Wednesday, May 31, 2023

1965 – Scotsman Fastest for Indy Payoff

Jimmy Clark shows off the latest headline after winning the Indianapolis 500. 

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 31, 1965) – Jimmy Clark, a shy lad outside of a racecar, gave Scotland its first Memorial Day 500-mile race winner Monday with a record-breaking run in a hybrid English American auto.

Only A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., twice winner of the long endurance grind, gave Clark much competition - and his transmission failed after he had led 10 of the early laps of the race around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Clark’s average speed of 159.686 miles per hour shattered Foyt’s year-old mark of 147.35 miles per hour.

Foyt was able to stay in front of Clark only one lap while the Scot was on the track and led the other nice circuits when Clark made one of his two quick pit stops for fuel.

“A bit of determination,” Clark said of his victory, the first at Indianapolis for a foreigner since Italy’s Dario Pesta won in 1916 in a French Peugeot.

Clark, a bachelor farmer from Duns, Scotland, outside of the racing season, finished second in his first attempt at the 500 two years ago and led last year until his left rear wheel collapsed.

He hinted that he might not attempt the Indianapolis grind this year. He commented that, “we have a lot of racing to do between now and then” and said he would think about it.

Clark has made it clear that he prefers road racing, at which he was world champion in 1963.

But whether he likes the closed courses or not, he had no superior on the old speedway. Nobody doubted that after his Monday victory.

He did it style, coming in waving a black-gloved hand above the cockpit of his car, about five miles ahead of 1960 and ’63 winner Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., and setting a record of 150.686 miles per hour for the event over the old speedway oval.

Jones coasted over the finish line out of fuel.

The result reversed the 1963 finish, when Jones edged Clark while the Lotus owner, Colin Chapman of London, was demanding that Jones be disqualified for leaking oil.

Clark’s car was the first foreign chassis to win since Wilbur Shaw’s 1940 victory in an Italian Maserati, but the Scot’s car was powered by a Ford engine.

Italian-born Mario Andretti of Nazareth, Pen., led a brilliant field of rookies to a third-place finish in an all-American Brawner Ford.

Masten Gregory of Rome, Italy, until recently of Paris, did one of the most remarkable driving jobs of the race until he was eliminated by mechanical troubles. In his British BRP car with a rear-engine Ford he charged from his 31st starting position to fifth place before retiring after 165 miles.

Clark was free of accidents and injuries – as contrasted to last year’s tragic holocaust which took the lives of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. But there was a heavy toll of cars in the race, witnessed by a crowd estimated at 220,000.

Andretti was followed by Al Miller, Standish, Mich., fourth in a Lotus-Ford; Gordon Johncock of Hastings, Mich., in a Ford; rookie Mickey Rupp of Mansfield, Ohio, sixth in a Gerhardt Offenhauser; Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., seventh in a Watson-Ford.

Then came Bobby Johns, Miami, Fla., eighth in a Lotus-Ford; rookie Al Unser, Albuquerque, N.M., ninth in a Lola-Ford; and Eddie Johnson, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, 10th in an Offenhauser roadster.

The only other car running at the finish of the machine-wrecking race was a Vollstedt-Ford drive by Len Sutton of Portland, Ore.

Clark led 190 of the 200 laps and won $28,500 in lap prizes alone, $150 for each one led. Foyt led the other 10 laps.

The full amount of the purse and its division would not be known until victory dinner on Tuesday night. It amounted to more than $500,000 last year.

Of the 17 rear-engine Fords that started, eight were still running at the end, and only one of five Lotus Fords – Foyt’s – fell out.

Of the 10 rear-engine Offenhauser’s in the field, only one was still going when Clark received the checkers.

Only four of the old-time Offenhauser roadsters started but Eddie Johnson and Gordon Johncock nursed two of them home.

Results –

1. Jim Clark, Duns, Scotland
2. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
3. Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn.
4. Al Miller, Roseville, Mich.
5. Gordon Johncock, Hastings, Mich.
6. Mickey Rupp, Mansfield, Ohio
7. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
8. Bobby Johns, Miami, Fla.
9. Al Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
10.Eddie Johnson, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
11.Len Sutton, Portland, Ore.
12.Lloyd Ruby, Wichita Falls, Tex.
13.Johnny Boyd, Fresno, Calif.
14.Walt Hansgen, Bedminster, N.J.
15.Bud Tingelstad, Indianapolis
16.A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
17.Billy Foster, Victoria, B.C.
18.Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
19.Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
20.Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
21.Masten Gregory, Rome, Italy
22. Ronnie Duman, Dearborn, Mich.
23.Bob Veith, Fort Bragg, Calif.
24.George Snider, Bakersfield, Calif.
25.Jerry Grant, Seattle, Wash.
26.Chuck Stevenson, Newport Beach, Calif.
27.Dan Gurney, Costa Mesa, Calif.
28.Chuck Rodee, Indianapolis
29.Joe Leonard, San Jose, Calif.
30.Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
31.Bill Cheesbourg, Tucson, Ariz.
32.Johnny Rutherford, Fort Worth, Tex.
33.Jim Hurtubise, North Tonawanda, N.Y.

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