1947 Indianapolis 500

The 31st International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 30, 1947. The 1946 winner, George Robson, had been killed in the meantime.

Late in the race, Lou Moore teammates Bill Holland and Mauri Rose were running 1st and 2nd. The pit crew displayed a confusing chalkboard sign with the letters "EZY" to Holland, presumably meaning for him to take the final laps at a reduced pace to safely make it to the finish. Mauri Rose ignored the board, and charged to catch up to Holland. Holland believed he held a lap lead over Rose, and allowed him to catch up. The two drivers waved as Rose passed Holland, with Holland believing it was not more than a congratulatory gesture.

In reality, the pass Rose made was for the lead, and he led the final 8 laps to take the controversial victory. The race was marred by a 41st lap crash that claimed the life of Shorty Cantlon.

31st Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning bodyAAA
DateMay 30, 1947
WinnerMauri Rose
Winning EntrantLou Moore
Average speed116.338 mph (187.228 km/h)
Pole positionTed Horn
Pole speed126.564 mph (203.685 km/h)
Most laps ledBill Holland (143)
Pace carNash Ambassador
Pace car driverGeorge W. Mason
StarterSeth Klein[1]
Honorary refereeRalph F. Gates[1]
Estimated attendance165,000[2]
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1946 1948

Time trials & ASPAR boycott

Time trials was scheduled for five days. The minimum speed to qualify was set at 115 mph. In the months leading up to the race, several top drivers that were members of a union, the American Society of Professional Auto Racing (ASPAR), threatened to boycott the race over the purse size.[3] The AAA Contest Board refused to heed their demands, and when the entry list was closed on May 8, many of the top drivers, particularly several popular west coast drivers, were not on the list. A total of 35 cars were entered, but at least nine had no driver listed, and 13 of the entries were inexperienced novice drivers. After the practice began for the month, officials decreed that the boycotting drivers would not be allowed late entry. After several weeks of dispute, an agreement was made for the ASPAR drivers to participate midway through the month.[4]

  • Saturday May 17 - Pole Day
    • Rain, and the holdout of several ASPAR drivers, meant only seven cars completed qualifying runs. Ted Horn claimed the pole position with a speed of 126.564 mph.
  • Sunday May 18
    • Three cars qualified, bringing the field to 10 cars.[5]
  • Saturday May 24
  • Sunday May 25
  • Wednesday May 28
    • The final day of qualifying closed with 28 cars in the field.

When qualifying closed at 6 p.m. on Wednesday May 28, the field had only been filled to 28 cars.[6] Duke Dinsmore was the final qualifier, completing his run amidst some scoring confusion by the officials, just as the time had run out.[7] Race officials initially stressed that Wednesday would be the final day available to qualify. However, a day later, they re-opened qualifying for one hour late on Thursday May 29 in an effort to fill the field. Mel Hansen and Emil Andres were the only two cars to complete attempts, and after approval by the other entries, were added to the grid to bring the field to 30 cars.[8]

The heartbreak story of the day belonged to driver Billy Devore. After failing to make the field on Wednesday, the Bill Schoof crew worked diligently to make repairs to their car, hoping that officials would re-open qualifying. When word was announced that additional time trials would be held Thursday, the crew scrambled to get the car prepared. Late in the evening, with about 20 minutes left until closing, the crew drove the race car from their garage about six miles away to the track with a police escort. When they arrived at the gate at 6:58 p.m., however, officials closed time trials, and DeVore was not permitted to qualify. [9]


Rose's distance finish time of 4:17:52.17 was the second fastest finish of the Indianapolis 500 ever, at the time. Only the 1938 Indianapolis 500 had been completed in a faster total time as of 1947.[10] After Rose completed the 500 mile distance, approximately 40 minutes was given for additional drivers to finish, before any remaining drivers who had not completed the distance by then were flagged off the track.[11] The 1947 race was also the coldest on record, with an average temperature of 50 degrees and morning low of 37.[12]

