Posted on: February 22, 2011
Gasoline Alley Unplugged
By: Donald Davidson
1956 Indy 500 winner Pat Flaherty
Tagged as: 1956 Indy 500, IMS, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500, Pat Flaherty, racing blog, speed, Winner
There are 16 comments for this post.
Thank you, Donald. I always look forward to your glimpses ofthe past. You make The Indy 500 more than just names & numbers.
one more little piece of Flaherty trivia- he raced pigeons for 20 years after retiring from car racing!
Beautiful story-thanks Donald!
Nice photo. “The CHAMPION 100 MILE AN HOUR CLUB” jacket was certainly a great trophy to receive. They commanded respect for any man who wore one. Back when they allowed drivers to complete 500 miles it was cool to hear sounds of cars running in the background as the winner was interviewed on the radio. Flaherty was a great driver who came back after an almost carrer ending accident. His first year back he was a contender to win in one of Watsons cars. Vukovich sr. liked him and thought he would win the 500 one day….said he was a really good at the Speedway. He was! Vuk nicked name him “BUFFER RED” after his slide along the wall in 1953 left buff marks on the wall. His son was around for a few years but I havent seen or heard from him for years. Looked just like his dad.
Long before Al Gore invented the internet, I read somewhere that Bob Sweikert visited Pat at his tavern in Chicago. Sweikert was in town for the Chicago Auto Show in the winter of ’56. When Pat heard firsthand from Bob that the John Zink ride was open he got on the phone immediately to start working out a deal. The address Donald mentioned is about 1.5 miles south of Wrigley Field. A WINNER from the north side of Chicago. That never happens!
Does anyone know where the tavern was/is? There was a Pat’s Bar at Montrose & Pulaski near Grand Ave., but that might not be the one.
Dennis, what qualifies someone for the 100 MPH Club?
To become a memeber of the 100 MPH club a driver had to complete 200 laps, 500 miles at an average speed of at least 100 MPH, without relief. The club was headed up by Dick McGeorge, a gruff old sports writer who was really a big teddy bear. I spent a whole lot of time in the Champion 100 MPH room listening to stories from drivers from who competed in the 500 from 1911 (Ray Houroun) to the 70 s. It was a true honor. Only race drivers who were members were allowed at the yearly banquet…with 2 exceptions in the late 60 s…Merle Bettenhausen and me. We were the only non members drivers to attend one of the exclusive dinner. I was blessed to be able to live the life I did in racing. I lived a dream.
BTW..the club was dispanded in later years due to the speeds cars were running and the practice of the Speedway to “flag” all cars running shortly after the winner was checkered. The checkered meant it was all over no matter if u had run 199. The checkered finished the race for all cars….just like a midget race
In ’79 Mike Moseley was able to go the full 200 laps when he unlapped himself on Rick Mears’ final lap. Moseley actually took the white flag TWICE in one race.
I really appreciate seeing this picture. My parents brought me to my first race this year at my age 13 and I have been attending every year since – 55 consecutive Indianapolis 500 races. I am proud of my collection of all my ticket stubs which I have mounted. My wife Carole now attends with me – 45 consecutive Indianapolis 500 races.
Mike Moseley , in my opinion, was one of the best drivers to run the Speedway. he was one hell of a sprint car driver too. I ran with him a few times at Ascot..saw a lot of the back of his helmet..He was really good!!! and a good guy
Irish Pat Flaherty. Defied superstision by having a green shamrock painted on his helmet, and the year he won there was a helmet in his pit with the same green shamrock on it. I sat in the #2 corner for time trials and the race, and A J Watson had the car so beautifully set up the left fron would come up off the track ever so slightly, and when Pat gave it the gas going out of two it would settle back down. Man, those were the days. I still sit there.
My uncle Bill Ahrends owned a Snack shop that was attached to pat’s bar in Chicago. When I was 6 years old I sat on his lap and drove the pace car he won at Indy. He was one of the best people I ever knew. A,Jaj foytand the Rathmatt brothers would spend a lot of nights in the snack shop. My Mother Berna Peterson was a good friend to all the drivers. I miss all these people a lot.
Who are the 116 members of theChampion Spark Plug 100 Mile An Hour Club?
Was Lloyd Ruby one, as I found a small Champion Spark Plug 100 Mile An Hour Club pin at his estate sale.
what did you have to pay for the pin
dan hornby, I think around 3.00
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