Bobby Marshman drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1961-1964 seasons, with 49 career starts is 7th place finish at the 1961 Indianapolis 500 earned him co-Rookie of the Year honors with Parnelli Jones.Other links relevant in this story:
Bobby Marshman was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1961-1964 seasons, with 49 career starts, including each Indianapolis 500 contest in that span. He finished in the top ten 25 times. His 7th place finish at the 1961 Indianapolis 500 earned him co-Rookie of the Year honors with Parnelli Jones.
As a fast rising star in the ranks of USAC Championship racing. He had set track records, won many pole positions and led many, many races but had only taken one victory in 1962 at Phoenix. Everyone thought that 1964 would be the year Marshman broke through. Sponsorship had been obtained from the Pure Oil Co. and a spanking new Colin Chapman Lotus was sitting in the garage.
The first race was the Phoenix 100, teething problems with the Lotus in qualifying put Marshman in the 13th starting spot. But by the 57th lap he was running easy in sixth place, and moving up steadily. Then bad luck made it's first appearance, another car bumped Bobby's right rear wheel, he saved the car but could finish no better than seventh.
April 19th found the troops in Trenton for another 100 miler. The race was halted once by by rain and after the restart Bobby managed a third place finish.
Then it was Indianapolis and in his qualifying run for the 500 the Pottstown flash set a new track record in the Lotus, Jim Clark later in the day broke the mark set by Bobby. So Marshman started from the middle of the front row and on the fifth lap he flew by the flying Scot for the lead.
He easily led the next 33 laps, and was pulling away from the field, when disaster struck again. Going low in the short chute between one and two the Lotus hit the bump where the safety trucks enter the track, the Lotus bottomed out. The bump knocked the drain plug out of the gear box and Bobby's day was done.
On to Milwaukee where Bobby spun in practice and missed the show. Then back to Trenton where he and the Lotus set another track record and was leading easily when the Lotus's suspension let loose on the 22nd lap and once again Bobby's day was done.
August 22nd and the 100 miler on the dirt at Springfield. This was Bobby's race, he was flat running away and hiding. Until,until the 49th lap when he lost the right rear tire and had to stop. In spite of the stop he managed a good second place finish.
Next day it was the 200 miler in Milwaukee. Bobby started seventh and took the lead on 15th circuit. He led easily until the 38th lap when the mechanical bug bit him once again. Day is done.
The third race of the year at Trenton. Bobby was contending for the lead when he spun out of the race.
Finally the end to what had turned into a dismal season, the last race of the year was at Phoenix, Nov. 22.
Marshman was running in second place, just bidding his time when once again the fragile Lotus suffered suspension failure and it was a 13th place finish.
One thing remained on the schedule, a tire test on the days following the Phoenix race. On the last day of the test, Nov. 28, 1964 a 20 lap run was the last of the scheduled test runs for Bobby and the Lotus.
On the 19th lap of the test run something happened, the Lotus made an abrupt right turn and went in to the wall almost head-on.
Bobby's year ended with that crash and his life ended when he died a week later in a Phoenix hospital from the burns he suffered in the crash.
Dick Ralstin and hr