Sunday, July 16, 2017

"1960 Indy 500 Winner" Jim Rathmann Born - July 16, 1928

July 16, 1928 - November 23, 2011
Jim Rathmann (A.K.A. Dick)
 Born in Alhambra, California, USA.
Rathmann and his older brother notably swapped names while teenagers. As a 16-year-old going by the name of "Dick Rathmann," he wanted to start racing. In order to enter races, he borrowed his older brother's I.D. and assumed the identity of "Jim Rathmann." The name change stuck for life in public circles.

He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series in the 1949–1950 and 1952–1963 seasons with 42 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 in each of those seasons. Rathmann also participated in the two runnings of the Race of Two Worlds at Monza, Italy, winning the 1958 event. He also drove in 3 races in the NASCAR series from 1949 to 1951.

He had 6 victories in addition to his 1960 Indy 500 win. Started first row centered, Rathmann ran in the front the entire race. From the midway point on, Rathmann and Rodger Ward were locked in a neck and neck duel for first. Tire wear became an issue as the race wore on and Rathmann was able to keep his wheels fresh long enough to outrace Ward to the finish. The race featured the most recorded lead changes in the "Indy 500" history.

On August 15, 2007, Rathmann was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Over the decades after his victory, Rathmann was a regular visitor to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May each year. He drove the pace car several times. However, he missed the 100th anniversary celebration in 2011 due to failing health. Rathmann died on November 23, 2011. He had reportedly suffered a seizure at his home days earlier and died at a hospice center in Melbourne, Florida.

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