The Racing Capital
of the World
December 14, 2011 | By Donald Davidson
Enjoy a complete gallery of images from the 1935 Indianapolis 500 below. These were recently digitized from our photography collection and is the first time they’ve appeared on the IMS site.
Although frequently described as being “Irish–Italian,” there was nothing Irish about 1935 “500” winner Kelly Petillo. The son of an Italian immigrant, his name was actually Cavino Michelli Petillo. As a child, he went by his middle name, the nickname “Kelly” reputedly coming about when a confused schoolteacher thought he was telling her, “Me Kelly.” Another myth, which persists to this day, is that his 1935 winning car was held together with baling wire. (He certainly borrowed a lot of parts to complete his Curly–Wetteroth-built car for the race, and a rod through the crankcase during qualifying did require quite a bit of patching up, but there was no baling wire involved.) Wilbur Shaw was runner-up for the second time in three races and Rex Mays, at 22, became the youngest ever pole-sitter, a record which has never been broken.