Duke Nalon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Duke Nalon
Born (1913-03-02)March 2, 1913
Died February 26, 2001(2001-02-26) (aged 87)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United States American
Active years 19501954
Teams Kurtis Kraft
Entries 5 (3 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 1
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1950 Indianapolis 500
Last entry 1954 Indianapolis 500

Dennis "Duke" Nalon (March 2, 1913 – February 26, 2001) was an American midget car, sprint car, and Indy 500 driver from Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Racing career[edit]

Nalon began as a pit crew member for Wally Zale. Nalon occasionally warmed up the car. When Walter Galven needed a driver, Zale convinced Galven to allow Nalon to race. Nalon won the feature event.[1]

Nalon was nicknamed "The Iron Duke." Nalon was part of the "Chicago Gang" with Tony Bettenhausen. They toured tracks in the Midwest and East Coast of the United States.[1]

Midget cars[edit]

Nalon won races on the United States' East Coast in the 1930s. Nalon competed in midget cars throughout his career. He ran his final career race at the only 100-mile (160 km) midget race ever run at Terre Haute. He raced Johnny Pawl’s famous midget to victory. He ended his career the way he started it: with a win.[1]

Sprint cars[edit]

He won the 1938 East Coast AAA Sprint car championship.[1]

Indy cars[edit]

Nalon started ten Indianapolis 500-mile (800 km) races, finishing only 3. He started from the pole twice, and was twice the fastest qualifier. In 1947, he competed in a Mercedes-Benz W154.

1949 Indianapolis 500 Crash[edit]

In 1949, he was involved in a massive, fiery crash in Turn 3. He backed into the wall and the car burst into flames. He survived only because he held his breath (to prevent asphyxiation), and he jumped out of the car while it was still moving. He had severe burns to his legs which gave him trouble until his death in 2001.

Indy 500 results[edit]

World Championship career summary[edit]

The Indianapolis 500 was idered part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Duke Nalon participated in 3 World Championship races. He started on the pole once but scored no World Championship points.