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Indy 500 Cars Involved in More Than One Fatal Accident

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  • Indy 500 Cars Involved in More Than One Fatal Accident

    For the Indianapolis 500 experts out there…

    Has there ever been a car driven in the Indianapolis 500 in which more than one driver loss his life while driving that car? If so, who were the drivers and year(s) involved? (For the purposes of my question, the fatalities need not have occurred in the 500, but the car ran in one or more 500s.)

  • #2
    The 1946 built Novi was a real hoodoo wagon.

    Ralph Hepburn set the new qualifying records in the car in 1946 and as still current track record holder was killed in it in 1948 in a practice accident.
    Chet Miller took the car over from 1950 on, set new track records with it in 1952 but on year later, still being the track record holder was killed in it in a practice accident.
    Both men had a near similar accident but on had it in Turn 3, the other in Turn One.

    The following is for sure not 100% correct to the last detail but an indication of how the truth was.
    The car in which Wilbur Shaw won Indy in 1937 also took two men over time I recall. And I also remember something about a Junk formula 2 seater that killed 1 or both men in a practice accident and then, when qualified for the race again killed one or both crew members.. It had made three victims in total that year if my memory serves me well. I don't have the book at hand but I recall having read something like that in an article within the 1977 Hungness..

    But given the fact that you need to be entirely correct to the detail over here in a post, I'm sure that someone will step in and tell my post was not correct. Hopefully for you, they will correct me with the proper data.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info!

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      • #4
        Jake Vargo had Van Johnson, Dick Linder and Hugh Randall die in his champ car. 1959 through 1962.
        "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
        body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
        "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
        >

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        • #5
          Both George Barringer (Lakewood, 1946) and George Metzler (Indy, 1949) were killed driving Shaw's 1937 winner.

          The car driven by Floyd Roberts to victory in 1938 was the same car he was killed in a year later. George Robson would die in the same car at Lakewood in 1946 in the same accident that killed George Barringer.

          As I type this, it's a little weird that 3 of the 4 drivers mentioned were named George.
          Real drivers don't need fenders!

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          • #6
            Leon Duray's Bowes Seal Fast Special killed 2 drivers in the same year (1935) at Indy: Johnny Hannon was killed during practice and then Clay Weatherly was killed during the race.
            Real drivers don't need fenders!

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            • #7
              Here's one more. Joe Caccia and his riding mechanic Clarence Grove were killed in a Duesenberg during practice for the 1931 Indy 500. The car was rebuilt and during qualifying in 1932, Bennie Benefiel wrecked, killing his riding mechanic Harry Cox.
              Real drivers don't need fenders!

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              • #8
                Thanks to all of you for the responses. If anyone knows of others, I’ll be very interested in learning of those too.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Indyote View Post
                  And I also remember something about a Junk formula 2 seater that killed 1 or both men in a practice accident and then, when qualified for the race again killed one or both crew members.. It had made three victims in total that year if my memory serves me well.
                  Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                  Leon Duray's Bowes Seal Fast Special killed 2 drivers in the same year (1935) at Indy: Johnny Hannon was killed during practice and then Clay Weatherly was killed during the race.
                  Not that it helps much, but I just want to confirm that what Indyote was referring to is what Pelican Joe mentioned, Hannon and Weatherly.

                  "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JThur1 View Post


                    Not that it helps much, but I just want to confirm that what Indyote was referring to is what Pelican Joe mentioned, Hannon and Weatherly.
                    Before switching on my PC and check this thread I went onto my '77 Hungness to refresh my memory. Thanks for confirming what I did discover after I did indeed find the article I vaguely remembered.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                      Both George Barringer (Lakewood, 1946) and George Metzler (Indy, 1949) were killed driving Shaw's 1937 winner.

                      The car driven by Floyd Roberts to victory in 1938 was the same car he was killed in a year later. George Robson would die in the same car at Lakewood in 1946 in the same accident that killed George Barringer.

                      As I type this, it's a little weird that 3 of the 4 drivers mentioned were named George.


                      What I think to be chilling in what you mention here, think about this.
                      Accidents in which two or more drivers were killerd are less frequent than `singles` But In the 1946 accident in which Barringer & Robson were killed, the two cars in which the fatalities occurred were both Indy winning cars and one of the killed drivers being an Indy winner too!

                      In hard figures: At the moment of the accident there had been 30 winning cars, 32 winning drivers so a total of 62 `elements` that won the 500. And 3 of the winners involved in a single accident!

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