Highlights from the 21st running of the Indianapolis 500

Publish date:

RACE: 21st Indianapolis 500

DATE: May 30, 1933

WINNER: Louis Meyer

AVERAGE SPEED: 104.162 mph

WHAT HAPPENED: It was a tragic and bizarre month at Indianapolis. Five participants died in May, including drivers Mark Billman and Lester Spangler and mechanic G.L. Jordan, who were all killed in race day crashes. Then in a strange twist, a Colorado newspaper mistakenly proclaimed rookie Will Overhead had won the race. One problem: Overhead didn't exist. Instead, driver-owner Louis Meyer joined Tommy Milton as the only two-time winners of the race. Meyer took the lead on Lap 130 and pulled away from future three-time winner Wilbur Shaw by more than 6 minutes to finish with a record average speed of 104.162 mph.

NOTABLE: Despite having a 42-car field, the largest in race history, prize money took a major hit during the Depression. The total purse of $54,450 was Indy's lowest payout in 14 years. It never went that low again.