Bill Schindler

6/3/1909 - 20/9/1952

Record updated 28-Apr-20

Raced most of his career with one leg after his left leg was amputated following an accident in 1936. He won six Eastern Midget titles, won four ARDC and raced at Indy three times. One of three driver to race in the indy 500 with a prosthetic leg. The others being Al Miller and Cal Niday

Bill Schindler

Bill Schindler was born in Middletown, New York. He began racing sprint cars in 1931.

When Midget racing was introduced to the East Coast in 1934 he switched to racing them.

In 1936 Schindler had a accident with a big car on the half-mile dirt oval at the Mineola Fairgrounds in Mineola, Long Island; seriously injured, Bill had his left leg amputated above his knee in the hospital. Undetered he went on to have a long and successful career, particularly in midgets. Bill Schindler was very popular and was crowned "King Doodlebug", a national popularity contest, on six occasions.

A leader both on and off the track, Schindler was part of a group determined to keep the AAA out of the East Coast in 1937. He was elected president of the "outlaw" group, however he briefly switched to the AAA in 1940 and won the Bronx Coliseum Indoor championship, raced in a 0.143-mile wooden oval track designed by Bill Heiserman. 

He returned to his “outlaw” past when he was named the president of the newly formed American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC). He served as president for the club's first six years. In eight successive seasons he won six Eastern Championships and finished second twice.  Schindler won ARDC championships in 1940, 1945, 1946 and 1948. Driving for car owner Mike Caruso in the Caruso Offy, he won 53 midget car feature races in 1947 and repeated that total again the following year.

Schindler wanted to race in the Indianapolis 500 and thus rejoined the AAA. He competed there on three consecutive occasions, 1950, 1951 and 1952. In 1950 he qualified an Offenhauser-engine Snowberger in twenty-second place but retired on the 111th lap with a broken universal joint. The next year Schindler drove a Kurtis 2000 but once again retired when a connecting rod broke on the 129th lap. In 1952 he finally managed to complete the race coming home in fourteenth in his Stevens-Offenhauser, the last car to finish on the same lap as the winner, Troy Ruttman.

Then, less than four months after the 1952 Indy 500, Schindler had a major crash in a sprint car race at the Allentown Fairgrounds. He died from his injuries as did a bystander.

Schindler was elected to the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1985 and to the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame in 2004.