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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 included in the 1953 World Drivers Championship.

Bill Vukovich, after falling just short a year before, earned the first of two consecutive Indy 500 victories. He had led 150 laps in 1952, but a steering failure put him into the wall with nine laps remaining. This year, he led 195 of the 200 laps, and had a four-lap lead at the end. But under Indianapolis rules at the time, drivers still on the track were not flagged off until more than 10 minutes after the winner crossed the line.

With the ambient temperature in the high 90s°F (>35°C), and the track temperature exceeding 130°F (54°C), this race is often known as the "Hottest 500." Due to the extreme heat conditions, several drivers in the field required relief drivers, and some relief drivers even required additional relief. However Vukovich, as well as second-place finisher Art Cross and the fifth, sixth and eighth place finishers ran the full 500 miles solo. But driver Carl Scarborough dropped out the race, and later died at the infield hospital due to heat stroke. Scarborough was only the second fatality at a World Championship event.

BackgroundEdit

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1953 Indianapolis 500 is outlined below:
(All drivers and cars from the United States United States of America unless stated otherwise)

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
2 Jim Rathmann Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
3 Sam Hanks Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
4 Duane Carter Lesovsky Offy 4.2 I4 F
5 Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
7 Paul Russo Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
8 Jimmy Bryan Schroeder Offy 4.2 I4 F
9 Duke Nalon Kurtis Kraft KK500A Novi 2.75 V8s F
12 Ernie McCoy Stevens Offy 4.2 I4 F
14 Bill Vukovich Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
16 Art Cross Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
21 Johnnie Parsons Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
22 Marshall Teague Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
23 Walt Faulkner Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
29 Bob Scott Bromme Offy 4.2 I4 F
32 Andy Linden Stevens Offy 4.2 I4 F
38 Don Freeland Watson Offy 4.2 I4 F
41 Gene Hartley Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
48 Jimmy Daywalt Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
49 Bill Holland Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
51 Bob Sweikert Kuzma Offy 4.2 I4 F
53 Jimmy Davies Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
55 Jerry Hoyt Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
56 Johnny Thomson Del Roy Offy 4.2 I4 F
59 Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
62 Spider Webb Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
73 Carl Scarborough Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
77 Pat Flaherty Kuzma Offy 4.2 I4 F
83 Mike Nazaruk Turner Offy 4.2 I4 F
88 Manny Ayulo Kuzma Offy 4.2 I4 F
92 Rodger Ward Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
97 Chuck Stevenson Kuzma Offy 4.2 I4 F
98 Tony Bettenhausen Kuzma Offy 4.2 I4 F
99 Cal Niday Kurtis Kraft KK500A Offy 4.2 I4 F
  • - "s" designates supercharged engine

Practice OverviewEdit

Practice officially opened on Monday, May 11. On Friday May 15, driver Chet Miller, the fastest qualifier of the 1952 race, lost control of his Kurtis Kraft-Novi in turn one. The back end of the car swung around, and then went backwards into the wall. Miller died of a basal skull fracture, and became the first person ever killed at a World Championship event.

QualifyingEdit

Day OneEdit

Day one, Saturday May 16, was completely washed out by rain.

Day TwoEdit

Sunday May 17 also saw a day influenced by weather, as only seven cars qualified. Fastest was Bill Vukovich, who put together a four lap average of 138.39 mph. This speed would hold up as the fastest recorded in qualifying. The other six drivers to qualify were locked into the top seven spots for the race, due to the rules of the event at the time. But based on time alone, they would have qualified 4th, 13th, 15th, 19th, 20th and 24th.

Day ThreeEdit

Saturday, May 23 was the busiest day of qualifying, when 17 drivers found their way into the field, including the third and the fifth through tenth fastest.

Day FourEdit

Sunday, May 24 was "bump day". Nine drivers qualified to fill out the field. Then bumping started, where the slowest driver in the field could be dropped from the grid by a faster qualifier, but that faster qualifier would be slotted behind the remnants of the 'first 33' qualifiers. Six of the first 33 were ultimately bumped, and one of those 'bumpers', Bill Holland, would set the second fastest time of qualifying at 137.87 mph. But by the rules he started the race 28th.

ResultsEdit

PosNo.DriverConstructorTimeGapAvg Speed
1 14 Bill Vukovich Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:20.13 138.39
2 59 Fred Agabashian Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:21.73 +1.60 137.55
3 5 Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:23.54 +3.41 136.60
4 88 Manny Ayulo Kuzma-Offenhauser 4:23.96 +3.83 136.38
5 32 Andy Linden Stevens-Offenhauser 4:24.59 +4.46 136.06
6 98 Tony Bettenhausen Kuzma-Offenhauser 4:24.66 +4.53 136.02
7 55 Jerry Hoyt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:25.23 +5.10 135.73
8 21 Johnnie Parsons Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:21.50 +1.37 137.67
9 3 Sam Hanks Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:21.76 +1.63 137.53
10 92 Rodger Ward Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:21.88 +1.75 137.47
11 28 Bob Scott Bromme-Offenhauser 4:21.95 +1.82 137.43
12 16 Art Cross Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:22.18 +2.05 137.31
13 41 Gene Hartley Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:22.27 +2.14 137.26
14 23 Walt Faulkner Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:22.55 +2.42 137.12
15 38 Don Freeland Watson-Offenhauser 4:23.03 +2.90 136.87
16 97 Chuck Stevenson Kuzma-Offenhauser 4:23.62 +3.49 136.56
17 7 Paul Russo Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:24.28 +4.15 136.22
18 62 Spider Webb Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:24.38 +4.25 136.17
19 73 Carl Scarborough Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:24.83 +4.70 135.94
20 12 Ernie McCoy Stevens-Offenhauser 4:24.85 +4.72 135.93
21 48 Jimmy Daywalt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:25.20 +5.07 135.75
22 22 Marshall Teague Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:25.25 +5.12 135.72
23 83 Mike Nazaruk Turner-Offenhauser 4:25.28 +5.15 135.71
24 77 Pat Flaherty Kuzma-Offenhauser 4:25.35 +5.22 135.67
25 2 Jim Rathmann Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:25.36 +5.23 135.67
26 9 Duke Nalon Kurtis Kraft-Novi 4:25.76 +5.63 135.67
27 4 Duane Carter Lesovsky-Offenhauser 4:26.14 +6.01 135.67
28 49 Bill Holland Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:21.12 +0.99 137.87
29 51 Bob Sweikert Kuzma-Offenhauser 4:23.02 +2.89 136.87
30 99 Cal Niday Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:24.52 +4.39 136.10
31 8 Jimmy Bryan Schroeder-Offenhauser 4:25.67 +5.54 135.61
32 53 Jimmy Davies Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 4:26.07 +5.94 135.30
33 56 Johnny Thomson Del Roy-Offenhauser 4:26.15 +6.02 135.26

GridEdit

Pos Pos Pos
Driver Driver Driver
______________
1 ______________
Bill Vukovich 2 ______________
Fred Agabashian 3
Jack McGrath
______________
4 ______________
Manny Ayulo 5 ______________
Andy Linden 6
Tony Bettenhausen
______________
7 ______________
Jerry Hoyt 8 ______________
Johnnie Parsons 9
Sam Hanks
______________
10 ______________
Rodger Ward 11 ______________
Bob Scott 12
Art Cross
______________
13 ______________
Gene Hartley 14 ______________
Walt Faulkner 15
Don Freeland
______________
16 ______________
Chuck Stevenson 17 ______________
Paul Russo 18
Spider Webb
______________
19 ______________
Carl Scarborough 20 ______________
Ernie McCoy 21
Jimmy Daywalt
______________
22 ______________
Marshall Teague 23 ______________
Mike Nazaruk 24
Pat Flaherty
______________
25 ______________
Jim Rathmann 26 ______________
Duke Nalon 27
Duane Carter
______________
28 ______________
Bill Holland 29 ______________
Bob Sweikert 30
Cal Niday
______________
31 ______________
Jimmy Bryan 32 ______________
Jimmy Davies 33
Johnny Thomson

RaceEdit

ResultsEdit

Drivers in italics were relief drivers.

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 14 United States Bill Vukovich Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 3:53:01.69 1 9
2 16 United States Art Cross Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 +3:30.87 12 6
3 3 United States Sam Hanks
United States Duane Carter
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 +4:11.50 9 2
2
4 59 United States Fred Agabashian
United States Paul Russo
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 +4:39.24 2 1.5
1.5
5 5 United States Jack McGrath Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 +7:49.64 3 2
6 48 United States Jimmy Daywalt Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 +8:10.21 21
7 2 United States Jim Rathmann
United States Paul Russo
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 200 +8:46.02 25
8 12 United States Ernie McCoy Stevens-Offenhauser 200 +10:04.55 20
9 98 United States Tony Bettenhausen
United States Chuck Stevenson
United States Gene Hartley
Kuzma-Offenhauser 196 Accident 6
10 53 United States Jimmy Davies Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 193 +7 Laps 32
11 9 United States Duke Nalon Kurtis Kraft-Novi 191 Accident 26
12 73 United States Carl Scarborough
United States Bob Scott
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 190 +10 Laps 19
13 88 United States Manny Ayulo Kuzma-Offenhauser 184 Engine 4
14 8 United States Jimmy Bryan Schroeder-Offenhauser 183 +17 Laps 31
15 49 United States Bill Holland
United States Jim Rathmann
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 177 Magneto 28
16 92 United States Rodger Ward
United States Andy Linden
United States Duke Dinsmore
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 177 Axle 10
17 23 United States Walt Faulkner
United States Johnny Mantz
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 176 +24 Laps 14
18 22 United States Marshall Teague Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 169 Oil Leak 22
19 62 United States Spider Webb
United States Johnny Thomson
United States Jackie Holmes
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 166 Oil Leak 18
20 51 United States Bob Sweikert Kuzma-Offenhauser 151 Suspension 29
21 83 United States Mike Nazaruk Turner-Offenhauser 146 Transmission 23
22 77 United States Pat Flaherty Kuzma-Offenhauser 115 Accident 24
23 55 United States Jerry Hoyt
United States Chuck Stevenson
United States Andy Linden
Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 107 Overheating 7
24 4 United States Duane Carter Lesovsky-Offenhauser 94 Ignition 27
25 7 United States Paul Russo Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 89 Magneto 17
26 21 United States Johnnie Parsons Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 86 Engine 8
27 38 United States Don Freeland Watson-Offenhauser 76 Accident 15
28 41 United States Gene Hartley Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 53 Accident 13
29 97 United States Chuck Stevenson Kuzma-Offenhauser 42 Fuel leak 16
30 99 United States Cal Niday Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser 30 Magneto 30
31 29 United States Bob Scott Bromme-Offenhauser 14 Oil leak 11
32 56 United States Johnny Thomson Del Roy-Offenhauser 6 Ignition 33
33 32 United States Andy Linden Stevens-Offenhauser 3 Accident 5

MilestonesEdit

Standings after raceEdit

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