SI Vault
Kim Chapin
May 29, 1978
If you are a devotee of Indy 500 lore, chances are you're aware that Gordon Johncock ate dinner at a Burger Chef the night after he won the 1973 race. And that bandleader Spike Jones sponsored a car in the 1946 classic. And that Frank Farmer finished 21st in 1930. What you probably do not know is that in 1925 Pete DePaolo took his victory repast at Rosner's Drug Store. Or that the real name of Leon Duray, who sat on the pole in 1925 and 1928, was George Stewart, though some history books have it as James Stewart. Or that in the first 500 in 1911, Art Greiner finished last after crashing on the 13th lap—an accident that snuffed out the life of his riding mechanic.
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May 29, 1978

He's Batting 1.000 On The 500

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Davidson is in heavy demand as an after-dinner speaker, and when he is not at home with his wife and three kids about a mile from the Speedway, he takes on as many engagements as possible.

On these occasions, as on radio, Davidson's best moments are those in which he takes a simple question and runs with it deeper and deeper into the bowels of trivia. A recent call-in about riding mechanics elicited a marvelous tale about the poor fellow who in 1933 heard nature's call and answered it—in the middle of the third turn. An innocuous question about the 1913 race led Davidson to expound on Jules Goux of France, the winner, who put down a pint of champagne at each of his six pit stops and a seventh in Victory Lane. A caller who wanted to know about Dick Rathman learned that, despite the difference in spellings, he is Jim Rathmann's brother. The caller also found out that Dick's given name is James, while Jim's given name is Richard.

That obviously requires an explanation, which you are not going to get here. But if you are in the vicinity of Indianapolis in the next few days and turn your radio dial to 1070, there's a good chance you will find out everything you could want to know about the Rathman-Rathmanns and a lot of other racers who will be or have been in the 500.

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