Louis Schneider

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Louis F. Schneider (December 19, 1901, Indianapolis, Indiana – September 22, 1942, Indianapolis, Indiana) won the 1931 Indianapolis 500.[1]


Lou Schneider was born on December 19, 1901 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from School No. 49, and later attended Shortridge High School, Ohio Military Institute, and Culver Military Academy.

His auto racing career began in 1920 on dirt tracks in the east and midwest. He was an Indianapolis motorcycle policeman in the mid-20s, and participated in many motorcycle races. In the fall of 1926, he entered AAA (American Automobile Association) competition driving a car owned by racing enthusiast Mike Boyle.

In 1927, he entered his first Indianapolis 500 race when he took a Miller-engined car, rebuilt it to conform to the 91.5 cubic inch piston displacement, and qualified at 114.036 miles an hour, the fastest average made with a rebuilt engine up to that time.

In 1930 he drove the "Bowes Seal Fast Special" eight cylinder front drive, and after qualifying at 106.107 miles an hour, he started in forth position, and finished the race in third position. (This was the race in which Billy Arnold took the lead after lap 2 and led the entire remaining 198 laps to win the race, setting an all-time record.)

The following year, 1931, Lou Schneider reached the crowning achievement in his racing career when he won the 19th running of the Indianapolis 500, and also won the AAA driving championship that year. He is one of only two drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 who were born in Indianapolis (the other was Bill Cummings).

His last race at Indianapolis was in 1933, but he continued to compete in dirt track and midget racing. In 1934, he accompanied Clay Ballinger of Indianapolis, and Buddy Rusch and James Triplett of Chicago, on a two-month racing trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

At the Indy track in 1937, he was involved in an incident with that year's Indy 500 winner Wilbur Shaw. During Shaw's post-race celebration (his 1st of 3 wins), his old nemesis Lou Schneider appeared on the other side of the fence, and, in Shaw's words, "made some sneering remark about me being a lucky so-and-so, and his smart crack touched me off like a skyrocket. I went over the fence like a monkey, landed on the other side, and hit Louis right on the nose faster than I can tell about it."

The final race of Schneider's career was a 1938 midget race in San Diego, California, in which he was involved in a bad crash. Due to complications from his injuries, his health slowly deteriorated, and he died on September 22, 1942 at age 40, after a three-month stay at Flower Mission Hospital in Indianapolis. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.[2]

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]


  1. ^ "500-Mile Auto Race Is Won By Schneider. Ex-Motorcycle Policeman Is First at Indianapolis as 150,000 Look On". New York Times. May 31, 1931. Retrieved 2012-10-08. Many Spills Mark Event. Arnold, 1930 Champion, Crashes at 400 Miles When Leading by About 7 Miles. Frame Gets Second Place. Hepburn, Meyer and Snowberger Next Across. Drizzle Adds to the Drivers' Perlis. Arnold's Car Catches Fire. Averages 96,629 Miles an Hour. Arnold Sets New Mark. Schneider's Patience Rewarded. Drivers Resume Breakneck Speed. Fate catapulted Louie Schneider, onetime Indianapolis motorcycle policeman, into a winner in a stunning upset at the 500-mile automobile race over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. 
  2. ^ "Indianapolis Auto greats" (PDF). Celebrating Automotive Heritage at Crown Hill Cemetery. Crown Hill Cemetery. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Billy Arnold
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Fred Frame