Driving the McNamara Special, one of A. J. Watson's brilliant new racers,
Rathmann won the pole for the "500" with a record qualifying speed of
145.974 mph. He made the field twice before, placed fifth in 1956. This is his
"greatest opportunity in 14 years of racing." He had only one day's
practice in the car before qualifying. Age: 32. Home: Trenton, N.J.
No higher than 18th in four previous races, Elisian became the Speedway's
fastest driver by averaging 148.148 mph (unofficially) on a practice lap. His
qualifying speed of 145.926 mph in this Watson-built John Zink Special (Troy
Ruttman's 1957 car) placed him on the front row. His fastest single lap was a
record 146.508 mph. Age: 31. Home: Oakland, Calif.
Seventh in his first "500" drive—for John Zink
in 1952—Reece now rejoins Zink's terrific Tulsa team in a new Watson car. He
qualified third fastest, at 145.513 mph, completing Watson's front-row sweep.
Here he lifts a wheel on the first turn at about 136 mph. The car's side tank,
typical of Watson machines, holds oil. Age: 28. Home: Speedway, Ind.
Rookie of the year in 1956, placing seventh, Veith was ninth last year. At 235
pounds he is the Brickyard's heftiest driver. Plugging away out of the
limelight he practiced swiftly in this Bowes Seal Fast Special, then deftly put
it into fourth position among better-known cars and drivers in the trials.
Veith is a former midget-racing star. Age: 31. Home: Oakland, Calif.
Entering his fifth "500" with one of the fastest Kurtis cars, a Sumar
Special, O'Connor sits beside Veith. Mechanical trouble cut short his
front-running drives in 1956 and 1957; his nerve, skill and knowledge of track
(through testing racing tires) could make this the year. O'Connor has been
Midwest Sprint Champion three times. Age: 29. Home: North Vernon, Ind.
Perhaps unsurpassed in determination and stamina, Bryan eyes the race with a
proved car (last year's winning Belond Special), a proved pit crew, and a
choice qualifying spot in the third row (144.185 mph). National Champion Driver
in 1954, 1956 and 1957, he was second at Indy in 1954, third last year, first
in the 1957 Monza "500." Age: 31. Home: Phoenix.