Donald Davidson Remembers the Late Bill Vukovich

by Kent Sterling

A year after I moved to Indianapolis, I grabbed a bunch of old and dusty reel-to-reels of Indy 500 highlights and sat down to try to understand the allure of this event.

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So many feel such enormous passion for the Indianapolis 500 that I must have missed something as I watched it the previous year.

One of the reels contained memories of Sid Collins, the voice of the race from its first broadcast through 1976.  There were also race highlights, and when he spoke of the 1955 crash that claimed the life of Bill Vukovich, everything clicked.

Sid did an amazing job of conveying the sense of loss, daring, and risk that built the race in both the horror he expressed during the highlight and his remembrance.

He ran the 500 only five times, won twice, led 485 laps, and led 50 or 56 laps during the race in which he was killed.  If not for that incident, there is no telling how many 500s he might have won.


One thought on “Donald Davidson Remembers the Late Bill Vukovich

  1. Neil

    If you can sense anything from the little clip there it is the importance of the 500 in those days. It was truly “KING” of races. Take a look at “Indy in the Fifties” narrated by Mike Ahern and the part about the 500. Hopefully you can get the full version that leaves in the entire interview with one of the locals that used to host some of the drivers. That was one of the key things then. This race was very big then but the drivers were like the ordinary fans and they lived and visited with them and even lived with them. The guy ends up crying but you really sense the connection and what has been lost over the years.


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