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INDY 500 MEMORIAL - 1947
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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Fatalities - May 1947
Shorty Cantlon - driver
Before Shorty Cantlon first appeared in Indianapolis in
1928 as a relief driver, he had spent six years on dirt
tracks.  He was an accomplished race car driver familiar
to racing fans, who especially admired the grit of this
plucky little man of 5' 4.5" and 145 lbs.  

He set an official world's record with a supercharged car
of 144.89 mph on a straightaway on a dry lake in
California.  

In 1930 Cantlon finished 2nd in the AAA driving
championship.  

In 1932, he missed racing at Indy because he'd broken
his leg in a race on the West Coast.

In 1947, Cantlon was racing in his 12th Indy 500 and felt
he was going to win it.

His car, the Automobile Shippers Special was owned by
Louis Rassey.  The 16-cylinder engine was the last
designed and built by Harry Miller, and this was its first
appearance at the 500.  

Cantlon qualified at 121.462 mph, but felt he'd be able to
coax 130 out of it.  Only 24 drivers qualified for the race.

Cantlon's first problem in the race was a slow start.  The
rest of the drivers had already completed the first lap
when Cantlon, whose car had stalled twice, finally got off.  

He drove hard and was catching up, but on the 41st lap
he swerved to avoid Bill Holland's spinning car in turn 1.  
Cantlon's car spun four times and bounced  more than
once against the retaining wall, crushing his chest.  He
also had a compound leg fracture and other injuries.  
Immediately after being carried from the track, Shorty
Cantlon died.

Bill Holland went on to lead the race.  At the end, he
thought he was a lap up on his teammate, Mauri Rose.  
He saw a sign from the pits to take it easy, so he waved
Rose around him!  Rose was not a lap behind and he
won the race and Bill Holland was relegated to 2nd place.

Shorty, a bachelor, was originally from Paris, IL and had
lived in Detroit.  He had spent the last 12 years in
Indianapolis, working as a used car dealer.  He was well
known in Indy and well liked.

He was survived by three sisters.
Cantlon's Indy Record
William 'Shorty' Cantlon
Laps Completed
Did not arrive
Relieved Henry Kohlert
200
88 - Rod
50 - Rod
Relieved Chet Miller
76 - Crankshaft
200
194 - Out of gas
182 - Flagged
13 - Supercharger
15 - Main bearing
Qualified for Stapp


28 - Clutch
40 - Fatal Crash T1
Start


3
26
13

15
19
10
25
20
7



20
5
Finish


2
27
34

20
6
14
16
33
32



28
23
Car
Bugatti
Elgin Piston Pin
Miller-Schofield
Harry Miller
Sullivan & O'Brien
Marr
Sullivan & O'Brien
Sullivan & O'Brien
Hamilton-Harris
Bowes Seal FAst
Kamm's
Automotive Serv.
Surber


H-3
Automobile Shippers
Car #
36
29
16
2
25
28
15
9
7
34
47
47
24


64
24
Year
1928
1928
1930
1931
1933
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940


1946
1947
Speedway Closed 1942-1945 For World War II
Mount Olivet Cemetery, Detroit MI
1904-1947
Shorty's 1947 race car and crew
Cantlon's wrecked racer - 1947