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
The Rolling Stones
 
The Rolling Stones to Rock IMS July 4
The band has announced that they will kick off their new 15-city North American stadium, ZIP CODE tour, in San Diego on May 24 at Petco Park. The band will visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis on July 4.
Read More
Tom Sneva
 
Tom Sneva Named Honorary Steward for Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced that another giant of Indianapolis 500 history will be recognized at its June 11-­‐14 Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Tom Sneva, nicknamed by fans and press “The Gas Man” for his all-out, record-breaking driving style will serve as Honorary Steward during the four day speed festival.
Read More
Juan Pablo Montoya
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Montoya, Team Penske Make Opening Statement at St. Pete
Twenty-four hours before securing his 13th Indy car victory and first on a road/street course since Vancouver in his 1999 CART championship season, Juan Pablo Montoya was sizing up the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Read More
Justin Wilson
 
Wilson Joins Andretti Autosport For Indianapolis 500 and Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Justin Wilson will make his 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series debut in an Andretti Autosport car in the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and also compete in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, the team announced.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Verizon IndyCar Series Kicks Off This Weekend in St. Petersburg
It’s a dawn of a new era for the Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend as aero kits enter the sport’s lexicon. Years of work by IndyCar engine suppliers Chevrolet and Honda have resulted in new bodywork that not only provides different looks for fans to identify each brand, but has also raised the performance index of the 24 cars on the St. Petersburg grid.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,836
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
@davepounds Jim is and will always be welcome at IMS.
about 38 minutes ago