Louis F. Schneider

19/12/1901 - 22/9/1942

Record updated

Ex-traffic cop who won the Indy 500 in 1931. Struggled with the bottle and eventually died from complications from a badly broken arm sustained in a crash in a Midget race in San Diego in 1938.

Louis F. Schneider
Louis Schneider was an ex-traffic policeman who first raced in the Indy 500 in 1927. In 1930 he qualified 4th and finished on the podium in 3rd spot driving a Stevens-Miller. Schneider always battled with the bottle and at Altoona that year he was too hungover to start, so Freddie Winnai and riding mechanic Terry Curley drove. A fuel line came loose and the car caught fire. Freddie pulled it off the board track at over 100 mph, saving the speedway and, no doubt, many lives.

The following year Schneider, driving the same car, the Bowes Seal-Fast Special, was 5 laps down on Billy Arnold on lap 162 when Arnold's rear axle broke. Arnold crashed out and Louis led the remaining laps to take the win.

He returned in 1932 and 1933 but never came close to winning again. He spent most of his time racing in Midgets as there weren't many big car races at the time. He drove for Carl W. “Sport” Hessler. Hessler attended his first Indy 500 in 1931 and watched Louis win the race. He became a riding mechanic for Babe Stapp and Billy DeVore and eventually became a team owner. Schneider was his driver for a couple years. Hessler took Schneider out to California where Schneider imediately put his midget on the pole at old Gilmore Stadium.

In April 1938 he was seriously injured in a midget race at the Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California. He hit a concrete wall and the car burst into flames. He was pulled to safety by an unidentified spectator, but his left arm was badly crushed. His badly broken arm ended his racing career, and although he reappeared in a midget race in California in August 1938, his arm never really healed. TB of the bone set in about a year later, and he subsequently passed away in a sanitarium.