|Fatalities - May 26, 1931
|Clarence Grove - mechanic
Joseph Caccia - driver
Joe Caccia and his mechanic, Clarence Grove,
died in one of the most admired cars ever seen
at the Speedway. Joe, who had built the
Miller-motored , rear-drive car himself, arrived
early in Indianapolis to prepare the car at the
Jones-Maley Company, DeSoto distributors.
Joe was a handsome, dapper type and was
well-liked at the Speedway. He and Grove had
successfully proved the car in practice on the
morning of May 26th, but wanted to try it again.
The car handled perfectly until it skidded on the
southeast turn for about 150 feet and crashed
into the retaining wall, tearing down 24 fee of
concrete rails. It shot about 100 feet through
the air and burst into flames as it fell outside
the track, almost in the backyard of T.E. Myers,
vice-president and general manager of the
Speedway. Both men were thrown out, hit a tree,
and landed near the car. It was a few minutes
before the crew of another car reached them.
Nobody actually saw the crash.
Parts of the car were found on the track. Tire
marks showed that Caccia applied the brakes
when the car went out of control. Just before the
accident, he had safely driven the course at about
105 mph. The accident may have been caused by
Caccia's losing control as the car went into a
natural skid in a slight depression in the track,
or by a mechanical failure which tore the piston
housing . Some drivers believed that Caccia
tended to "overdrive" the turns. He was, however,
an expereienced driver and was familiar with the
Joe Caccia, an American-born Italian, lived in
Byrne Haverford. Joe had raced for 10 years on
speedway and dirt tracks, after abandoning his
part in a taxicab business operated by his mother,
Mrs. Sophie Caccia. He became a mechanic
shortly after leaving high school and soon went in
for racing. In 1930 he failed to finish the 500
in an Alberti Special.
The Caccias had suffered a series of tragedies,
Joe's death was the fifth in his family within a few
years (father, two brothers, and one sister).
Survivors were his mother, two brothers, one sister,
and his widow.
Both Grove and Caccia followed the racing game
against the wishes of their mothers. Interested in
racing since childhood, Grove had raced for three
years on dirt tracks and had been Zeke Meyers'
mechanic in 1930. He had recently been out of
work for three months and had told his parents he
was going to Indianapolis to pick up a little money
as a "helper." Mrs Grove siad that she and her
husband worried constantly about Clarence and
had tried to convince him to stop racing.
A bizarre accident occurred during the race itself.
Billy Arnold broke an axle while running first and
went over the northwest wall in flames. The wheel
of the car struck and killed Wilbur Brink, an
11-year-old boy playing in his front yard on
Year Car No. Car Laps Completed Start Finish
1930 29 Alberti Special 43-wrecked 14 24
1931 38 Jones & Maley Turn 2 Practice Crash - died
A record 70 entries fill Gasoline Alley for practice and qualifying.
40 cars start the race, tying the record in 1911.
|Saint Denis Cemetery
|Joe Caccia's Duesenburg for the 1930 Indy 500
with mechanic Bob Patterson
|Odd Fellows Cemetery, Gladwyne, PA
|The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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