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
EV Grand Prix
 
Students Competing in Race for Knowledge during Three Events in May at IMS
The Greatest Month in Racing is packed with competition during May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it’s not just for the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series.
Read More
Kyle Larson, Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton
 
Who's Next? Drivers We'd Like To See Follow Alonso's Lead To Race at Indy
The buzz over Fernando Alonso’s decision to skip the Monaco Grand Prix and race in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28 continues to grow, especially as two-time Formula One World Champion Alonso prepares for his first oval test Wednesday, May 3 at IMS.
Read More
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
 
Hollywood Stars Coming to IMS for Special Red Carpet Screening of New 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul' Movie on May 12
Hollywood will come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday evening, May 12, as a special, pre-release red carpet screening of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” will be shown in Pagoda Plaza during the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend.
Read More
IMS Crowd
 
IMS Seating To Be Smoke-Free Beginning in October 2017
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that its grandstands will be entirely smoke-free beginning with the 2017 Red Bull Air Race. In addition, leading up to the Air Race, the track will provide limited smoke-free family grandstands at select Month of May events and at the Brickyard 400.
Read More
IMS Museum
 
Fans Can Enjoy IMS Museum for Free during INDYCAR Grand Prix Weekend
Admission to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will be free for INDYCAR Grand Prix ticket holders during the two-day event, May 12-13 at IMS.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,514
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
Now it's time for the @IndyCar series to head home for the #INDYCARGP and the #Indy500 pres. by @penngrade!… https://t.co/oTr2dE4852
about 25 minutes ago