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INDY 500 MEMORIAL - 1966
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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Fatalities - May 1966
Chuck Rodee - driver
Chuck Rodee had been coming out to the Speedway for
years, he only lived a mile away, but he was originally from
Chicago.

While Chuck had tried to qualify for the race since 1959,
he only managed to get in twice. He qualified 21st in 1962.
On lap 14, he crashed into the NW wall to avoid an
accident with Christie, Crowe and Turner. Chuck finished
32nd.

Rodee miraculously escaped injury in 1964 when he slid
1446 feet on the homestretch in practice after his right
rear tire blew. A few days later his engine blew up and left
him without a ride.

Rodee qualified in 30th position for the 1965 Indy 500.
He had gear trouble and finished in 28th place.

Chuck came back in 1966 with the unlucky and out-of-date
non-supercharged Offenhauser. It was the only car
Roger
Ward
ever failed to qualify for the race (last year in '65)
and the same car that
Johnny Rutherford spun into the
pits with at Trenton, injuring two people.  But surprisingly,
Chuck got the old Offy up to speed with the competition
(159.9 mph).

On the first day of qualifying, records fall with
Mario
Andretti
recording a four lap average of 165.899 mph to
win the pole.
Jim Clark waves off a run of more than 164
mph in a daring attempt to top Andretti. Clark settles for
164.144 late in the day to line up second.

When Rodee came out to qualify, he was on his second
warmup lap, when the nose of the car dipped into the
infield on the sw turn. What appeared to be a slow spin
into the grass suddenly changed into a fatal crash as the
car suddenly headed 450 feet into the outside wall - tail
first.  Bounding another 100 feet it finally stopped on the
track, after driving the metal starting shaft 5 inches into the
concrete wall. Rodee told car owner
Bob Wilke that a rag
flew across his face. A piece of felt did come off the car,
but chief mechanic
Grant King did not think it caused the
accident. Rodee may have pinced the turn too tightly,
going in too low. In correcting for a skid, the car spun
backwards. The entire rear end of the car was demolished,
the chassis bent and twisted like cardboard.

Rodee was semi-conscious when removed from the car
and died within 2 hours at Methodist hospital - the third
driver to die during a qualifying attempt, the last time being
Stubby Stubblefield in 1937. Rodee suffered multiple
internal injuries, dying of a ruptured artery to his heart.
Chuck's parents and his wife, Janet were watching in the
stands as he tried to qualify that day. His sons, Chuck,
Rickie and TJ, and his daughter, Julie, were not present.

Chuck Rodee was especially well known in midget racing.
He had won the first two midget events in the '66 season
and was leading in point standing. In 1965 he won 6
midget features finishing 3rd in points. He also drove to a
5th place finish in the 250-mile Atlanta race that year. In
1961 he was 4th in national midget racing standings, 3rd
in 1955 and 2nd in 1956. He broke his arm in 1958 and
doctors said he would never race again. A year later he
passed his Speedway driver's test.
Chuck Rodee
(real name: Charles J. Rodeghier)
Floral Park Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN
Laps Completed
Did not qualify
140.1 mph- 1st alternate
Didn't complete run
17 - Wrecked
Didn't complete run
147.197 mph, too slow
Did not qualify
146.466 mph, too slow
Did not qualify
28 - rear end gears
Wrecked qualifying, died
Start



21





30
Finish



32





28
Car
Central Excavat.
Dunn Engineering
Dunn Engineering
Travelon Trailer
Wynn's
Konstant Hot
Dean Van Lines
Joe Hunt Magneto
American Rubber
Wally Weir's Mobilgas
Leader Card
Car #
82
89
89
67
25
38
7
81
87
19
92
Year
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963


1964

1965
1966
Rodee's Indy Record
Rodee's 1965 IndyCar