Rare Sports Films


“The 500-Mile Challenge”
“Man With The Lead Foot”

     A new DVD on the Indianapolis 500 covers the exciting 1958 race from two different perspectives! The original films of over 40 years ago, both “The 500-Mile Challenge” and “Man With The Lead Foot” have been digitally restored and are now on this beautiful COLOR DVD! With a running time of over a hour, this DVD, narrated partially by “the old voice of auto racing films” Ralph Camargo, contains never-before-seen shots of practice and qualifications at the speedway during the month of May 1958, along with new footage of the race itself on Memorial Day – more footage on the 1958 race than has ever been made available before !

     It was a dangerous time to be a race driver, and 1958 will forever be remembered for the spectacular but tragic first lap crash that took the life of popular Pat O’Connor. However the 1958 win was a great victory for cigar chomping Jimmy Bryan, driver of George Salih’s bright yellow #1 Belond AP special, a car designed with the engine lying on its side to give the car a lower center of gravity for greater traction in the turns.

     Shown first are scenes of practice and shots of car owners such as George Salih, John Zink and Lou Welch, plus mechanics Jean Marcenac, A.J. Watson, Smokey Yunick and others plying their trade in Gasoline Alley. Throughout the DVD you’ll see closeups of many cars, such as those of Dempsey Wilson, Johnny Thomson, Mike McGill, Jimmy Reece, Johnnie Parsons, Bob Christie, Don Freeland, Bill Cheesbourg, Billy Garrett, Johnnie Tolan, Al Keller, George Amick, Paul Russo and Jack Turner. Included are rare shots of some cars that did not even make the race, such as Freddie Agabashian’s #56 City Of Memphis Spl, and the #66 Federal Engineering Spl. of Jim McWithey. The dark metallic blue #58 of Van Johnson is shown being towed in after a practice crash! There’s also a nice segment that puts YOU in the cockpit for a ride around the track at speed in a late 1950’s Indy roadster! Both weekends of qualifications are covered. Rivals Dick Rathmann and Ed Elisian have struggled to each post the top speed all month, and during qualifications it’s no different. Ed, qualifying first, sets a new one-lap record of 146.508. Dick, although unable to match the one lap mark, grabs the pole with a better four lap average of 145.974, another new record! Others shown qualifying include Pat O’Connor in the black #4 Sumar Special, Jimmy Reece in the burgundy #16 John Zink Spl (outside front row), Tony Bettenhausen in his red #33 Jones-Maley Special, Bob Christie in the yellow #65 Federal Engineering Spl, George Amick in the yellow #99 Demler Spl, and Bob Veith in the white #14 Bowes Seal Fast Special. Troy Ruttman in the red and white #98 Agajanian Special fails to qualify, and others are bumped from the starting field on the final day of time trials.

     The color cameras catch all the pageantry and excitement of raceday and nice closeups show every driver in the starting field just before the start, including Paul Goldsmith and Johnny Boyd. This was the last of two years the pace lap was begun in the pit lane, and the moving out of the beautiful white ’58 Pontiac Pace car with ’57 winner Sam Hanks at the wheel signals the start of the pace laps. The confusion of the parade and pace laps is shown, and a great camera shot shows Sam Hanks and Tony Hulman getting the pace car off the track just in time to avoid getting run over by the “official” start! Pole-sitter Dick Rathmann and Ed Elisian duel wheel to wheel around the first two turns and up the backstretch toward turn three, where you’ll see the most spectacular chain-reaction pileup in speedway history take place from two totally different perspectives! Elisian tries to pass Rathmann low in turn three, loses control, skidding up into Rathmann and forcing him into the outside wall! At the same time, O’Connor’s car climbs over Jimmy Reece, flips and crashes upside down instantly killing O’Connor (fractured skull), then rolls right side up and stops before beginning to burn. As other cars become involved, rookie Jerry Unser cartwheels over the wall, landing outside the track! The accident is shown twice in slow motion, first from a vantage point high over the third turn looking down, and later again from ground level. In all, 15 cars are involved! Many cars are shown pitting under the caution, including Jack Turner, Paul Russo, Johnny Thomson, Johnnie Parsons, Shorty Templeman and rookie A.J. Foyt. Russo pulls intro the pits with a damaged radiator on the #15 silver Novi. Great shots show Russo and mechanic Jean Marcenac working on the car during the 18 caution laps for clean-up of the big wreck.

     When the race resumes, Jimmy Bryan leads second place Bettenhausen and third place Eddie Sachs. During the early part of the race, the lead changes hands among these three and rookie George Amick. Chuck Weyant’s crash after 38 laps is shown, and late in the race rookie A.J. Foyt spins out in turn one, missing the wall and ending up on the grass between turns one and two. Bob Christie and Mike MaGill also spin out! A fire breaks out in Dempsey Wilson’s car during a pit stop toward the end of the race! At 118 miles, Amick pits after charging from 26th starting spot to the lead! Bettenhausen goes into first place when Bryan makes his first pit stop. Shown in the pits for service at various times during the race are Foyt, Rathmann, Bettenhausen, Sachs and Billy Garrett. Johnny Boyd is shown pitting while in third place and a quick stop gets him back out before he loses his position, but it’s the quick pit work of Bryan’s Belond crew that is the key to his memorable victory! His pit times are 29 seconds less than runner-up George Amick’s. Bryan’s last two stops are shown in detail, and after the race, he is shown in Victory Lane with his wife Luella and screen star Shirley MacLaine.

     Another chapter on this DVD shows the race from an entirely different perspective – in all, 65 minutes of historic 1958 race coverage on this DVD!

     Now you can get your own DVD showing both original films for only $29.95 plus $4.00 for First Class shipping! (Illinois residents must add $2.00 state sales tax).

1126 Tennyson Lane
Naperville IL 60540
(630) 527-8890

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1126 Tennyson Lane Naperville, Illinois 60540
(630) 527-8890