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Lee Wallard

LEE WALLARD, nicknamed “Cinderella Man” when he won the 1951 Indianapolis 500 at age 40, averaged a record 126.244 miles per hour; he was the first person to finish the race in less than four hours. An East Coast sprint car driver since the mid-1930s, the jovial Wallard served with the United States Navy during World War II. He was 37 years old when he made his debut at Indianapolis in 1948. He caused a sensation by qualifying fifth-fastest with a converted sprint car, eventually to finish seventh after making several pit stops. In 1949, he led the race for several laps with the ex-Wilbur Shaw, ex-Ted Horn Maserati. Unfortunately, Wallard’s career ended only one week after his Indianapolis triumph as a result of burn injuries sustained in a sprint car accident at Reading Fairgrounds Speedway, Pennsylvania. He attempted a comeback during practice at Indianapolis in 1954, but elected to retire, becoming an American Automobile Association official.