George Anthony Metzler, Jr. had attended the
Indianapolis 500 as a boy and young man, and his
uncle Edwin Metzler had participated in the race as
a riding mechanic in 1936 and '37. In his 20s, he
had started racing on dirt tracks in the Midwest and
suffered bad luck right from the start, when his
steering wheel came loose and the car crashed into
He was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII
and contracted malaria. He wanted to race in
Indianapolis in 1946, but was still in recovery. He
showed up the following year.
Metzler had mechanical problems in 1947 and 1948
and was not able to pass his drivers test.
In December 1947 he lost $10,000 worth of
equipment when his garage burned and he was
For 1949, Metzler passed his drivers test on May 5th.
He was practicing right before qualifications on May
28, when he lost control of his 4-cylinder Glessner
Special as he went into the first turn at 120 mph.
Veering to the edge of the infield, he spun on the
inside apron, shot across the track to crush the right
front wheel into the wall, bounced, and struck the
wall again with the left rear. The right front wheel
had crimpled under the racer when he right side
smashed against the concrete. Metzler was riding
without his safety belt. His chest was crushed as
he was thrown into the steering wheel, and he
suffered head injuries. He was given a 50% chance
of living and died on June 3, 1949.
The Glessner was built by Wilbur Shaw, who had
placed in the money with it eight times and won in it
in 1937. Metzler had assembled the catfish-nosed
car for this race himself.
Survived by his wife Marjory and 14-month old son
An automobile mechanic by trade, Metzler had been
driving on dirt tracks for 14 years. He was living in
Indianapolis but had been working in Wheeling, WV;
coming home once a month tho visit his family.
Metzler's mother and brother lived in New Albany, IN
Year Car No. Car Laps Start Finish
1947 55 Dixon DNQ
1948 47 Glessner Motors DNQ
1949 67 Glessner Special Practice crash, died
|Holy Cross and St Joseph Cemetery,
|The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Copyright © 2015 IndySpeedway.com All Rights Reserved