• Indianapolis 500 1956

Flaherty dominates at the relaid Brickyard

Martin Williamson May 30, 1956
Pat Flaherty waves from the winner's circle at Indianapolis with his wife © Associated Press

Pat Flaherty won the Indianapolis 500, leading for two-thirds of the race. It was his only top-ten finish in six starts.

The race was be the first Indy 500 to be governed by the United States Automobile Club as the American Automobile Association withdrew the previous August, and the first on a newly-laid track, asphalt covering all but a small line of bricks on the start-finish line.

Flaherty took pole as 29 drivers qualified on the first weekend, but only four made it through a sodden second weekend. One of those to miss out was 49-year-old former world champion Nino Farina who had retired from Formula One at the end of 1955.

The first lap was a three-man battle between Paul Russo, Pat O'Connor, and Flaherty, but Russo suffered a puncture and his car crashed and caught fire.

Johnnie Parsons led for a while before Flaherty moved ahead on 200 miles, taking such a sizeable lead he was able to pit near the end and still win by 20 seconds, a lap ahead of all but Sam Hanks.