"500" WINNER FLAHERTY, CAR OWNER DEAN NAMED TO HALL OF FAME INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 19, 2006 -- Two names that were synonymous with open-wheel racing success 50 years ago will earn their place in the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, located at...
"500" WINNER FLAHERTY, CAR OWNER DEAN NAMED TO HALL OF FAME
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 19, 2006 -- Two names that were synonymous with open-wheel racing success 50 years ago will earn their place in the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during induction ceremonies May 20.
Pat Flaherty, winner of the 1956 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, and legendary multi-time, championship-winning car owner Al Dean will be enshrined into the prestigious Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame honors drivers, team owners, mechanics and event officials who have made significant contributions to the success and colorful history of the sport of open-wheel racing. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
The induction ceremony is taking place at 7:30 p.m. (local time) Saturday, May 20 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in conjunction with the annual "500" Oldtimers' Club Banquet. The ceremonies and banquet are sold out.
Flaherty, a native of Glendale, Calif., whose name was George Francis Flaherty Jr., qualified for five Indianapolis 500-Mile Races and drove in a sixth as a relief driver. He won the 1956 event at an average speed of 128.490 mph.
Flaherty won the 1956 pole with one- and four-lap qualifying records of 146.056 and 145.596 mph, respectively, delighting the fans by lifting the left front wheel completely from the track surface as he negotiated the turns in his lightweight, A.J. Watson-built John Zink Special.
He became the second driver in the post-World War II era to win the Indianapolis 500 from the pole, after Bill Vukovich in 1953.
During his career, Flaherty also won two championship races at Milwaukee, a grueling 250-miler in August 1955 and a 100-mile race two weeks after his 1956 "500" win. He suffered a severe arm injury in an accident in August 1956 at the 1-mile dirt oval at Springfield, Ill., but returned to lead several laps of the Indianapolis 500 in 1959.
Dean was by far the most successful AAA and USAC championship car owner of the 1950s and 1960s.
His Dean Van Lines Specials, under the charge of chief mechanic Clint Brawner, won 38 National Championship races from 1953-67 in the hands of Jimmy Bryan and Mario Andretti (17 wins each), Eddie Sachs (three wins) and Bob Sweikert, whose only win with Dean was also the car owner's first victory, at the inaugural Hoosier Hundred in 1953. In addition, Bryan won the non-points Monza (Italy) 500 in 1957.
A self-made transit company magnate, Dean also was renowned for providing "500" rookie tests to Andretti (1965) and A. J. Foyt (1958). Bryan won the national title in 1954, 1956-57, and was runner-up in 1955, while Andretti won it in 1965-66 and was runner-up in 1967 in a Dean machine. He never won the Indianapolis 500, but Dean's cars earned five top-three finishes, including second places with Bryan in 1954 and Sachs in 1961. He also had four "500" poles with Sachs in 1960-61 and Andretti in 1966-67.
As part of the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Fame Museum, Flaherty's No. 8 John Zink Special, the 1956 winner, is featured in an exhibit at the Museum that re-creates a garage stall in the Speedway's famed "Gasoline Alley" garage area from 1956.
Photos of the Museum from its first year are also on display, along with the 75-plus vehicles and trophies, artwork and other artifacts that constitute the Museum's regular fare.
For more information on the Hall of Fame Museum, call (317) 492-6784.
Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.
Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.
Ticket prices start at just $20.