Search

The Question: Are today's racing cars too fast and too dangerous for the tracks on which they now run? (Asked at Indianapolis)

July 08, 1957
July 08, 1957

Table of Contents
July 8, 1957

Baseball X-Ray
Acknowledgments
All Star
All-Star
Events & Discoveries
Joy of Donkeys
Tip From The Top
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

The Question: Are today's racing cars too fast and too dangerous for the tracks on which they now run? (Asked at Indianapolis)

SAM HANKS
Winner of the Indianapolis "500" 1957
No. The semiofficial Vatican press says race drivers should be kept from risking their lives. I agree, for road racing, where spectators are in danger. But we race only on tracks certified by the U.S. Auto Club. American auto racing has a lower percentage of deaths than some other sports.

This is an article from the July 8, 1957 issue Original Layout

JIMMY BRYAN
AAA National Champion, 1954, 1956
Absolutely not. It is true that most tracks were not built for today's speeds, but the cars are safer. Years ago crack-ups resulted in serious injuries. That's seldom so today. A car hits the wall at 150 mph and the driver often walks away. The Indianapolis track is good for speeds of 145 mph.

PAT O'CONNOR
Midwest Sprint Car Champion 1953, 1954, 1956
No. Charlie Brockman of radio station WIRE, Indianapolis, has compiled statistics which show that a 500-mile race is equivalent to 65,000 miles of highway driving. National Safety Council figures show that a guy driving 65,000 miles is in far greater jeopardy than a race driver.

ANDY LINDEN
Pacific Coast Sprint Car Champion 1950
No. Today's high speed cars are safe on tracks certified by the U.S. Auto Club. A good driver knows how fast he can go on any track. He doesn't barrel around the curves. We're always trying to make tracks safer. If we see anything we don't like, we insist that it be corrected.

TROY RUTTMAN
Winner of the Indianapolis "500" 1952
Of course not. The cars are not fast enough. We could safely go another 20 miles an hour on any of the tracks. At Chelsea, Mich., where the track is 4.7 miles, we cou d go 190 mph if we had the cars. At Monza, Italy, where the track is shorter, we can still go 175 mph.

EDDIE SACHS
Named most improved driver by the U.S. Auto Club, 1956
No. Automobile racing definitely is not a fad. It's three or four times as safe as it used to be. Speed is not the dominant safety factor. The flexibility and maneuverability of the car, the driver's good sense and his restraint are the real safety factors on any track.

JIM RATHMANN
2nd at Indianapolis 1952, 1956
No, although it is true that some of the tracks could be better. Actually the track is not the prime consideration. We are continually trying to make faster cars because speed, alone, on a good track, is not a hazard. It's the driver. Good drivers seldom have serious accidents.

MARSHALL TEAGUE
National Stock Car Champion, 1952, 1954
No. Our association has safety regulations for tracks. If a track doesn't comply, we don't race on it. The association also has strict control over racing cars. Every part is checked to specifications before a race. Faulty parts are impounded so they can't be used.

PAUL RUSSO
Veteran driver of 20 years
No, not with all the up-to-date equipment on today's cars. It's a lot easier for me to drive 145 mph now than it was to drive 120 mph on the best tracks in 1941, in spite of the fact that I'm 16 years older. The tracks haven't improved that much. The cars have improved.

TONY BETTENHAUSEN
AAA National Champion, 1951
No. Racing is safer than ever because cars are built for safety. There has been a tremendous improvement in chassis and tires. The drivers are also more experienced. Some race six times a week. Equipment plus experience has made racing safe. There is no limit to safe speeds at Indianapolis.

ELEVEN PHOTOS