Wednesday 26th November 1980
Peter DePaolo, who won a dazzling victory at the 1925 Indy 500, died at the age of 82. The nephew of racing legend Ralph DePalma, DePaolo first started racing for Duesenberg in the 1920s. For the 1925 Indy, racing car designer Harry Miller showed up with a dramatic new supercharged front-drive Miller Junior Eight, and Peter DePaolo, who was set to drive for Duesenberg, had his work cut out from him. However, DePaolo had set a promising 135mph record on the Culver City boards that same year, and as the race got underway, he took an early lead over racer Dave Lewis in the Miller Junior Eight. By the halfway point of the race, the blisters on DePaolo’s hands had become intolerable, and Fred Duesenberg replaced him with Norman Batten. When DePaolo returned from the track hospital, he learned with horror that Batten had fallen to fifth place, and Dave Lewis was leading in the Miller. DePaolo reentered the race, and slowly but surely, DePaolo fought his way to the front of the pack again. When the dust cleared on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Peter DePaolo had prevailed. It was a great victory for the Duesenberg team, made greater by DePaolo’s passing of the 100mph Indy speed barrier with an average speed of 101.13mph.