Chet Miller drove in the Indianapolis 500 for the 16th time in 1952, tying Cliff Bergere’s longevity record that stood until beaten by A.J. Foyt in 1974. Third-place finisher in 1938 and a top-ten finisher on four other occasions, Miller set one-lap and four-lap records of 139.600 miles per hour and 139.034 miles per hour while qualifying one of the famed Novis for the 1952 race. The run was unique in that he qualified on the final day and is the only person to have set track records as the last qualifier to successfully enter the field in a particular year. He also was the third-fastest qualifier with a Novi in 1951.
A specialist with front-drive cars, Miller was almost the runner-up in the 1938 race but had to give up that position for a fuel stop with only two laps remaining. He was just two months shy of his 51st birthday when he lost his life in practice on the day before the opening of qualifications for the 1953 Indianapolis 500, after driving a Novi and turning the track’s first unofficial 140 mile per hour laps.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum