With the big race at Indy just around the corner, I thought I'd post a brief story about a past driver. The father of a good friend of mine, Don Davis only started two Indianapolis 500s - 1961 & 1962. In his first appearance at Indy, he started 27th and was out of the race 49 laps later; caught up in an accident. However, on his second start the next year, he qualified 12th and brought the #27 JH Rose Lesovsky / Offy home for a 4th place finish. Rodger Ward took the checkered flag that year, but Don finished well, besting drivers such as Parnelli Jones, Jim Rathmann, Dan Gurney (in his rookie year), and A.J. Foyt.
Unfortunately, Don crashed his sprint car in Dayton, Ohio (New Bremen Speedway) later that same year - August of 1962 and died of his injuries at the age of 28. Don was a talented driver who was just starting to get the rides that would prove his abilities. Like others before and after him, we'll never know what he could have accomplished had he lived.
I was fortunate to bump into the car Don raced at Indy in 1962 while walking the show field at Hershey (AACA National Fall Meet) this past year. In 1959, this Lesovsky Indy roadster started on the Pole at Indy with Johnny Thomson at the wheel (finishing 3rd). The car has been restored as Thomson drove it.
Now in the hands of Bob McConnell, who has one of the largest collections of Indy roadster in the country, it's truly a thing of beauty. I can't image driving this beast 500 miles!
I hope everyone enjoys the 500 this year - you can sure I'll be watching.