Barringer Was an Icon of Early American Championship Auto Racing
Indianapolis 500 Years: 1934-1946
1939 was a good year for George Barringer. He finished sixth at Indy and was runner-up to Babe Stapp at Milwaukee.
At Indy in 1939, there were three Gulf-Miller rear-engined cars. The drivers were: George Barringer, Goege Bailey, and Johnny Seymour.
On May 19th, Barringer's car dropped a cylinder and he was out of the field
One day later, Johnny Seymour hit the Turn-4 wall during practice. The car burst into flames and burned up. It was a total loss.Seymour was severely burned, but lived.
George Bailey qualified his car and it became the first rear-engined car in history to qualify for the Indy 500. Rear-engined cars did not return to Indy until the early 1960s.
Harry Miller, who was way ahead of his time in car design, believed the engines should be behind the driver. Barringer and the Gulf Oil executives felt the same way. The Gulf Miller car on display at the Indianapolis Museum represents one of Miller's greatest achievements.
Barringer took over the ride in the Bill White Special, with an Offy engine after his Gulf-Miller car had engine problems. He started 15th and finished sixth.
This is the Gulf Miller car driven by Johnny Seymour after his wreck
Other 1939 Racing
AAA Sprint Car Circuit: Three tracks
AAA National Champ Circuit tracks: Indianapolis, Milwaukee, WI, Syracuse, NY, and Springfield, IL
Also ran various other circuit races
Above and right: Barringer in the No. 41 Bill White Special at Indy in 1939
While Barringer finished second to Babe Stapp, the race was not uneventful for him.
He drove the last half of the race with hot oil or water dripping on his left leg. He refused to come into the pits and get his leg covered, because he wanted to win the race.
After the race he was taken to the hospital with a large burn between his knee and ankle.
He had an ugly scar on his leg for the rest of his life.