Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The 1932 Indy 500

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway just released for the first time ever online photos from the 1932 Indy 500. It's really something to look through and see what's changed (and what's still the same!) about the Speedway from almost 80 years ago.

The amount of history that IMS has been tasked with preserving is simply mind-boggling. I love seeing these digitization efforts, because it means there's that much more history that will be there for this generation and the next.

The big trivia from 1932 is that Howdy Wilcox II finished 2nd in his only Indy 500, almost becoming the second man named Howdy Wilcox (1919) to win the race. Due to his diabetic condition, however, he would not be allowed to race in subsequent 500s.

Fred Frame won the race, but my other favorite piece of trivia from the 1932 race is that the only foreign driver was the Argentinian Juan Gaudino, making his only successful qualification attempt for the Indy 500, driving a Chrysler "Gold Seal Special". (Gaudino had clutch issues, finishing 26th--out of 40 drivers starting the race!--after being replaced by Joseph Bonadeo for the last 4 laps of his day). Gaudino would also work as replacement driver for Raoul Riganti the next year in a 14th place finish. (For those interested, I found this article from the old Pittsburgh Press on Gaudino while doing research for another column). It's another footnote to Indy, but I always wonder about the old names and entries. There's an entire story behind every one, even if we only catch glimpses of it from these little bits of history.

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