Leland R. “Lee” Wallard

Leland R. “Lee” Wallard

Birth
Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York, USA
Death 29 Nov 1963 (aged 53)
Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, USA
Burial Guilderland, Albany County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 82188333 · View Source
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Lee Wallard was an American race car driver, whose greatest victory was winning the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1951 at the age of 40, while driving the Number 99 ‘Belanger Special', a car that had been passed up by two other drivers. On a day of high attrition that saw only six of the original 33 starters finish the race, Wallard led 159 of the 200 laps, becoming the first driver to finish the full 500 miles in under 4 hours with an average race speed of 126.244 Mph. Dubbed the ‘Cinderella Man' for his win in just his fourth and final race at the Brickyard, he had little time to savor his victory. Just four days later, Wallard was severely burned at the home stretch finish of a sprint-car race at a dirt track in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was hospitalized for several months and received a total of 37 skin grafts for his injuries, but his skin would never ‘breathe' properly again. He attempted to resume his racing career, but due to his injuries found he was no longer capable of competitive driving.
Wallard was born in Schenectady N.Y., the youngest Son of Peter Wallard, Jr. and Anna Y. [Teller] Wallard, and grew up there and in nearby Altamont, N.Y. He began racing in 1935, running regularly at Altamont Speedway half mile track, where he was a prominent dirt track and midget car racer, and had his first start in AAA Championship racing at the ‘Syracuse 100‘ in 1941. Along the way, he also suffered a series of injuries over the years. In 1936, he broke his shoulder blades and collar bone, and received burns from sliding upside down along the asphalt. Lee married Dorothy Lovell on 8 January 1940 Hernando, Florida, and later that year he broke his pelvis and spent five months in a cast. In 1941 he broke an arm and a leg. Taking a break from racing, Lee served in World War II, and was the only Indy 500 winner ever known to drive a Bulldozer for a living. He returned to racing after the war in 1946, and broke his left leg twice. Following his forced retirement from racing, in 1952 he opened the "Lee Wallard Restaurant and Bar" at McCormack's Corners on U.S. Highway 20. In later years, he tried his luck at race promoting and settled in Florida. His burn injuries are said to have contributed to the early death by heart attack in St. Petersburg, at the age of 53, just 12 and a half years after his famous win at Indianapolis. He was survived by his wife Dorothy [Lovell] Wallard, married 8 January 1940 in Hernando, Florida, and who remarried in 1965, and two daughters.
={{Grave Photos provided by Don Wemple}}=
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*NOTE* While the Government Grave Marker reads September 10 as the birthdate, all other sources indicates a birthdate of September 7, 1910.


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Leland Wallard
New York
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WORLD WAR II

Gravesite Details Nearby Memorial Reads - - Leland Wallard 1910 -- 1963 // Indy 500 Winner 1951

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  • Created by: Chuck X-Gen
  • Added: 20 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 82188333
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Leland R. “Lee” Wallard (7 Sep 1910–29 Nov 1963), Find A Grave Memorial no. 82188333, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Guilderland, Albany County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Chuck X-Gen (contributor 47573182) .