Kennedy Tank Special – Indy Race Car

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.

See The Kennedy Tank Special race results below.

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.

Kennedy Tank Special – Indy Race Car

Year Driver Sponsor Owner Car# Start MPH Finish Laps Speed
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
1938 Not entered
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
1946 Not entered
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
1950 Not entered
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
*Les Anderson could not get car up to speed in practice and replaced himself with Bill Cantrell.
**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.