Trisha Shetty (Editor)

1941 Indianapolis 500

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Sanctioning body  AAA
Winning Entrant  Lou Moore
Date  May 30, 1941
Pole position  Mauri Rose
1941 Indianapolis 500
Winner  Floyd Davis & Mauri Rose
Average speed  115.117 mph (185.263 km/h)

The 29th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 30, 1941.


Floyd Davis was the starting driver for the #16 car. On lap 72, Davis came in for a pit stop, and was relieved by Mauri Rose. Rose had started the race in another car and dropped out earlier. Car owner Lou Moore was apparently unsatisfied with Davis' performance thus far in the race, and ordered Rose to take over. Rose charged up the standings and took the lead in the #16 car, and went on to win. Both drivers were credited as "co-winners," similar to what occurred in the 1924 race. This marked the last time that one car would carry two drivers to victory at Indy.

Speedway president Eddie Rickenbacker did not attend the race, and instead listened to it on the radio. He was recovering from injuries suffered in a near-fatal plane crash a few months before the race.

Race details

Sam Hanks was injured in a practice crash the day before the race and withdrew. He was credited with 33rd place.

Garage area fire

On the morning of the race a fire broke out in the garage area. George Barringer's revolutionary rear-engined car was destroyed. At the time, the car was being refueled (with gasoline). In a nearby garage, another car which was owned by Joel Thorne was being worked on with a welder. The fumes caught fire from the sparks of the welding, and a huge fire broke out which burned down about a third of the southern bank of garages. The start of the race was delayed by a couple hours, and fire fighters had trouble getting to the Speedway to put out the blaze due to the heavy race day traffic. Barringer's car was withdrawn, and he was credited with 32nd finishing position. With Sam Hanks and Barringer out, the race lined up with only 31 cars.

Wilbur Shaw

Two-time defending champion Wilbur Shaw crashed while leading on lap 152, and failed in his bid to become the first driver to three-peat at the Indianapolis 500. As of 2016, no driver has ever won the Indianapolis 500 three consecutive years. He would have also become the first four-time winner of the 500. Going down the mainstretch, the car lost control, and hit the outside wall, rupturing the gas tank. Shaw was drenched with fuel, and suffered a back injury which left him immobile for several minutes. Despite the fuel spill, the fuel did not ignite, and Shaw was brought to safety by the medical staff.

It is believed that the morning fire had an effect on Shaw's efforts. At some point before the race, Shaw's crew was preparing his tires for race day, and used chalk to write notes on the spare tires. One particular wheel was determined to be out of balance, and rather than being discarded, it was labeled in chalk with the words "USE LAST". However, the firefighters' water hoses are believed to have washed off the chalk message. Shaw inadvertently took on the bad tire during a pit stop, which caused his crash.

Shaw never drove another competitive lap at the Speedway, although he did participate in a special private tire test at the Speedway during World War II.


  • First alternate: Louis Durant (R)
  • Failed to Qualify

  • Shorty Cantlon
  • Ira Hall (#38)
  • René Le Bègue (#21)
  • Bill Lipscomb (R) (#57)
  • Roy Russing (R) (#22)
  • Jean Trévoux (R) (#24)
  • References

    1941 Indianapolis 500 Wikipedia

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