Finish Start No Name Qual Rank Laps Led Time/Retired
1 3 27 United States Mauri Rose 120.040 20 200 34 4:17:52.17
2 8 16 United States Bill Holland (R) 128.755 1 200 143 +32.12
3 1 1 United States Ted Horn 126.564 3 200 0 +3:00.38
4 4 54 United States Herb Ardinger* 120.733 19 200 0 +6:40.35
5 10 7 United States Jimmy Jackson 122.266 11 200 0 +8:00.48
6 20 9 United States Rex Mays 124.412 7 200 0 +12:16.33
7 14 33 United States Walt Brown (R) 118.355 25 200 0 +36:59.30
8 28 34 United States Cy Marshall 115.644 30 197 0 Flagged, +3 laps
9 23 41 United States Fred Agabashian (R) 121.478 13 191 0 Flagged, +9 laps
10 27 10 United States Duke Dinsmore 119.840 22 167 0 Flagged, +33 laps
11 7 58 United States Les Anderson (R) 118.425 24 131 0 Flagged, +69 laps
12 17 59 United States Pete Romcevich (R) 117.218 28 168 0 Oil line
13 30 3 United States Emil Andres 116.781 29 150 0 Magneto
14 15 31 United States Frank Wearne 117.716 26 128 0 Spun T3
15 9 47 United States Ken Fowler 123.423 9 121 0 Axle
16 18 46 United States Duke Nalon 128.082 2 119 0 Piston
17 12 28 United States Roland Free 119.526 23 87 0 Spun
18 25 29 United States Tony Bettenhausen 120.980 17 79 0 Timing gear
19 6 25 United States Russ Snowberger 121.331 15 74 0 Oil pump
20 16 52 United States Hal Robson 122.096 12 67 0 Universal joint
21 2 18 United States Cliff Bergere 124.957 4 62 23 Piston
22 22 8 United States Joie Chitwood 123.157 10 51 0 Gears
23 5 24 United States Shorty Cantlon 121.462 14 40 0 Fatal crash T1
24 26 43 United States Henry Banks 120.923 18 36 0 Oil line
25 19 66 United States Al Miller 124.848 6 33 0 Magneto
26 13 14 United States George Connor 124.874 5 32 0 Fuel leak
27 29 38 United States Mel Hansen 117.298 27 32 0 Pushed
28 21 15 United States Paul Russo 123.967 8 24 0 Crash FS
29 24 44 Belgium Charles Van Acker (R) 121.049 16 24 0 Crash FS
30 11 53 United States Milt Fankhouser (R) 119.932 21 15 0 Stalled

* Cliff Bergere relieved Herb Ardinger after his own car retired from the race, and completed the race distance in the #54 car.

Failed to Qualify

  • United StatesWally Mitchell (R) - Withdrew due to ASPAR dispute
  • United StatesOverton Phillips - Withdrew due to ASPAR dispute
  • United StatesBuddy Rusch (R)
  • United StatesArt Scovell (R)
  • United StatesBill Sheffler - Withdrew due to ASPAR dispute
  • United StatesHal Stetson (R) - Did not appear
  • United StatesJoel Thorne - Withdrew due to ASPAR dispute
  • United StatesLouis Tomei (#44, #57)
  • United StatesSteve Truchan (R) (#28)
  • United StatesGeorge Weaver (R) (#44)
  • United StatesDoc Williams (#54)[14]



The race was carried live on the Mutual Broadcasting System, the precursor to the IMS Radio Network. The broadcast was sponsored by Perfect Circle Piston Rings and Bill Slater served as the anchor. The broadcast feature live coverage of the start, the finish, and live updates throughout the race.

Barry Lake served as "roving reporter," stationed on an Army Jeep. Larry Richardson was stationed in the new Press Paddock (constructed underneath the Paddock Penthouse upper deck) on the outside of the mainstretch, relaying scoring and official information.

Mutual Broadcasting System
Booth Announcers Turn Reporters Pits/roving reporters

Announcer: Bill Slater
Analyst: Gene Kelly
Press Paddock: Larry Richardson

South turns: Mike Dunn
Mainstretch: Gordon Graham
North turns: Jim Shelton

Norman Perry
Barry Lake

See also


Works cited

  • 1947 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Mutual: Re-broadcast on "The All-Night Race Party" - WIBC-AM (May 29, 2004)


  1. ^ a b Fox, Jack C. (1994). The Illustrated History of the Indianapolis 500 1911-1994 (4th ed.). Carl Hungness Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 0-915088-05-3.
  2. ^ Brooks, Ralph L. (May 31, 1947). "165,000 See Race Classic". The Indianapolis Star. p. 11. Retrieved June 1, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.open access
  3. ^ "Indianapolis 500 Centenary Countdown: Not 33 (times 3)". Racer magazine. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  4. ^ Way Is Cleared for Auto Racers - May 20, 1947
  5. ^ Owners Wave In Aspar Drivers
  6. ^ Speedway Race Has Its Smallest Field - May 29, 1947
  7. ^ Milwaukee Car Last to Qualify for 500 - May 29, 1947
  8. ^ Racing Classic at Indianapolis - May 30, 1947
  9. ^ Schoof Car Misses Race Dead Line After frantic Dash to Speedway - May 30, 1947
  10. ^ Wire Dispatches (May 31, 1947). "Rose Wins 2d 500 Miler; Cantlon Killed In Spill". The Courier-Journal. p. 10. Retrieved 2017-07-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Sainsbury, Ed (May 31, 1947). "Rose Wins '500', Holland 2d; Auto Race Crash Kills Cantlon". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 12. Retrieved 2017-07-22 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ http://www.weather.gov/media/ind/indy500.pdf
  13. ^ "Indianapolis 500 1947". Ultimate Racing History. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  14. ^ ""1947 International 500 Mile Sweepstakes"". ChampCarStats.com.
1946 Indianapolis 500
George Robson
1947 Indianapolis 500
Mauri Rose
1948 Indianapolis 500
Mauri Rose
1946 Indianapolis 500

