Fred Agabashian

Full Name:
Fred L "Doc" Agabashian
Born:
21st August 1913
Modesto, California
Died:
13th October 1989 (Aged 76)
Alamo, California
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Freddie Agabashian was a popular racer of the immediate post-war years who started the 1952 Indianapolis 500 from a surprise pole position. Respected as a test driver, he was nicknamed "Doc" for his uncanny ability to diagnose what was wrong with a sick car. Only a regular in the AAA National Championship (now Indycar) for two seasons, he earned a comfortable living racing midgets instead.

Family background and midget champion

The eldest son of Armenian émigrés, Agabashian started racing those small cars during the mid-1930s and won the 1937 Northern California Racing Association title. He was the class of the field in BCRA midgets after World War II – winning the 1946 championship for Jack London and repeating that success for the next two years having switched to George Bignotti’s stable.

Indycar career

That prompted Agabashian to make his Indycar debut in the 1947 Indianapolis 500 when he finished ninth with a Ross Page Kurtis-Duray. He retired from the race for the next two years but scored his only Indycar victory in what was only his fourth start in the National Championship. His J.C.Agajanian Kurtis-Offenhauser started from pole position on Sacramento’s California State Fair dirt oval in October 1949 and Agabashian led all but two laps that day to win at an average speed of 84.486mph.

He was a fulltime Indycar driver in 1950 – qualifying the Wynn’s Friction Proofing Kurtis-Offy on the front row at Indy and scoring two top-five finishes. Although he reduced his commitments in the National Championship from 1952, Agabashian remained a regular at Indianapolis for another seven years. The highlight was his 1952 pole position when he averaged a then record 138.010mph in the low-lying Cummins Diesel Special. That was the first turbocharged engine to run at Indy, but the turbo clogged with rubber and he retired after 71 laps.

He qualified Andy Granatelli’s Elgin Piston Pin Kurtis KK500B-Offy on the front row again in 1953 and finished fourth in the hottest race in history with Paul Russo driving as his relief from lap 105. Sixth at the finish in 1954, fourth on the grid in 1955 and 1957 – Agabashian retired from the sport after failing to qualify for the 1958 Indy 500.

He then joined the Champion Spark Plug company and worked as an analyst on radio broadcasts of the Indianapolis 500 for many years to come.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1958 F1 World Championship
HH Johnson
Racing Associates
Pat Clancy
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1957 F1 World Championship
Bignotti-Bowes Racing Associates
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1957 USAC National Championship
Bignotti-Bowes Racing Associates
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1956 F1 World Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1956 USAC National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
31st 50
1955 F1 World Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1955 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1954 F1 World Championship
Merz Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1954 AAA National Championship
Merz Engineering
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 460
1953 F1 World Championship
Grancor Automobile Specialists
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 1.5
1953 AAA National Championship
Grancor Automobile Specialists
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 315
1952 F1 World Championship
Cummins Engine Co
1 1 0 0
0% win rate
0
1952 AAA National Championship
JC Agajanian
Cummins Engine Co
2 1 0 0
0% win rate
33rd 80
1951 F1 World Championship
Grancor Automobile Specialists
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1951 AAA National Championship
Grancor Automobile Specialists
Pat Clancy
JC Agajanian
Lindsey Hopkins Racing
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
25th 278.2
1950 F1 World Championship
Indianapolis Race Cars
Kurtis-Kraft
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1950 AAA National Championship
Kurtis-Kraft
Indianapolis Race Cars
9 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 532.5
1949 AAA National Championship
JC Agajanian
Indianapolis Race Cars
2 1 1 1
50% win rate
24th 200
1948 AAA National Championship
Ross Page
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1947 AAA National Championship
Ross Page
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
23rd 200