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
Simon Pagenaud
 
Pagenaud Drives to Dominant Sonoma Victory and 2016 Championship
With a dominating drive from the pole position, Simon Pagenaud won the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and earned his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
Read More
Astor Cup
 
Pruett's Preview: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
The big question left to answer across 85 laps under the wine country sun in Northern California is whether Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud or Will Power will be celebrating into the night on Sunday with thousands of diehard open-wheel fans.
Read More
Simon Pagenaud
 
Sonoma Raceway Provides Perfect Setting to Decide Championship
Sonoma Raceway, with its challenging and undulating 2.385-mile permanent road circuit set against the backdrop of Northern California’s beautiful wine country, plays host this week to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. And as has been the case for more than a decade in the Verizon IndyCar Series, all the marbles are at stake.
Read More
Team Stop and Go
 
Racing World Awaits Hinchcliffe's 'Dancing With The Stars' Debut Tonight
Hinchcliffe is paired with professional dancer Sharna Burgess, appearing in her eighth DWTS season. Burgess’ best previous DWTS finish was runner-up with Nick Carter last fall in Season 21. Hinchcliffe, the sixth-year Verizon IndyCar Series veteran with four career wins, is competing against 12 other celebrities, ranging from Olympic gold-medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez to rapper Vanilla Ice to actress Marilu Henner.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Dixon Dominates to Win IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen
The No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet driver capped off a perfect weekend, leading 50 of 60 laps in today’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi to collect his fourth win on the 3.37-mile permanent road course. Stretching his final tank of ethanol over the final 19 laps, Dixon cruised across the finish line 16.5308 seconds ahead of Josef Newgarden.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,223
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
“Believe it or not, IMS is turning into a fully functional airport for our entire #AirRace Weekend” @jdouglas4
about 24 minutes ago