Henry Banks

Henry Banks

14/6/1913 - 18/12/1994

Banks was the first driver to pass a rookie test at Indianapolis in 1936 and won the 1941 ARDC Championship and the National Driving Championship in 1950.

Born in England, Henry Banks grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan. When midget racing was introduced to the area he was one of the headliners.

Soft-spoken and well-mannered, Banks was both easy on equipment and fast, a combination that spelled success. Banks was the first driver to pass a rookie test at Indianapolis when it was implemented for the 1936 race. He drove relief in '37,'39 and '40 and placed 21st in the 1938 race. In 1947 he won 30 midget features.

In 1950 he won the National Driving Championship in the big cars and was second to Bill Vukovich in the National Midget points. Banks won the 1941 ARDC Championship on the East Coast and it was at Freeport Stadium on Long Island that his values of fair competition were displayed. When the Marchese team of rough and tumble drivers Shorty Sorensen and Harry McQuinn showed up for the race, a group of drivers sought out the promoter and threatened to load up if they were allowed to run. The one dissenter in the strike was Henry Banks. After retiring from driving, Banks became the second Director of Competition for the newly formed United States Auto Club, replacing Duane Carter, Sr.

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