$150 Silver Dollars and a Studebaker Avanti were among the prizes taken home by two drivers from the Indianapolis Month of May in 1962.
On Pole Day the track temperature was measured at a scintillating 142° F / 61° C but amazingly this did not stop Parnelli Jones, in his Watson Offy, becoming the first man to average over 150 mph for his 4 qualifying laps to claim pole and an impromptu prize from a rival car owner of 150 silver dollars.
In Ed Arnaudins photo above a Studebaker Skylark Convertible passes the white Watson Offy of Shorty Templeton as is pushed to its outside second row grid position and the black Phillips Offy of Bud Tigelstad making its way to an inside forth row grid position.
Shorty and Bud would finish the race in 11th and 15th places respectively.
As the Skylark pace car returns to pit road Parnelli Jones from the inside of the front row leads Roger Ward, Watson Offy, Bobby Marshman, Epperly Offy, and the rest of the field to the start line. Rookie Dan Gurney in the middle of the third row seems to be struggling to get his rear engined stock block Thompson Buick up to speed.
Parnelli Jones led the first 300 miles comfortably before experiencing problems including coming to rest in the pits. AJ Foyt, Trevis Offy, was second in the early running until losing a wheel. And so Roger Ward came through to chase Jones down and take the lead, heading his team mate Len Sutton across the line for a Leader Card 1-2 victory at a new record 140 mph average for the race.
In Ed’s photo above Roger is seen driving the #3 Leader Card Special during the 1982 pre race parade. Roger won a £125,000 and became the first owner of a Studebaker Avanti which was part of his prize package.
My thanks to Ed Arnaudin and his son Steve for today’s photographs and to E.B and Brian at The Nostalgia Forum for their help identifying Roger and the two racing cars in the top photo.
Thanks for joining me on this “$150 Silver Dollars And An Avanti” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a trip through the National Motor Museum. Don’t forget to come back now !