George Barringer

George Barringer

10/5/1906 - 2/9/1946

Barringer was a racing driver and owner who raced in the Indy 500 six times between 1934 and 1946 with his best finish being sixth place in 1939.

Barringer was from San Antonio, Texas, and started racing back in the 1920s in the American Southwest as a driver-owner. He went on to race in the Indianapolis 500 six times between 1934 and 1946 with his best finish being sixth place in 1939.

When the AAA adopted Grand Prix regulations for the 1938 Indy 500 and onwards. Harry Miller who had a joint-venture with Bugatti in 1932 with a rear-mounted engine mated to a four-wheel drive system, now built a four-wheel drive, all-independently suspended American Auto Union, with a canted short-stroke supercharged 3-litre 6-cylinder engine, side fuel tanks and all-round disc brakes.

The car failed to qualify but Miller managed to persuade Gulf to supporting a three car attack in 1939. George Barringer, Zeke Meyer and George Bailey wre the drivers but unfortunately Gulf insisted that the cars ran on it's street petrol, putting them at a 55 bhp dissadvantage.

Barringer’s car violently spun into the wall in practice, causing a fuel tank to explode. He was lucky to escape the fireball rotating back onto the track. Zeke Meyer then withdrew, so the team was left with a single entry in the race. Bailey qualified 8th but lasted only 47 laps. Barringer switched to the Bill White Weil/Offy, qualified 15th and brough the car home in 6th.

The following year Miller returned with three rebuilt Gulf-Millers. George Bailey suffered a similar crash to Barringer’s in 1939 and was killed in the ensuing flames. The two surviving cars were withdrawn. Barringer then qualified the Hollywood Pay Day Weil/Offy and finished the race in 14th.

With Miller’s health deteriorating, Gulf decided to sponsor Barringer’s speed-record attempts in Utah. Barringer found the car’s four-wheel drive system ideal for Bonneville and he set an astonishing number of world records in the International Class D (2-3 litre).

1941 saw the Sixes back at Indy but highly modified after their pannier tanks had been banned. Barringer and Al Miller qualified 14th and 15th. But on the morning of the race a fire gutted the Miller garage destroying Barringer's car. Only Al Miller's car could be slavaged and it retired in the race after 22 laps.

Harry Miller died in 1943 and Preston Thomas Tucker aquired the Miller after the WWII and renamed it the Tucker Torpedo Special. Barringer qualifed it for the 1946 race in 24th spot but went out after 27 laps.

A little more than three months later, on 02 September 1946, George Barringer entered the 100-mile race at the Lakewood Park Speedway in Atlanta, GA, United States. On the first lap Barringer and 1946 Indy 500 winner George Robinson spun out and were killed when they were hit by other cars when trying to cross the track.

Leave a comment

Comments