The Indy 500 drivers — Where are they now?

by Richard Jenkins
The Ancien Pilotes at Dijon in 1974

Ancien Pilotes at Dijon 1974

I have endeavoured to try and provide as up-to-date and accurate information as possible for everyone featured on this site, and I am always indebted to the many contributors who help with the information on this site and sadly, space doesn't allow for me to thank everyone here. However, I would like to dedicate the ongoing work, progress and achievements on this site to those contributors who are sadly no longer with us but helped aide this project so much: David McKinney, Len Calinoff, Phil Harms, Gene Heeter, Earl Ma, Don Radbruch, Roscoe H Rann and Barry Lake.

Updates and corrections are always welcomed — please either join the debate here or feel free to contact me on with any information you might have.

This part of the site is also dedicated to the memory of Tony Marsh, as it was his post-Grand Prix life that served as the initial inspiration for "Where Are They Now" back in 1998 For more about what this part of the site is trying to achieve, please read my full introduction.

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Name Born Died Nat Indy 500s Biography
Louis Wagner 05 Feb 1882
Pre-St-Gervais
13 Mar 1960
Montlhery
F 1
(1919)
Early racer, who raced in the 19th century, one of the very few who did. Won as early as 1903, then became one of the top drivers in the sport for 20 years, winning the Vanderbilt Cup in 1906, the American Grand Prix in 1907 and the British GP in 1926. Remained involved with the car industry all his life, despite ill health from 1944 onwards which saw him lose a leg to diabetes. Later worked as assistant circuit manager at Montlhery. (Last updated 19 Jan 2014)
Bruce Walkup 21 Aug 1944
Downey, California

USA 2
(1968-1972)
Father Vince was Bill Vukovich's mechanic and this led to Bruce picking up the racing bug, but not before he obtained a business degree. When injury started to sideline his career, the degree proved a God-send - he purchased a Chevrolet dealership, which he ran until 1987, before being offered a role as Operations Manager at the First Farmers Bank, in Sullivan, Indiana. Now runs the First Financial Corporation in Terre Haute, Indiana. Also raced for a while in dwarf cars. Both his son and daughter are now involved in motorsport, in various capacities. (Last updated 15 Jul 2012)
Larry Wall
Chicago, Illinois
unknown
USA 0
(1932)
Only race as a driver was the Indy 500 attempt. Was mainly a riding mechanic, as that was his profession. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Bob Wallace
Lexington, Kentucky
unknown
USA 0
(1934)
Raced in the Midwest during the 1930's. Later became an auto salesman in Sarasota, Florida. (Last updated 6 Apr 2010)
Lee Wallard 08 Sep 1911
Schenectady, New York
28 Nov 1963
St. Petersburg, Florida
USA 4
(1948-1951)
Retired after being burnt in a racing crash, shortly after his Indy 500 win in 1951. Later used his experiences to promote driving safety in high schools. (Last updated 17 May 2011)
Salt Walther 22 Nov 1947
Dayton, Ohio
27 Dec 2012
Trotwood, Ohio
USA 7
(1971-1991)
Real name David. Salt's life was ultimately a tragic one following the 1973 crash at the Indianapolis 500, which led to a sad downfall. He was in and out of jail, mostly over non-payment of child support, child endangerment, and drugs. The drug addiction stemmed from painkillers to help him with the '73 crash, and one hand was so badly burnt, he had to wear a glove. 2003 saw a brief purple patch, where took on part of the business interests his recently deceased dad had, then re-married and even returned to racing via Infinti Pro and being a crew member. However, this didn't last long and in 2007, he was jailed for 5 years for non-payment of demands, violating terms of his probation and for leading the police on a high-speed chase. He was briefly back out of jail in 2012, and so then attended historic events, before going back to jail for incidents related to his 2007 problems. It was with much surprise, and sadness, albeit some inevitability, that the motor racing learnt of his sudden death in the last few days of 2012. (Last updated 29 Dec 2012)
Jeff Ward 22 Jun 1961
Glasgow, Scotland

USA 7
(1995-2005)
Now retired after a long career racing motorcycles. Raced in motorcross until 2008 and also had a shock return to the Indy 500 in 2005. Lives in California, where he is still involved with motorcross as a team boss, as well as a bike and car coach. (Last updated 20 Oct 2013)
Rodger Ward 10 Jan 1921
Beloit, Kansas
05 Jul 2004
Anaheim, California
USA 15
(1951-1966)
Sadly died recently after a long battle with ill-health. Despite this, he was still a regular, and very popular, visitor to historic events. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Bentley Warren 10 Dec 1940
Kennebunkport, Maine

