Friday, May 22, 2009
1950 Indinapolis 500 Starting Bomb
This postcard shows the starting field of the 1950 Indianapolis Motor Speedway race, 69 years ago. It was photographed in Kodachrome and Ansco color by Robert Martin for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. The description on the reverse side is vague but contains one note of specific interest. It records that the 33-car starting field awaits "the starting bomb" -- the speedway's signal for drivers to start their engines. This was the last year before the now traditional "Gentleman, start your engines" command would be uttered.
The winner of this race was Johnnie Parsons. He is in the yellow car, number one, far right, the fifth starting position. The first row is off picture further to the right. The car featured a lightweight aircraft-like tubular space frame, welded with chrome-moly steel. Instead of solid front axles with springs used by most cars, Parson's sported an independent front suspension with torsion bars. The modern suspension gave the car a softer ride, superior handling and faster cornering speeds. A DVD of the race is available here.