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#87 1960 Indy 500

2021-10-13 01:00

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#1960, Fulvio Conti,

#87 1960 Indy 500

The day after the Monaco Grand Prix, the third Grand Prix of the season is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 30, 1960. For the last time in the h

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The day after the Monaco Grand Prix, the third Grand Prix of the season is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 30, 1960. For the last time in the history of Formula 1, the Indy 500 is on the calendar, but again the American sporting event will not see the participation of European teams. This, in addition to the proximity to the Monaco Grand Prix, and of the next Dutch Grand Prix to be run on Sunday, June 7, 1960, European teams desert this sporting event because of the excessive cost of transporting the material and the excessive difference in the means available, compared to the technical regulatory formula adopted in the United States. Thirty-three competitors participate in the Indy 500. Success falls to old Jlm Rathmann, who manages to overtake Rodger Ward, winner of the last edition of the Indy 500, in a thrilling finish. Ward slows down slightly in the final laps due to trouble with a tire, and it is easy for Rathmann to beat him across the finish line, albeit by a slight margin. Third was Goldmlsch, then, in order, Eddie Johnson, Lloyd Ruby, Bob Veith, Schorty Templeman and Bud Tingelstad. The average set by the winner over the 500 miles is 223.280 km/h, a new record for the race. A serious and exceptional accident occurs while the traditional auto race that takes place each year at the Indianapolis race track on Memorial Day, America's national holiday, is taking place. The Indy 500, a race valid for the World Drivers' Championship, although in practice it is almost never contested by European-school drivers, is about to start when a thirteen-meter-high aluminum frame literally breaks in two under the weight of spectators. The top of the grandstand collapses onto a bus. According to initial reports, the dead are two and the injured, some of them seriously, fifty. Hospitals in the city of Indiana are trying to get more information on the status of the injured but doctors are maintaining strict confidentiality. The torpedo on which the grandstand crashes cushions the impact, making the disaster less serious and preventing its ruins from crushing more spectators; however, the balance is beyond sad. A young man attending the race under the tragic grandstand, who miraculously escaped the accident, recounts:

 

"I suddenly heard a crash, and at first I thought it was a thunderclap. Then I heard a thud, screams of terror, and found myself in the midst of people calling for help, while a large dust cloud hid the scene from the rescuers".

 

On swift ambulances the injured were immediately taken to health centers. Unfortunately, for two of them who were crushed by the beams, there is nothing to be done. While for the rest of the injured, doctors are doing their best to bring help, speculation is already taking place about the probable causes of the disaster. A commission of inquiry will be appointed for the purpose. It is certain, however, that the collapsed grandstand is not part of the equipment coming from the circuit but had been built ia a group of private individuals who handed over access to it for a fee that varied according to location. The Indianapolis circuit is no stranger to misfortunes, but generally these involve the drivers and not the public. The track consists of two long straights joined by long moderately elevated turns: the very high speeds reached in the straights always make accidents possible. From 1911, the year of the first competition, to the present, there have been 521 fatalities at Indianapolis, including drivers and spectators. In the race, drivers do not complain of fatal misfortunes even though some of them run scary adventures. Tony Bettenhausen, for example, is in fourth position when he is forced to stop in the pits with his car on fire. Only the special asbestos suit (mandatory at Indianapolis) prevents the driver from suffering severe burns. Eddie Russo, the son of a competitor who died in a previous race, suffers very serious head injuries going off the track at the southeast corner. Doctors find he has a concussion.


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