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Sam Hanks

Sam Hanks
Born(1914-07-13)July 13, 1914
DiedJune 27, 1994(1994-06-27) (aged 79)
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited States American
Active years19501957
TeamsEpperly, Kurtis Kraft
Career points20
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1950 Indianapolis 500
First win1957 Indianapolis 500
Last win1957 Indianapolis 500
Last entry1957 Indianapolis 500

Sam Hanks (July 13, 1914, Columbus, Ohio[1] - June 27, 1994, Pacific Palisades, California)[2] was an American racecar driver who won the 1957 Indianapolis 500. He was a barnstormer, and raced midget and Championship cars.

Racing career

Hanks was born in Ohio and lived in Alhambra, California from the age of six. He attended Alhambra High School. Hanks won his first championship in 1937 on the West Coast in the AMA. He barnstormed the country, racing on the board tracks at Soldier Field in Chicago. Hanks reportedly won the first two board track races at Soldier Field in 1939.[3] Hanks won the 1940 VFW Motor City Speedway championship in Detroit.

After World War II, he captured the 1946 URA Blue Circuit Championship. He won the 1947 Night before the 500 midget car race. He was the 1949 AAA National Midget champion. He won the 1953 AAA Championship in the Bardahl Special. He won the 1956 Pacific Coast championship in the USAC Stock cars.

Hanks considered retiring following the 1956 Indianapolis 500, but agreed to return for the 1957 race at the urging of car owner George Salih.[2] He would win in 1957 in his 13th attempt (the most tries of any Indy winner) and announced his retirement from racing in Victory Circle.[3] He did not stop racing immediately following his victory, however, but completed his contract to run a stock car for the remainder of the 1957 season.[2]

He drove the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 from 1958 to 1963.[3]

Hanks is believed to be the only Indianapolis 500 driver to participate in the race before World War II, serve in the war effort, then return to race again after the war. It has also been conjectured that Hanks may have been a distant relative to Abraham Lincoln.[4]


Indianapolis 500 results

* Shared drive with Duane Carter

World Championship career summary

The Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA Formula One World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Sam Hanks participated in 8 F1 World Championship races. He started on the pole 0 times, won 1 race, set 0 fastest laps, and finished on the podium 4 times. He accumulated a total of 20 championship points.


  1. ^ 1940; San Gabriel, Los Angeles, California; page 65, line 1, enumeration district 19-686 accessdate = May 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Glick, Save (June 29, 1994) Hanks, 79, Winner of '57 Indy 500, Dies : Auto racing: Alhambra High product retired from the event immediately after his victory. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Biography Archived 2012-02-05 at the Wayback Machine. at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Davidson, Donald (1999-05-23). "Indy 500 winner Hanks linked (maybe) to a presidential past". The Indianapolis Star/News. Retrieved 2014-04-09.[dead link]
  5. ^ Sam Hanks Indy 500 Race Stats
Preceded by
Pat Flaherty
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Jimmy Bryan