|The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
|Carl Scarborough - driver
Chet Miller - driver
Carl Scarborough was born in Benton, Illinois. He was
married and living in Clarkston Michigan, where he was a
tool and die maker when he wasn't racing. Since 1940 he
raced mdgets on dirt tracks. He held the Central States
Racing Association Midget Championship in 1946.
Scarborough first came to Indy to race in 1950. The thin,
friendly, unassuming man passed his rookie test at the
Indy Speedway, but did not land a ride.
He returned the following year and qualified the No. 73
McNamara Special in 15th position. His axel broke after
100 laps, ending his race.
He returned in 1952 but was unable to qualify.
Back in 1953 in the same No. 73 McNamara Special,
Scarborough qualified 19th - on the 7th row - with a
average speed of 135.936 mph.
It was a very hot and humid day in Indianapolis on race
day and the men and machines were going to get the
sternest test in Speedway history.
The heat caused three Purdue drum majorettes to faint
before the race started.
Floors in the car cockpits got so hot that drivers were
burning blisters on their feet. Pat Flaherty, racing in 3rd,
drove head-on into the wall after apparently succumbing
to the heat and blacking out. He wasn't seriously injured.
Drivers began dropping out, to be replaced by relief
drivers. In all, 14 drivers saw relief duty.
Carl Scarborough, 38, came in for his first pit stop on lap
70 and collapsed in the car. He was lifted out and was
resting on the pit wall when fuel around the car caught
fire. It was quickly extinguished. He wasn't feeling well
and went to sit down on the other side of the pit wall. He
was relieved by driver Bob Scott. (Scott would go on to
finish the race in 12th.)
Scarborough lapsed to unconsciousness, probably from
inhaling carbon monoxide fumes from the fire extinghishers.
It took the ambulance 15 minutes to reach him. His
temperature was 104 degrees when he arrived at the
hospital and continued to rise.
The doctors tried a resuscitator, heart stimulant, surgery
and heart massage. He took a few breaths but normal
respiration never resumed, altough he was given 10
bottles of oxygen.
The carbon monoxide he had inhaled in the pit had further
complicated his respiration problems. Scarborough may
also have had a heart attack. He was given last rites in
the hospital, having lived an hour and a half after his pit
Nine other drivers, including Tony Bettenhausen, also
had to retire from the race due to the heat. They were all
replaced in their racers by relief drivers. The heat also
quickly burned up the tires. Only 23 cars finished half the
race and that included the 10 relief drivers. Less than half
the cars finished the race.
One driver refused to wear his firesuit, which was not
mandatory at the time, as he didn't want the extra
The Speedway would change the rules the following year to
insure that the cars had better ventilation.
Scarborough was survived by his wife Phyllis and three
children - Lorraine (17), Kay(9) and Jerald (16).
In 1985, he was inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports
Hall of Fame.
|Scarborough's Indy Record
Year Car# Car Laps completed Start Finish
1951 73 McNamara Special 100-axel 15 18
1952 73 McNamara Special DNQ
1953 73 McNamara Special 70-flagged, died of heat
Chester Miller was born July 19, 1902 in Detroit. He drove
his first race in Saginaw Michigan in 1924 at the age of 22.
In the 1934 Indy 500 after only 11 laps, he hit some oil on
the track left by a car that had thrown a rod. He went about
30 yards through the air and over the wall and landed on
all four wheels in a Mrs. Stevens' backyard. The car never
stopped and Chet drove it through the gates to the
garages, "without shifting gears, " said Henry McLemore
who worked for the newspaper.
"Where've you been, Chet?"
"Over the wall," he said, but it was quite a while before
anybody would believe him, as he dejectedly watched the
rest of the race from the pits.
In 1939 he was involved in a three-car collision that killed
Floyd Roberts. When Bob Swanson collided with
Roberts, Swanson's tank exploded and the car burned.
Swanson was thrown out of his car until the track. To
avoid hitting him, Chet Miller crashed in the infield, broke
his shoulder, and was hospitalized for six months.
Swanson suffered only minor injuries.
In 1952, Miller set a one-lap qualifying record at 139.60
Miller was out practicing all day at the Speedway on May
At 3:15 p.m. he was clocked at 138.46 mph right before
his fatal crash.
Miller apparently got too low in turn 1. His left front wheel
went into the apron gravel and the car spun into a skid.
The back end whirled around and the front-wheel-drive
powered the car into the wall. The left front end hit the
concrete and the car seemed to hug the wall. Momentum
carried it another 300 feet, bumping the barrier from time
to time and finally stopping in the short-chute in front of
what was then Gransdstand D.
Year Car# Car Laps completed Start Finish
1928 35 B.W. Cooke 0 - wrecked in practice
1930 41 Fronty Ford 160 15 13
1931 27 Marr 200 15 10
1932 9 Hudson 125 - engine 29 21
1933 28 Marr 163 - rod 32 20
1934 46 Bohnalite 11 - accident 32 33
1935 34 Milac 200 17 10
1936 18 Boyle 200 3 8
1937 7 Boyle 36 - ignition 13
1937 16 Boyle Products Relieved Cummings 30
1938 3 I.B.E.W. 200 5 3
1939 3 Boyle 109 - wreck 5 21
1940 34 Alfa Romeo 189 27 17
1941 41 Boyle 200 9 6
1946 5 Miller 64 - oil line 17 18
1948 31 Don Lee 108 - oil trouble 19 20
1950 43 Novi Mobil Did not qualify
1951 32 Novi Purelube 56 - ignition 28 25
1952 21 Novi Pure Oil 41 - supercharger 27 30
1953 1 Novi Govenor died in practice
Mrs. Gertrude Miller was in Indianapolis at the time of her
husband's death. They had no children. Most of his
relatives lived in Detroit; but Chet made his home in
Glendale California where he sold cars and owned a
He was interred at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis on
May 19th. Louie Meyer and Wilbur Shaw were amoung
|Perry Mount Park Cemetery, Pontiac, MI
|Carl Scarborough's 1953 McNamara Special
This photo appeared in the May 27, 1953 society section of the Indianapolis Times. It shows Scarborough in his race car with Tony
Hulman, Rudy Vallee and his wife. Rudy Vallee was a singer of the 1920's and 30's and one of the first modern pop stars.
Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN
|Miller's 1952 Indy 500 Racer
Speedway Closed 1942-1945 For World War II