News & Multimedia

Indianapolis 500 Veteran Malone Dies At 76

Two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Art Malone died Friday, March 29 in Tampa, Fla. He was 76.
Malone was a star in drag racing who also competed in open-wheel racing and NASCAR. He also was the first to lap the Daytona International Speedway faster than 180 mph.

Both of Malone's Indianapolis 500 starts – 1963 and 1964 – came at the wheel of one of the legendary, supercharged V8 Novi cars, his assignment there coming as somewhat of a surprise at the time. Perhaps it was his breathtaking 181.561-mph lap Aug. 28, 1961 at Daytona which had drawn the attention of new Novi owner Andy Granatelli. Partnered with fellow drag racer Bob Osiecki, Malone had taken "Mag Dog IV" – a much-modified 413-cubic-inch Chrysler "Hemi"-powered Kurtis "roadster," which had recently served as Firestone's tire test car – and had manhandled it around the 2½-mile speedway more than fast enough to claim the $10,000 prize posted by Bill France for turning Daytona's first 180-mph lap.

Malone had finished 10th in NASCAR’s Firecracker 250 on July 4, 1962 at Daytona and had raced the short tracks around Tampa for years. But because Malone needed at least a couple of open-wheel, oval-track races under his belt before he could be permitted to tackle the Novi at Indianapolis, Granatelli supplied him with a dirt car for the 1962 season-ending events at Sacramento and Phoenix. He "missed the show" at Sacramento but qualified fifth at Phoenix.

Perhaps to the surprise of many, Malone qualified for the 1963 “500,” the first time three Novis had ever qualified for the same race. His Novi was quite distinctive due to the large triangular-shaped stabilizer fin mounted on its tail. Clutch trouble intervened even as the race was starting. After four pit stops in the first 18 laps, Malone was obliged to call it a day.

In 1964, he returned to pull off something which had been achieved only five times previously with a Novi. He was still running when the race ended, flagged off in 11th position with 194 laps completed. As a further historical footnote, Malone would be the last person ever to be running at the end of a “500” while driving a Novi.

Malone had a total of 10 USAC National Championship starts up through 1965, his final appearance coming in 1966 when he crashed Wally Weir's rear-engined Gerhardt in practice on the morning of the first qualifying day at Indianapolis and jumped out to reveal that he had elected to drive in stocking feet.

For many years, Malone’s drag racing shop in Tampa was located only a couple of blocks from the shop of the great “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. The pair had been tight friends ever since Malone was 8 years old. Garlits was older, but they both rode the same school bus.

Malone drove one of Garlits' famed "Swamp Rat" dragsters when Garlits was injured in the late 1950s, and the pair teamed up for a very emotional reunion in 1984 at the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Going in as huge underdogs, they came out on top, Garlits winning the race.

Malone had not been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in many years when he returned in May 2011 for the 100th anniversary of the first running of the "500." The 500 Oldtimers Club was honoring the living drivers who could claim at least one "500" start in a front-engined car, and of the 14 survivors, Malone was one of nine on hand to be honored.

His attendance in 2011 at IMS was quite noteworthy. Just over a week short of his 75th birthday, Malone drove up from Tampa in a 45-foot motor coach, nursing a broken leg and towing a little "drive-around-town" vehicle behind the motor coach.

Two days later, on Saturday morning, May 28, there he was again as one of 161 "500" veterans who were on hand for that never-to-be-forgotten "class" photo taken in the Pagoda Plaza.

Malone is survived by his wife, Sandra; daughters, Stephanie and Pam; and four grandchildren. Calling hours are from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at the Garden of Memories Chapel in Tampa, with a funeral at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at the same location.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Indianapolis 500 Veteran Malone Dies At 76
 
Indianapolis 500 Veteran Malone Dies At 76
Two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Art Malone died Friday, March 29 in Tampa, Fla. He was 76. Malone was a star in drag racing who also competed in open-wheel racing and NASCAR. He also was the first to lap the Daytona International Speedway faster than 180 mph.
Read More
Related Media
Georgia Street
 
Downtown Georgia Street to Host Free "Rock-IN-Roar 500" Music Festival on May 20
Rock-IN-Roar 500 is a free music festival and community celebration that officially “drops the green flag” on Race Week in Indianapolis.
Read More
Colts Draft Party
 
Indianapolis Colts to Host Fourth and Fifth Round Draft Selections at IMS
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is hosting the Indianapolis Colts’ Official Draft Party for the fourth and fifth rounds of the NFL Draft. Come out to IMS from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, to witness the Colts’ selections. The event is free and there will be Colts player and cheerleader appearances. You will be able to watch live picks for the rounds made by Colts personalities and Verizon IndyCar Series drivers. There will be complete draft coverage along with fun activities and games from the Indianapolis Colts organization as well.
Read More
Rick Mears vs. Dan Wheldon
 
#ChampsOfThe500 Challenge Reaches Final First-Round Matchups
The final first-round matchups in the "Champions of the 500" bracket challenge are open for voting to determine who will join Helio Castroneves, A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Bill Vukovich in the quarterfinal round.
Read More
Darius Rucker
 
Multi-Platinum Recording Star Darius Rucker to Perform National Anthem at 100th Indianapolis 500
Three-time GRAMMY Award winner and multi-platinum recording artist Darius Rucker will perform the national anthem before the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Read More
IMS Pylon
 
100th Running Host Committee Places Historic Pylon Panels Throughout Indy as part of 33-Day Countdown
Number panels from historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway scoring pylon will be showcased throughout the city to build anticipation for race weekend
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,108
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
Not to be outdone, fellow @IndyCar driver @TonyKanaan bowled a strike! #PacersPlayoffs https://t.co/lZvp5dt4nV
about 9 hours ago