Today in History: Stan Fox’s Battle To Drive a Racecar Again Ends

Stan Fox. Photo from nineracing.com

Wisconsin native Stan Fox is highly regarded as one of the last links between midget auto racing and the Indianapolis 500. Excelling in open wheel racing, Fox often dominated his competition with smooth racing lines and clean passing.

Fox teamed up with Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Magazine founder Steve Lewis in 1979 in the #9 Racing team. Many view this collaboration of Fox and Lewis as the beginning of two legends, Stan Fox and the 9 Racing Team.

The Nine Racing team has propelled many of it’s drivers into premier racing series featuring drivers like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon. Jason Leffler, Mike Bliss, Kenny Irwin Jr. and JJ Yeley have also piloted the white #9 midget race cars. It was Stan Fox that got the ball rolling however.

After teaming up with Lewis, Fox won the Badger Midget Championship in 1979 and the Belleville Nationals in 1979 and 1980. Always a contender to win in any event he entered, Stan “the Man” captured the most coveted titles in racing.

Stan Fox’s Indianapolis 500 History

1984 – Pabst Racing. Crashed in Practice.

1987 – A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Started 26, Finished 7th.

1988 – A.J. Foyt Enterprises. Started 29, Finished 30th – Half Shaft Failure.

1989 – A.J. Foyt Enterprises. DNQ.

Practiced but did not attempt to qualify.

1990 – Kent Baker Racing. Started 27, Finished 33rd. Gearbox failure.

1991 – Helelgarn Racing. Started 17, Finished 8th.

1992 – Helelgarn Racing. Started 13, Finished 27th. Crash on lap 63.

1993 – Helelgarn Racing. Started 20, Finished 31st. Engine failure.

1994 – Helelgarn Racing. Started 13, Finished 13th. Crash on lap 193 in Turn 1.

1995 – Helelgarn Racing. Started 11, Finished 30th. Crashed on lap 1.

He won the Turkey Night Grand Prix in 1990 at the last event at Ascot Park. He won the 1991 Turkey Night Grand Prix, two Copper Classics, three Rex Easton Memorials at Springfield, Illinois, two Rodger Mauro Classics, and the midget car portion of the 4-Crown National at Eldora Speedway.

Fox competed in the Indy 500 eight times between 1987 and 1995 driving for AJ Foyt and Ron Hemelgarn. Fox suffered serious head injuries in a near-fatal crash during the 1995 Indy 500.

When the green flag waved to start the 1995 Indianapolis 500, Scott Goodyear swept into the lead from the outside of the front row. Seconds later, Stan Fox dipped low to the inside, hit the rumble strips, became loose and spun a half turn. The car shot directly into the outside wall in turn one. The car was demolished, the front nose was ripped off, and Fox’s legs and body were exposed as the car crashed up into the catch fence. Fox was critically injured with a closed head injury due to G-forces.

Despite his exposed extremities, however, he suffered no major injuries to his arms or legs. Fox was transported to Methodist Hospital, and after several months, he recovered, but would never race again.

While he never raced competitively after the crash, Fox never gave up his dream of driving a race car again. He continued to stay involved with the sport, and started the non-profit organization Friends of the Fox to support people with head injuries. Stan was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1995.

On 19 December, 2000, on the Desert Road some 200 miles south of Auckland, New Zealand, Fox’s van collided head on with a car, killing him. The racing legend was only 48 years old.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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