USA 2
(1970-1975)
Bentley carried on racing until just over 70, very competively, in sprint and super-modified cars - indeed he won in 2006, aged 66! Now returns to the tracks as a Grand Marshal or spectator. Runs a trucking firm and a sand/gravel company and a saloon in his home state of Maine. A biography of his life was also released in 2013. (Last updated 25 Mar 2014)
Leroy Warriner 01 Mar 1919
Indianapolis, Indiana
02 Jan 2003
Indianapolis, Indiana
USA 0
(1951-1958)
Retired from driving in 1962 and then ran the Indy Speedrome with Gene Hartley, before selling it in 1977, allowing Leroy to live a content retirement. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Stan Wattles 24 Jul 1961
Glen Cove, New York

USA 3
(1998-2001)
Now lives in Florida, where he runs Metro Racing Systems, a firm that restores historic race cars, as well as offering support and service to historic racing competitors. Stan himself still races for, and owns his own historic team.
Frank Wearne 27 May 1913
Belle Plains, Iowa
21 Feb 1985
Los Angeles, California
USA 7
(1937-1947)
Sprint and midget driver who was often at the Indy 500, which was normally the only big race he competed in. He was also a skilled car builder and later worked in a brewery. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Clay Weatherly 1910
Harman, Illinois
30 May 1935
Indianapolis, Indiana
USA 1
(1935)
Killed in the 1935 Indy 500. Youthful inexperienced rookie whose death was the catalyst for the Indy 500 to introduce rookie tests.
George Weaver 03 Mar 1911
Newport, Rhode Island
28 Feb 1970
Thompson, Connecticut
USA 0
(1947)
His father was an engineer and George followed in his footsteps. Later became manager of Thompson Raceway, which was the first purpose built road-race course in the US and was a huge influence in promoting early road racing. George, as a driver, was best known for his sportscar career. (Last updated 2 Feb 2011)
Louie Webb 06 Sep 1911
Knoxville, Tennessee
02 Sep 1940
Syracuse, New York
USA 1
(1937-1940)
Killed in an AAA race. Webb was a big car and midget specialist., a veteran of 6 years racing. He was also the driving double for legendary actor James Stewart in the 1936 film Speed. (Last updated 16 Sep 2013)
Travis (Spider) Webb 08 Oct 1910
Joplin, Missouri
27 Jan 1990
McMinnville, Oregon
USA 6
(1948-1955)
Sprint car great of the 1950's, whose larger-than-life, craggy, carefree approach both on and offf the track was reminiscient of an earlier age. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Wayne Weiler 09 Dec 1934
Phoenix, Arizona
13 Oct 2005
Phoenix, Arizona
USA 2
(1960-1961)
Retired in the 1970's to take up cotton farming but still kept links with vintage meetings and car dealerships and ownership. Died recently of a heart-attack. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Frank Weiss 25 Jul 1944
Cardston, Alberta
31 Jan 2014
Plainfield, Indiana, USA
CDN 0
(1980)
Forced to retire through injury, he set up his racing components firm, which has been based in Indianapolis for some time. It supplies NASCAR and IRL manufacturers and also builds exhausts for speedway bikes. The business continues despite Frank's recent death, which came after sadly suffering from cancer, dementia and the after-effects of a stroke in recent years. (Last updated 10 Feb 2014)
Greg Weld 04 Mar 1944
Kansas City, Missouri
04 Aug 2008
Kansas City, Missouri
USA 1
(1965-1973)
Founded Weld Racing Wheels in 1967, initially to help his brother's sprint-car career. The company since evolved into one of the premier racing wheel companies. Greg retired, aged 30, to concentrate on running the business, which still supplies most of the wheels for all US racing series. Bought out in 2006, he began appearing at more historic events, but in 2008, he sadly died of a heart-attack. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
F. H. Wells 19 Aug 1899
Manhattan, New York
22 Apr 1925
nr. Brentwood, New York
USA 0
(1923-1925)
F.H. stood for Frederick Hollis. Killed in a racing accident on public roads, whilst testing a car near Brentwood and Long Island, just before the 1925 event. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Bob Wente 28 May 1933
St. Louis, Missouri
13 Aug 2000
St. Charles, Missouri
USA 1
(1964-1966)
Midget star. After his retirement in the 1970's, he ran a dirt oval in Granite City, Illinois. His sons have taken over the running of the track since his passing. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Christian Werner 19 May 1892
Stuttgart
17 Jun 1932
Bad Cannstatt, nr. Stuttgart
D 1
(1923)
Mercedes legend, who also worked as a mechanic. Particularly brilliant in road races, he won the 1924 Targa Florio. However he was also successful in GP's and sportscars.
Roger West 07 Apr 1941
Joliet, Illinois

