Joie Chitwood

Full Name:
George Rice "Joie" Chitwood
Born:
14th April 1912
Denison, Texas
Died:
3rd January 1988 (Aged 75)
Tampa, Florida
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

This descendant from the Cherokee Indian tribe was most famous for the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show – a stunt troop that inspired a young Evil Knievel. Chitwood was also an Indianapolis 500 starter from 1940 to 1950 but the success of his travelling show (including national network television coverage) persuaded him to give up racing.

Indianapolis 500 career

Chitwood raced on dirt tracks during the 1930s and made his Indianapolis debut in 1940 – his Adams-Offenhauser finishing 15th when rain forced the race to be stopped early. One place better off in 1941, he was back in the field when Indy reopened its doors in 1946. Chitwood qualified a Wetteroth-Offy in 12th position and finished fifth some 15 minutes behind the winning car.

It was in 1948 that Chitwood first entered an Indycar race other than the Indy 500 and he finished fourth on Arlington’s dirt oval. A retiree at Indy that year, his Ervin Wolfe Kurtis KK2000-Offy was fifth in the race in 1949 and 1950. That latter success, with Tony Bettenhausen driving as relief, was Chitwood’s last Indianapolis 500 as he retired from racing to concentrate on his more lucrative alternative career.

Stunt driver and television star

As well as the Thrill Show, Chitwood worked as a stunt driver in To Please A Lady (1950) and co-ordinated that function on James Bond’s Live And Let Live (1973). His grandson Joie Chitwood III has been President of both the Indianapolis and Daytona speedways.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1950 F1 World Championship
Ervin Wolfe
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 1
1950 AAA National Championship
Ervin Wolfe
Jim Robbins
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 337.5
1949 AAA National Championship
Ervin Wolfe
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
11th 500
1948 AAA National Championship
Ted Nyquist
William A Corley
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
30th 120
1947 AAA National Championship
Fred A Peters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1946 AAA National Championship
Fred A Peters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
7th 372
1941 AAA National Championship
Joe Lencki
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1940 AAA National Championship
Paul Weirick
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0