• Indianapolis 500 1950

Parsons wins as Europeans stay away

Martin Williamson
Johnnie Parsons who won the 1950 Indy 500 © Getty Images
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In a bid to try to spread the appeal of Formula One to the USA, the FIA decide to include the Indianapolis 500 as one of the seven races which formed the inaugural championship. In the event, the high costs of transporting men and machines to the USA for a race only nine days after the Monaco Grand Prix meant not one of those who drove at Indianapolis featured in any other F1 event in the year.

The Indianapolis 500, which took place on a Tuesday, was blighted by bad weather which caused it to be halted after 138 of the scheduled 200 laps. A number of cars spun off but surprisingly given the circuit's poor record, there were no serious injuries.

Johnnie Parsons in his Wynn's Kurtis-Offenhauser won the shortened race, and was fortunate the rain came as it later emerged he had a cracked engine block which would probably not have lasted the distance. Bill Holland was second with Mauri Rose third.

Adding a touch of US celebrity, actor Clark Gable drove the pace car.