Art Cross

Full Name:
Arthur Francis Cross
Born:
24th January 1918
Jersey City, New Jersey
Died:
15th April 2005 (Aged 87)
La Porte, Indiana
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Art Cross was a World War II tank commander who had been wounded as the Americans advanced through Belgium in 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart for bravery shown during the Battle of the Bulge. A midget racer from 1938, Cross raced in four consecutive Indianapolis 500s during the 1950s before suddenly deciding his future was as a farmer.

Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year

With peace restored, Cross resumed his racing career and won the 1951 AAA Midget Championship. That led to his first Indycar opportunity with a Bowes Seal Fast Kurtis KK4000-Offenhauser in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 – finishing a fine fifth to become the first driver to be named as Rookie of the Year. His prize was an additional $500 and a year’s supply of meat thanks to sponsors Stark & Wetzel meat packers!

He returned for the 1953 race with Bessie Lee Paoli’s Springfield Welding Kurtis-Offy dirt track car. Bill Vukovich was unstoppable that year – leading all but five laps in an Indiana heat wave. As others sought relief, Cross drove unaided and was three and a half minutes behind Vukovich in a career-best second position. That prompted the biggest pay-day of Cross’s career and he used the money to buy a farm in La Porte, Indiana.

He did not race again for a year before returning to the Brickyard in 1954. He led for eight laps but suffered in an overheating car and it took four relief drivers to bring the Kurtis home in 11th position. Cross led laps 133 to 156 of the 1955 Indianapolis 500 before spinning out soon after relinquishing the lead.

The 1955 Milwaukee 250 was just his seventh Indycar start and it proved his last. Cross qualified Pete Schmidt’s Kuzma-Offy in 11th position but led after 40 laps. Seemingly set for victory, he lost the lead with 18 laps to go and faded to fourth at the finish.

Retirement

Then, without warning or announcement, he retired from the sport to spend time on his farm and with his family. Team owners tried to woo the dependable and respected driver to race again but without success.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1955 F1 World Championship
Murrell Belanger
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1955 AAA National Championship
Murrell Belanger
Peter J Schmidt
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 300
1954 F1 World Championship
Ed Walsh
Bessie Lee Paoli
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1954 AAA National Championship
Bessie Lee Paoli
Ed Walsh
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 419.5
1953 F1 World Championship
Bessie Lee Paoli
Ray T Brady
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
10th 6
1953 AAA National Championship
Bessie Lee Paoli
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
6th 800
1952 F1 World Championship
Ray T Brady
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 2
1952 AAA National Championship
Ray T Brady
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 500