Lee Wallard by David Story

Lee Wallard is a great Indianapolis 500 story I fear may have been forgotten. The winner of the 1951 "500," he prevailed in a brutal race that saw only eight cars running at the end and despite losing his brakes, cracking his exhaust pipe and breaking a shock absorber mount. Driving the penultimate dirt car to win the classic, his engine had the smallest displacement in the field. Still, he led from the start, going toe-to-toe against one of the absolutely most determined chargers of the era, Jack McGrath. The two engaged in a torrid battle from the get-go marveling a massive crowd of onlookers. 
The 40 year-old Wallard was actually at the end of his career as a week later he suffered extensive burns in a racing accident. He suffered through skin grafts and well more than a year of rehabilitation and recovery. Today his victory is a little discussed chapter in a storied race history so rich with dramatic tales. Like most long lists people recall only the very beginning and the "items" of more recent occurence - those within their actual experience. Regardless, there was no braver drive than Wallard's brilliant performance in a record-setting "500" that Memorial Day, 1951.
This is another great perspective piece from artist David Story.

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