Hanks captured the 1957 Indianapolis 500 in his 12th appearance in the famed race and from Victory L...ane announced his retirement from racing. The popular California competitor later drove the pace car at Indianapolis from 1958 through 1963.
The 1953 National Driving Champion won his first Midget Championship in 1937 on the west coast with the AMA circuit. He became a “barnstormer,” racing on board tracks at Soldier Field in Chicago and the Los Angeles Coliseum. According to auto racing historian, Jack Fox, Hanks won the first two board track features at Soldier Field in 1939.
Hanks won the 1940 VFW Motor City Speedway and the 1946 URA Blue Circuit Championships before capturing the 1949 AAA National Midget title.
Sam won the “Night Before the 500” midget race in 1947 and campaigned the cars through the bleak period of the early 1950s when top name drivers help compensate for short fields.
Sam Hanks died on June 27, 1994 at the age of 79.