Paul Russo bigraphy, stories - American racecar driver

Paul Russo : biography

April 10, 1914 - February 13, 1976

Paul Russo (April 10, 1914 in Kenosha, Wisconsin – February 13, 1976 in Clearwater, Florida) was an American racecar driver.

Career award

  • Russo was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1992.

Midget car career

He started racing midget cars in 1934. He went with a contingent of midget-car drivers to Hawaii in the winter of 1934–35. at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame He was the 1938 AAA Eastern Midget Champion. Russo won the first race held at the Nutley Velodrome in New Jersey in 1938.

Russo was part of midget racing's "Chicago Gang" with Emil Andres, Tony Bettenhausen, Duke Nalon, Cowboy O'Rourke, Jimmy Snyder, and Wally Zale.

Championship car career

He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1940–1941, 1946–1954, 1956–1959 and 1962 seasons with 85 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in each year but 1951 and 1952. He finished in the top ten 49 times, with 3 victories: at Springfield (1950), Detroit (1951) and Williams Grove (1952). His best finish in the Indy 500 was fourth in 1957, and he co-drove with Tony Bettenhausen to a second-place finish in 1955.

His brother Joe and nephew Eddie have also raced at the Indianapolis 500.

Russo died on February 13, 1976 off the coast of Clearwater while in Florida for the Daytona 500. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

World Championship career summary

The Indianapolis 500 was 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. Paul Russo participated in 8 World Championship races. He set 1 fastest lead lap, finished on the podium once and accumulated a total of 8.5 World Championship points.

Indy 500 results

Year Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1940 38 29 120.809 29 28 48 0 Oil leak
1941 45 18 125.217 5 9 200 0 Running
1946 10 2 126.183 4 33 16 0 Crash T3
1947 15 21 123.967 8 28 24 0 Crash FS
1948 25 25 122.595 29 32 7 0 Oil leak
1949 19 19 129.487 5 8 200 0 Running
1950 7 19 130.790 18 9 135 0 Running
1953 7 17 136.219 16 25 89 0 Magneto
1954 5 32 137.678 32 8 200 0 Running
1955* 10 - - - 2 ? ? Running
1956 29 8 143.546 10 33 21 11 Crash T1
1957 54 10 144.817 1 4 200 24 Running
1958 15 14 142.959 18 18 122 0 Radiator
1959 45 27 142.383 22 9 200 0 Running
1962 62 14 146.687 20 28 20 0 Piston
Totals 1482 35
Starts 14
Poles 0
Front Row 1
Wins 0
Top 5 1
Top 10 6
Retired 8
  • shared drive with Tony Bettenhausen
Living octopus

Living octopus

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