George Robson

24/2/1909 - 2/9/1946

Record updated 24-Feb-07

George Robson was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne but moved to America in 1924. He started racing in 1930 and in the first running of the Indy 500 after WWII, he took the win. He was killed later that year in a crash at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta.

George Robson
George Robson was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. He moved with his family first to Ontario in 1917 and then to the America in 1924. He started racing in 1930 on the "outlaw" circuit in California. He and his younger brother Hal were consistent winners so, in 1939, he moved up to big cars and attempted to qualify for the Indy 500. Unfortunately he failed on that occasion.

The following year he returned to the Brickyard and qualified his Miller-Ford but in the race he went out after 67 laps with a broken shock absorber. He was back in 1941 with a Weil but once agin went out, this time after 66 laps. The war interveined and racing stopped until 1946.

With the war over the Indianapolis 500 in 1946 marked a return to normality. The track now under the ownership of Anton "Tony" Hulman Jr. was repaired and improved after some years of neglect. Cliff Bergere was on pole with a lap of 126.471 mph, but Ralph Hepburn captured the fans' attention when he posted a record-breaking run of 133.944 mph for the 19th starting position. However it was George Robson, who had never won a major race, who came out the winner in a close finish with Jimmy Jackson, who defied superstition by driving a green car. Only nine cars were running at the finish. After the race when Robson was interviewed he said, "All I had to do was keep turning left!".

In June he finished second behind Rex Mays, driving Bill Corley’s Noc Out Hose Clamp Special in the Langhorne 100. The July and August races at Langhorne in 1946 were sprint events, but that year the AAA combined the National Championship points with the Eastern Sprint car or “big car” points. In those races, Robson drove Paul Weirick’s red and black No. 1 sprint-car, nicknamed Poison Lil. He also raced at Williams Grove that summer.

Later the same year, Robson was killed along with George Barringer in a four car pile up on the 98th lap of the 100 mile race at the Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta. With only two miles to go on the dusty dirt track, Billy De Vore developed engine trouble. But instead of retiring he continued in a effort to win some prize money. He was running very slowly when he was hit by Robson driving Cliff Bergere's Burd Piston Ring Special. Robson failed see him in time due to the poor visibility caused by the dusty conditions. De Vore's car was thrown over a stone wall and Robson was then hit by Barrington and Bud Bardowski. There were only nine cars running at the time. Robson and Barrington died shortly after being taken to Atlanta's Grady Hospital. De Vore suffered a broken collar bone and crushed shoulder while Bardowski escaped with cuts and bruises. Ted Horn who was leading at the time saw the crash and tried to flag down the other drivers but the dust was too bad and speeds to high to avert further disaster. Ted Horn was declared the winner.

The car Robson was driving had won the Indy 500 in 1938 driven by Floyd Roberts and was the car in which Floyd was killed in 1939. When the wreckage was returned to Bergere, he was so upset that two of his best friends had been killed in it, that he got an acetylene torch and cut it into pieces.

Robson entered a total of 17 Championship races, starting 12, finishing second twice, and winning once.

His younger brother Hal also completed in the Indy 500 in 1946, 1947 and 1948, failing to finish on all three occasions.