1946 indy 500 autographed souvenir flag, race programs, winner's photo
Offered by the Rex Mays Family Collection: With the end of World War II, the Indianapolis 500 Mile auto race was resumed in 1946. Auto racing at the top level had not yet begun in Europe so there was great interest in the 500 both here and abroad. American drivers entered in the race in 1946 included Rex Mays, two time National Driving Champion in 1940 and 1941, Wilbur Shaw, three time winner of the 500, Mauri Rose, 1941 winner, and a host of newcomers and veterans who would make auto racing history in years to come; Sam Hanks, Tony Bettenhausen, Ted Horn, Duke Nalon among others. A little known driver, who didn't qualify for the race was a European immigrant named Zora Arkus-Duntov, who went on to become the face of the Chevrolet Corvette racing program. With no Grand Prix racing yet resumed in Europe, several world class race drivers came to the 1946 Indy race, hoping to be able to have their race cars shipped to the race or find a ride in an American car; Rudi Caracciola, Tazio Nuvolari, Luigi Villoresi, Achille Varsi, and the American expatriate Harry Schell. Unfortunately, Caracciola was badly injured when he crashed in practice. Villoresi was the only foreign driver to qualify and finished a respectable 7th pace after suffering major mechanical problems causing lengthy pit stops. The Flag (18" X 18") Not on flagstick: My aunt and uncle accompanied my father, Rex Mays, and my mother to the 1946 race. My aunt purchased the flag and was able, with help from my dad, to obtain the 50 autographs signed onto the white squares of the flag for her son, my cousin, Jim. The flag had been in his possession in a paper folder since 1946. Recently, he gave the flag to me and we agreed it was time to sell it to someone with an interest in the history of the 500, who hopefully will preserve these pieces of Indy racing history. The flag has been folded while stored as shown in the last photo. When unfolded and laid flat, the creases are minimal. Once mounted and framed, creases should be negligible. The following is list of the autographs starting with the number 2 photo (after the complete flag photo) and concluding with the number 9 photo: #2Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo Paul Russo Driver Indy Cars (DR) Frank McGurk DR A.C. "Cotton" Henning Mech. Lou Meyer DR Vern Orenduff DR Mrs. Bob Bowes Sponsor Frank Wearne DR Harry Schell GP DR Russ Snowberger DR Louis Gerard GP DR-France George Connor DR Luigi Villoresi GP DR Italy Paul Weirick Car Builder Bud Winfield Engine Designer Mel Hansen DR Bud Rose DR Al Putnam DR Johnny Guvais ?Unknown Babe Stapp DR Art Sparks Car/Engine Builder Louis Durant DR Ab Jenkins DR Endurance Louis Tomei DR Mrs. Charles E. Bowes Sponsor #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo Emil Andres DR T.E.Pop Meyers VP Indy 500 Cliff Bergere DR Duane Carter DR Joie Chitwood DR Ralph Hepburn DR Wilbur Shaw DR Ted Duncan DR Pete Clark Chief Mechanic Joe Langley DR Hale Cole DR Ted Horn DR Duke Nalon DR Sam Hanks DR Billy DeVore DR Jimmy Jackson DR Herschel Catlin Riding Mechanic Leon Duray DR Joe Thorne DR/Owner Danny Kladis DR Rex Mays DR Lewis Welch Car Owner Seth Klein Race Starter Bill Sheffler DR (This autograph barely legible.) Johnny Moore Firestone Rep Achille Varsi GP DR Italy As a part of the history of this flag and the 1946 race, the official race program of the 1946 Indy 500 is included in this offering (Photo 11), as well as Floyd Clymer's Indianapolis Race History which provides a behind the scenes look into the many interesting sidelights of the race. A copy of the photo of the the winner, George Robson, in the winning car is also included as a part of the package.
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