Chicago Short Tracks Were Stepping-Stones To Indy

— With the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge a few days away, part of the history of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing was influenced by numerous northwest Indiana/Calumet region speedways. Shaw won three Indianapolis 500s — 1937, ’39 and ’40. Cummings, winner of a 100-lap race at Roby in 1931, won the Indianapolis 500 in 1934. Before his 1949 win at Indianapolis, East Coast racer Bill Holland was victorious at the Hammond oval in 1941. Foyt, the first four-time winner at Indianapolis, competed at Illiana in 1957, racing midgets. Winning at Indy in 1960, Rathmann was a stock car winner at Illiana during the mid 1950s with Flaherty, winner at Indianapolis in 1956, Sweikert, Indy champion in 1955, and Bryan (1958) racing sprint cars at Illiana during the 1950s. With an Indianapolis 500 victory already added to their racing résumés, drivers such as Johnnie Parsons (1950 winner), Troy Ruttman (1952) and Rodger Ward (1959 and ’62) raced at Illiana after their victories at the famed Indianapolis oval.

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