Not just anyone wins the Indy 500 or breaks the all time track record at the Langhorn mile, when most young boys are still figuring out what they are going to do after high school graduation. While Lloyd Ruby tried in vain to win the Indy 500 for more than two decades, Troy Ruttman was only 22 when he triumphed at the Brickyard at only his fourth attempt in 1952, becoming the youngest driver to win the classic event.
However, it could easily have been his last year in racing for he was later seriously injured in a sprint car race at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and didn't return to action until 1954. Thereafter he raced fairly infrequently, though he was invited to compete in the 1957 Two Worlds Trophy' race at Monza, finishing second.
He returned for the race in 1958, and stayed on in Europe to try his hand at Grand Prix racing with Scuderia Centro Sud. In conflict with the American racing authorities, allegedly over his love for gambling, Troy returned to Indianapolis in 1960, leading briefly.
Then, in addition to his annual trips to the Speedway, Troy successfully took up stock-car racing with Mercury. He was instantly in the winners circle. Driving for Bill Stroppe, Carl Dane, Rush Chevrolet and Peter DePaolo, he added many AAA and USAC victories to his already stellar career.
Troy's career had pretty much ended by the time most men are just at their prime, as injuries had started to take their toll on him and he decided to retire from racing immediately after completing his final Indy 500 in 1964.