1953 Indianapolis 500
|1953 Indianapolis 500|
|Date||30 May 1953|
|Official name||37th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes|
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.023 km (2.5 mi)|
|Distance||200 laps, 804.672 km (500 mi)|
|Driver||Howard B. Keck|
|Time||4:20.13 (4 laps)|
|First||Howard B. Keck|
|Second||Bessie Lee Paoli|
The 37th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1953. The event was part of the 1953 AAA National Championship Trail, and was race 2 of 9 in the 1953 World Championship of Drivers.
Bill Vukovich, after falling short a year before, earned the first of two consecutive Indy 500 victories. With the temperature in the high 90s (°F), and the track temperature exceeding 130 °F (54 °C), this race is often known as the "Hottest 500." Driver Carl Scarborough dropped out the race, and later died at the infield hospital due to heat prostration.
Due to the extreme heat conditions, several drivers in the field required relief drivers, and some relief drivers even required additional relief. Vukovich, however, as well as second-place finisher Art Cross, both ran the full 500 miles solo.
Time trials were scheduled for four days.
- Saturday May 16 – Pole Day time trials (rained out)
- Sunday May 17 – Second day time trials
- Saturday May 23 – Third day time trials
- Sunday May 24 – Fourth day time trials
Vukovich qualified on pole, with a speed of 138.392 mph (222.720 km/h).
Polesitter Bill Vukovich dominated the race, leading 195 laps and also recording fastest lap.
- The race is commonly known as the "Hottest 500", with track temperatures exceeding 130 °F (54 °C). Recent research, however, has suggested that the 1937 race actually had higher recorded temperatures. Half the drivers in the field used relief help, including:
- Duane Carter (49 laps) took over from Sam Hanks (151)
- Paul Russo (96) took over from Fred Agabashian (104)
- Eddie Johnson (88) took over from Jim Rathmann (112)
- Gene Hartley (37) and Chuck Stevenson (44) took over from Tony Bettenhausen (115)
- Bob Scott (121) took over from Carl Scarborough (69)
- Jim Rathmann (36) took over from Bill Holland (141)
- Duke Dinsmore (10) and Andy Linden (29) took over from Rodger Ward (138)
- Johnny Mantz (42) took over from Walt Faulkner (134)
- Jackie Holmes (9) and Johnny Thomson (45) took over from Spider Webb (112)
- Andy Linden (12) and Chuck Stevenson (13) took over from Jerry Hoyt (82)
|1||1||14||Bill Vukovich||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||138.39||1||200||195||3:53:01.69||91|
|2||12||16||Art Cross||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||137.31||8||200||0||+3:30.87||6|
|3||9||3|| Sam Hanks
(relieved by Duane Carter)
|4||2||59|| Fred Agabashian
(relieved by Paul Russo)
|5||3||5||Jack McGrath||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.6||13||200||0||+7:49.64||2|
|6||21||48||Jimmy Daywalt||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.74||23||200||0||+8:10.21|
|7||25||2|| Jim Rathmann
(relieved by Eddie Johnson)
|9||6||98|| Tony Bettenhausen
(relieved by Chuck Stevenson)
(relieved by Gene Hartley)
|10||32||53||Jimmy Davies||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.26||31||193||0||+7 laps|
|11||26||9||Duke Nalon||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||135.46||30||191||0||Accident|
|12||19||73|| Carl Scarborough ✝
(relieved by Bob Scott)
|Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.93||21||190||0||+10 laps|
|14||31||8||Jimmy Bryan||Schroeder-Offenhauser||135.5||29||183||0||+17 laps|
|15||28||49|| Bill Holland
(relieved by Jim Rathmann)
|16||10||92|| Rodger Ward
(relieved by Andy Linden)
(relieved by Duke Dinsmore)
|17||14||23|| Walt Faulkner
(relieved by Johnny Mantz)
|Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||137.11||10||176||0||+24 laps|
|18||22||22||Marshall Teague||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.72||25||169||0||Oil Leak|
|19||18||62|| Spider Webb
(relieved by Johnny Thomson)
(relieved by Jackie Holmes)
|Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.16||17||166||0||Oil Leak|
|23||7||55|| Jerry Hoyt
(relieved by Chuck Stevenson)
(relieved by Andy Linden)
|25||17||7||Paul Russo||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.21||16||89||0||Magneto|
|26||8||21||Johnnie Parsons||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||137.66||3||86||0||Engine|
