Dennis Duke Nalon was the Eastern Dirt Track Champion in 1938 and the Midwest Champion in 1941, winning 28 sprint car races from 1937 through 1941. He gained his greatest fame, however, as driver of the famous Novi Specials in the Indianapolis 500. Although handicapped repeatedly by mechanical trouble, he led the field on two occasions (1948 and 1949). Nalon won the pole position for the Indianapolis 500 in 1949 at 132.939 miles per hour and again in 1951 with a four-lap record speed of 136.498 miles per hour.
His third-place finish in the 1948 Indianapolis 500 was the best ever for a Novi. Inducted into both the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and the Midget Hall of Fame, Nalon was an outstanding representative of the sport, always a consummate, elegant gentleman., After retiring from competition, he served for several years as Assistant Highway Commissioner for the State of Arizona.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum