Floyd Eldon Davis, 1941 Indy 500 Co-Winner

Floyd Eldon Davis, 1941 Indy 500 Co-Winner
(March 5, 1905 – May 31, 1977)

Photo credit: indianapolismotorspeedway.com; Floyd Davis, co-winner of the 1941 Indianapolis 500, sits behind the wheel of the #16 Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special with a headshot of his co-winner, Mauri Rose

Floyd Davis, originally from Oakford, Illinois, started in racing as a mechanic with his father. As a driver, he was a strong competitor on dirt ovals in the 1930s before driving in the Indianapolis 500 in 1937. Davis drove in four Indianapolis 500s, co-winning his last race in 1941, the only time a co-winner of the race was named. During the race, Davis drove the Noc-Out Hose Clamp car for 60 laps, moving from 17th to 12th place when teammate Mauri Rose, the pole sitter, experienced problems with his car, the Elgin Piston Pin. Davis wasn’t happy when at lap 72, team owner Lou Moore pulled him from his car and replaced him with Rose. “I was ready to go into the lead when Mauri replaced me,” he later joked.

Photo credit: SlotCar Today; 1941 Indianapolis 500 Co-Winners Mauri Rose and Floyd Davis depicted on the famous Borg-Warner Trophy

Rose took over and won the first of his three Indianapolis 500 races, and Davis was named the co-winner and received a 50-50 split of the prize money. Both winners’ images are included on the Borg-Warner Trophy. An interesting fact is that Davis never led a single lap during the race. That summer, Davis drove in a few sprint car races, but he never drove in another Indianapolis 500.

Davis served as an Aviation Machinist Mate, 1st Class in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he again drove in sprint car races. Before he retired as a racecar driver, he drove in the 1948 Atlanta 100, finishing in seventh place. He continued his post-racing career as a mechanic. From 1935 to 1948, Davis drove in 18 races in the AAA National Motor Car Championship, with one win.

Floyd Davis is #2 on the Racing Legends Tour. The inscription on his marker reads: “Floyd Eldon Davis – AMM1 US Navy – World War II – 1905 1977” (AMM1: Aviation Machinist Mate, 1st Class)

Davis spent his days at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May, becoming a frequent media source for insider observations and insightful, clever quotes. In those years, he also worked for Detroit Diesel Allison and a heating and air conditioning company. He was also a general contractor. He died in Indianapolis just two days after the 1977 Indianapolis 500. His wife, Doris Eyster Davis, whom he married in 1939, was buried beside him after her death in 1993. Our sources indicate that they were the parents of a son but give no additional information.

Davis’ Indy 500 finishes: 15th in 1937; 27th in 1939; 20th in 1940; 1st in 1941.

Buried on Section 53, Lot 320, GPS (39.8156089,-86.1746529)

Learn more about Floyd Davis on our Racing Legends Tour on our Tour App. You can listen to an audio file about Davis recorded by former IMS Announcer Bob Jenkins.