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Dick Rathmann
Born: January 6, 1924 Los Angeles, CA.
Died: February 1, 2000 Melbourne, FL

Dick Rathmann drove in the AAA Championship Car series in the 1949 and 1950 seasons with 4 starts, including the 1950 Indianapolis 500. He finished in the top ten once, in 6th position at Milwaukee in 1950.

In 1951, he moved to NASCAR, where he was a very successful Grand National driver through 1955.

In 1956, he returned to the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1956-1964 seasons with an additional 41 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in 1956 and 1958-1964. He finished in the top ten 21 more times, with his best finish in 2nd position in 1959 at Daytona.

In 1956, he returned to the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1956-1964 seasons with an additional 41 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in 1956 and 1958-1964. He finished in the top ten 21 more times, with his best finish in 2nd position in 1959 at Daytona.

Dick sat on the pole for the 1958 Indianapolis 500. On the first lap, he and fellow front-row starter Ed Elisian raced into turn 3 and started a chain-reaction accident which involved 15 cars and cost the life of Pat O'Connor. With that accident, Rathmann became the first Indy pole-sitter to complete no laps. This feat has been repeated only twice in Indy history, first by Roberto Guerrero and then by Scott Sharp.

The Name Game

Dick was the elder brother of 1960 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann. Jim and Dick switched names in 1946 so that his younger brother could enter a race while underage. For what was supposed to be a short time, he adopted the name "Dick" and his brother adopted the name "Jim." The name change stuck for life.

 

Dick Rathmann #3

racing against

Curtis Turner's Olds #87

 

 

Dick Rathmann in the pits
with # 20 Hudson

 

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Dick Rathmann on Daytona Beach

North Turn

 

 



 

World Championship career summary

The Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Dick Rathmann participated in 5 World Championship races. He started on the pole 1 time, won 0 races, set 0 fastest laps, and finished on the podium 0 times. He accumulated a total of 2 championship points.

Indy 500 results

Year

Car

Start

Qual

Rank

Finish

Laps

Led

Retired

1950

45

18

130.928

17

32

25

0

Stalled

1956

73

4

144.471

6

5

200

0

Running

1958

97

1

145.974

1

27

0

0

Crash T3

1959

73

4

144.248

5

20

150

0

Fire in pit

1960

97

4

145.543

6

31

42

0

Brake Line

1961

97

6

146.033

8

13

164

0

Fuel Pump

1962

9

13

147.161

13

24

51

0

Magneto

1963

22

17

149.130

14

10

200

0

Running

1964

23

12

151.860

17

7

197

0

Flagged

Totals

1029

0

 

Starts

9

Poles

1

Front Row

1

Wins

0

Top 5

1

Top 10

3

Retired

6

 

A Watson patterned car, built by Floyd Trevis and driven by A.J. Foyt, Jr., won the 1961 Indy 500. Jim Rathmann also won the 1958 Monza 500 and the 1959 Daytona 100 in Watson Roadsters. The 1963 Indy field held 14 Watsons, but new rear engines and aerodynamics had begun to take over. Watson himself built rear engine cars for 1964 and Ward drove one of them to 2nd in the 500. A.J. Watson's record-setting Indy career continues in the late 1990's.

Specs: Design.....WATSON Front Engine Roadster Chassis.....Tube Frame, Off-set engine & suspension
Engine...Meyer Drake "Offy" 252 CID 4.2L/ Inline 4 Cylinder/400HP/ DOHC16-Valve/Hilborn Fuel Injection Gearbox...2-Speed Halibrand Wheelbase.......96IN. Weight.......1472 LBS. Top Speed.......180 MPH


Rare Postcard  - Name misspelled
 

2007 WEST COAST STOCK CAR HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Dick Rathmann: born in Southern California, ran his first race at Carroll Speedway and went on to win 13 NASCAR Grand National races, 79 top tens and 13 poles in 128 races over 5 years. His best finish in points was 3rd in 1953.

Dick Rathmann Grand National DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1951 27 15 of 41 0 4 7 2 231 0 3,480 8 14.0 18.9
1952 28 27 of 34 5 14 14 2 3607 701 11,248 5 8.8 12.7
1953 29 34 of 37 5 21 24 2 2545 542 20,244 3 3.2 7.6
1954 30 32 of 37 3 23 26 4 5286 729 15,939 4 6.4 5.8
1955 31 20 of 45 0 7 8 3 2296 176 4,368 18 7.7 15.5
5 years 128 13 69 79 13 13965 2148 55,279   7.6 10.8

Dick Rathmann finished in the Top 10 and astounding 62% of the time
and in the Top 5 an incredible 54% of the time! He had the pole and won in 1 out of every 10 races

Here Are The Wins -- Go Hudson!

Race Site Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1952 - 5 Martinsville 22 9 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 200 1,000 running 20
 9 Langhorne 37 2 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 150 1,275 running 150
 10  Darlington 24 4 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 80 1,000 running 20
 11 Dayton 15 3 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 200 1,000 running 153
 28 Dayton 30 3 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 300 1,500 running 37
1953 - 7 Macon 24   1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 200 1,000 running 35
  16 Langhorne 38 2 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 200 2,500 running 200
 21 Morristown 23 2 1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 200 1,000 running 113
 24 North Platte 18   1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 200 1,000 running 1
 32 Langhorne 40   1 120 Walt Chapman Hudson 250 2,500 running 95
1954 - 6 Oakland 26 26 1 3 Ray Erickson Hudson 250 1,000 running 108
 7 North Wilkesboro 24   1 3 Pure   (John Ditz) Hudson 160 1,000 running 48
 24 Willow Springs 23 5 1 3 Pure   (John Ditz) Hudson 200 1,000 running


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