Triplett was a popular Indy 500 racing figure for several years. Drove at the Brickyard five times with a best finish of 7th in 1931. At El Centro in 1934 Ernie Triplett came out of retirement for a comeback effort. On the 7th lap a car stalled in the groove. Swede Smith hit the car and did a slow roll. Hap Hafferly, Swede's pit hand went to the rescue. He ran in front of Triplett who swerved in an unsuccessful attempt to miss him. Triplett hit Smith's machine and within hours Smith, and Hafferly were dead. triplett sucumbed to his injuries teh next day. Even more happened in the aftermath, notably the infamous incident where one of Randolph Hearst's photographers burst in on Triplett's funeral and took photos of Triplett's widow and children and Triplett's body in the coffin before leaving the church followed by some drivers who chased him down, roughed him up and smashed his camera.