|First race||Indianapolis 500||Indianapolis||May 31, 1954||Race results|
|Last race||Indianapolis 500||Indianapolis||May 30, 1958||Race results|
Ed Elisian was an American racing driver, mainly competing in the National Championship. He died in a crash at the Milwaukee Mile in 1959.
In the 1955 Indianapolis 500, he stopped his car in a futile attempt to help Bill Vukovich when Vukovich's car crashed and burned during the race. He is one of only two drivers in Indy 500 history to stop a non-damaged car to help another driver, the other being Gary Bettenhausen. He received a sportsmanship award for his efforts.
In the 1958 Indianapolis 500, Dick Rathmann and Elisian started the race on the front row, with Jimmy Reece on the outside of the front row. Elisian spun 0n the third turn of the first lap, and collected Rathmann, sending them both into the wall, and starting a 15-car pileup. According to AJ Foyt, Pat O'Connor's car hit Reece's car, sailed 50 feet in the air, landed upside down, and burst into flames. Although medical officials said that O'Connor was probably killed instantly from a fractured skull, he was incinerated in the accident, in full view of fans and drivers. Widely blamed for the accident, Elisian was suspended by USAC for the accident (reinstated a few days later), and was shunned by the racing community. Rumours spread that Elisian tried to lead the first lap in order to pay gambling debts owed to a syndicate.
In June, 1958, Elisian was involved in a multi-car sprint car crash at New Bremen Speedway in Saint Marys, Ohio, which claimed the life of Jim Davis. While absolved of blame in the incident, Elisian's unpopularity with drivers deepened.
In August 1959, Elisian entered the USAC Indy car 200-mile (320 km) race at the "Milwaukee Mile," known in those days as Wisconsin State Fair Park. Driving a metallic green Watson-style roadster owned by Ernie Ruiz, he crashed on lap 29 when he spun in oil from A. J. Foyt's engine. The car hit the wall, rupturing the fuel cell, and rolled over. Some 60 gallons of fuel caught fire, and took over nine minutes to extinguish, and he was burned to death.
Adapted from Wikipedia