May 30, 1964 - The 48th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" - The Indianapolis 500. This page offers a detailed experience of
the 1964 Indy 500 - in chronological order starting in October 1963.

Mickey Thompson hired sports car star Dave MacDonald to run one of his radical new low-slung racers in the '64 Indy 500.

Oct 1963 article regarding USAC rule change. After the '63 Indy 500 many car owners and drivers complained about Mickey Thompson's
low-slung race cars. USAC subsequently mandated that all future 500's be run on tires no smaller than 15". The ruling devastated Mickey
as his cars were specifically designed to ride on the tiny low profile 12" tires originally approved by USAC. NOTE: The article mentions
one of Mickey's rollerskate cars finishing 9th in the '63 500, it was actually Al Miller in a traditional roadster with larger tires

For comparison - This photo is from the garage area during the 1963 Indy 500 and shows the dramatic difference between Mickey Thompson's
12" slicks that were ruled non compliant after 1963, and some of the other larger Indy tires. Photo The Henry Ford.

Another photo from 1963 practice shows Mick comparing a larger tire with his 12" rubber on the '63 #82 car. Photo The Henry Ford.

Photos below are from the November 1963 tire test session at the Speedway when Dave MacDonald, Masten Gregory and Duane Carter
first tested the Thompson racers using the larger 15" tires recently mandated by USAC. Here MacDonald sits in the #82 car with new
compliant 15" tires while Thompson checks the scales. They had no idea how the car would run on 15" tires. Photo The Henry Ford.

Dave MacDonald in the Thompson #82 racer is pushed to the track for initial test run with 15" tires. Notice the crude air intake template
taped to the nose of the car. Photo Dave Friedman


Thompson brought his #82 & #83 racers to the tire tests (Dave MacDonald in car). Mickey ran these cars at Indy in '63 under a contract
with Chevrolet so they of course ran Chevy engines. He switched to Ford for the 1964 Indy 500 but the new (heavier) '64 powerplants
were not yet available at the time of these tests so Mickey ran the cars with the '63 Chevrolet engines. Photo courtesy The Henry Ford.


Duane Carter takes his turn in the #82 car. Both he and MacDonald said the cars were lifting in the turns. Thompson's fears of the larger
15" tires giving his tiny low profile racers a much higher roll center were quickly realized. Having a low center of gravity was a critical
design element and now the team begins searching for an on-track corrective setup. Photo The Henry Ford.

Duane Carter at the brickyard in 1963 tire testing the thompson car

Day two of November testing was much colder and Dave MacDonald puts on appropriate gear - for the sixties anyway. Behind Mac-
Donald in the #82 is Duane Carter preparing for a run in the #83 car. Photo courtesy The Henry Ford.

Dave MacDonald at the brickyard in 1963 tire testing the thompson car

Duane Carter waits for Dave MacDonald to return before he sets out in Thompson's #83 car. The session was scheduled for five full days
of testing but the cars handled so poorly Mickey cancelled it after day two and left Indy. Photo The Henry Ford.

Duane carter in Thompson racer at indy in november 1963

November 26-27 1963 blurb from Motor Trend writer George Moore's "Indy Diary". Thompson at the Brickyard testing the cars he'll run
in the '64 race. (First test run with the larger 15" tires).

With the November tests cut short Ford flew Dave out of Indianapolis early. Dave was scheduled to be in Nassau Bahamas on Dec 1st to run
the King Cobra but Ford first had him fly to Daytona to run tire tests for NASCAR factory members. On the 28th he left Indy for Miami on
Eastern Air and then puddle hopped to Daytona.

Dave (seated on wall by driver's door w/Shelby shirt) met up with Freddie Lorenzen (behind car) and the Holman Moody team at Daytona
Speedway and ran tire tests that evening and the following morning. On Nov 29th Dave left Daytona for Miami and the Bahamas.

Meanwhile Mickey Thompson had trailered both cars back to his Long Beach California speed shop and began chassis and suspension mod-
ifications in an effort to counter handling issues caused by the larger tires. Upon his return Mickey would tell the Los Angeles Times "The
cars just wouldn't handle, there was too much body roll due the higher center of gravity". Photo courtesy Mickey & Danny Thompson

Dec 6, 1963 - Mickey Thompson describes the disappointing November test session to Los Angeles Times writer Bob Thomas. Mick says
the cars are currently in a wind tunnel. (who knew wind tunnel testing was available in '63?)

