EXCLUSIVE: Take a ‘Cannonball Run’ tour through IMS history at Crown Hill Cemetery

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – FOX59 got an exclusive “Cannonball Run” tour of Crown Hill Cemetery.

You can find much of the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in the museums and tours near the track, but if you want to find where that history lies now, look no further than Crown Hill.

The location is the final resting place for dozens of names in Indy 500 lore. Historian Dave Hondo took FOX59 on a 24-minute, 24-stop and 24 mph breeze through the past. The joy ride drove by all four founders of IMS to the unfortunate death of 11-year-old Wilbur Brink. In 1931, he was killed without ever setting foot in the speedway.

“Coming out of turn four, something breaks in the axle in the back end. The car flips violently," Hondo said as he described the dangerous crash of Billy Arnold, who was vying to be first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500s. "The axle and the head flings, and it goes over the top of the grand stand, over the top of Georgetown Road, over the top of Wilbur’s house, he’s playing the backyard, and like a javelin nails him."

Brink is one of the 24 stops on our ride. The others are below:

  1. Lem Trotter (Found plot of land for IMS)
  2. George Bignotti (Mechanic) , AJ Watson (Car Builder)
  3. Jerry Hoyt (Driver)
  4. Ronnie Duman (Driver), Pat Vidan (Starter)
  5. Cotton Henning (Mechanic), Paul Russo (Driver)
  6. Arthur Lathrop (Car Owner)
  7. Charlie Merz (Driver)
  8. Cannonball Baker (Driver, Inspiration for the movie Cannonball Run)
  9. Harry Stuz (Car Manufacturer)
  10. Tony Bettenhausen (Jr. + Sr.) (Drivers)
  11. Louis Schneider (Driver)
  12. Buddy McAtee (IMS Administrator)
  13. Howard Mormon (Car Owner)
  14. Charlie Wiggins (Driver)
  15. Don Herr (Driver)
  16. Arthur Newby (IMS Founding Father)
  17. James Allison (IMS Founding Father)
  18. Frank Wheeler (IMS Founding Father)
  19. Stoughton Fletcher (Banker)
  20. Howdy Wilcox (Driver)
  21. Wilbur Brink (Boy who died outside IMS)
  22. Louis Schwitzer (Driver)
  23. Tom Binford (Entrepreneur)
  24. Carl Fisher (IMS Founding Father)

Unfortunately, we had a leave a few stops off our ride, but if you want to catch up on history, Crown Hill Cemetery will be launching its own racing legends tour on June 23. You can learn more here.

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