Ralph DePalma dominated the race until the last laps when his engine began to fail. With a four-lap lead he tried to nurse the crippled Mercedes along and when it gave out for good he and mechanic Rupert Jeffkins got out and pushed.

Lap after lap Indianapolis boy Joe Dawson's National gradually caught up and he took the lead on Lap 199 and went on to win.

In those days a driver's share in the purse depended on whether he passed the finish line, but an exhausted DePalma eventually gave up. Ralph Mulford, also had engine trouble but could still go at slow speed. Long after the other drivers and the audience went home, Mulford puttered around the track to earn his payday.

Local boy Joe Dawson won the second Indianapolis 500.