Rahul Sharma (Editor)

1953 Indianapolis 500

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Date  May 30, 1953
Winning Entrant  Howard B. Keck
Winner  Bill Vukovich
Pole position  Bill Vukovich
1953 Indianapolis 500
Sanctioning body  AAA / World Championship
Average speed  128.740 mph (207.187 km/h)

The 37th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1953. The event was part of the 1953 AAA National Championship Trail, and was included in the 1953 World Drivers Championship.


Bill Vukovich, after falling short a year before, earned the first of two consecutive Indy 500 victories. With the temperature in the high 90s (°F), and the track temperature exceeding 130 °F (54 °C), this race is often known as the "Hottest 500." Driver Carl Scarborough dropped out the race, and later died at the infield hospital due to heat prostration.

Due to the extreme heat conditions, several drivers in the field required relief drivers, and some relief drivers even required additional relief. Vukovich, however, as well as second-place finisher Art Cross, both ran the full 500 miles solo.


Sixteen year race veteran Chet Miller died in an accident in practice on May 15.


Time trials were scheduled for four days.

  • Saturday May 16 – Pole Day time trials (rained out)
  • Sunday May 17 – Second day time trials
  • Saturday May 23 – Third day time trials
  • Sunday May 24 – Fourth day time trials
  • Vukovich qualified on pole, with a speed of 138.392 mph (222.720 km/h).


    Polesitter Bill Vukovich dominated the race, leading 195 laps and also recording fastest lap.

  • The race is commonly known as the "Hottest 500", with track temperatures exceeding 130 °F (54 °C). Recent research, however, has suggested that the 1937 race actually had higher recorded temperatures. Half the drivers in the field used relief help, including:
  • Duane Carter (49 laps) took over from Sam Hanks (151)
  • Paul Russo (96) took over from Fred Agabashian (104)
  • Eddie Johnson (88) took over from Jim Rathmann (112)
  • Gene Hartley (37) and Chuck Stevenson (44) took over from Tony Bettenhausen (115)
  • Bob Scott (121) took over from Carl Scarborough (69)
  • Jim Rathmann (36) took over from Bill Holland (141)
  • Duke Dinsmore (10) and Andy Linden (29) took over from Rodger Ward (138)
  • Johnny Mantz (42) took over from Walt Faulkner (134)
  • Jackie Holmes (9) and Johnny Thomson (45) took over from Spider Webb (112)
  • Andy Linden (12) and Chuck Stevenson (13) took over from Jerry Hoyt (82)
  • Carl Scarborough retired from the race due to heat exhaustion, and died later at the infield hospital.


  • First alternate: Eddie Johnson (#26)
  • Radio

    The race was carried live flag-to-flag on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Instead of being produced by 1070 WIBC-AM, the network pooled together talent and technical staff from all five of the major radio stations in Indianapolis. The broadcast was anchored by Sid Collins, and featured on-air talent from WIBC, WFBM, WISH, WIRE, and WXLW.

    The broadcast signed on at 10:45 a.m. local time, and carried live through the conclusion, until 3:45 p.m. local time. The broadcast was carried on 135 stations across the country, and on Armed Forced Network to Europe and Asia.

    Championship standings after the race

    World Drivers' Championship standings
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.
  • References

    1953 Indianapolis 500 Wikipedia

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