|28||13||41||Gene Hartley||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||137.26||9||53||0||Accident|
|29||16||97||Chuck Stevenson||Kuzma-Offenhauser||136.56||14||42||0||Fuel Leak|
|30||30||99||Cal Niday||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||136.09||18||30||0||Magneto|
|31||11||29||Bob Scott||Bromme-Offenhauser||137.43||7||14||0||Oil Leak|
|32||33||56||Johnny Thomson||Del Roy-Offenhauser||135.26||33||6||0||Ignition|
- ^1 – Includes 1 point for fastest lead lap
Failed to Qualify
- Frank Armi (#79)
- Alberto Ascari (#97) - Did not appear
- Henry Banks (#10)
- Buzz Barton (#35)
- Joe Barzda (#69)
- Bill Boyd (#86)
- Billy Cantrell (#42)
- Neal Carter (#23)
- George Connor (#25)
- Ray Crawford (#49)
- Jorge Daponte (#95)
- Duke Dinsmore (#52)
- Bill Doster
- Len Duncan (#31, #81)
- Edgar Elder (#49)
- Johnny Fedricks (#46)
- John Fitch (#49, #74)
- George Fonder (#76)
- Potsy Goacher (#36)
- Cliff Griffith (#24)
- Red Hamilton (#91)
- Allen Heath (#65)
- Al Herman (#93)
- Jackie Holmes (#71)
- Bill Homeier (#84, #87)
- Johnny Kay (#67)
- Jud Larson (#96)
- Jim Mayes (#34)
- Johnny Mauro (#47) - Did not appear
- Chet Miller (#15) – Fatal accident
- Roy Newman (#43)
- Danny Oakes (#63)
- Pat O'Connor (#28, #64, #74)
- Johnny Roberts (#82)
- Hal Robson (#57)
- Troy Ruttman (#2)
- Eddie Sachs (#34)
- Wayne Selser (#75)
- Joe Sostilio (#17)
- Harry Stockman (#84)
- Bill Taylor (#39)
- George Tichenor (#65)
- Johnnie Tolan (#66, #85)
- Leroy Warriner (#44)
- Ebe Yoder 
- Pole position: Bill Vukovich – 4:20.13 (4 laps)
- Fastest lead lap: Bill Vukovich – 1:06.240
- The purse for first place was $89,496 (US$865,685 in 2020 dollars).
- One of the prizes awarded to the winner was a pet dog and a year's supply of dog food.
The race was carried live flag-to-flag on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Instead of being produced by 1070 WIBC-AM, the network pooled together talent and technical staff from all five of the major radio stations in Indianapolis. The broadcast was anchored by Sid Collins, and featured on-air talent from WIBC, WFBM, WISH, WIRE, and WXLW.
The broadcast signed on at 10:45 a.m. local time, and carried live through the conclusion, until 3:45 p.m. local time. The broadcast was carried on 135 stations in at least 35 states across the country, and on Armed Forced Network to Europe and Asia.
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network|
|Booth Announcers||Turn Reporters||Pit/garage reporters|
South Turns: Bill Frosch
|Luke Walton (north pits)|
Al Vare (south pits)
Sid Collins (victory lane)
Championship standings after the race
- World Drivers' Championship standings
|2||5||José Froilán González||4|
- Note: Only the top five positions are included. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1953 Indianapolis 500.|
- Lamm, Corky (May 31, 1953). "Californian Leads Al But Two Laps; 5 Cars Crack Up". The Indianapolis Star. p. 1. Retrieved June 2, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Yates, Brock (2005). Against Death and Time: One Fatal Season in Racing's Glory Years. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-1-56025-770-7. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
- Yates, Brock (1961). The Indianapolis 500: The Story of the Motor Speedway. Harper. p. 67.
- Davidson, Donald (2011-02-03). "Pit Lane before the 1953 Indianapolis 500". Blog.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
- The Talk of Gasoline Alley – 1070-AM WIBC, May 14, 2004
- "1953 International 500 Mile Sweepstakes". ChampCarStats.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- Yates, Brock (1961). The Indianapolis 500: The Story of the Motor Speedway. Harper. p. 68.
- 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- The Talk of Gasoline Alley – 1070-AM WIBC, May 13, 2004
- "5 Stations To Handle 500-Mile". The Indianapolis Star. May 24, 1953. p. 63. Retrieved March 7, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Indianapolis 1953 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats – Official Site
- Van Camp's Pork & Beans Presents: Great Moments From the Indy 500 – Fleetwood Sounds, 1975
- 1953 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network: Re-broadcast on "The History of the 500" – WFNI (May 12, 2013)