500 Photo Galleries
A Decade of 500 Heroes | The 1950's
May. 11, 2015
1950's 500 Winners | 10 Photos
After a slow start to his "500" career, the great Rodger Ward hit the winning combination when he hooked up with chief mechanic A.J. Watson and the Leader Card team. Ward led 130 of the 200 laps on the way to the first of two "500" wins.
For the second time in a decade, a car owner won in back-to-back years, as Jimmy Bryan wheeled George Salih's laydown roadster to the checkered flag in 1958. The "Arizona Cowboy" led 139 laps.
One of the most popular victories in Speedway history came in 1957, as veteran Sam Hanks finally won the big one in his 13th try. Hanks tearfully retired in Victory Lane after leading 136 laps.
For the second straight year, John Zink saw one of his cars in victory lane, as driver Pat Flaherty won from the pole. Flaherty led 127 laps.
It looked like Bill Vukovich would become the first driver to win 3 "500's" in a row in 1955, but popular Bob Sweikert ended up in Victory Lane, after Vukovich was fatally injured while leading on lap 57. Sweikert would lead 86 laps on the way to victory.
Bill Vukovich made it two in a row in 1954, once again forcing the rest of the field to submit on another scorching race day. The "Mad Russian" (although he was really neither) led 90 laps.
Bill Vukovich bounced back from his 1952 disappointment to grab the checkered flag at the 1953 Indianapolis 500. Vukovich throttled the field on a scorching-hot day, leading 195 of the 200 laps.
Troy Ruttman became the youngest Indianapolis 500 winner when he won the 1952 classic at the age of 22 years and 80 days. Ruttman inherited the lead when Bill Vukovich dropped out while leading with 9 laps to go in the race, after leading 150 laps.
Lee Wallard dominated the 1951 Indianapolis 500, leading 159 of 200 laps. Wallard's time on top of the sport was short-lived however, his career was essentially ended when he was severely burned in serious crash at Reading just days after his "500" win.
Johnnie Parsons won the rain-shortened 1950 Indianapolis 500 by one lap over Bill Holland. Parsons completed 138 laps before the race was stopped.