18/12/1907 - 20/5/1984
Holder of one of the best records in the Indy 500. In 5 startes he won once, finished second on three occasions and retired once. Bill Holland died 38 years ago, he was 77
Bill Holland was from Philadelphia. He started racing in Midgets before moving up to Champ Cars.
His finishing record at Indy has never been matched. He started five times and finished second in 1947 his Rookie year and second in 1948. He then won the race by more than 5 miles in 1949 and established what was then a record with an average speed of 121.327 miles per hour. He then came second again in 1950 followed by 15th in 1953 when his cam gear failed after 177 laps.
Mickey Rooney once stared in a racing film called "The Big Wheel." The final race of the movie was a duel between Rooney and a character called Bill Holland at the Indy 500. There were many close-ups of both Rooney and "Holland" during the final stages of the race, which "Holland" finally won.
After the movie was released, the real Bill Holland sued the movie company, saying that the actor in the movie playing "Bill Holland" was much less attractive than the real Bill, who was quite handsome, thereby holding him up to scorn and laughter. He won his case.
Holland operated skating rinks in Bridgeport before moving to Tuscon, Arizona, in the early 1970's.
Officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway had invited him and his wife, Myra, to be guests of honor at the race in 1984, but the couple had declined. He died of Alzheimer's disease shortly afer. He was 76 years old.