April 10, 2012  |   By Donald Davidson

The 1952 Indianapolis 500

It was one dramatic moment after another. First, Freddie Agabashian caused a major upset by winning the pole position, driving a low-slung car powered by a Columbus, Ind. –built 401-cubic-inch Cummins Diesel truck engine, laid on its side and boosted by the track’s first-ever turbocharger. Next, veteran Chet Miller nearly recorded the first-ever 140-mph lap, turning 139.600 mph in one of the very popular V-8 Novis. Bill Vukovich led for almost three quarters of the race with the first of the Kurtis–Kraft “roadsters,” so nicknamed because of their resemblance to a street-going sports car. When Vukovich stopped with a steering arm failure only eight laps from the finish, into the lead swept J. C. Agajanian’s dirt-track car, driven by six-foot, two-inch, 245-pound Troy Ruttman. At 22 years, one month and 19 days of age, he was the “500’s” youngest winner ever.