1953-Vukovich Dominates

After falling just nine laps short of victory in 1952, Bill Vukovich finished the job this time on the hottest day in 500 history to date. Vukovich led 195 laps starting from pole. Sam Hanks led three laps, and Fred Agabashian and Jim Rathmann each led a lap. Vukovich took the lead for good on lap 54.

Had Vukovich won in 1952, the year ending in a 3 would have produced a multiple winner for the third staright time. Tommy Milton won his second 500 in 1923 and Louis Meyer won his second in 1933.

While the race seemed easy for Vukovich- he and runner-up Art Cross were the only drivers who did not use a rellief driver in the 90 degree heat- winning the pole was not. A heavy rain began while he was on his qualification run. Vukovich completed the four laps and still won the pole.

Bill Vukovich celebrates his pole in the rain.

The race featured just two former winner, Johnnie Parsons and BillmHolland. It was Holland’s first 500 since his suspension for driing in non sanctioned races. Six future winners started the race- Bob Sweikert, Pat Flaherty Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, Jim Rathmann, and Sam Hanks.

Gene Hartley did not have a good race. He crashed on lap 53, then took over as a relief driver and crashed again.

Driver Carl Scarborough collapsed from the heat during a pit stop on lap 70.He later died.

1953 saw the debut of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Previously, Mutual Broadcasting would brak induring the day with 15 minutes summaries as the race progressed.

Bill Vukovich ajnd the Fuel Injection Special won two concsecutive 500s

Vukovich won again in 1954 and was fatally injured while leading the 1955 race. It is intersting to speculate what might have been. He could have been not only the first four time winner, but the first arguably only man to win more than two consecutive 500s.