Mickey Thompson was not only a hard charger and brilliant innovator, but a charismatic salesman as well. Just a sophomore at Indy he
was nonetheless able to secure three of Ford's powerful new double overhead cam engines - a hot commodity in the Ford camp. And this
from a man who ran Chevrolet engines in 1963. Courtesy Los Angeles Times

Sherry's notes from March 1964. Dave MacDonald flies back to the Brickyard for additional testing on the Thompson racers.

Dave meets up with the Thompson team and gets some much needed track testing at the Speedway. The Sears tire people were back too to
get a first hand look at Mickey's racers, now fitted with a new experimental aero nose kit. Mickey had also installed side skirts and a rear
wing but USAC officials told him to remove them. (These innovations are now commonplace today). Drivers present for these tests were
Graham Hill, Masten Gregory and Dave MacDonald. The new '64 Ford engines were still not available for these tests so they again ran the
cars with Chevy powerplants. Hill however, took one test run and walked away from the team. "It's diabolical" he said.

Sears tire engineers performing tests after Masten Gregory's run. Both Gregory and MacDonald agreed with Graham Hill that handling
issues were still evident, nonetheless both drivers stayed committed to the team and Mickey promised significant improvements to the cars
once back at his Long Beach California speed shop.

Masten Gregory at Indy speedway for November tire tests

Eye popping changes! Below is April 26, 1964 Los Angeles news article with a glimpse of Mickey Thompson's new "Futuristic" design.

Mickey Thompson wheels out his newly redesigned Ford Sears Allstate Special racecar. Mickey completely redesigned the car from the
inside out and skinned them with new full fendered aerodynamic body kits designed to mitigate lifting and floating caused by the switch
to larger 15" tires. (Doesn't appear to be an engine in the car for this promo shoot, for sure no exhaust headers). Photo Mickey Thompson.

Dave MacDonald and Mickey Thompson. Photo Dave Friedman

dave macdonald and mickey thompson in 1964 racer

Driver Dave MacDonald (C) and car owner Mickey Thompson (R) with the newly designed Thompson #83 car.

All eyes on Mickey Thompson's exotic full-fendered superskates when the team returned to the brickyard in May. Bright and early on
May 1, the Thompson #83 car (MacDonald's car) and Chuck Rodee's #87 are pushed out for some track time. Besides the aero kits, many
other adjustments were made to the cars following the March tests, including major chassis & suspension adjustments all in an effort to
resolve the instability issues. Mickey's rear wing attachments were still ruled out by USAC officials. Photo courtesy IMS.

Mickey Thompson's new design was a dramatic departure from the traditional open wheel Indy racer. Thompson was a brilliant innovator
and his aero kit's were far ahead of their time but still unproven on these cars, and at the Brickyard. To date only wind tunnel testing had
been performed and now they were about to find out if the aero skins would successfully counteract the car's lifting and floating caused by
the higher roll center. Dave MacDonald's #83 racer pushed to the pit area and readied for initial testing. Photo Courtesy The Henry Ford

Out first was Masten Gregory in the #82 car and here he is returning from his initial practice run. Gregory tells Mickey the car is not only
not sticking in the corners but that it lifted on the straightaways too, to the point where the steering was so light he didn't have control of
the car. Mickey braced for a long month. Parnelli Jones heads out in the #97 car. Photo The Henry Ford.

Masten Gregory tells Mickey Thompson that the car continues to lift. Parnelli Jones heads out for a run

Mickey Thompson sends Dave MacDonald out in the #83 car. Dave would return and give Thompson an assessment similar to Gregory,
anything above 145 mph and the front end is lifting. Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Throughout the day on May 1 the Thompson team made adjustments to the cars of Masten Gregory and Dave MacDonald and here the
team changes the setup on MacDonald's #83 car before sending him out again. The cars were far from where they hoped they'd be at
this point and the entire team realized it was going to be a long month. Not many happy faces in this Dave Friedman photo.


Late in the afternoon on May 2nd it was time for Dave MacDonald to perform his rookie test. The cars remained in adjustment mode and
fortunately the rookie test was not at full speed. The test required drivers to run 10 consecutive laps around the track at a moderate, con-
sistent speed. A driver’s speed isn’t supposed to vary by more than half a mile an hour and is increased in increments of 5 mph: 120 mph,
125 mph, 130 mph and 135 mph. Many drivers have been sent home for more seasoning after failing to impress officials during their test.
Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Success! Dave back in after his rookie test run. Mickey Thompson and track safety director Paul Johnson look on as Dave removes his
rookie stripe. Johnson and veteran USAC Director Jim Thompson were overseeing testing that day and were both impressed with Dave.
“He laid ’em in there very consistently,” said Thompson, “He’s a very good looking boy.” Photo Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Dave Friedman photo.

