Indianapolis 500 Veteran Mahler Dies at 87

John Mahler, who was best known for dramatically bumping his way into the 1979 Indianapolis 500, died Feb. 6 in the Quad Cities area of Iowa. Ferguson’s bid to complete the run nearly cost Mahler a chance to make his last attempt. “It was pretty exciting being inside the car,” Mahler said with a laugh. Listening to Jim McKay’s call of Mahler’s qualifying run added to the drama. Mahler liked to joke that his qualifying run that pushed into the 6 o’clock hour bumped the Osmonds, too. Mahler did what he could with his opportunity to compete in the race. Mahler was born Nov. 16, 1936, in his grandparents’ home in Alpha, Iowa. Mahler made his first IMS start in 1972, finishing 22nd. Mahler made 36 INDYCAR SERIES starts, finishing in the top 10 six times.

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