News & Multimedia

Three-Time Indianapolis 500 Starter Russo Dies at 86

Eddie Russo, the second-oldest living Indianapolis 500 driver, died Oct. 14. He was 86.

Russo had lived for the last few years of his life in a veterans’ retirement home in King, Wis. He was tied with Chuck Weyant – the oldest living “500” starter – for having the earliest Indianapolis 500 start (1955) among living drivers.

The Chicago-born Russo, whose forte was midget car racing, passed his rookie driver's test at Indianapolis in 1954 and succeeded in qualifying for the "500” in 1955, 1957 and 1960 although he did not finish in any year. He also served as a relief driver in 1956.

A warrant officer in the U.S. Marines who spent 37 months in the South Pacific, Russo came from a racing family. His father was Joe Russo, who lost his life at Langhorne, Pa., less than two weeks after placing fifth in the 1934 "500," while Paul Russo, of Novi fame, was an uncle.

Had rain not prematurely ended the final day of qualifying in 1956, Eddie Russo may have joined his uncle Paul in the lineup as a Novi driver. He was sitting in line with the second tail-finned V-8 supercharged monster when the weather intervened.

Eddie Russo made 21 National Championship starts between 1952 and the 1960 "500," the latter event being the one which ended his career after an excursion into the outside wall in Turn 2 resulted in the loss of an eye. While never enjoying a top finish, he led the first four laps from the pole in 1955 at Du Quoin, Ill.

After his driving days were over, Russo couldn't stay away for long and resurfaced for a couple of seasons in the late 1960s as the owner of a USAC midget car.

No services were planned.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Three-Time Indianapolis 500 Starter Russo Dies at 86
 
Three-Time Indianapolis 500 Starter Russo Dies at 86
Read More
Related Media
Borg-Warner Trophy
 
So Who is Going to Win the 100th Indy 500? Good Luck Picking Just One
Historical significance demanded everything possible be prepared to present the stage for an epic experience at Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
Legendary A.J. Foyt to Salute the Field of the 100th Indianapolis 500
As the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil has approached, the history of the race has been celebrated by countless numbers of fans and media.
Read More
Alexander Rossi
 
Diverse Five-Man Rookie Class Ready for Challenge of 100th Running
They are aware their fellow competitors will consider them as unknowns in Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Five rookies, including two with familiar names, will get their first taste of this demanding 500-mile test of endurance.
Read More
Tony Kanaan
 
Kanaan Sets Pace in Hectic Final Practice for 100th Indy 500
Tony Kanaan and Carlos Munoz were fastest in Friday’s final practice prior to Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Read More
Helio Castroneves
 
INDYCAR and IMS Partner with Snapchat for 100th Indianapolis 500 'Live Story'
Snapchat, the ephemeral, mobile storytelling platform embraced by 100 million daily active users, is partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to cover the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 29 via a “Live Story.”
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,179
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Be sure to get your say hi to the @INDairy milk people! Get your pint of @PFDairy milk! #winnersdrinkmilk https://t.co/mPhWxjMoZY
about 32 minutes ago