Francis, you can call me "Earl," Devore raced in three Indianapolis 500s, 1925, 1927, and 1928. He finished second in 1927, a full eight laps behind winner, George Souders.
Earl met a gruesome demise in November of 1928. He was eaten by a shark following the sinking of the SS Vestris.
Earl and fellow racer, Norm Batten, were travelling to Argentina to race during the winter season. They set sail from New York on November 10th taking along at least one race car with them.
The Vestris was in very poor condition and heavily overloaded. The next day the ship ran into a severe storm and developed a starboard list and things got worse as the cargo and coal supplies shifted. An SOS was sent out on November 12th the ship was abandoned.
The ship fell on her side and sank. Earl saved his son, Billy, and his wife while Norm supported his wife until help was almost at hand. Sadly, Norm drowned. His wife survived. Earl was eaten by a shark, after his cries of help were ignored by seamen in a nearby lifeboat.
Of the 325 people on board the ship, 112 died.
His son, Billy Devore, would take up a career in racing, qualifying for seven Indy 500s and finishing in the top ten three times.
I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense. I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.
I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.