Related Links:
INDY 500 MEMORIAL - 1940
Home           Contact             About              Site Map            Privacy                               Copyright © 2015  IndySpeedway.com   All Rights Reserved
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Fatalities - May 1940
George Bailey - driver
George Bailey was born in Cleveland in 1902. His
parents moved to Detroit in 1908. George had three
brothers William, Clifford and Harold. He was not married.

George got a job as a test driver for the Hudson Motor
Co. This would eventually lead to his competing in the
Indy 500.

In his first 500 in 1934, Bailey flew over the wall on lap 12
and was slightly injured.

He raced in five 500's altogether, but never finished a race.

In 1939, Bailey made history by qualifying the first
rear-engined car in the Indy 500!  He qualified the
expensive Gulf-Miller on the 2nd row. This car, as shown
in the photos below, was ahead of its time. It featured
pannier fuel tanks, four-wheel drive and disc brakes on all
four wheels. The engine would throw a valve on lap 18.
Bailey's Indy Record
George Bailey
Year        Car No.        Car                  Laps Completed           Start        Finish
1934        58                Scott                     12-wrecked                  16        32
1935        35                Ford V8                65-Steering                  29        26
1936        51                Zauer-Martz          Failed to qualify                
1937        43                Duray-Sims          107-clutch                     28        21
1938        25                Harry Miller           failed to qualify                
1938        12                Barbasol               166-clutch                     29        12
1939        17                Miller                     47-valve                          6        26
1940        56                Miller                     wrecked in practice-died        
(1900-1940)
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Detroit MI
In 1940, Bailey brought the same four-wheel drive car
back to Indy.

On May 7th Bailey was out practicing. He ran 15 laps and
came in to the pits. He went back out and by lap 4 was up
to 128.5 mph.

However, as Bailey entered turn two, either he got up into
the marbles or maybe his crankshaft broke, freezing all
four wheels. In any case, the car started to slide sideways
and as he fought to bring it back into line, it shot into the
inside rail. A rail punctured his left side fuel tank causing it
to explode. The car spun and the right side fuel tank got hit
and exploded. Bailey was drenched in gas! As the car
came to a stop, Bailey jumped out on fire and ran. He fell
at least three times before he was reached by Eddie Hoff,
a speedway photographer, who tried his best to beat out
the flames. Bailey died 45 minutes later from third degree
burns. He had also suffered a fractured hip and injured leg.

Bailey was survived by his mother Harriet and his three
brothers.