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TIME Magazine, June 9, 1961, p. 62:|
All but one of the 33 gaudy, snub-snouted racers that roared past the fluttering starter's flag in last week's Indianapolis 500 rolled on identical Firestone tires and were powered by identical 350-h.p. Meyer-Drake Offenhauser engines*. In the family feud that followed, what counted were the driver's skill, the speed of his pit crew-- and pure luck.
With 100 miles still to go, mechanical failures and accidents had sidelined 21 starters. Most spectacular of the pile-ups occurred when Driver Don Davis lost his crankcase and piled into the retaining wall. Recklessly trying to sneak past Davis' stalled car, Rookie Driver A. J. Shepard spun directly into the path of Jack Turner's onrushing Bardahl Special. Turner's car flipped through the air in a slow somersault, spewing parts in all directions, and crunched back down onto the track. Before officials could flag them down, two other drivers slammed into the smoldering wreckage.
No driver was seriously hurt, and when the track was cleared, the 500 settled into a two-car race. In front by a slim 7 sec., was Anthony Joseph Foyt, 26, the 1960 U.S. racing champion. Hanging on in contention was the blue and white car of balding Eddie Sachs, 34, a four-year Indianapolis veteran, whose qualifying speed of 147.481 m.p.h. won him the coveted pole position for the second year in a row. Foyt and Sachs exchanged the lead ten times before Foyt suffered the nightmare that has haunted motorists since the days of the model T: he ran out of gas. When Foyt paused disconsolately to refuel, Sachs took a formidable 31-sec. lead.
...Then, with only six laps left, Sach's luck also ran out. A patch of white appeared on his right-rear tire. As he drove on, the patch rapidly widened, a sure sign that the rubber was wearing off and that a blowout was imminent.
With only ten miles to go, Sachs gave up, conceded the lead to Foyt and pulled into the pits for a tire change. "There was too much canvas showing," he said philosophically. "Being second is better than being dead." Winner Foyt flashed across the finish line 9 sec. in front. The lucky veteran, who drove his first racing car (an 18-m.p.h midget) when he was but three years old, had averaged 139.130 m.p.h. to set a new record and earn the winner's check of $117,975-- richest of any Memorial Day drive.
*The exception: Britain's rear-engined Cooper-Climax, the lone foreign entry, driven by Australia's Jack Brabham, the 1959-60 Grand Prix champion. Brabham finished ninth.
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