USA 0
(1969)
Much better known as a midget ace, who was particulary successful in local events. Still makes visits to midget events, current and historic, and also enjoys boating, but works as an estate agent in his home town.
Chuck Weyant 03 Apr 1923
St. Marys, Ohio

USA 4
(1954-1961)
Still alive and well, the oldest living Indy 500 starter. He was an attendee of his Hall of Fame induction in 2004. Both his son and grandson have raced. He fought in World War 2, but he was already interested in the sport as his dad raced. He was without doubt best at midget racing, with many wins. He retired from racing in 1971 after an accident left him with head injuries which took some considerable time to recover from and Chuck had to learn how to walk and talk again. (Last updated 23 Jun 2011)
Neil Whalen 13 Dec 1886
New York City, New York
07 Mar 1944
Richmond, New York
USA 0
(1912-1915)
Later became a racing promoter in the Pennsylvania area. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Dan Wheldon 22 Jun 1978
Emberton, Buckinghamshire
16 Oct 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
GB 9
(2003-2011)
Killed in a multi-car pile-up in the last race of the season. Two time Indy 500 champion, who won the IRL title for Andretti Green Racing as well as the 2005 Indy 500. Also won at Daytona and was lined up for a full-time seat in 2012 before his death, whilst arguably at his peak. (Last updated 17 Oct 2011)
Johnny White 18 Jan 1932
Warren, Michigan
24 Dec 1977
Indianapolis, Indiana
USA 1
(1964)
Paralyzed in a sprint-car accident, just weeks after his appearance at the 1964 Indy 500, he never really recovered from his injuries. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Bill Whittington 11 Sep 1949
Lubbock, Texas

USA 5
(1980-1985)
Brother of Don and Dale. All three brothers were heavily involved in the IMSA drug-smuggling scandal in the 1980's, which also involved Randy Lanier and John Paul Jr. All bar Dale went to prison, with Don and Bill serving a year's sentence. Bill never raced after prison and now runs the family jet business and a number of holiday resorts with Don. All three are sons of Dick Whittington, '50's race car owner. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Dale Whittington 23 Sep 1959
Farrington Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico
14 Jun 2003
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
USA 1
(1982)
The youngest of the three brothers, Dale managed to keep his career going after the drugs scandal. Raced in ALMS and at Daytona in 1999 and 2000 and in Grand-Am in 2001, but died after taking a drugs overdose. (Last updated 18 Dec 2012)
Don Whittington 23 Jan 1946
Lubbock, Texas

USA 5
(1980-1985)
Now involved in the jet racing world. The Whittington's have owned airplanes for decades and this stood Don in good stead when it came to racing them. He then started his own team in the sport. Owns World Jet Inc. which buys and sells private jets and Don also spends time restoring planes. Made a brief comeback to motor racing with Dale between 1999-2000, but has since left the sport again and is now in business with brother Bill. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Jimmy Wilburn 25 Nov 1908
Los Angeles, California
26 Aug 1984
Bradenton, Florida
USA 1
(1946)
Badly injured in a racing crash, he retired early and later moved to Florida.
Howard 'Howdy' Wilcox 24 Jun 1889
Crawfordsville, Indiana
04 Sep 1923
Tipton, Pennsylvania
USA 12
(1911-1923)
1919 winner and one of the USA's 1st racing stars. He had a long and successful career and his Indy win led to a band playing 'Back Home in Indiana' as a tribute, a tradition which still lasts to this day. Killed in the Altoona 200 mile race. (Last updated 5 Jan 2011)
Howdy Wilcox II 20 Feb 1905
Indianapolis, Indiana
13 Oct 1946
Converse, Indiana
USA 1
(1932-1933)
Diabetes ended his career. No relation to Howdy Wilcox Sr, believe it or not! Killed whilst acting as a starter at a race. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Carl Williams 24 Aug 1930
Grandview, Missouri
04 Feb 1973
Kansas City, Missouri
USA 6
(1965-1972)
Killed in a motorcycle accident. Veteran USAC competitor, who raced from 1965 onwards. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Merrill 'Doc' Williams 26 Oct 1912
Indianapolis, Indiana
28 Apr 1982
Richmond, Indiana
USA 5
(1933-1949)
Ran a motel in Richmond, Indiana until his death. (Last updated 5 Jan 2011)
Tony Willmann 28 Apr 1905
West Allis, Wisconsin
12 Oct 1941
Thompson, Connecticut
USA 4
(1937-1941)
Killed in a midget race. Legendary midget driver who raced from 1926 onwards and won numerous events. His success at Milwaukee even saw him being made honorary mayor of South Milwaukee in 1939! (Last updated 18 Mar 2013)
Bob Wilson
Kansas City, Kansas
unknown
USA 0
(1935)
Kansas based sprint and midget driver who achieved some success in that field locally. Stayed linked with the sport for a while, up to the 1950's. Also based in Ohio for a while.
Dempsey Wilson 11 Mar 1927
Los Angeles, California
23 Apr 1971
Los Angeles, California
USA 4
(1956-1968)
Died of leukemia. After retirement he ran a camshaft manufacturing business. Wilson's grandson, Seth is now racing stockcars, showing that his influence hasn't faded and the family also run a hugely successful racing laminated tear-off business. (Last updated 3 Dec 2011)
Desire Wilson 26 Nov 1953
Brakpan, Johannesburg

