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1958 Indy 500: 15 car pile-up kills 1

Posted at 6:25 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 18:25:58-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- In 1958, spring brought a championship to Indianapolis: The International Hockey League's Indianapolis Chiefs dominated on the ice, winning the Turner Cup. 

Just a month after, sports fans turned to another kind of championship: The 42nd running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Cars found their way to parking positions along 16th Street the day before the race waiting to get in. Others camped out three days in advance.

Some star power added to the festivities that year in the form of actress Shirley MacLaine, who was the center of attention at the drivers' meeting.

On race day, thousands of fans were ready for an unpredictable day, and it truly was.

Not even a lap into the race, the caution flag came out and a 15-car pileup in the northeast turn produced tragedy.

Indiana driver Pat O'Connor was killed. It was one of the worst crashes in the history of the race.

Driver Jimmy Bryan managed to avoid the melee, as did rookie A.J. Foyt. As the race continued, Foyt would fold after spinning out with 50 laps to go, but Bryan held on, leading a total of 139 laps, including the one that counted most - the last.

He was greeted at Victory Lane with hugs, kisses, that famous bottle of milk and a cigar.

 

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