Zenon R. 'Bud' Bardowski

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17 Oct 1914
Gary, Indiana


19 Apr 2000
Belton, Texas


United States

Indy 500s:

0 (1946)

War hero, recipient of the Bronze Star, Bud was the first member of a US tank crew to shoot down an enemy plane in World War Two, being based at Clark Field, in the Philippines on the same day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Bardowski was later taken as a Prisoner of War by the Japanese in 1942, but survived this, and was working in a coal mine near Hiroshima when the atomic bomb went off there in 1945. Bud also raced before the war. Bud started working life as a mechanic in 1932 and then eventually became a dirt-track racer before racing big cars. After the war, he used his army back-pay to buy an Indy Car which he competed in for two seasons. Bud later became a Civil Defense Director in Gary, before moving to Texas, where he worked for the Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Biography last updated 15 Jan 2017