Duke Dinsmore

10/4/1914 - 12/10/1985

Record updated 10-Apr-07

American racing driver who raced at Indy on six occasions. He was lucky to survive a nasty crash at Milwaukee in 1948 when his life was saved by Rex Mays who crashed to avoid him after Dinsmore was thrown from his car and then stood over him directing cars away from Dinsmore's body as he lay in the center of the track.

Duke Dinsmore
Carlyle "Duke" Dinsmore, though his name was really spelt Dinsmoor, was born in Williamstown, West Virginia. He had a professional career that spanned eleven years.

He first raced in the Indy 500 in 1946. He qualified his Adams-Offy well in 8th spot but a broken connecting rod put him out on lap 82. He had good results on dirt ovals later in the year finishing 4th at Milwaukee in September and 3rd at Goshen behind Tony Bettenhausen and Ted Horn the following month.

In 1947 he found even more success. At Indy he put in his worst qualifying performance of the year, just making it onto the grid in 27th spot. In the race he worked his way up to tenth. From then on he was never out of the first ten in qualifying with a best of second at Langhorne and pole for the race at Milwaukee. His results were not so good and his best finish came at Goshen where he qualified and finished in 4th place.

His career could easily have come to a nasty end in 1948. At Arlington he qualified 4th and crossed the line in second. Then at Milwaukee on June 6 he crashed in the south turn when he hit a patch of loose gravel in his Schoof Special. The car skidded and a rear wheel hit the outside concrete retaining wall. The car tipped up thowing Dinsmore into the middle of the track. Rex Mays crashed his car intentionally to avoid him, then left his car to wave other drivers aside, protecting Dinsmore. In an interview from hospital Dinsmore credited Mays with saving his life. After Mays died in 1949, a plaque was placed in the wall near the spot where Mays' car stopped. The June race in Milwaukee has been called the Rex Mays Classic since 1950. Dinsmore was out until September.

In 1949 he drove the Norm Olson Olson-Offy at Indy but retired with a broken radius rod on lap 174. He finished 5th at Trenton but then had a dissapointing season though he was on pole at Detroit, finishing 10th in the race.

His best season came in 1950 though once again he had a dissapointing start at Indy going out with an oil leak in his Kurtis-Offy after just 10 laps. He finished 4th at Langhorne and Milwaukee and scored his only win in October at Sacramento.

From 1951 onward he wound down his racing, failing to qualify or finish any of the races he entered that year. He failed to qualify for either of the two races he entered in 1952 and in 1953 only made the cut twice out of six attempts, finishing 6th at Detroit.

1954 saw him fail to make the grid at Indy though he did qualify in 1955 in 33rd spot, finishing in 17th.

He died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1985.