Jimmy Clark (L) and Dan Gurney congratulate Dave MacDonald on being the first rookie eligible for the '64 Indy 500. Photo courtesy
of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

dave macdonald dan gurney and jim clark at indy 1964 after MacDonald passes his rookie test

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

dave macdonald dan gurney jim clark at indy 1964

Dave MacDonald chats with friend and reigning Indy 500 Champion Parnelli Jones (R). Photo Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

dave macdonbald and parnelli jones in Indy garage area in 1964

Mickey Thompson in a Brickyard conversation with Honda founder Soichiro Honda (hat) and an interpreter. The motorcycle company had
just begun making cars in 1963 and contemplated a move into Indy car racing. Mr Honda was at Indy in 1964 gathering information.

dave macdonbald and parnelli jones in Indy garage area in 1964

Rookie test aside, the crew knew that cruising at 130 mph is far different from racing at 180 so they continued to work towards finding a
setup that would provide speed as well as control. The Thompson crew would work on MacDonald's car while he flew back to California
to run a race for Carroll Shelby. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

 Mickey Thompson and the crew continue making adjustments to his 1964 racers at indy 500

Dave was quickly becoming a Ford "Works" driver - having already signed to run 20 NASCAR races for factory member Bill Stroppe he
now inked a two-year Indy deal with Mickey Thompson. Through all this Carroll Shelby was insistent that Dave be able to run his Cobra
commitments, especially the big races. Thus on May 2nd Dave left Indy for Laguna Seca (California) to run King Cobra Lang Cooper
CM/1/64 against Jim Hall and a pair of his Chaparral's on May 3rd. Courtesy Indianapolis Times 5/3/64

Dave ran a strong race at Laguna Seca but came up a bit short and finished 2nd to Jim Hall and his high flying Chaparral.

Dave flew back to the Speedway immediately after the Laguna Seca race and was testing the Thompson #83 car again here on May 4th.
Masten Gregory had the #84 car out as well. Friends Dan Gurney and Jim Clark sitting on the wall. Photo Dave Friedman

An unhappy Masten Gregory brings the #84 car back in and is becoming increasingly vocal about the car's handling woes. (Dave Friedman)

masten gregory in mickey thompson's 1964 indy racer

Adding further controversy to Mickey's cars was Colin Chapman's discovery of a radical third-wheel steering arm connected to the right
rear wheel of Mickey's racers. This went completely unnoticed by track officials during car inspections. When this news hit the wires any-
one who wasn't already talking about the Thompson superskates was now. Mickey was a brilliant innovator, and while many of his con-
cepts were revolutionary they didn't always receive proper development time. This was more of an experimental solution Mickey concocted
to help resolve the floating issues. (By all accounts it was disconnected by race time).

Mickey Thompson with 3-wheel steering on his 1964 Indy racers

Mickey brought in several different nose cone configurations from his Long Beach California speed shop in an effort to find some down-
draft to keep the cars on the track.

Dave MacDonald's #83 car gets fitted with a new front aero kit and is pushed from the garage to the painter to be numbered. A new rule
required all cars to be properly numbered before being put on the track. Mickey continued to believe USAC was trying to make his life
more difficult and says the impromptu ruling was aimed directly at him. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

Sign Mickey Thompson hung in his Indy garage. Mickey was already unhappy with USAC for banning his tiny 12" tires, and then when
they disallowed him to use his rear wing and aero side skirts he felt the Indy establishment was against him. Mickey was not shy about ex-
pressing his feelings verbally and openly blasted USAC officials for costing him $250K. Photo The Henry Ford

May 6 blurb from Motor Trend writer George Moore's "Indy Diary" about how the Thompson crew were now out running air tuft tests with
MacDonald's #83 car. The crew stationed cameras at several points throughout the track to monitor and film the movement of the tufts.
Mickey also had air vents cut into the front cone and experimenting with various configurations in an effort to help improve handling.

Photo showing Dave MacDonald in the #83 car on May 6 running with the air tufts. A fresh number 83 painted on the cone to sastify new
Indy regulations that all cars practice with race numbers. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection


Masten Gregory (Goggles) continued to complain to Mickey Thompson (left) about the handling of the #82 car. Masten is beginning to
get more vocal, and public, about his displeasure. He tells friend Jack Brabham that his Thompson car "Is the most lethal, evil-handling
car I've ever driven". (Dave MacDonald sits on the wall to the right). Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

Thompson has the crew fit a new front cone to the #82 car and have it prepared for Dave MacDonald. Mickey wanted Dave's input on how
the car handled. Photo First Turn Productions

Sherry's notes told to her by Dave on May 6

Dave continued testing the #82 car through May 7 and only a top speed of 120 mph was reached as anything beyond that was unstable.