The 30th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 30, 1946. This was the first Indianapolis 500 presided over by new track owner Tony Hulman. The track had closed in late 1941 due to World War II, and over the next four years, the facility fell into a terrible state of disrepair. Hulman purchased the Speedway in November 1945, and quickly went to work cleaning up the grounds, which had become overwhelmed by overgrowth and weeds. The Speedway re-opened, and the 1946 race was considered a rousing success.

Race winner George Robson would be killed in a racing crash just months after the victory.

The 1946 running of the 500 was the first of sixty-one consecutive years (1946-2006) that featured popular fixture Tom Carnegie on the Speedway public address system.During the pre-race ceremonies, James Melton performed the song "Back Home Again in Indiana." It was the first time the traditional song had been performed before the start of the race.

1947 AAA Championship Car season

The 1947 AAA Championship Car season consisted of 11 races, beginning in Speedway, Indiana on May 30 and concluding in Arlington, Texas on November 2. The AAA National Champion was Ted Horn, and the Indianapolis 500 winner was Mauri Rose. Shorty Cantlon died at Indianapolis in the 500 miles race.

1947 in motorsport

The following is an overview of the events of 1947 in motorsport including the major racing events, motorsport venues that were opened and closed during a year, championships and non-championship events that were established and disestablished in a year, births and deaths of racing drivers and other motorsport people.

1948 Indianapolis 500

The 32nd International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 31, 1948.

For the second year in a row, the Blue Crown Spark Plug teammates Mauri Rose and Bill Holland finished 1st-2nd. Rose became the second driver to win the Indianapolis 500 in consecutive years. Unlike the previous year's race, no controversy surrounds the results. Coupled with his co-victory in 1941, Rose became the third three-time winner at Indy.

Fourth place finisher Ted Horn completed a noteworthy record of nine consecutive races from 1936-1948 completing 1,799 out of a possible 1,800 laps. His nine consecutive finishes of 4th or better (however, with no victories) is the best such streak in Indy history. The only lap he missed in 1940 was due to being flagged for a rain shower.

Duke Nalon's third-place finish would be the best-ever result for the popular Novi engine.

Bill Holland

Bill Holland (December 18, 1907 – May 19, 1984) was an American race car driver from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1949 and finished second in 1947, 1948 and 1950. He also was runner up in the 1947 AAA National Championship.

He nearly won the 1947 Indianapolis 500 as a rookie, but slowed and allowed teammate Mauri Rose to pass him seven laps from the end, mistakenly believing that Rose was a lap down. Ironically, in 1949 Holland led late in the race when Rose (still teammate to Holland on Lou Moore's Blue Crown Spark Plug team) began to slowly close on Holland. Moore saw what was happening out on the track and hung out a pit board ordering both drivers to hold their respective positions to the finish. Rose picked up the pace, closing on Holland. But with 8 laps to go, Rose suffered a magneto failure and Holland cruised to the victory. When Rose (who had finished second) returned to the pits, Moore fired Rose on the spot.

On November 14, 1951, Holland was suspended from AAA Indy Car racing for one year after competing in a three-lap Lion's Charity race at Opa-locka, Florida which was a NASCAR event. The American Automobile Association, at the time the sanctioning body for Indycar races, had a strict rule forbidding its drivers from participating in any races other than their own, and would blacklist violators.

Holland is believed to have got over 40 sprint car feature wins and 150 podiums. He won the first ever automobile race at Selinsgrove Speedway (Selinsgrove, PA) on July 20, 1946.

Holland died from complications of Alzheimer's disease, and was survived by his wife Myra.He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2005.

Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (better known as the Indianapolis 500) is an automobile race held annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in Speedway, Indiana, United States, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held over Memorial Day weekend in late May. It is contested as part of the IndyCar Series, the top level of American Championship Car racing, an open-wheel open-cockpit formula colloquially known as "Indy Car Racing". The name of the race is often shortened to Indy 500, and the track itself is nicknamed "the Brickyard", as the racing surfacing was paved in brick in the fall of 1909.

