Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Last Driver to Wear an Open-Face Helmet in the Indianapolis 500

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Last Driver to Wear an Open-Face Helmet in the Indianapolis 500

    I've seen one source that says that Lloyd Ruby and Jim Hurtubise were the last drivers to wear open-face helmets in the 1974 Indy 500. But another source says that Billy Engelhart in 1980 was the last. Can anyone confirm who, in fact, was the last driver (or drivers) to wear an open-face helmet in the 500?

  • #2
    I asked this question to Robin Miller years ago and his response was Hurtubise. Don't recall the year.

    Comment


    • #3
      As luck would have it, there's an eBay auction up right now that shows a pic of Engelhart in 1980. He does not appear to be wearing an open-faced helmet.

      https://www.ebay.com/itm/371335676742

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rjbh20 View Post
        I asked this question to Robin Miller years ago and his response was Hurtubise. Don't recall the year.
        Wrong person to ask-Robin was a great writer but not a historian.

        Herk's last start was 1972.

        Foyt wore one in 1973, Rube had one for the 1974 race. Rube had a full face for 1975 and again in 1977.
        "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

        John Kennedy at American University 1963

        "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

        A. Lincoln

        Comment


        • #5
          Was that due to the fact that it was outlawed by rules from USAC? Or was it that the speeds had increased so rapidly in the 70's that an open face helmet just didn't make sense or feel comfortable enough for the drivers?

          I'd love it if Donald Davidson was on TF for on-demand answers.
          RHR: "I'm a proud American boy right now!" -2014 Indy 500 Victory Lane

          Comment


          • #6
            It certainly was not Englehart. Ruby was the last, in 1974. As part of a soft transition, he wore a full-faced the next year, but instead of a shield he used an open-faced-style visor and goggles, not unlike NASCAR drivers transitioning to full-faced in the '90s.

            I don't think there was any rule; just anyone in their right mind could see the benefits of a full-faced.
            I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

            Comment


            • #7
              So...to further delve into this subject, what is the fastest qualifying speed from an open-faced helmeted driver? I believe it must be Lloyd, 1973, 191.622mph. The fastest speeds of that era, before major rule changes. Foyt had a terrible '73 and was the slowest starter.(!)

              Mario was the last open-faced winner, 1969. Donohue was wearing a full-faced for his 1972 win but was a late convert, '72 may have been his first year.
              I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dalz View Post
                It certainly was not Englehart. Ruby was the last, in 1974. As part of a soft transition, he wore a full-faced the next year, but instead of a shield he used an open-faced-style visor and goggles, not unlike NASCAR drivers transitioning to full-faced in the '90s.

                I don't think there was any rule; just anyone in their right mind could see the benefits of a full-faced.
                I don't remember a specific USAC rule., in fact Engelhart and George Snider continued for a time wearing them on dirt. Many drivers in the 70' didn't have the money to pizz away like now, so I imagine cost factored into some not going sooner. However, I believe enough guys got tired of getting hit in the face by crap and tire nuggets and rocks and bugs that the full face made sense.

                I've never heard of an increase in speeds having much to do with it.
                "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

                John Kennedy at American University 1963

                "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

                A. Lincoln

                Comment


                • #9
                  Gary Bettenhausen wore an open-faced for his brief comeback at the Phoenix Silver Crown race in 1995 or '96.

                  Maybe Miller was referencing Hurtubise as the last driver to turn laps at Indy in years he didn't make the race.
                  I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But, Hurtubise did make the 1974 500, in a McLaren. It was his final start in the race. I think everyone thinks of the Mallard and has its last 500 being Herk's last 500.
                    "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
                      But, Hurtubise did make the 1974 500, in a McLaren. It was his final start in the race. I think everyone thinks of the Mallard and has its last 500 being Herk's last 500.
                      Correct. And there's a photo of him from National Speed Sport in the car (can't swear that it was at Indy, but I suspect it was) with his open face, visorless helmet on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lloyd Ruby. 1974. In '75 he wore a full face without shield and had goggles. Full face 1976.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          73 74 indy760.jpg


                          Ruby in 1974

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            73 74 indy766.jpg

                            Hurtubise

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Engelhart_Billy_1980_Indy.jpg

                              Engelhart

                              Comment

                              Unconfigured Ad Widget

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X