Sherry's notes told to her by Dave on May 7

After hitting just 120MPH in the 82 car Dave MacDonald brings it back in and explains the problems to Mickey Thompson. (The Henry Ford)

Dave Macdonald disappointed after testing the Masten Gregory #82 car - back to the garage for adjustments

Mickey and the team push the 82 straight to the garage and Thompson chief mechanic Peter Bryant brainstormed with the crew for a solution.
Dave looks very unsettled in this photo.


Late afternoon on May 9 Dave MacDonald at the track and in what looks to be a serious conversation with JC Agajanian & Parnelli Jones.
Dave would leave the Brickyard that evening for Kent Washington.

Dave MacDonald Parnelli Jones and JC Agajanian in conversion at 1964 Indy 500

Dave hops a 5:30PM flight to Kent WA to run Carroll Shelby's King Cobra in the 5/10/64 USRRC Championships.

dave macdonald

Dave ran King Cobra CM/3/63 to victory outdueling Jim Hall and his mighty Chaparral - Dave invited Jim to share in the victory lap, which
of course turned out to be Dave's last. While at Kent, Dave confided in his friends that Mickey's Indy car was still not right. Ken Miles, Bob
Holbert & chief mechanic Wally Peat all urged him not to go back to Indy. Carroll Shelby told Dave the car needed more development and
not to run it. Carroll said he'd build him a Lotus for the '65 race, even call Mickey for him and tell him he wasn't coming back to Indy. Dave
told each of them that he was obliged to Mickey, that Mickey was a friend and had given him his shot at the big show. Dave told Carroll he
would not back out on Mickey and was confident the crew would continue their effort to sort out the problems - he would fulfill his commit-
ment .. period. Photo Dave Friedman.

dave macdonald invites jim hall on Kent USRRC victory lap

Dave's victory in USRRC Championships left him tied with Jim Hall atop the leaderboard in the Drivers standings

Fresh off the King Cobra win at Kent on May 10 Dave is back at the Brickyard running practice laps in the #83 car on May 11. The team
continued to swap nose configurations on all cars


Meanwhile the Thompson garage was always bustling as the crew worked on the three race cars round the clock the entire month of May.

Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

Photo The Henry Ford

Mickey Thompson’s crew spent long hours in the Indy garage in May trying to get his racer to handle properly

Suspension and frame get a complete makeover, everything was strengthened. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection


Photo The Henry Ford

Dave Friedman photo from The Henry Ford Collection

Dave Friedman photo from The Henry Ford Collection

MacDonald's #83 racer nearly ready to go back on the track. You can see the rubber fuel bladder on the left side. Photo The Henry Ford

May 13 and Masten Gregory back out for a practice but this time running the #84 car. He loses control and slams into the outside wall.
Gregory is unhurt but says he has had enough and leaves the Thompson team. Before storming off he tells Mickey he believes a major
factor to the car's instability is air getting trapped beneath the encolsed fenders.

masten gregory crashes in mickey thompson's 1964 indy racer

Dave MacDonald relays the day's activities to wife Sherry who notes the crash in her personal calendar.

masten gregory crashes in mickey thompson's 1964 indy racer

May 14th Indianapolis AP article about Masten's crash

Mickey & crew gather in the garage for a look at Masten Gregory's crashed #84 racer. Photo Dave Friedman

Photo Dave Friedman

An already stretched Thompson crew realizing the additional workload getting the #84 car race ready. Dave Friedman photo

masten gregory 1964 indy racer was nearly demolished after crash

In this photo of Gregory's 84 car you get a good look at the rubber gas bladder Mickey put in his Indy cars. Photo The Henry Ford.

With his wrecked #84 racer at his side a dejected Mickey Thompson ponders his next move.

Gregory true to his word leaves the Thompson team and takes an open spot with the Dean Van Lines team. He begins to openly criticize
Mickey's race cars in the press.

Mickey Thompson responds to Gregory's criticism of "trapped air" by grabbing a file & hacksaw and cuts fender channels in MacDonald's
#83 car. Dave watches from inside the racer. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection


Mickey tells crew chief Peter Bryant to take over. Dave Friedman photo from The Henry Ford Collection


The team pushes MacDonald's #83 racer to the track, with Dave still inside, and continue to cut crude fender channels. (Dave Friedman)


Mickey sent Dave back to the track with the fender channels and Dave promptly clocked his fastest laps of the month - a four lap average
of 155 mph. Unorthodox modification aside, MacDonald reported that it did improve the car's stability. Photo Dave Friedman

The following morning the Thompson team is back at the track ready to run the #83 car with the new fender channels. (First Turn Productions)

