The two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 was a legendary figure in West Coast racing long before ...he ever traveled east to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Although his greatest success in midget racing came under the long-since defunct URA banner, he did win the “Turkey Night” classic at Gilmore Stadium in 1948 and two years later, the AAA National Midget Championship. He also won six of the last eight races held atGilmore Stadium before it closed for good.
As late as 1955, the year in which he lost his life while leading the Indianapolis 500, he was still driving an occasional midget race in order to “keep sharp”.
Vukovich was reluctant to attempt racing at Indianapolis, but after his first 500 he was quoted as saying, “I should have been here ten years ago.” The tenacity he displayed in midget racing competition was evident at Indy, where he led 72% of the laps he drove in competition. He came closer than any man in history to winning four consecutive 500 Mile Races.
Bill won the URA Championship in 1945 and 1946 and became famous in his Drake-powered midget as he consistently beat the Offies.