Mauri Rose

Full Name:
Maurice Rose
Born:
26th May 1906
Columbus, Ohio
Died:
1st January 1981 (Aged 74)
Royal Oak, Michigan
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

An automobile engineer by profession, this private man became the third three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 during the 1940s. Mauri Rose only competed occasionally during most of his racing career as work in the motor industry took precedence. He did not go for the normal racing driver’s life – quietly leaving the track during the month of May’s “down time” rather than miss a day’s work in his regular job.

Early racing career

He started racing at the Bridgeville board track in 1927 and his early career was spent on the short tracks of the Midwest. He made his debut in the big league during 1932 and won his second race in what is now known as the IndyCar Series. That was on Detroit’s one-mile dirt oval when Rose’s Bowes Seal Fast Stevens-Miller beat Bill Cummings’ sister car.

Rose deputised for the diabetic Howdy Wilcox II in the 1933 Indianapolis 500 in what was the first of 15 consecutive starts at the Brickyard. His Leon Duray-owned Stevens-Miller finished second a year later – losing by just 27 seconds in what was then considered a narrow defeat.

AAA National Champion and Indy 500 winner

His frustration in the series and race continued until a new association with car-owner Lou Moore changed his fortunes in 1936. Fourth at Indy that year, he won at Syracuse with Moore’s Burd Piston Ring Miller-Offenhauser to clinch the National Championship. He started and finished third at Indy in 1940 but better was to come a year later.

Rose qualified Moore’s Maserati 8CTF in pole position for the 1941 race but he seemed out of luck again when he retired after 60 laps. Floyd Davis had started 17th in a Wetteroth-Offy also owned by Moore and Rose took over the car 12 laps later. He rejoined the race in 13th position and, despite being in a cockpit fitted for the taller Davis, Rose steadily climbed through the field to take the lead from Cliff Bergere on lap 162 and win the Indianapolis 500.

Post-war success at Indianapolis

That was the last such race for five years but Rose was back in the field for the 1946 Indianapolis 500 and he led the opening laps before crashing his Blue Crown Spark Plug Lencki. He ran second behind team-mate Bill Holland in the latter stages of the 1947 race. With eight laps to go and conserving his car, Holland thought Rose was a lap down and waved him through – thus handing Rose his second win.

Rose’s Blue Crown Special again beat team-mate Holland (albeit less controversially) to win for a third time in 1948 in his only race of the year. With his career away from racing now flourishing, Rose only competed at Indy. His long and fruitful association with Lou Moore came to an end after the 1949 race in which he lost second position with mechanical failure just eight laps from the finish.

Retirement from racing

Rose finished third in 1950 with Howard Keck’s Deidt-Offy and the following year’s Indy 500 was his last race. Running third when his wheel broke, Rose crashed into the infield and rolled. Although unhurt in the incident, he announced his retirement from racing during the close season.

He then worked for a succession of major motor manufacturers and, having raised two polio-affected children on his own, he developed controls to allow the physically handicapped to drive road cars. A sometime spiky but witty man, Rose rated that as his greatest achievement and more satisfying than his three victories at Indianapolis.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1951 AAA National Championship
Howard Keck
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1951 F1 World Championship
Howard Keck
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1950 AAA National Championship
Howard Keck
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
15th 483
1950 F1 World Championship
Howard Keck
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 4
1949 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1948 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
1 0 1 1
100% win rate
3rd 1000
1947 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
1 0 1 1
100% win rate
3rd 1000
1946 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
4 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 240
1941 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
3 1 2 1
34% win rate
9th 245
1940 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
3rd 675
1939 AAA National Championship
W Wilbur Shaw
3 0 1 1
34% win rate
7th 490
1938 AAA National Championship
Murrell Belanger
O'Day
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 90
1937 AAA National Championship
Townsend B Martin
Harry Hartz
Thorne Engineering
Lou Moore
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
25th 90
1936 AAA National Championship
Lou Moore
Four Wheel Drive Auto Co
4 0 1 1
25% win rate
1st 610
1935 AAA National Championship
Joe Marks
Four Wheel Drive Auto Co
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1934 AAA National Championship
Leon Duray
Red Lion
3 0 2 0
0% win rate
2nd 530
1933 AAA National Championship
Joe Marks
Russell Snowberger
3 0 2 0
0% win rate
9th 180
1932 AAA National Championship
Bowes Seal Fast
Lion Tamer
3 0 1 1
34% win rate
7th 285