John James "Jack" McGrath (born October 8, 1919 in Los Angeles, California, United States – died November 6, 1955 in Phoenix, Arizona, United States) was an American driver who took part in the Indianapolis 500 in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Having raced his way up through midget racing, including winning the California Roadster Association (CRA) title in 1946, he made his Indy 500 début at in 1948. He would go on to six front row starts out of his eight appearances, including once taking pole and twice setting the fastest qualifying speed. He failed to turn his four-lap speed into race speed and failed to win the event; alas he did achieve two third-place finishes and another fifth-place finish.
McGrath's first Indy 500 saw him start in 13th place but retire at about one-third distance after stalling. In 1949, he made the front row in third but again retired early on due to oil pump failure, then in 1950 McGrath made it three non-finishes out of three after spinning out. For 1951, McGrath returned to the front row, again starting third, and finally finished the 500 miles, again in third place, managing to lead eleven laps in the early stages. He shared the drive with friend and teammate Manny Ayulo and they shared two F1 World Championship points.
McGrath made it three third-place starts in four Indy 500s in 1952, and even managed to lead the first six laps of the race before falling down the order and finishing in 11th place, over 14 minutes behind the winner Troy Ruttman. In 1953 his talent for getting the car out early during the weekend helped him secure yet another front row start as he was the third fastest out of the seven who managed to set times of the first day of qualifying. He again finished the race, this time in fifth place, earning another two WDC points.
1954 would be McGrath's most successful Indy 500. He managed to take pole position, with the fastest qualifying time, and lead the first 44 laps. However, he was overhauled by Bill Vukovich, who took his second consecutive win. McGrath eventually finished in third place, and set the fastest lap to take home five WDC points. He once again was the fastest qualifier in 1955, but having qualified on the second day, he only started third (for the fifth time). After a storied 26-lap battle with Vukovich, during which McGrath lead six laps (including the first), the magneto failed on McGrath's Kurtis and he stopped after completing 54 laps. Vukovich would be killed a few laps later in a chain-reaction crash.
McGrath was killed in a accident in the final AAA race of the 1955 season in Phoenix, Arizona. His grave lies in San Gabriel Cemetery, near Los Angeles.
Formula One Career[edit | edit source]
Formula One Statistical Overview[edit | edit source]
Formula One Record[edit | edit source]
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.|
|1950||Jack Hinkle||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||0||NC|
|1951||Jack Hinkle||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||2||15th|
|1952||Jack Hinkle||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||0||NC|
|1953||Jack Hinkle||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||2||15th|
|1954||Jack Hinkle||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||5||12th|
|1955||Jack Hinkle||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||0||NC|
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|Front Row Starts||5|
|Distance Raced||3560 km (2212 mi)|
|Distance Led||282 km (175 mi)|
Career Results[edit | edit source]
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
- * Shared drive with Manny Ayulo.
- FL Scored one point for the fastest lap
Notes[edit | edit source]
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