infield retaining wall. Immediately upon impact
the car blew up like a napalm bomb and bounced back into the track. It was hit dead center by Eddie Sachs' car. Both men died in this horrible crash.
Later in the race, Parnelli Jones' car caught fire during its refueling stop. Parnelli didn't catch on immediately, focusing on joining the race. But the waving of the fans finally caught his attention.
I remember his turning in his seat, recognizing the fire, aiming the car toward the pit wall, and then bailing out of the car.
I still remember how the crowd moved from the area that Jones' car was headed. It was almost funny. It was like how pepper moves from the drop of detergent.
Jim Clark, was favored to win the race. But that month the Dunlop tires started losing chunks of their tread. They had to race on the same tires they qualified on, so they couldn't change the design.
During the race Clark's tire threw off a section of tread that caused his suspension to collapse. The car was still skidding in the infield when Clark undid his harness and rose and twisted his body so he could see what had happened to his car.
Earlier, Clark, the fastest in the field, jumped far ahead of the field at the start. After the fire had stopped the race, Chris Econamaki asked Clark how he had jumped into such a lead. Clark told him something
like "if you wait, I'll show you again." He did exactly that.
For some time the dinosaur front engine cars vied for the lead in the race. It was the last time they would do this, as the rear-engine cars took over.
A.J. Foyt, the eventual winner, is pictured here fighting it out with Parnelli Jones (his real first name is Rufus).
“Later in the race...”
So men died and they kept racing? I see we haven’t progressed since the Roman colosseums.
most were household names. wow
I was seven and watching at home with my Dad. I remember it well .
It was totally different.
Was not a Lotus, Jim Clark fan...didn't like those newfangled mid-engine European machines.
I was a big Parnelli as well as AJ fan.
And then there was The Biggest Spectacle In Racing. Kinda wish the turbo cars had won a couple of years later...
Dad, brother and I were sitting on the outside of the 4th turn, about 15-20 rows up. Huge fireball. I thought at the time we were going to get burned by it.
Yea knew it well my uncle use to race with Parnell out at old Ascot in So Cal. when they we’re first staring out..they were tight friends.
Was there that day. In our school bus changing out of band uniform to street clothes iirc. Not a pleasant memory. We left for home early. Didn’t see end of the race
Yes, everyone should have immediately curled up into fetal position and cried, and then all of the spectators should have been given grief counseling.
I guess you are one of those people who think they should have speed limits in Indy races and that tightrope walkers should have nets.
Outlaw all sports where there is even the remotest chance that people might die or get seriously injured.
Are you in favor out outlawing football and hardball for children under the age of 21?
Do you support outlawing dodgeball in elementary schools?
Were you one of the people that lobbied to get rid of swingsets in elementary schools?
“Are you in favor out outlawing football and hardball for children under the age of 21? Do you support outlawing dodgeball in elementary schools?”
I grew up with a BB gun and the freedom to go out on my own and shoot stuff. Still have my eyes.
When I have kids I won’t be wrapping them in bubble wrap.
Kids playing sports and human beings getting burned alive are two different things. Pro-life means you are pro-LIFE. When somebody DIES it’s time to stop and give a re-think.
Perhaps in war we should call a truce everytime a soldier is killed? Or maybe we should just surrender before the first shot is fired.
Whoa... are you comparing war to an amusement for fun? Two different things! Go ask our soldiers if they are having fun.
People died for a chance to sell beer and popcorn to spectators. Not the same thing as war!
The other drivers said that Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonald would have wanted the race to continue. It’s what I would have wanted as well.
People didn’t go to the race to see anyone die, as they did in the Roman Gladiator days. They came to see racing, as they did many times before.
After this race gasoline was outlawed and other safety features were installed. I think this was where pressure feeds for fuel transfer was also outlawed and more fire equipment was placed around the track.
Wow. I’ve seen lots of stuff in my life, but nothing like that.
IIRC, you’re a race fan
I used to go to Ascot, as well as Lions Drag Strip. That’s when California was the Golden State.
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