The Curse of the Indy 500

The Curse of the Indy 500

1958's Tragic Legacy
Stan Sutton
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/23/2018
Format: Hardback 19 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-1-68435-001-8
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


On May 30, 1958, thousands of racing fans poured into the infield at dawn to claim the best seats of the Indianapolis 500, unaware that they were going to witness one of the most notorious wrecks in racing history. Seconds after the green flag, a game of chicken spiraled out of control into a fiery 16-car pile-up that claimed the life of 29-year-old Indiana native and rising star Pat O’Connor. The other drivers escaped death, but the tragic 1958 Indy 500 seemed to leave its mark on them: the surviving drivers were hounded by accidents and terrible crashes, and most would die at tracks around the country. But the tragedy also prompted new regulations and safety precautions like roll bars that would ultimately save hundreds of lives. In The Curse of Indy 500: 1958’s Tragic Legacy, veteran sportswriter Stan Sutton profiles the ill-fated race and the careers of the drivers involved, highlighting their lives in the dangerous world of auto racing.

Author Bio

Stan Sutton is a member of the Indiana Sports Writers and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. During his career, Sutton worked for six newspapers in the Midwest, including 25 years with the Courier-Journal. He is author of Tales from the Indiana Hoosiers Locker Room (with John Laskowski) and Tales from the 1980-81 Indiana Hoosiers (with Landon Turner).


“In this rich history built around the 1958 tragedy that claimed one of the Indy 500’s most beloved drivers, veteran sportswriter Stan Sutton masterfully evokes a unique and unforgettable era of high-risk passion and fallen heroes.”
 — Dan Carpenter, freelance writer, former Indianapolis Star columnist

“"In all, the book offers an exciting story of the 1958 Indy 500 and a thought-provoking discussion of its aftermath."”
 — Daily Journal

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

1. A Convoluted Account of the Crash
2. A Race-Day Shootout
3. May was Busting Out All Over
4. O’Connor’s Eternal Home
5. The City of Railroads
6. Deadly Summer of ‘58
7. Safety Wasn’t First
8. Daytona Enters the Picture
9. No Average Day at the Teach
10. Champion of the Dirt
11. How Fast is Too Fast
12. O’Connor Victim of Jinx
13. Jerry Unser Unlucky Trend Setter
14. The Good and Bad of Ed Elisian
15. Journeymen Drivers Also Victimized
16. Death Common at Langhorne
17. The Short Career of Bobby Ball
18. Speedway Claims Bettenhausen
19. Tony’s Legacy Continues
20. Check Out Those Helmets
21. Keller in Vukovich Crash
22. Thomson Known for Bravery
23. Among All Else, Foyt is Survivor
24. Sachs Almost Won in ‘61
25. The Little Car that Could
26. Everyone Loved the Novi
27. Innocent Victims
28. Sport Loses Two Good Men
29. He Was a Wonderful Gentleman
30. Fire and Fear are Synonymous
31. Just Get Over It
32. Danger Highest on Short Tracks
33. ’58 Drivers Can’t Escape Fate
34. Dodge Loses in Photo Finish
35. Phrase Almost Prophetic
36. Later that Night he was Gone
37. Jud Larson, A Breed Apart
38. A New Rival for Indy
39. Ward’s Time Finally Arrives
40. Dick is Jim and Jim is Dick
41. Ward Walks Away
42. Major Celebrities Missed Race
43. Dick, the Other Rathmann
44. Hollywood Comes to Indy
45. Fans Fall to Their Death
46. Goldsmith was Multi-dimensional
47. The Lady Lost her Life
48. Indy Among Top 10 Dangerous Tracks
49. The Former Winner’s Last Race
50. Death Wasn’t Only Bad Result
51. Most Great Indy Drivers Survived
52. Mario Survives Spectacular Flip
53. The Most Deadly Sport?
54. The Trials of Cal Niday
55. Weyant the Oldest Survivor
56. Stewart Pushes for Safety
57. He was Still Alive
58. Lower Leg Injuries were Prevalent
59. Flying Starts Can Be Frightening
60. Gettin