George Fonder

George Fonder

22/6/1917 - 14/6/1958

One of the top midget drivers in the 1940's and 50's, raced at Indy three times. Sadly came out of retirement in 1958 to race at the Hatfield Speedway and was killed in an accident.

George Fonder was born in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania.

He was one of the best midget drivers around at the time. The 1941 racing season began as the war was going on in Europe and at National it was the George Fonder and Charlie Miller show.  They dominated the racing for most of the season. George Fonder started the season with three straight wins.  Charlie Miller won one then Fonder took victory number four then it was Miller time again with his second win. A two week break saw  Dave Randolph take one win and Joe Garson another the following week. Then it was back to businesss as usual as the next nine races all went to either Miller or Fonder. Fonder won one week, Miller the next.  Fonder came back and captured a 100-lap affair with Miller winning the following week.  George Fonder was back with two in-a-row before Miller duplicated that feat with two straight of his own then is was Fonder again. The end of season saw Fonder winning three of the last four races.

He also raced big cars and raced in the Indy 500 three times. He debuted in 1949 at the wheel of an Adams powered by a supercompressed Spark engine, finishing in twentieth place, he was relieved by Mel Hansen from lap 68 to 116. He returned to Indy on two other occasions, in 1952 he received the checkered flag three laps down on the winner Troy Ruttman, in fifteenth driving a Silnes/Sherman - Offenhauser. In 1952 he retired on lap 107 when his the Offenhauser engine in his Kurtis 400 overheated.

He died in 1958 when he came out of retirement to race at the Hatfield Speedway as a favor to George Marshman, the promoter of the race. After winning his heat, he crashed in the final. He was taken to North Penn Hospital in Lansdale but wasa dead on arrival.

Fonder was the only fatality at the Hatfield Speedway during its five years as a half-mile paved track. Converted to a high-banked dirt oval in 1959 it closed in 1967 to make way for a housing development.

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