Sunday, June 23, 2024

1957 – Bryan Wins Detroit 100-Miler

Jimmy Bryan holds his trophy while chief mechanic Clint Brawner looks on after the Phoenix, Ariz., driver won the 100-mile USAC national championship race at Michigan State Fairgrounds. – Steve Noffke Collection

Detroit, Mich. (June 23, 1957) – Veteran Jimmy Bryan Sunday yielded the pole position to George Amick of Los Angeles, then came back to whip his west coast rival in the 100-mile national championship race at the State Fairgrounds.

Bryan turned in the fastest 100 ever recorded on the north Woodward track when he toured the distance in 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 47 seconds, for an average speed of 97.87 miles per hour.

A third-place finisher at Indianapolis this year, Bryan set his record in the Dean Van Lines Special, a car which was on the track only because his pit crew spent most of Saturday night putting it in racing condition.

Saturday, when the race was postponed due to rain, Bryan’s car burned out it’s engine in a trial run when the radiator hose became disconnected.

After having the necessary piston replacement rushed from Indianapolis, the overhauling and repairing took up most of the night and early morning.

Amick was on the pole Sunday as 12,500 fans watched from the grandstands, bleachers, and infield. The popular LA speedster had won the pole in his Hopkins Special with a nifty time of 39.24 seconds. Bryan’s qualifying lap, good for the second starting position, was 39.28 seconds.

Amick shot the front almost immediately, lost the lead briefly to Bryan on lap 8, then lost it for the remainder of the race on lap 10.

Amick did make a race out of it the entire distance. He was never worse than second and was never behind more than seven seconds behind Bryan, the defending United States Auto Club national champion.

Third place went to Andy Linden of Indianapolis, in the McNamara Special, with Jud Larson of Kansas City in fourth. Elmer George finished fifth in his wife’s H.O.W. Special.

The track, which had broken up in previous years, held together all day, a tribute to the money and time spent by Pete Spencer and Johnny Marcum, the co-promoters.

Bryan, Bob Veith, and Rodger Ward left immediately after the race for New York to join 10 other American drivers who were to fly to Monza, Italy for the “European 500”.

Results –

1. Jimmy Bryan
2. George Amick
3. Andy Linden
4. Jud Larson
5. Elmer George
6. Bob Veith
7. Billy Garrett
8. Don Freeland
9. Jimmy Reece
10.Don Branson
11.Chuck Weyant
12.Bill Cheesbourg
13.Ed Elisian
14.Bud Randall
15.Gene Hartley
16.Rodger Ward
17.Don Edmunds
18.Johnny Thomson

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