American driver Mauri Rose won the Indianapolis Motor Speedway “500” race three times––1941, 1945 and 1947. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994, and Motorsports of Hall of Fame of America in 1996.
Rose began his driving career at a Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, board track on July 4, 1927, before making his way to Indianapolis in 1932, where he would eventually drive the “Indy 500” 15 times. In 1933, he drove a modified Studebaker all the way to fourth place before falling out on the 125th lap with a failed engine. The following year, he finished second to "Wild Bill" Cummings by just 27 seconds.
Rose came in 4th in 1936, 5th in 1939, and 3rd in 1940. Driving for owner Lou Moore, he earned first Indy victory in 1941, starting the winning race in the ‘pole position’ driving a Maserati-powered Elgin Piston Pin Special. But crossed the finish line in the car that started in the 17th position. When spark plug problems forced the Maserati out of the race after 60 laps, owner Moore pulled teammate driver Floyd Davis from his Wetteroth-Offenhauser on the 72nd lap and 14th place, replaced him with Rose, and Mauri went on to capture the race averaging 115.117 per lap. His 1947 and 1948 Indy victories were won driving a Deidt-Offenhauser.
Rose was also a prominent dirt-track driver, winning the American Automobile Association Championship in 1936, and runner-up in 1939.
Over the years, the very private Mauri Rose developed a mystique for leaving Indianapolis immediately after qualifying for the ‘500’ and returning shortly before race-day, foregoing customary practice runs and car preparation. Rose held a full-time off-track job and considered racing an avocation to his work-a-day life. Inasmuch as the Indy ‘500’ was held over America’s three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, Rose never had to miss a day from his regular employment. Another close associate maintains Rose opted to spend as little time as possible around the Indy Brickyard to minimize anti-Semitic taunting from racing contemporaries.
Rose was an auto engineer who happened to also be a race driver, working for a period for General Motors (GM). He considered his proudest accomplishment not winning the Indy three times, but his invention of a device that allowed amputees to drive an automobile.