ZA 0
(1982-1984)
Still races in historic events. Raced in the 1981 South African GP, but the race was later deprived of championship and Grand Prix status. Along with her husband, Alan, she owns and is involved in 'Wilson Track Design' which helps design real or computerised race tracks or corners. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Justin Wilson 31 Jul 1978
Sheffield

GB 6
(2008-2013)
Joined Minardi for 2003, then Jaguar, but still failed to secure a F1 seat in 2004. After a spell in sportscars, Justin moved to CART, where he remained until the switch to the IRL series, in which he now races. (Last updated 24 May 2013)
Lou Wilson 22 Dec 1888
St. Louis, Missouri
02 Nov 1961
Nevada City, California
USA 2
(1923-1928)
Another riding mechanic-cum-racer.
Rob Wilson 06 Sep 1952
Auckland

NZ 0
(1996)
Still racing, albeit not that regularly, in historic events, with the occasional one-off event. Also a session guitarist. Now lives in London, England, where he is also a driver coach to a lot of the current F1 drivers. Still in the music business, as he has a band called Grand Prairie, who perform all over the world. Came close to a GP start as well in 1981. (Last updated 25 Mar 2014)
George Wingerter 04 Sep 1904
Brooklyn, New York
20 Aug 1994
Denison, Texas
USA 1
(1931-1936)
Frequent competitor in AAA events, mostly dirt ovals, between the mid '20's to the late '30's.
Billy Winn 27 Aug 1906
Kansas City, Kansas
20 Aug 1938
Springfield, Illinois
USA 9
(1931-1938)
Killed in a sprint car crash. Fine sprint car driver who was also, unusually at the time, very adept at road races. (Last updated 3 May 2010)
Freddie Winnai 08 Apr 1905
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
04 Sep 1977
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
USA 8
(1927-1946)
Set a world record for in 1926 for a lap on a one mile track. He was also the first winner at the Langhorne Speedway.
Spencer Wishart 03 Dec 1889
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
22 Aug 1914
Elgin, Illinois
USA 4
(1911-1914)
Killed when he clipped another car during an AAA national championship race, hurtling towards and crashing into a tree. Wishart, a rich amateur had numerous strong finishes, especially in road races and came 2nd in the 1913 Indy 500.
Cory Witherill 17 Dec 1971
Los Angeles, California

USA 1
(2001)
Only full-blooded Native American to race in the Indy 500. Cory, a Navajo Indian, acts as an ambassador for them but links up with as many Native American causes, functions etc. as he can and acts as a driver coach too. No longer racing, but had a spell in off-road events. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Jerry Wonderlich 25 Aug 1889
Bloomfield, Illinois
13 Apr 1937
Bloomfield, Illinois
USA 6
(1920-1925)
Of German stock, Jerry got his chance, initially as an interpreter for Sailer, Werner et al. Worked in the movie business and was a car salesman for Cadillac. Real name was Gerald. He later became a farmer in Illinois and also went into the cafe business. (Last updated 24 Jan 2010)
Jeff Wood 20 Jan 1957
Wichita, Kansas

USA 0
(1990-1992)
Raced in CART for some while. An oil driller by profession at time of racing in CART, he is still in the industry as he runs an oil and gas exploration business. (Last updated 19 Oct 2013)
Cliff Woodbury 08 Jul 1894
Chicago, Illinois
13 Nov 1984
Alton, Illinois
USA 4
(1926-1929)
Holds the dubious distinction of being the first Indy 500 pole-sitter to finish last. However he achieved more success on his debut there, finishing 3rd.
Eugene (E.C) 'Woody' Woodford 05 Jul 1905
Wichita, Kansas
10 May 1942
Greenville, Ohio
USA 0
(1937)
Killed in a sprint car crash. Raced often in the Californian racing scene, as he was based in Seattle. (Last updated 5 Jan 2011)

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