This would be the final Indianapolis 500 for two champions, Louis Meyer and Floyd Roberts.

Meyer, the first three-time winner, might have won a fourth time but crashed on lap 198. Although not seriously injured, he was literally knocked out of his shoes and thrown from the car. The incident prompted him to retire and he lived on to be 91. Fate was less kind to Roberts, the 1938 victor, who was fatally injured when his car went over the wall.

Wilbur Shaw, driving a Maserati on a team financed by Mike Boyle, won the second of his three 500 victories. Pole sitter Jimmy Snyder, who set another qualifications speed record at 130.138 mph, came in second. It was Snyder's best showing and his last. A month later he was dead.