Dave MacDonald with cut fender channels in thompson racer

Dave MacDonald strapped in and ready to continue testing with the newly cut fender channels. On his return he would report that handling
continues to improve on his $83 car. Photo First Turn Productions

Still down a racer after Gregory's departure, Mickey Thompson put word out he was looking for an available driver. Bobby Unser brought
young 24 yr old Mario Andretti by the Thompson garage and Mickey immediately offered him the ride. Andretti agreed to come by the next
day and test the car but never showed. Thompson then turned to 15-time Indy 500 competitor Eddie Johnson and invited him to the team.
Johnson accepted but during his initial runs with the 82 car he was only able to get into the mid 140's.

Eddie Johnson testing the mickey Thompson #82 car at 1964 indy 500

Later in the day as Eddie continued to familiarize himself with the Thompson 82 car he ran considerably faster, Mickey was pleased.
Meanwhile over in the Van Lines camp Masten Gregory was having trouble getting the Offy up to speed. Photo Indianapolis Star

Eddie Johnson

Overhead view of Dave MacDonald's #83 car shows the handmade cuts to the fenders. Intake vents were added to the cone as well.

May 15th - Mickey and the team continue chassis mods

May 15 - Sherry MacDonald receives a call from Dave who's disappointed his #83 car won't be ready for Pole Day tomorrow, the first day
of qualifying. Sherry notes this in her personal calendar.

May 16th, Pole Day! A record crowd of more than 200,000 fans turn out to see what promises to be record breaking speeds. Dave
MacDonald is pushed out in the Thompson 83 car. Getty Images

Dave MacDonald and Eddie Johnson learn that Mickey Thompson has changed his mind and decided to attempt qual runs in the #83 & 84
cars. The crew worked throughout the night and Mickey feels they're good to go. He also wants to take advantage of first day qualifying
benefits. Thompson says if speeds aren't where they need to be he'll decline the attempts and try again on Sunday.


The moment of truth has arrived and Dave settles into the Ford Allstate Special before his qualifying attempt. Dave Friedman photo


Broadcaster Chris Economaki sneaks in a word with Dave before his qual run. Mickey Thompson & Dan Gurney look on. (Dave Freidman)

Chris Economaki talks with Dave MacDonald after qualifying run

MacDonald takes the Ford Sears Allstate Special down pit road and onto the Speedway for his first-ever Indy 500 qual run. Getty Images

Dave MacDonald exiting turn 4 on his Pole Day qual run. Distinct difference between this photo - with the car at speed - and the photo
above going down pit road. As MacDonald comes out of turn 4 and onto the straight, air has clearly lifted the body and you see much
more tire tread below the front fender. Also, you see the front fender channels have risen above the tire line. Photo The Henry Ford


Handling issues aside, Dave MacDonald qualifies Mickey Thompson's Sears Allstate Special at an average 4 lap speed of 151.464 MPH.
Mickey and Dave in a celebratory mood after Dave becomes the first rookie in the field of 33. Sherry was completely surprised when Dave
called her with the good news because the night before Dave had said Mickey didn't think the car was ready and had no plans to run qual
attempts on the first day. Photo Dave Friedman


Mickey Thompson's 83 car is successfully into the 1964 field. (Dave would eventually be placed in the middle of row 5, in 14th position).

Jim Clark also happy after cranking an average speed of 158.858 MPH, which would be good for the Indy 500 pole. Photo The Henry Ford

jim clark at 1964 indy 500 qualifying run

The Thompson crew put fresh new body panels on the #84 car and make late repairs for an afternoon qual run by 5' 5" Eddie Johnson.

Eddie could only manage a mid 140's average and Thompson, knowing it wouldn't be fast enough to make the field did not accept the
run. Eddie would have to wait to try again. Getty Images

Thompson crew pushes the #84 car for driver Eddie Johnson at 1964 Indy 500

Better results however for Dave MacDonald's Shelby Cobra teammate Dan Gurney. Colin Chapman leans in to tell Dan he just smoked
the oval with a four lap qual average of 154.487 mph. (It would be good enough to put his Lotus on the outside of row 2 in 6th position).

Dan Gurney qualifies for 1964 indy 500

Later in the day Dave MacDonald is pushed out for more practice runs in the 83 car. Mickey Thompson checking his custom-cut fender
channels for tire clearance. Photo Dave Friedman from The Henry Ford

Photo Dave Friedman from The Henry Ford


Photo Dave Friedman from The Henry Ford

That night Dave MacDonald calls his wife Sherry to tell her the good news! Sherry was caught off guard thinking they weren't even
running that day. She was excited for Dave and noted the milestone in her personal calendar. First day qual speeds also listed below.

dave macdonald notes on 1964 indy 500 qualifying

Late in the day on May 17th Dave MacDonald is out practicing in between sporadic day 2 qualifying. He rounds turn 2 and the engine on
his Sears Allstate Ford gives out. The Thompson team tows Dave back to the garage. The team had no more engines available and a Ford
engineer told Mickey it would be days, maybe a week before Detroit could send another. Mickey was not allowed to use an engine from
the #82 & 84 cars as Detroit made it clear the priority was to keep them running and get them in the field too. MacDonald wanted the
track time but with nothing to do he flew back to California later that evening to be with his family. Photo Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Dave MacDonald practicing at the brickyard when the engine on his Sears Allstate Ford gives out and he's towed back to garage

Towards the end of day 2 qualfying on May 17th, Eddie Sachs runs his Ford powered American Red Ball Special to a four lap average of
151.439 mph and the team officially accepts the run. Eddie planned to qualify on day 1 but during practice that morning he crashed into
the outside wall damaging his car. He credited his crew's round the clock efforts for having it ready for day 2. (Eddie's run was ultimately
good for the middle of row 6). Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

Eddie Sachs qualifies for 1964 Indy 500

On May 19 Eddie Johnson discovered that even with the improved stability of fender channels the cars were still a work in progress. In a
late morning practice run in the #82 car Johnson lost control at speed and put it into the outside wall. Already overworked, Peter Bryant
and his crew would now need to put the #82 car back together. Photo William Oates

May 19 blurb from Motor Trend writer George Moore's "Indy Diary" referencing Eddie Johnson's crash in the #82 car. Eddie was unhurt
but this latest incident meant all three Thompson racers were now out of commission.

The Thompson crew removes Eddie Johnson's crashed #82 racer from the tow truck and pushes it to the garage. Photo The Henry Ford.

Mickey Thompson’s indy 500 driver Eddie Johnson losses control and hits outside wall

Mickey and crew work feverishly in the hopes of qualifying two, or even all three cars into the field. Eddie Johnson will try to qualify the
previously wrecked #84 car on May 23rd. A final attempt with #82 depends on whether or not they can get it ready.

dave macdonald 1964 indy 500

Saturday May 23rd. The final weekend of qualifying had arrivied and if drivers were going to get their cars into the '64 field it would have
to be now. Dave MacDonald returned from California Friday evening and was at the track Saturday morning as the team prepares Eddie
Johnson's 84 car for Eddie's last attempt to make the field. Photo unknown

Dave MacDonald's teammate Eddie Johnson heads out for a final qual attempt in the Thompson 84 car. Getty Images

Eddie had a great run averaging 152.905 mph and Thompson was confident it was fast enough to avoid getting bumped from the field on
Sunday and he quickly accepted the attempt. Mickey and Eddie are happy are Ford execs to have a second Thompson Ford in.

Article noting that Eddie Johnson had put a second Thompson racer in the field.

Veteran racer Chuck Arnold was out of a ride after his Chevy powered MRC Special failed to make speed. After seeing Johnson qualify
Thompson's #84 car he went to the Mickey's garage to check the availability of his third racer - the #82 car. Thompson told Arnold his
team hoped to have the car ready for Bump Day on Sunday and offered Arnold a shot at qualifying. Arnold took it.

But Peter Bryant knew the crew didn't have time to prepare the #82 car for a Sunday qual run and he told Thompson as much. Mickey,
under intense pressure from Ford to get all 3 cars in the race makes the descion to "bend" the rules. He closed the garage doors and in-
structed the crew to take body panels from the #82 car and place them on MacDonald's already qualified #83 racer. A risky move for sure
but Mickey figured track inspectors wouldn't be thoroughly checking the cars at this late stage. Photo The Henry Ford.


Bump Day the 24th and with the #82 body panels on MacDonald's #83 car Mickey sends driver Chuck Arnold out for a spin - literally.
Photo courtesy


Chuck Arnold spun the low-slung car heading into turn 1 on his second practice lap. He missed the wall but the caution flag came out halting
both practice and qualifying. Getty Images


The car went back to the garage until Arnold put it on the track for his second practice run at 2PM, and spun again, this time in turn 3. Two
spins in one day was enough for Arnold and he left the Thompson garage in search of another ride. Photo Lloyd Masing


