SIX-TIME INDIANAPOLIS 500 STARTER KARL DIES AT 66 INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008 -- Jerry Karl, a veteran of six Indianapolis 500 starts, died Feb. 16 due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Baltimore. He was 66. Born in...
SIX-TIME INDIANAPOLIS 500 STARTER KARL DIES AT 66
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008 -- Jerry Karl, a veteran of six Indianapolis 500 starts, died Feb. 16 due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Baltimore. He was 66.
Born in Jamaica, N.Y., Karl had resided in York, Pa., for virtually all of his adult life. In recent years, he had operated Karl Aviation at York's Capital City Airport.
Karl's six "500" starts took place between 1973 and 1981, but he was at the track on an annual basis between 1970 and 1985, trying to make the lineup. The persistent Karl performed much of his own mechanical preparation when driving for underfunded teams.
His first "500" start came in 1973 when he qualified a Smokey Yunick-fielded Gurney Eagle, housing a V8 stock-block Chevrolet that was boosted by twin turbochargers. It completed only 22 laps in the race.
Karl's highest finish, 13th, came two years later in the rain-shortened event of 1975, by which time his Yunick Eagle/Chevrolet was permitted only one turbocharger.
Although the results do not reflect it, his best run probably came during the 1974 race. Driving a turbo Offy for Lindsey Hopkins, Karl climbed to seventh just before hitting the Turn 3 wall on his 116th lap.
Karl had 75 starts in Championship races. As a sprint car driver in the earlier part of his career, he placed third in the Eastern states-based URC standings in 1966, winding up in a three-way tie for the rookie of the year honors with Al Loquasto and Denny Zimmerman, both of whom became colleagues of Karl at Indianapolis.
Survivors include his wife, Linda, daughter, Donna, and son, Scott. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Injured Drivers Fund of York County Racing Club, 568 Yale St., York, PA 17403.