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In 1955, the 1954 Indy 500 champ, Bill Vukovich, died during the race. In the same year, in another race in Monaco, a racer locked his brakes, causing him to hurtle into the Bay of Hercules; he lived, only in die in another wreck four days later. During the 24 hours at Lemans race, a car hit a barrier and disintegrated, killing more than 80 people as parts flew into the crowd like shrapnel from an explosion. Drivers raced at speeds up to 180, without seat belts, roll bars, or any protective clothing. Among the 33 men who started the Indy 500 in 1955, 18 of them would die in races.

— Brock Yates  

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