J. Bryan wins at nearly 134 m.p.h.
Qualifying speeds for this year’s 500-mile race were remarkably close and there was a speed-differential of less than 4 m.p.h. between the first and thirty-third qualifiers The fastest speed, set up by Dick Rathmann was 145.97 m.p.h., a new record for the Indianapolis track, and the slowest was Magill with the very respectable 142.27 m.p.h. and between them 31 other ears. The start was very chaotic and when the moving starting-grid was eventually given the “Go” the drivers were still in a state of doubt as to whether the race was officially on or not. As the ten rows of three cars swept into the third corner of the opening laps one of the cars spun and there was a multiple crash involving, 11 cars, in which Pat O’Connor lost his life.
The “go-slow” signal kept the race speed down for 18 laps while the wreckage was cleared from the track, but then the race got going in earnest with a scrap between Bryan on the Belond Speeial, with it’s Meyer-Drake engine mounted on it’s side, Bettenhausen with a supercharged V8 Novi, and Sachs and Amick with more conventional Indy cars with upright Meyer-Drake engines. Alter this burst of racing the average rose to over 125 m.p.h. and then Bryan drew away into the lead increasing the average to over 131 m.p.h. Pit stops were of a very high order, no more than 40 seconds being needed to refuel and change all four wheels. Lapping consistently around the 140-m.p.h. mark Bryan ran home a comfortable winner, but second man home was George Amick, a newcomer who put in some laps at well over 142 m.p.h. towards the end of the race, and finished 27.6 seconds behind the winner, while the third man was also on the same lap as the leader.
The winning car was the same as won last year, when it was driven by Sam Hanks, and Bryan was the man who won the Monza 500-mile race in 1957.
1st: J. Bryan (Belond Special) … 133.791 m.p.h.
2nd: G. Amick (Denler Special)
3rd: J. Boyd (Bowes Seal Fast Special)
4th: T. Bettenhausen (Novi V8)
5th: J. Rathemann (Leader Card Special)
6th: J. Reece (John Zink Special)