|1951 Indianapolis 500|
|Date||30 May 1951|
|Official name||35th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes|
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.023 km (2.5 miles)|
|Distance||200 laps, 804.672 km (500 miles)|
|Weather||Warm and sunny|
|Time||4:23.74 (4 laps)|
The 35th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, May 30, 1951. The event was part of the 1951 AAA National Championship Trail, and was also race 2 of 8 in the 1951 World Championship of Drivers. For the second year in a row, no European Formula One-based teams entered the race.
Duke Nalon, who had suffered serious burns in a crash in 1949, and who missed the 1950 race, made a comeback at Indy by winning the pole position in a Novi.
Heavy attrition saw only eight cars running at the finish. Winner Lee Wallard's car lost its brakes, suffered a damaged exhaust pipe, and broke a shock absorber mounting. In addition to the unbearably uncomfortable ride, Wallard had worn a fire retardant outfit, created by dipping his uniform in a mixture of borax crystals and water. Due to not wearing an undershirt, Wallard suffered serious chafing, and required treatment at the infield hospital after the victory lane celebration. It was estimated he lost 15 pounds during the race.
Wallard's winning car had the smallest displacement in the field. About a week after winning the race, Wallard suffered severe burns in a crash at Reading, which effectively ended his professional racing career.
Three-time winner Mauri Rose, in his 15th Indy start, crashed and flipped on lap 126. It was his final 500, as he retired from driving after the crash.
Time trials were scheduled for six days. Rain, however, pushed qualifying into a seventh day.
|1||2||99||Lee Wallard||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.03||5||200||159||3:57:38.05||91|
|2||7||83||Mike Nazaruk||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||132.18||26||200||0||+ 1:47.24||6|
|3||3||9|| Jack McGrath(Laps 1-100)
Manny Ayulo(Laps 101-200)
|Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||134.30||8||200||11||+ 2:51.39||2|
|4||31||57||Andy Linden||Sherman-Offenhauser||132.22||25||200||0||+ 4:40.12||3|
|5||29||52||Bobby Ball||Schroeder-Offenhauser||134.09||9||200||0||+ 4:52.23||2|
|6||17||1||Henry Banks||Moore-Offenhauser||133.89||12||200||0||+ 5:40.02|
|7||24||68||Carl Forberg||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||132.89||22||193||0||+ 7 Laps|
|8||4||27||Duane Carter||Deidt-Offenhauser||133.74||15||180||0||+ 20 Laps|
|9||9||5||Tony Bettenhausen||Deidt-Offenhauser||131.95||29||178||0||Spun Off|
|10||1||18||Duke Nalon||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||136.49||2||151||0||Retirement|
|11||22||69||Gene Force||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||133.10||20||142||0||Engine|
|12||12||25||Sam Hanks||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||132.99||21||135||0||Engine|
|13||16||10||Bill Schindler||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||134.03||11||129||0||Engine|
|17||11||59||Fred Agabashian||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.02||6||109||0||Clutch|
|18||15||73||Carl Scarborough||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||135.61||4||93||0||Fire|
|21||8||3||Johnnie Parsons||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||132.15||27||87||0||Magneto|
|22||10||4||Cecil Green||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||131.89||31||80||5||Engine|
|23||6||98||Troy Ruttman||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||132.31||24||78||0||Engine|
|25||28||32||Chet Miller||Kurtis Kraft-Novi||135.79||3||56||0||Ignition|
|26||13||44||Walt Brown||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||131.90||30||55||0||Magneto|
|27||25||48||Rodger Ward||Bromme-Offenhauser||134.86||7||34||0||Oil Pipe|
|28||18||23||Cliff Griffith||Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser||133.83||13||30||0||Axle|
|29||20||81||Bill Vukovich||Trevis-Offenhauser||133.72||16||29||0||Oil leak|
|32||26||12||Johnny McDowell||Maserati-Offenhauser||132.47||23||15||0||Fuel leak|
|1||Juan Manuel Fangio||9|
The race was carried live on the radio through a network arrangement set up by 1070 WIBC-AM of Indianapolis. Mutual, which had carried the race for several years, had raised its advertising rates for 1951, and lost its primary sponsor for the event, Perfect Circle Piston Rings. As a result, Mutual dropped the coverage altogether. Local station WIBC stepped in to cover the race, and provided its feed to various Mutual affiliates. A total of 26 stations carried the broadcast.
WIBC personality Sid Collins served as the chief announcer in the booth, and the remainder of the crew consisted mostly of WIBC talent. Jim Shelton reported from his familiar turn four location, and Bill Fox was also in the booth. Easy Gwynn was also to be part of the crew. Collins interviewed the winner in victory lane, leaving Fox to call the actual finish of the race. Like the Mutual broadcasts, WIBC featured live coverage of the start (30 minutes), the finish (30 minutes), and 15-minute live updates throughout the race. The on-air crew was smaller than normal. There were not turn and pit reporters stationed around the entire track, instead recorded interviews were played back during later broadcast segments.