Frank Simpson Lockhart

(April 8, 1903 - April 25, 1928)

 

Date Location Driver Driver Country Vehicle Power Speed over
1 Km
Speed over
1 Mile
Comments
April 25, 1928 Daytona Frank Lockhart USA Stutz Black Hawk
V-16 Duesenberg
IC     Frank Lockhart made an attempt on the record at Daytona, lost control and ended up in the sea, he was rescued, Keech then broke the record, then Frank tried again blew a tire and lost his life.

Frank Lockhart (born April 8, 1903 at Dayton, Ohio - April 25, 1928 Ormond Beach, Florida) was an American automobile racing driver, and Indianapolis 500 winner, and considered a legend in the sport by many historians.

Lockhart was raised in Southern California. He became a famous West Coast dirt track racer. He was known “the King of the Dirt Tracks”. Lockhart had a strong engineering and motor building ability that he used to built custom cars throughout his career.

Lockhart began his career in Frontenac-prepared Fords (Fronty Fords) at board track racing events, where he showed remarkable speed against the dominating Duesenbergs and Millers for two seasons. His big break came when he was signed as a relief driver for Peter Kreis's eight cylinder supercharged Miller at the 1926 Indianapolis 500. He convinced Kreis to allow him to take some "warm up" laps, and he clocked quicker times than Kreis (120.919 mph {194.59 km/h}). He set a new unofficial track record on his first official qualifying lap (a three lap average was used to set a track record). He cut down a tire and crashed on the second qualifying lap. He also had mechanical problems on his second attempt. He slowed down on his third and final attempt, and qualified 20th overall with a speed of 95.780 mph (154.113 km/h). On race day, he moved from 20th to fifth by Lap 5, having had passed 14 cars on that lap alone. He moved up to second on Lap 16. Lockhart took the lead from Dave Lewis shortly after a rain delay on Lap 72. Lewis and Lockhart battled for the lead for the next 20 laps, until Lewis dropped out. Lockhart nearly stretched out a two lap lead before rain ended the race on Lap 160, becoming the fourth rookie to win the Indianapolis 500.

Lockhart bought the car. He later bought a second Miller car, and he set track records almost everywhere he went. He won four more AAA championship events in 1926.

Lockhart's car was the first car equipped with an intercooler. The intercooler added 8 mph (13 km/h) to his speed at his first race at Culver City in March.

Lockhart qualified on the pole for the 1927 Indianapolis 500 in his Perfect Circle Miller. Lockhart led the opening 81 laps, and a full 107 before his car broke a connecting rod, setting an opening lap-leader record that stood for 64 years. He won five more AAA championship events in 1927. He had nine AAA wins in two years.

In his racing career he set the all-time qualifying speed record at Atlantic City, a record first exceeded at Indianapolis in 1960. He raced at 22 board track events in his career, with eight wins and fourteen Top 5 finishes, and is 25th on the all-time lap leader board at Indianapolis.

Lockhart took one of his tiny 91 cubic inch (1491 cc) supercharged, intercooled Millers out at the Muroc dry lake and set a land speed record of 160.01 mph (257.50 km/h) for a two-way average in the mile (1.6 km), with a peak speed of 171 mph (275 km/h).

Land Speed Record

Lockhart took one of his tiny 91 cubic inch (1491 cc) supercharged, intercooled Millers out at the Muroc dry lake in 1927 and set a land speed record of 160.01 mph (257.50 km/h) for a two-way average in the mile (1.6 km), with a peak speed of 171 mph (275 km/h).

Backed by Stutz Motor Company, Lockhart combined two supercharged 91 ci (1.5 L) DOHC Miller motors, producing about 380 hp (280 kW), the smallest-displacement car ever to make the attempt, to set a new land speed record in the 122-183 cubic inch (2-3 litre) class at Daytona Beach. The most recent holders of worldspeed records were  established by massive cars,powered by two or more  aircraft- type engines,having piston displacements up to 4,900  cubicinches. The Stutz "Blackhawk Special" wasin every  respect much smaller, being powered byone 16-cylinder  engine (two banks of 8 cylinders,set at an included angle of 30  degrees), and havingonly 181 cubic-inch displacement.

During the trial run at DaytonaBeach on Feb. 22, 1928, at a  speed of approximately225 m.p.h., the tires apparently struck  an irregularityin the sand and catapulted the "Blackhawk  Special"end over end into the sea. Lockhart was rescued fromthe water by spectators, and was uninjured exceptfor a few  bruises and traumatic shock. The "BlackhawkSpecial" was  retrieved and sent back to Indianapolisfor repairs. The car was  rebuilt and returnedto Daytona in April 1928 for the next try for  theworld speed record.

On April 25, 1928, Lockhart's Stutz Black Hawk Special streamliner (named for the Indiana town that was home to Stutz's factory ) turned a warmup run of 198.29 mph (319.1 km/h), with his first official pass at 203.45 mph (327.40 km/h), well below the 207.552 mph (334.007 km/h) mark set earlier in the year by Ray Keech in his 81 litre (4178ci) Triplex Special. On Lockhart's return pass the Black Hawk Special cut a tire (probably on a seashell), went out of control and tumbled violently across the sand, throwing Lockhart from the car and killing him instantly.

 Lockhart's tragic death was devastatingto the motorsports  community, especially to theStutz Motor Car Company, which  declared a haltto all its racing activities.

  • Lockhart was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in the first class in 1990.
  • He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1999.

Movie of the fatal crash

References

Frank Lockhart
Frank Lockhart with his wife Ella
Malcolm Campbell, Frank Lockhart, and Ray Keech
Lockhart won the Daytona 500 in 1926 at age 23
The ghost white "Black Hawk," turbochargers whining in full song, speeds down the sand-packed Daytona Beach in 1928.
Frank Lockhart posing in front of the Stutz Black Hawk Special in 1928
With the Bluebird in the background, this photo shows how much smaller the Stutz Black Hawk was
Stutz Black Hawk crewmen chat with a nattily-attired flagman in 1928
In 1928 Frank Lockhart almost met his death by drowning in the ocean after his car swerved into the surf during his speed run.
Rescuers tend to Frank Lockhart after his Stutz Black Hawk swerved slightly into soft sand at more than 200 miles per hour, causing the car to flip end over end into the surf the in 1928.
Lockart's stunned wife, right, stares at his body as helpers try to revive him after a horrendous crash as he was driving the Black Hawk toward a record speed.
Curious spectators gather around the crumpled wreckage of the Black Hawk moments after its horrendous crash which killed driver Frank Lockhart in 1928.
Accident Report that diagrams the path of the car in its final moments