Indianapolis, IN Auto Racers Killed in Memorial Day Race, May 1935

Three Auto Racers Killed, One Injured In Memorial Day Trials at Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, May 21 — W.
H. Stubblefield, racing driver,
and his riding mechanic, Leo Whittaker,
both of Los Angeles, were
killed late today when the car
which they were attempting to
qualify for the 500-mile Memorial
Day race hurtled over the wall at
the southwest turn of the motor
speedway here.
The accident was the second fatal
crash of the day. Johnny Hannon,
26-years old. of Norristown, Pa.,
was killed this morning when his
car jumped the wall at the northeast
curve. Hannon was "warming
up" at the time. His mechanic was
injured seriously.
Stubblefield was on the sixth of
the ten-lap qualifying trial when
the car went out of control as it
started into the curve at the end
of the long straightaway. Traveling
at about 116 miles an hour, it
jumped the wall between two
grand stands.
Both Stubblefield and Whittaker
were thrown clear of the car and
died soon after being picked up.
The accident occurred at almost
the exact spot where Pete Kreis,
Knoxville, Tenn., sportsman, was
killed a year ago.
The car's front wheels were
knocked off. It overturned several
times, sheared off seventy-five feet
of a wire fence designed to keep
spectators from the turn and landed
twenty yards from the track, nose
up against a fence.
Stubblefield, who was 27-years
old, had driven in five previous 500-
mile races here, finishing the distance
each time, although not always
in the money. He lived at
3516 Firestone Boulevard, Los
Angeles. Whittaker .lived at 4524
Firestone Boulevard.
Hannon was making his first turn
around the track in a car which lie
hoped to drive in the annual 500-
mile race on May 30. At the treacherous
northeast turn, scene of many
fatal accidents, the machine skidded.
Speedway officials expressed the
belief that the car got out of control
when Hannon tried top speed
too soon on an unfamiliar track.
Hannon apparently met instant
death. Leon Duray, veteran racing
driver and owner of the car, found
the driver with a crushed chest and
fractured skull. Oscar Reeves of
Indianapolis, the mechanic, was
taken from the machine severely
injured.
The three deaths raised the death
toll to thirty in the speedway's history.
Twenty-six drivers and mechanics
have been killed and four
spectators fatally injured since racing
began at the track in 1909.

May 22, 1935 edition of The New York Times