Sunday, 8 May 2011

Winning in the rain - Wynn's Friction Proofing Special

To accommodate Ferrari Friday I got a little out of sequence with my posts celebrating the Centenary of the first running of the Indianapolis 500, today we are looking at the 1950 Wynn's Friction Proofing Special, thanks to a photograph taken by Ed Arnaudin in 1980.

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Frank Kurtis the designer of extremely successful midget, 1/4 midget, sports and sprint cars also designed and built some 120 Champ cars for the Indianapolis 500, marketed and manufactured under the Kurtis Kraft name.

His creations took five victories between 1950 to 1955, so it is no stretch to say Kurtis dominated at Indianapolis in the first half of the 1950's.

The first Indy 500 winner Kurtis Kraft built was the Wynn's Friction Proofing Special seen in today's photograph, the car was powered with a ubiquitous, for the period, 4,424 cui / 270 cui 4 cylinder twin overhead cam Offenhauser motor.

Driving the Wynn's Friction Special in 1950 was Johnnie Parsons who won the rain shortened 'Indy 500' on just his second attempt. Due to an engravers error, Johnnie's name was spelt incorrectly on the Borg Warner trophy, an error that was not corrected until the trophy was refurbished in 1991. Until then I am sure Johnnie's son Johnny probably enjoyed having his name on the trophy even though it was next to his Dad's face.

Johnnie took part in 10 Indy 500's from 1949 - 1958, his best finishes beside the win were 2nd in 1949 and 4th in 1956. Parsons also won the Turkey Night Grand Prix for midgets in 1955, a race won more recently by NASCAR drivers Jason Lefler in 1999 and Tony Stewart in 2000.

My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for scanning his Dads photograph.

Hope you have enjoyed today's rained out edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

29 05 11 Errata, thanks to evidence provided by Tim Murray it turns out that as of 2005 the Johnny Parsons spelling error had not been corrected. Apologies for any confusion caused.

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