Sunday 10th July 1955
Jerry Hoyt (26) died while taking part in a sprint race in Oklahoma City. On the first lap, his car made contact with a fence, causing it to overturn. The cars of the time provided little protected for the driver’s head, and Hoyt died the next morning of brain injuries. He had been married just two weeks earlier.
In the 1955 Indianapolis 500 Hoyt surprised many, including himself, by winning the pole (first starting position) in qualifications. His average speed for the run of 140.045 miles per hour was at the time the second fastest ever at the speedway. However an oil leak would force him to retire from the race after 40 laps. As the 500 was part of the FIA World Championship at the time, Hoyt was credited for being the youngest pole sitter in the history of the series to that point. In his four races at the speedway, he would never complete more than 130 laps in the 200 lap race.