Preservationists Buried at Crown Hill (Homer Cochran)

Homer Cochran / Photo courtesy Robert Weissert

Sometimes people are preservationists and we (and oftentimes, they) do not even know it. These people help with the saving of historic sites or resources by working behind the scenes. They do not seek attention or credit and could easily fall into historical obscurity, if not for those who know the story and share it. One such person buried here is Homer Cochran (1900-1983).

Homer Cochran at age 10 in a car he built / Photo courtesy Robert Weissert

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway had been idle since the start of WWII. Left unattended for more than four years, it had weeds, decay, and none of its former glory. The original founders (Allison, Newby, Fisher, Wheeler — all buried at Crown Hill) were no longer around. Since 1927, race car driver Eddie Rickenbacker and some Detroit bankers had owned it. Rickenbacker wanted to focus on airplanes. Wilbur Shaw, three-time Indy winner, wanted to keep the future of auto racing at the iconic Speedway. Here’s where Homer Cochran comes in.

Born in Indiana, he had worked in investments and brokerage since 1924. While not a racecar driver, he loved racing and cars. This love for racing combined with his career in investments ultimately saved the Speedway. Shaw knew Cochran and asked him if he knew anyone who could buy the Speedway. Cochran had dealings with an executive in Terre Haute, Ind., and they always talked racing at their meetings. So, Cochran introduced Rickenbacker to Tony Hulman. That was the end of Cochran’s involvement.

Homer Cochran in his car driving around the near north side of Indianapolis in the 1920s / Photo courtesy Robert Weissert

He never received credit (he was not even in the photo in the Indianapolis Star for the signing of the deal). Here is where the history for Homer could have just faded into time. However, Robert Weissert was not going to let that happen.

Robert, Homer’s grandson, has told his grandfather’s story over the years, making sure those who needed to know the story heard it. Earlier this year, he did that again by reaching out to the Foundation. He wanted to make sure we knew the story. Weissert shared with us the history, the proof, and the photos. We are so grateful to Robert for helping us add to our racing history and to an individual buried here.

Homer is buried Section 66, Lot 254 near many of our racing legends.