Billy Arnold (racing driver)
Early life and career
Billy Arnold was born in Chicago, Illinois December 16, 1905. He earned his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and after his racing days were over, pursued a Ph.D. from the MIAT College of Technology.
He won the 1930 Indianapolis 500 after leading all but first two laps of the race, the most ever by a winner of the race and he won by a margin of 7 minutes and 17 seconds. He was 24 years old at the time. In 1931 he led 155 laps but crashed on lap 162 while holding a five-lap lead, suffering serious injuries along with his riding mechanic Spider Matlock. A tire came off the car, bounced over the fence the killed 11 year old Wilbur Brink who was playing in his front yard outside the track. In 1932 Arnold led 57 laps before crashing on lap 59. He suffered a broken shoulder and riding mechanic Matlock suffered a broken pelvis. At the urging of his wife, Arnold retired from racing.
At the time of his death he was married to LaFrance Arnold, his second wife. Prior to his affair, in May 1930, he was married to Dorothy Canfield of Detroit.
Following the war, Arnold worked at Fretwell Desoto then entered the construction business, building upscale houses and one of the first shopping centers in Oklahoma. Between 1950-58, he developed water skis and was among the pioneers of the sport. His AquaKing water skis became the official water ski of Cypress Gardens in Florida.
Indianapolis 500 results
| Indianapolis 500 Winner
- "The Talk of Gasoline Alley" May 26, 2011.
- "Billy Arnold, 1930 '500' Winner, Dies". November 11, 1976.
- The Indianapolis Star: 75 years of the Indianapolis 500, George Moore, William Eggert, Jep Cadou Jr., 1986.
- Glick, Shav (July 29, 1998). "Danger Always There in Racing". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
- Bernie Biernacki (May 27, 2017). "Chicago tasted Indy glory through Billy Arnold, Pat Flaherty". Chicago Sun-Times. WordPress. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
- "Ardmore Daily Ardmoreite Newspaper Archives". The Ardmoreite. May 18, 1932. p. 1.
- Daily Oklahoman May 29, 1955 p. 48.
- Daily Oklahoman May 18, 1958 p. 115.
- "Billy Arnold, Who Won 1930 Indy 500, is Dead". The New York Times. November 11, 1976.
- "COL Billy "William H or Richard William" Arnold". Find a Grave. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
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