Iconic IndyCar Team Owner Vollstedt, 99, Passes Away | Performance Racing Industry
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Iconic IndyCar Team Owner Vollstedt, 99, Passes Away
October 23, 2017
Longtime Indianapolis 500 car entrant Rolla Vollstedt, perhaps best remembered for bringing Janet Guthrie to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1976 as the first female to be entered for the Indianapolis 500, died Sunday in Portland, Oregon.
Iconic IndyCar Team Owner Vollstedt, 99, Passes Away

Longtime Indianapolis 500 car entrant Rolla Vollstedt, perhaps best remembered for bringing Janet Guthrie to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1976 as the first female to be entered for the Indianapolis 500, died Sunday in Portland, Oregon. He was 99.

Vollstedt was a high-profile member of the board of directors for the United States Auto Club (USAC) who served as USAC’s car entrant representative from the late 1960s until the 1980s.

Although he had fielded a National Championship car (now Indy car) in some late-season dirt track events with driver Len Sutton in 1955 and ‘56, it was not until the summer of 1963 that Vollstedt first brought a car to Indianapolis. This was one of the first American-built rear-engine cars to house a normally aspirated Offenhauser engine, and with Sutton driving in summer tire tests, it kept exceeding the official track record, eventually flirting with an unofficial 155-mph run in March 1964.

Sutton qualified the car for the 1964 Indy 500 and was running fourth when a magneto failed after 140 laps.

After a dozen years of fielding drivers like Billy Foster, Cale Yarborough, Dick Simon, Tom Bigelow, Arnie Knepper, Larry Dickson, Denny Zimmerman and others, Vollstedt made headlines in 1976 by providing a car for Guthrie.

Although mechanical issues forced the team to withdraw the car before Guthrie could make a qualifying attempt, the following year she qualified with the 18th-fastest speed overall and the fastest of the entire final weekend. Guthrie managed only 27 laps of the race before a timing gear broke, but history was made.

For more on the colorful, ground-breaking car owner, visit the IndyCar website here.