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
2015 Rolex 24 Victory Podium
 
INDYCAR Drivers Continue 24-Hour Race Wins Streak
Victory in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona will be quite the preseason confidence boost to Kanaan and teammate Scott Dixon, who co-drove the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
Sharing 'Super Tex' Stories on a Special 80th Birthday
Anthony Joseph “A.J.” Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the only driver to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona and Le Mans, turns 80 today. We asked a few veteran motorsports journalists and broadcasters to share tributes and stories about the man universally known as “Super Tex.”
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Hunter-Reay Presented With Baby Borg Trophy
The trophies are keepsakes for the winning driver and team owner. The 14-inch-tall, sterling silver Championship Driver’s Trophy – a replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy -- rests on a 4-inch by 8-inch beveled black marble base that includes a three-dimensional sterling silver image of the winning driver’s face hand-crafted by noted American sculptor William Behrends, and an inscription of the winning team and year of victory.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
A.J. Foyt Recovers at Home as Milestone Birthday Approaches
For A.J. Foyt, turning 80 this Friday may be one of his greatest accomplishments in a lifetime defined by record-setting milestones.
Read More
Sarah Fisher
 
Sarah Fisher To Compete in 2015 Chili Bowl
Sarah Fisher will return to the driver's seat next weekend to compete in the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire in Tulsa, Okla. The woman voted most popular driver four times in two different series will campaign the No. 67RW for RW Motorsports, owned by Steve Weirich and Mario Rotondo. Hartman Oil will be the presenting sponsor on the midget.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 877
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 Phil Sparks at (317) 492-6463 or email at psparks@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Congrats to @TonyKanaan on his @Rolex24Hours win. Today on The Blog: TK and the Quilt Lady in a photo from 2013: http://t.co/BTcVcTOSNf
about 1 hour ago