Typical Bump Day at the Brickyard, fast paced car hopping was in full swing. Drivers and car owners frantically searched each other out
in hopes of getting an available car into the field. Bobby Johns was one such driver after crashing Smokey Yunick's unique "sidecar" racer
(shown below). After hearing Chuck Arnold had walked away from the Thompson team Bobby headed straight to Mickey's garage to check
on the #82 car before the final gun on qualifying went off. But after sititng in the #82 car (actually MacDonald's #83 car) he decided "The
car just didn't feel right" and passed on the opportunity. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

With less than an hour left in qualifying Mickey Thompson went looking for of all people, Masten Gregory, who was at the Brickyard to
watch Bump Day festivities. Mickey asked him to give one last chance at qualifying the #82 car (which was really MacDonald's #83 car).
Gregory agreed to try to qualify the car but said he would not drive it in the race. Mickey had no other options and agreed. Gregory was
only able to muster a 147 mph average in the car but with several other cars in line to qualify Thompson had to accept the run. It was
ultimately good for the 34th position, the first alternate should a car not be able to run. Photo courtesy First Turn Productions.

Bump Day excitement and the joy of Eddie Johnson qualifying ended quickly for Dave MacDonald when he learned good friend Glenn
Fireball Roberts is hospitalized after a serious crash in NASCAR's World 600 on 5/24. (Glenn would succumb to his injuries on July 2nd).

Days later famed journalist Chris Economaki hears rumors about body panel swapping in the Thompson camp. Econamaki wrote about
it National Speed Sport News, although his version was a bit off. Courtesy National Speed Sport News

Carb Day May 28th and drivers get one last day of practice to dial in their cars before the big race. Dave MacDonald is out most of the
day getting much needed track time in the #83 Thompson Ford. He would twice however be forced to the pits after body panels flew off
his racer. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

dave macdonald in mickey Thompson ford at 1964 indy 500 on carb day

Dave MacDonald back in from his Carb Day run. Some reports say that at one point during the day World Driving Champion Jimmy Clark
was running his Lotus directly behind MacDonald and after seeing unusual action from Dave's car followed him into the pits and urged him
to "Get out of the car mate, just walk away". Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

Some have questioned whether Jim Clark actually told Dave to get out of the car. But Jim's girlfriend at the time, Sally Stokes (C), is on
record as saying she absolutely remembers Jim telling her he said that to Dave. Photo unknown

Dave MacDonald wraps up his final practice run in the Mickey Thompson 83 racer. Caption below mentions late adjustments for a full fuel
load yet that is a subject of debate. General consensus is he did not run any practice laps with a full fuel load

The field is set and IMS introduces 33 of the best drivers in the world at the 1964 Indy 500 media day festivities. You can see on pit wall
that Dave's last name was misspelled, this was a common occurance in newspapers throughout his racing career. Photo Dave Friedman.

Drivers seated in makeshift stands enjoying the festivities. Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs are next to one another (middle of row 2)
as they prepare to take the drivers photo. Dave is wearing a sweater & tie and Eddie a hat. Photo Dave Friedman.

Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs seated next to one another in 1964 Indy 500 drivers photo

A closer look at some of the drivers. Photo Dave Friedman.

Still in his sweater & tie Dave MacDonald is back at the Thompson garage signing autographs.

Thompson, Bryant and the rest of the crew worked tirelessly to get the cars ready, right up until the night before the race. (Flip Schulke)

Final starting positions for the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Dave MacDonald is in the middle of the 5th row

Crowd favorite and Indy veteran Eddie Sachs in his rear engine Ford will start in the 17th position. Photo courtesy IMS.

Crowd favorite and Indy veteran Eddie Sachs before 1964 indy 500

Eddie Johnson will start the Thompson #82 in the 24th position. Photo courtesy IMS.

Eddie Johnson will start the Thompson #82

Dave MacDonald will start the Thompson #83 in 14th position. Photo courtesy IMS.

Dave's autographed Indy photo. From the collection of John Douglas, used with permission

Another nice autographed print of Dave from the Gordon Bandemer collection.

L-R Peter Bryant, Mickey Thompson, Fritz Voigt

MCA-TV (Music Corporation of America) announced the first ever Indy 500 broadcast to a national closed-circuit TV audience

Race day. As pre race activities get underway Thompson teammates Dave MacDonald and Eddie Johnson appear to be engaged in a
serious conversation. Photo Gordon Martin courtesy MotorBinder by Roy Spencer.


