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History The Grim Death of Rex Mays

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,096


  2. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Right about the time my dad stopped watching auto racing. What do you do, when your hero's become mortal?

  3. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Or Swede Savage. Speed is some crazy shit. gotta respect what those guys did.

  4. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Christ. Could you imagine being in his shoes???
  5. bcowanwheels
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 321


    never gripe over safety equip. install it and use it.
  6. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    That was a real shame. He never really got the chance to live up to his potential, IMO.
  7. barstowpo
    Joined: Jun 27, 2012
    Posts: 232


    Savage was doomed when he was given tainted blood in the hospital.
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,383

    from Bordertown

  9. Fuel to burn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2009
    Posts: 282

    Fuel to burn

    The safety manual is written in blood.
  10. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200


    I think he lasted more than a month in the hospital.They said he was jokling with EMS personnel on the way to the hospital.
  11. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    It's true, Savage got bad blood at the hospital and contracted Hepatitis. His internal organs began to shut down. He died one month after the accident.

  12. 56BlueBird
    Joined: Sep 16, 2013
    Posts: 7

    from USA

    Wow, thank you all for posting a condensed history lesson in one thread. Talk about a lot of school of hard knocks lessons.
  13. Mitch G
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 101

    Mitch G

    Johnny Thomson survived this mess at Williams Grove, PA in 1959, maybe a broken ankle is all?

    Attached Files:

  14. Mitch G
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 101

    Mitch G

    Charlie Mussleman survived getting pitched out of Sam Traylors sprint car at Langhorne, PA Sept.1, 1957. Walter Chernokal shot both the black and white sequence's of the Thomson, and Musselman flips.

    Attached Files:

  15. CGkidd
    Joined: Mar 2, 2002
    Posts: 2,882


  16. My parents rented a house, in Pasadena Ca, next to Art Sparks and his family. Rex had driven for Sparks, off and on, for about 10 years. It was a sad day around the neighborhood when the news of Mays' death was announced.
    It is pretty well known that Rex never used a seat belt. He had survived a number of ejections, one that broke his jaw and left him very few (if any) lower teeth. But, apparently, he insisted that not using a belt saved him on several occasions.

    I use a rolllbar, seat belts and a shoulder harness on my car.
  17. Joshua Shaw
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    Joshua Shaw

    2 years ago I restored, and now run the HAL COLE #14 KK2000 in vintage events. It's the car that was driven by Johnny Mantz that day, and ran over Rex as he lay in the track in the LAST picture of the series.

    Of this beautiful #14's very successful history both at Indy and on the Dirt Tracks throughout it's life from 1948 - 1976, delivering what many think was the "Death Blow" to legendary Driver Rex Mays is a dark side and a "Black Eye" on it. But, It's almost IMPOSSIBLE to find a vintage open wheel car that actually competed and doesn't have a couple "brushes" with the dark side. I've worked on and driven cars that have "Death lists" that sound like a USAC Heat race line up. It's just the way it is.

    Thanks for the post, good info.

    ***Also on a side note... The new book out on REX MAYS is REALLY GOOD!! I recommend it! Great Christmas Present.

    J Shaw

    Attached Files:

  18. People don't relaize it or just don't think about it much, but back in the "glory gays" of drag racing (the 60's) it was not uncommon to read about a death every week. When you count all the local race tracks where death occured, it was a regular event.
  19. All those rules written in blood.
  20. Just remembering how the NASCAR guys wanted to drive convertibles,,they were scared to death of closed cars. HRP
  21. dabirdguy
    Joined: Jun 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,404

    Member Emeritus

    Today we have fire retardant suits.
    For me, I'd rather anything than burn.
    I would not have use a seat belt back then, either.

    Spend some time in a burn ward and you will understand.
  22. indybigjohn
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,713

    Member Emeritus

    dabirdguy ain't wrong. Never spent time in a burn ward, but I did get some third-degree burns on my abdomen in a propane truck incident (seal blew off).

    Healing was almost as painful as the burning.

    Worst was the smell. When the top of the dressing slipped away, it would make me VERY nauseous. The doctor said that's the way a burn smells when it's healing.

    I said, "Then it must be healing good, because it really stinks."

    Easy to laugh at now. That was more than 35 years ago.
  23. mtkawboy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,214


    I recall seeing pictures of Junior Johnson getting thrown from a car on the old Daytona Beach course and waking away. Darrell Gwynn wouldn't be parilysed if he had his wrist restraints on when he was injured in England
  24. exprezdan
    Joined: Jul 6, 2008
    Posts: 22


    I just looked closely at the magazine sequence pictures and can't find this one image. Are you sure you found this in that issue?
  25. Nobey
    Joined: May 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,428


    It's nice that you mentioned Duke Nalons, George. I went back to Indy in 1991 with BobEstes, we were sitting
    in the old timers lounge in gasolene alley before the race, when in walks Duke (my childhood hero), we talked
    about that 49 crash everyone there remembered it like it was yesterday. Bob shared lots of stories with me over
    the years, but would never talk about 1952 when he lost two drivers in one year. Jim Rigby, and Joe James.
    When I way young we always listened to the Indy race on the radio, I'll never forget the beautiful sound the
    Novi V8's made. Rich
    dan griffin and falcongeorge like this.
  26. Rusty Karz
    Joined: Feb 11, 2005
    Posts: 299

    Rusty Karz

    I have seen lots of photos of Sports Car racers climbing into powerful cars wearing slacks and street shoes well into the mid-fifties. Their only concession to safety was something that looked a lot like a Polo Helmet and probably was. Gutsy guys but an awful lot of them were killed.
  27. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091


    Years ago I was told that race car drivers do not go to funerals. I try not to go to them my self . I have lost friends while they were racing.. this happened while racing in drag/ boats/circle track car /motorcycle and sports car racing. .Sadly 2 of them had left suicide letters. On a final note I was given a head and neck {h.a.n.s } device for Christmas this year.
  28. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,319


    The camera used was on loan from my good friend, the late, Fred Lobello from San Diego. Fred always lamented that he only loaned his camera out twice and both times the borrowers made history with it. The first was when a friend took pictures of the race between a roadster and a quarter horse and then borrowed again, the Rex Mays fatal accident at Del Mar race track in northern San Diego. Fred told me that story many times over the years I knew him.
  29. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 4,061

    from SW Wyoming

    Sure would be nice to see auto racing at Del Mar today. The first race there was the last one, I believe.
  30. This is true. I know of more than a few stock car guys, all locals. I never went to any of their funerals.

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