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Frank Lockhart, who two years later would lose his life in an attempt to break the World Land Speed Record on the sands of Daytona Beach, showed up at Indianapolis as a 23-year-old unknown. He secured an assignment as a potential relief driver for Bennett Hill, but just a few days before the race, driver/owner Peter Kreis had to be hospitalized with pneumonia. Lockhart took over the Kreis car and immediately began to travel quickly, setting a one-lap track record of 115.448 mph on an incomplete qualifying attempt. He eventually started back in 20th position but was two laps ahead of the second-place car when the rain-interrupted race was halted for the second and final time at 400 miles. This was the first of four years for engines limited to only 91 ½ cubic inches.
Amazing. 1 1/2 liters in 1926 and 115 mph. That was pretty quick for an antique. These old race cars were already pretty sophisticated in design. The big advance in the last 40 years has been in materials that can take the power. I 'd love to see one of these cars rebuilt with modern metals , more boost and modern tires. They would be a lot faster.
What true* rookies made the biggest impact at Indianapolis? My vote: 1) Frank Lockhart 2) Marco Andretti 3) Jim Hurtubise 4) Walt Falkner 5) J.R. Hildebrand *True rookies means those who have not established a substantial open wheel career before racing in 500 -- eg. Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya
I love receiving these. Two passions...history/archives and the IMS. I grew up in INDY and went on to work in libraries and archives, so I have a deep appreciation for your work.