The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which comprises three of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world, also including the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, but the permanent seating capacity is upwards of 250,000, and infield patrons raise the race-day attendance to approximately 300,000.The inaugural race was held in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun. The event celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, and the 100th running was held in 2016. Will Power is the current champion. The most successful drivers are A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears, each of whom have won the race four times. The active driver with the most victories is Hélio Castroneves, with three. Rick Mears holds the record for most career pole positions with six. The most successful car owner is Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, which has 17 total wins and 17 poles.

The event is steeped in tradition, in pre-race ceremonies, post-race celebrations, and race procedure. The most noteworthy and most popular traditions are the 33-car field, the annual singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana," and the victory lane bottle of milk.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway race results

Race results from the automobile and motorcycle races contested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. Races have been held on six different track configurations:

Oval (1909–present): 2.500 miles; 4 turns; counter-clockwise.

Automobile Road Course (2000-2007): 2.605 miles; 13 turns; clockwise.

Motorcycle Road Course (2008–2013): 2.621 miles; 16 turns; counter-clockwise.

Automobile Road Course (2009–2013): 2.534 miles; 13 turns; clockwise.

Automobile Road Course (2014–present): 2.439 miles; 14 turns; clockwise.

Motorcycle Road Course (2014–present): 2.591 miles; 16 turns; counter-clockwise.

List of Indianapolis 500 winners

The Indianapolis 500 is an automobile race, held annually on the last weekend in May to coincide with Memorial Day. The race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana. The Indianapolis 500 is an open-wheel car race and is currently sanctioned by Indy Racing League LLC, and has been run as an IndyCar Series event since 1996. The Indianapolis 500 is considered one of the most traditional and historical races in the world, and is also considered one of the three most significant motorsport races in the world.

The first Indianapolis 500 was held in 1911, where Ray Harroun was declared the first winner, driving the Marmon Wasp. The race has been run annually since 1911 (with exceptions during World War I and World War II) and 72 drivers have been crowned champions of the 500-mile race over the course of 102 races. The most race victories held by a single driver is four, which has been accomplished only by A. J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. The Indianapolis 500 has also drawn many international drivers to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the years, with 26 of the winners coming from outside of the United States, representing nine separate countries. The most recent champion of the Indianapolis 500 is Will Power, winner of the 2018 race.

The winner of the Indianapolis 500 receives many prizes, many based on past tradition. One of the most iconic traditions is for the winner of the Indianapolis 500 to drink a bottle of milk, a tradition started by Louis Meyer when he won the race in 1936. The winner is also presented with a wreath in victory lane, and has the opportunity to kiss the yard of brick (the start/finish line), an Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition started by NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett in 1996 at the Brickyard 400 and adopted by 500 winners since 2003. The winner of the race also receives the pace car used during that race, and will have on the Borg-Warner Trophy a bas-relief sculpture of their face added to the base. The Borg-Warner Trophy has been used since 1936 and along with the sculpture on the original trophy, the winning driver and car owner receive a small replica. The Indianapolis 500 winner also receives a large purse, most recently at $2.49 million, given to Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014. Other prizes have been given to the race winner over the years, including a quilt, made by Jeanetta Holder, which is presented to the driver annually at the winner's photo shoot.

Mercedes-Benz W154

The Mercedes-Benz W154 was a Grand Prix racing car designed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut. The W154 competed in the 1938 and 1939 Grand Prix seasons and was used by Rudolf Caracciola to win the 1938 European Championship.

The W154 was created as a result of a rule change by the sports governing body AIACR, which limited supercharged engine capacities to 3000cc. Mercedes' previous car, the supercharged 5700cc W125, was therefore ineligible. The company decided that a new car based on the chassis of the W125 and designed to comply with the new regulations would be preferable to modifying the existing car.

Although using the same chassis design as the 1938 car, a different body was used for the 1939 season and the M154 engine used during 1938 was replaced by the M163. As a result of the new engine, the 1939 car is often mistakenly referred to as a Mercedes-Benz W163.

Motorsport in Illinois

There has been auto racing in Illinois for almost as long as there have been automobiles. Almost every type of motorsport found in the United States can be found in Illinois. Both modern and historic tracks exist in Illinois, including NASCAR's Chicagoland Speedway and Gateway International Speedway. Notable drivers from Illinois include Danica Patrick, Tony Bettenhausen, and Fred Lorenzen.

Shorty Cantlon

William "Shorty" Cantlon (1904 in Paris, Illinois – May 30, 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana) was an American racecar driver. He was killed on May 30, 1947, while racing in the 1947 Indianapolis 500 on lap 40 after swerving into the outside retaining wall to avoid the spinning car of Bill Holland, who recovered from the spin to finish second. After his body was removed, Cantlon's car was left resting against the wall until the end of the 200-lap race.

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