Saturday 26th May 1906
Born on this day, Mauri Rose, racing driver, who invented a device that made it possible for amputees to drive an automobile. He started from the pole position driving a Maserati in the 1941 Indianapolis 500, but spark plug problems put him out of the race after sixty laps. He then took over the Wetteroth/Offenhauser car being driven by Floyd Davis that had started in 17th place. Rose went on to win. In 1947 and 1948, Rose captured back-to-back Indy 500’s driving one of the Deidt/Offenhauser Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials, owned and prepared by veteran driver/car owner Lou Moore.
Late in the 1947 race, Rose found himself lying second to his rookie teammate, Bill Holland. But Holland, still unfamiliar with how to read the scoring pylon near the front straightaway, thought he had more than a lap lead on Rose, instead of just a few seconds. Rose closed on Holland and to his amazement, Holland gave way without a battle and even gave Rose a friendly wave as he went past on his way to victory. Holland was furious afterward.
In 1949, with Holland leading and Rose again running second late in the race, Rose set out to overtake his now-veteran teammate. Rose ignored car owner Lou Moore’s “EZ” signs from the pits and continued to push in pursuit of Holland. Finally Rose’s car broke, Holland cruised home to victory—and Moore fired Rose on the spot after the race for disobeying team orders.
Mauri Rose made his fifteenth and final Indianapolis 500 start in the 1951 race. Knocked out from an accident after 126 laps, the forty-five-year-old Rose retired to a home in California. For the 1967 race, officials of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway invited him to drive the Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car.