Firestone News (Gastonia, N.C.) /
June 10, 1954, edition 1 /
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New Design Firestone Tires Bring Home 31st Consecutive '500’ Winner
(L) SOME of the Firestone men most vitally concerned with the race examine
the new Firestone DeLuxe Champion tire designed particularly for the race. Left to
right: Leonard K, Firestone, President of The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company of
California; John Moore, Manager of the Racing Tire Division; W. E. Lyon, Director
of Development, and Raymond C, Firestone, Executive Vice-President,
(C) THE Pit Area of the Speedway is a busy place as crews of the cars prepare
for the race. Here Firestone tire men check two of the cars.
(R) IN the winner’s circle at Indianapolis, Raymond C. Firestone (right)
exchanges congratulations with Bill Vukovich, who piloted the Fuel Injection Special
to victory in the fastest and safest 500-mile Speedway race ever run. Mr. Firestone,
Executive Vice-President of the Company, praised Vukovich’s record-breaking per
formance, and the winning driver credited Firestone tires with making possible his
130.840 mile-an-hour average speed. It was the 31st consecutive Speedway classic won
on Firestone tires.
Bill Vukovich Wins Second In
Row With Record 130-MPH Pace
ROLLING on the new Firestone nylon race tires for the first time
in a “500,” Bill Vukovich of Fresno, California, smashed Indianapolis
Motor Speedway records and became the third man in history to win
America’s race car classic two years in a row.
For the 31st consecutive timeO
Firestone tires took a 500-mile ■
champion into Victory Lane. |
During the 3 hours, 49 minutes
, and 17.27 seconds that elapsed
Among the 175,000^ Speedway from his start to finish, Vuky made
only two pit stops. In the slower
1953 race, he had made three pit
spectators were cost-reduction con
test winners from Firestone tire
plants in Akron, Des Moines, Mem
phis and Pottstown, as well as
Firestone sales contest winners
from every section of the country.
The race on May 31 was the
safest as well as the fastest in 38
years of 500-mile competition.
Drivers and Speedway officials
gave major credit to Firestone
tires for new high speeds and
greater safety in the race and in
Vukovich’s 130.840 mile-an-hour
average shattered Troy Ruttman’s
record 128,922 set at the Memorial
Day spectacle of speed in 1952.
Runner-up Jimmy Bryan was a
lap behind when Vukovich’s Fuel
Injection Special got the checkered
flag. Jack McGrath, whose record
qualifying speed of 141.033 gave
him pole position, finished third.
Buried in 19th position among 33
starters, Vukovich doggedly work
ed his way up front. He gained and
surrendered the lead twice before
permanently capturing it in the
149th lap, three quarters of the
way to the winner’s circle.
There, in a blaze of flash bulbs,
the Californian exchanged congrat
ulations with Raymond C. Fire
stone, Executive Vice-President of
the company that made his tires.
Also on hand to greet the winner
was Speedway President Wilbur
Shaw, like Vukovich and Mauri
Rose a champion twice in consecu
OBSERVERS estimated Vuky’s
take as high as $90,000 for his
second victory. Ill luck had kept
him from first money in 1952,
when with a comfortable lead, he
spun out of the race on the 192nd
Vukovich plans to try for “a
couple more” Speedway purses be
fore quitting racing, for his 40-
acre grape farm. He’s 35 years
stops. His crew needed only one
minute, 42 seconds to fuel and
service his car.
No serious accidents marred the
fastest 500. But drivers were slow
ed by 20 minutes of caution light
time caused by minor mishaps and
the passage overhead of a threat
ening thundercloud near the end of
the race. Through most of the day
the hot sun shone on the brick
track. Its temperature was 88 de
grees at starting time.
Eighteen of the starting cars
finished the race and 15 drivers
were relieved at least once. Last
year, during the hottest race on
record only six of the 33 starting
Drivers credited the new Fire
stone tires—constructed with light
weight, cool-running nylon cord for
the first time at Indianapolis—
with permitting the record-break
ing sustained speed.
According to Shaw, President of
the Motor Speedway Corporation,
“A lion’s share of the credit for
this fastest field of cars in history
must go to the new Firestone tires.
The new tires are not only faster
but they are also safer.”
IN a cable to Harvey S. Fire
stone, Jr., in Europe, Vukovich re
ported: “My victory at this terrific
speed was possible only because the
new Firestone tires developed for
the ‘500’ gave me greater stability
through the turns and better con
trol of my car. I know every driver
agrees that no other tires could
stand the punishment Firestone
tires took today.”
“We race drivers know that
Firestone tires have proved their
safety on the Speedway and are
the safest tires for the highway.”
MISS BETTY ANN PRICE,
2, takes a final look at her
birthday cake before she and 15
birthday party guests are allow
ed to eat it. The party was a
big event for the small boys and
girls of Betty’s neighborhood on
South Vance Street. It took place
Sunday afternoon, June 6.
Betty’s parents are Mr. and Mrs.
Norman Price, the former being
a warper creeler.
Firestone Playground Movies
June 4—“UNTAMED BREED” With Sunny Tufts, Gabby Hayes,
Barbara Britton. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 1 (With
Tom Neal-Judy Clark)
June 11—“BATTLE OF APACHE PASS” (TECHNICOLOR- MA
JOR) John Lund, Jeff Chandler, and Susan Cabot.
“BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 2.
June 18—“FRANCIS GOES TO WEST POINT” With Donald 0’-
Conner-Alice Kelly. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 3.
June 25—“BEND OF THE RIVER” With James Stewart and Julia
Adams. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 4.
July 2—“YANKEE BUCCANEER” (TECHNICOLOR-MAJOR)
With Scott Brady. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 5.
July 9—“BONZO GOES TO COLLEGE“ With Maureen O’Sullivan-
Gene Lockhart. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 6.
July 16—“LITTLE BIG HORN” With John Ireland and Lloyd
Bridges. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 7.
July 23—“LOST IN ALASKA” With Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
“BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 8.
July 30—“BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST” With Cornel Wilde
-Anita Louise, “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 9,
August 6—“FLYING MISSLE” With Glenn Ford and Viveca
Lindfors. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 10.
August 13—“WILLIE & JOE BACK AT THE FRONT“ With Tom
Ewell. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 11.
August 20—”SCARLET ANGEL” (TECHNICOLOR - MAJOR)
With Rock Hudson, Richard Denning and Yvonne DeCarlo,
“BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 12.
August 27—“WEEK END WITH FATHER” With Van Heflin, Gigi
Perreau. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 13.
September 3—“DAUGHTER OF THE WEST” With Martha Vick
ers and Phillip Reed. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 14.
September 10—“SPIRIT OF WEST POINT” With Glenn Davis and
Doc Blanchard. “BRUCE GENTRY” Chapter No. 15. (Last
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