Eddie Johnson's 84 car along pit road. Photo unknown


Both Dave MacDonald's #83 car Eddie Johnson's 84 car along pit road as fans begin to fill the stands. Photo unknown


Indianapolis Motor Speedway is brimming wth excitement as nearly three hundred thousand fans on hand for the 500. Photo The Henry Ford

Cars and drivers begin to fill the grid for the start of the race. Dave MacDonald and John Mecom (R) in pre race chat. Photo Dave Friedman

John Mecom (L) and Dave MacDonald (C) again. Photo Dave Friedman

Dave MacDonald and John Mecom talk on the starting grid for the 1964 Indy 500

Eddie Johnson's 84 car ready to go and pushed out to the track. Notice the last minute air scoop addition to the right of the driver. This late
modification appears only on race day photos of Mickey's cars. Dave Friedman photo from the The Henry Ford Collection

Thompson crew pushes the #84 car for driver Eddie Johnson at 1964 Indy 500

Benson Ford sits in sparkling new Ford Mustang - 1964 Indy 500 pace car. Photo courtesy IMS.

Several more Ford Mustang Pace Car's would circle the track before the race. Photo unknown

Photo The Henry Ford Collection

Official Ford Mustang Pace Car taking the cars around the track before start of the '64 Indy 500. Jim Clark on the pole. Photo Ed Maudlin

Dave MacDonald in the middle of row 5 with Eddie Sachs Behind him

Beautiful color image showing the view out of turn 4 and onto the front straight. The big tree on far left of photo is where Dave MacDonald's
car would impact the wall. Pace car about to leave the track and race goes green. Photo Walter McCarty

Pace Car off and the race goes green. Rear of Jimmy Clark's Lotus barely visible as the field enters turn 1. Getty Images

Jim Clark in the #82 Ford Lotus gets a great start and is already separating from the pack.

Eddie Sachs makes an early move to the outside and jumps Dave MacDonald, Johnny Rutherford and Ronnie Duman and was 13th as the
field went into turn one. In the shuffle MacDonald still looks to be in 14th position and '63 world champion Jim Clark leads the pack.

Jim Clark with a comfortable lead as the field enters the short chute between 1 and 2. Dave MacDonald still in 14th position but Rutherford
would go by him before lap's end.

During laps 1 and 2 Dave MacDonald had moved past Don Branson, Len Sutton & Dick Rathman and repassed Eddie Sachs and Johnny
Rutherford in the process. As leader Jim Clark crossed the line to start lap 3 Jim Hurtibise, Walt Hansgen & Dave MacDonald were coming
out of turn four running 8-9-10. As Dave exited turn 4 and onto the front straight he was closing fast on Walt Hansgen, who was closing fast
on Jim Hurtibise. Dave pulled driver's left to pass Walt and a split second later Walt made the same move pulling out driver's left to pass Jim.
Two cars behind MacDonald was Len Sutton who would later say Dave turned left again to avoid Walt and his car got sideways.

At the bottom is leader Jimmy Clark streaking into turn 1 at the beginning of lap 3 and at the top is the start of the crash that would claim
the lives of talented racers Eddie Sachs & Dave MacDonald

The aftermath. The fire truck at the very bottom of this photo is parked next to Dave MacDonald's car. The dark marks on the track show
the path Dave's car took to get there - the initial impact on the inside wall and the second impact at the outside wall. Cars making it through
have come back around to a stop as race officials halted the race. This is the first time in history the Indianapolis 500 was stopped for a
crash. Image courtesy of the William Oates-Phil Reilly Collection & Vintage Motorsport magazine.

1964 Indy 500 aftermath Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs

Dave MacDonald's car in the foreground, Eddie Sachs' in the background. RIP. Getty Images

1964 Indy 500 aftermath Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs

Eddie Johnson is among the cars coming back around to park outside of turn 4. You can see the anquish on Eddie's face as he looks toward
the horror in front of him

The race was eventually restarted and legendary racer AJ Foyt went on to win. A happy but subdued AJ holds a glimpse of what tomorrow's
headlines will read. Two popular racers - Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald would die in the fiery crash. RIP Dave and Eddie. Photo IMS

1964 Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt holds newspaper about Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs death

1964 Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt holds newspaper about Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs death

A record payout for the 1964 Indy 500 and race winner AJ Foyt's share was a staggering $153,650. The richest Formula One race in the
world at the time was the 1964 Monaco Grand Prix and race winner Graham Hill's payout was a mere $2,000. It's not hard to understand
why the best drivers in the world flocked to Indy every year.

The Thompson team was awarded $11,000 in prize money - $5,900 for Eddie Johnson and $5,100 for Dave MacDonald. Dave's portion
of $2,040 was given to Sherry by Mickey Thompson.

JC Agajanian was kind enough to offer Mickey and a distraught Sherry MacDonald a ride back to California on his chartered plane.

Letter from USAC's Henry Banks to Dave MacDonald's wife Sherry after the 1964 Indy 500

Los Angeles Herald Examiner

Los Angeles Times

Sherry MacDonald at Dave's funeral in California