Rodger Ward, one of motor racing’s finest ambassadors and spokespersons, was a two-time winner of both the Indianapolis 500 and the United States Auto Club National Championship. Winner of 26 championship races under either American Automobile Association or United States Auto Club sanctioning, he won the United States Auto Club title in 1959 and 1962. He also was runner-up in 1960, 1963, and 1964, edged in all three years by A.J. Foyt, whom he had, in turn, bested in 1962. A master tactician in his later years, Ward compiled an amazing record in Indianapolis 500 races from 1959 through 1964 while driving A.J. Watson-wrenched Leader Card entries.
His finishes during those six straight years were first, second, third, first, fourth, and second. The versatile Ward won the 1951 American Automobile Association Stock Car Championship and twice participated in the United States Grand Prix, driving an outclassed Kurtis/Offy midget in the inaugural at Sebring, Florida, in 1959 and a BRM (British Racing Motors) at Watkins Glen, New York, in 1963. In November 1961, Ward was one of six drivers who shared a pair of Nichels Engineering Pontiacs in a long distance record run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, covering almost 2,587 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 107.787 miles per hour. A founding partner of Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, Indiana, he designed both the road course and the oval track.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum