William E. Kennedy Sr. and William E. Kennedy Jr. sponsored Indy race cars at the Indianapolis 500 from 1936 until 1952. The purpose for Kennedy Tank sponsoring cars was multi-faceted. A large customer base for Kennedy Tank at the time came from the major oil industry, whom had a keen interest in automobile racing and the Indianapolis 500. The Kennedy’s saw the opportunity to entertain this customer base, as well as support their passion for the Indianapolis 500 through sponsoring race cars.
The Kennedy Tank Special, driven by George Barringer with riding mechanic Dick Wilkes, finished in 8th position in 1936.
Pat Kennedy has written several books on the Indianapolis 500. The Official Indy 500 Trivia Book is in its 3rd edition and includes 704 multiple choice questions to educate and test your knowledge of the 100+ year history of the Indianapolis 500.
His second book Indy 500 Recaps The Short Chute Edition is in its 6th edition and includes a summary of every Indy 500 race, as well as records and all driver’s results. A picture of the Kennedy Tank Special on the cover of the first trivia book resulted in the actual car that competed in the 1948 & 1949 Indianapolis 500 to be found, purchased and refurbished back to the livery of the day. The car has been driven every year at vintage car events by Pat Kennedy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
|1936||George Barringer||Kennedy Tank Special||Phil Shafer||17||14||112.700||8||200||102.630|
|1937||Emil Andres||Kennedy Tank Special||Phil Shafer / Joel Thorne||36||116.243||Bumped – First Alternate|
|1939||Al Miller||Kennedy Tank Special||Paul Weirick||42||28||123.233||28||41||Accelerator|
|1940||Joie Chitwood||Kennedy Tank Special||Paul Weirick||42||26||121.757||15||190||Flagged|
|1941||Emil Andres||Kennedy Tank Special||Joe Lencki||19||15||122.266||30||5||Crash|
|1947||Les Anderson||Kennedy Tank Special||Les Anderson||58||7||118.425||11||131||Flagged|
|1948||Les Anderson||Kennedy Tank Special||Les Anderson||34||9||122.337||24||58||Gears|
|1949||Bill Cantrell*||Kennedy Tank Special||Les Anderson||74||30||127.191||21||95||Drive Shaft|
|1951||Paul Russo||Kennedy Tank Special||Paul Russo / Ray Nichels||7||121.914||Did Not Make Race
1st 3 Qualifying Laps 127 mph Range – Good Enough to Make Race. 4th Lap Less Than 1000 mph (Mechanical Problem – Coasted Across Finish Line)
|1952||Johny Mauro||**Kennedy Tank Special (Ferrari)||Johnny Mauro||35||Did Not Make Qualifying Attempt – Lacked Speed|
**Test driven by Two Time Formula 1 World Champion Alberto Ascari.
***Donald Davidson – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian helped with the History of the Kennedy Tank Special.