Floyd Roberts, who gained his early racing experience on the smaller tracks of California, made his first appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1935. Prior to his Indianapolis start, he finished as runner-up to Rex Mays for the 1934 American Automobile Association Pacific Coast championship with several impressive wins at the famed Legion Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles, California. He finished fourth in his Indianapolis 500 debut and was one of the contenders for premier honors the following year until he ran out of fuel (the limit was 37.5 gallons) with 17 laps to go.
After driving an ill-handling car to 13th place in 1937 (and supposedly secretly nursing a broken arm), Roberts dominated the 1938 race. He won the pole position with a speed of 125.681 miles per hour, led the race for 92 of the 200 laps, and won by more than two laps with an average speed of 117.200 miles per hour, setting a race record that stood for ten years. A driver who performed much of his own mechanic work, Roberts also won the 1938 American Automobile Association National Championship. His career was cut short when he was injured fatally in an accident during the 1939 Indianapolis 500 race.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum