The 1951 Indianapolis 500 was the second race of the 1951 Formula One Season. It was the second time (of 11 in total) the Indianapolis 500 was held as part of the Formula One World Championship, although none of the regular drivers (who had taken part in the previous race) entered the 1951 event. Instead, the field was made up of 33 Americans, including Johnnie Parsons who won the previous year's event.
The event was won by Lee Wallard in his second and last Indy 500 start (Wallard entered the race in 1954 but failed to qualify). Second place was claimed by Mike Nazaruk while Manny Ayulo crossed the line in third, having relieved Jack McGrath at the halfway point; the two drivers shared the points for third place. Polesitter, Duke Nalon retired from the race with 49 laps to go. Nalon was among 25 drivers who failed to finish the race, with only 8 seeing the chequered flag.
Making his return to the Indianapolis 500 after suffering a serious injury in 1949, Duke Nalon made a comeback to the sport when he scored the pole position.
Qualifying for this event was scheduled to take place over six days, but was extended to seven as the sixth day was washed out. Grid order was determined by aggregate time over four laps, with earlier runs counted ahead of later ones.
Pole position was decided on the first day, as were the rest of the top-11, 12th and 13th on day 2, 14th-24th on day 3, 25th and 26th on day 4, 27th on day 5, and the remaining 6 places on day 7. Despite setting a time faster than the polesitter, Walt Faulkner only qualified 14th as his time was set on a later day.
|1||18||Duke Nalon||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||4:23.74||100%||136.50|
|2||99||Lee Wallard||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:26.59||+2.85||101.1%||135.04|
|3||9||Jack McGrath||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:28.05||+4.31||101.6%||134.30|
|6||98||Troy Ruttman||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:32.08||+8.34||103.2%||132.31|
|7||83||Mike Nazaruk||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:32.35||+8.61||103.3%||132.18|
|8||3||Johnnie Parsons||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:32.41||+8.67||103.3%||132.15|
|10||4||Cecil Green||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:32.92||+9.18||103.5%||131.91|
|11||59||Fred Agabashian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:36.61||+12.87||104.9%||130.14|
|12||25||Sam Hanks||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:30.68||+6.94||102.6%||133.00|
|13||44||Walt Brown||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:32.92||+9.18||103.5%||131.91|
|15||73||Carl Scarborough||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:25.46||+1.72||100.7%||135.61|
|16||10||Bill Schindler||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:28.59||+4.85||101.8%||134.03|
|18||23||Cliff Griffith||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:28.98||+5.24||102%||133.84|
|22||69||Gene Force||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:30.47||+6.73||102.6%||133.10|
|24||68||Carl Forberg||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||4:30.90||+7.16||102.7%||132.89|
|28||32||Chet Miller||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||4:25.10||+1.36||100.5%||135.80|
Failed To Qualify
- #7. Paul Russo - Nichels-Offenhauser
- #14. Jerry Hoyt - Ewing-Offenhauser
- #24. Jackie Holmes - Adams-Offenhauser
- #29. George Fonder - Template:Deidt-Sparks
- #31. Manny Ayulo - Lesovsky-Offenhauser
- #33. Jimmy Daywalt - Template:Meyer-Novi
- #34. Johnnie Tolan - Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser
- #35. Frank Armi - Template:Bardazon-Offenhauser
- #36. George Lynch - Template:Rassey-Offenhauser
- #37. Bob Sweikert - Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser
- #41. Mike Salay - Template:Szalai-Offenhauser
- #42. Bill Boyd - Template:Gdula-Offenhauser
- #46. Bayliss Levrett - Silnes-Offenhauser
- #49. Joe Barzda - Maserati-Offenhauser
- #51. Bud Sennet - Maserati
- #53. George Fonder - Schroeder-Offenhauser
- #58. Frank Armi - Template:Scopa-Offenhauser
- #63. George Fonder - Schroeder-Offenhauser
- #64. Frank Armi - Kurtis Kraft-Duray
- #67. Gordon Reid - Template:Silnes-Chevrolet
- #72. Jimmy Bryan - Lesovsky-Offenhauser
- #75. Leroy Warriner - Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser
- #77. Doc Shanebrook - Stevens-Offenhauser
- #78. Ray Knepper - Silnes-Offenhauser
Sam Hanks has some trouble starting his car as it is being pushed from the pit lane to begin the pace lap. Just before crossing the white line at which all drivers must have there cars started, Hanks' car starts and he roars away to join the rest of the pack.
The race begins and Lee Wallard takes the lead from Jack McGrath and the pair begin to pull away from the remain front runners. At the rear of the field, it has become clear which cars are off of the pace as they begin to break off from the pack. At the end of lap two, McGrath steals the lead and wins a $100 lap prize. However, Wallard isn't making it easy to lead as the pair swap positions again on the fourth lap.
After only eight laps, Joe James is forced to retire from the race because of transmission issues. Johnny McDowell would not be far behind after he ruptured his fuel tank in the pits on the fifteenth lap. And then three laps later, Mack Hellings pulls off into the pits because of damage to his engine.
Duke Nalon makes a horrible judgement error as he rolls past his crew and has to wait to be pushed back to his box. Meanwhile Cecil Green is right on the rear of McGrath and challenging for the lead. He can't get it done and McGrath maintains his lead.
McGrath pulls into the pits on the one hundredth lap to make a driver change. Manny Ayulo will take over the second half of the race, but by this point Wallard has taken the lead, putting a victory out of the picture for Ayulo.
There is trouble as Mauri Rose loses control of his car in the corner. He skids down into the grass and he car goes sideways. The tyres dig into the ground and his car is sent into a flip. Rose walks away from the car uninjured, but his race comes to an end, as he is the first car to flip in the race.
Approuching lap 179, Wallard and Andy Linden are neck and neck racing around the corner. They swap positions, but Linden is not able to lead a lap as Wallard retakes his first position. Behind them, Tony Bettenhausen has spun his car in the corner. He spins down into the grass and comes back up on the track, but does an excellent job to put the car back down into the grass.
Trouble for Wallard who is currently leading the race. In the closing laps of the race, he loses his shock absorbers and brakes. Despite these bumpy and dangerous circumstances, he muscles onward and crosses the finish line in first place to earn his first and only win in Formula One. After his visit in the victory lane, Wallard is taken directly to the circuit's medical facility where he is treated for severe chafing, caused by his fire retardant suit.
The race proves to be one of the safest Indianapolis 500's in history, with no driver injuries. However, only eight drivers finished the race.
|1||99||Lee Wallard||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||200||3:57:38.05||126.23||2||9|
|2||83||Mike Nazaruk||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||200||+1:47.24||125.29||7||6|
|3||9||Manny Ayulo||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||100||+2:51.39||124.73||2|
|7||68||Carl Forberg||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||193||+7 Laps||24|
|8||27||Duane Carter||Deidt-Offenhauser||180||+20 Laps||4|
|10||18||Duke Nalon||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||151||Engine||1|
|11||69||Gene Force||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||142||Oil pressure||22|
|12||25||Sam Hanks||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135||Spin||12|
|13||10||Bill Schindler||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||129||Connecting rod||16|
|17||59||Fred Agabashian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||109||Clutch||11|
|18||73||Carl Scarborough||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||100||Wheel bearing||15|
|21||3||Johnnie Parsons||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||87||Magneto||8|
|22||4||Cecil Green||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||80||Connecting rod||10|
|23||98||Troy Ruttman||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||78||Camshaft||6|
|25||32||Chet Miller||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||56||Ignition||28|
|26||44||Walt Brown||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||55||Magneto||13|
|27||48||Rodger Ward||Bromme-Offenhauser||34||Oil line||25|
|28||23||Cliff Griffith||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||30||Transmission||18|
|29||81||Bill Vukovich||Trevis-Offenhauser||29||Oil leak||20|
|32||12||Johnny McDowell||Maserati-Offenhauser||15||Fuel leak||26|
|Non-qualifiers: see above|
- Lee Wallard's first and only Formula One Grand Prix victory
- Lee Wallard's first and only fastest lap in Formula One
- Duke Nalon's first and only pole position in Formula One
- The Novi engine's first and only pole position in Formula One
Standings after race
|1||Juan Manuel Fangio||9||—|
|8||Toulo de Graffenried||2||▼3|
|V T E||Indianapolis 500|
|Circuit||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Races||1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915 • 1916 • 1919 • 1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1929 • 1930 • 1931–1949 • 1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961–2019|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|