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1959: Record 16 cars completed full 500 miles

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 18:08:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Crispus Attucks High School won it's third state basketball title in four years in 1959.

And for the first time, the 500 Festival crowned a queen to reign over the month of May.

But the month started in tragic fashion at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Two drivers, Jerry Unser and Bob Cortner, lost their lives as a result of separate crashes during practice.

After Unser died, fire resistant suits became mandatory attire for drivers.

On May 30, more than 200,000 people turned out for the 43rd Indianapolis 500.

Some fans built their own scaffolding to get a better view of the action, and they saw quite a thrilling day.

A close call involving Eddie Sachs and a frightening crash involving Mike Magill. 

Magill's car climbed over another racer and then flipped. Amazingly he survived.

A record 16 cars completed the full 500 miles, including Rodger Ward, who took the lead for good with 15 laps to go.

Finally, in his ninth Indianapolis 500, Ward took the checkered flag.

The Kansas native, who called Indianapolis home at the time, earned a payday of more than $106,000.

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