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Bill Holland

BILL HOLLAND compiled a phenomenal record in his first four Indianapolis 500 starts, never finishing lower than second. Driving a Lou Moore, front-drive Blue Crown Special in his 1947 debut, he led the greater part of the race, only to heed an “EZY” signal from his pit and unknowingly gave up the lead to teammate Mauri Rose with just seven laps remaining. He took second to Rose again in 1948, and won the Indianapolis 500 in his third attempt in 1949. Another second in the rain-shortened race of 1950 was followed by a stiff two-year suspension from the American Automobile Association for an apparent rules violation, after which he bounced back in 1953 to record the second-fastest qualifying speed. He was an exceptional dirt track driver, and from 1937 through 1953 he won an astonishing 53 sprint car feature races, including 16 in 1946 alone. He was second in the 1940 American Automobile Association East Coast standings, won the title in 1941, and was runner-up again in 1947. He also was runner-up for the 1947 American Automobile Association National Championship, scoring wins at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds and Langhorne Speedway in Pennsylvania. The son of a turn-of-the-century major league baseball player, Holland excelled at roller skating and ice skating and tried out for the 1932 Olympic Games. He operated several skating rinks at various times and also briefly operated an auto thrill show.