John James “Jack” McGrath

John James “Jack” McGrath

Birth
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 6 Nov 1955 (aged 36)
Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Burial San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Memorial ID 10454514 · View Source
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Race car driver. Affectionately known as "The Thin Man" or "The Splendid Splinter" of racing, the popular McGrath was one of the leading American racers of the early fifties. He participated in 68 AAA Championship races, won 9 pole positions, gained the lead in 19 races with a total of 477 laps led and earned 4 victories. In 1954, he won the pole position and was the pre-race favorite to win that year's Indianapolis 500. Statisticians clocked him as the "fastest on the track" during the race, but a bad pit stop contributed to a third place finish. He may be best known for his ferocious duel with Bill Vukovich during the first quarter of the 1955 race. After running neck and neck at record speeds, he had to withdraw due to engine failure after 54 laps. As it turned out, the legendary Vukovich lost his life in a chain reaction accident during his 57th lap. The talented McGrath also served as his own chief mechanic. He lost his life during what he had previously decided would be his last dirt track race when his car broke an axle and began a series of violent flips.

Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Warrick L. Barrett
  • Added: 10 Feb 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10454514
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John James “Jack” McGrath (8 Oct 1919–6 Nov 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10454514, citing San Gabriel Cemetery, San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .