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Bill Vukovich

BILL VUKOVICH, who concentrated most of his racing efforts on the Indianapolis 500 after winning the 1950 American Automobile Association National Midget Championship, was the fourth driver to score two consecutive victories at Indianapolis. In 1952, he led most of the race before being eliminated by steering gear failure with only nine laps to go. Success came in 1953 when he won the pole position with an average speed of 138.392 miles per hour and led the field for all but five laps on a terribly hot race day to win impressively. One year later he started in 19th place but quickly moved to the front and won at a new race record of an average of 130.84 miles per hour. In 1955, he was out in front again on his way to what would have been an unprecedented third straight victory when he died in an accident while lapping slower cars. In spite of having only five starts in the Indianapolis 500, he led for almost 75 percent of the laps he completed from 1952 through 1955 — 485 laps out of 647. He won two other American Automobile Association National Championship races in addition to Indianapolis, substituting for an injured Troy Ruttman in the summer of 1952 to win 100-mile dirt track races at the Michigan State Fairgrounds at Detroit, Michigan, and Centennial Park Speedway in Denver Colorado.