“Floyd Roberts was born in South Dakota but lived nearly all of his life in California. While he lived in Van Nuys, most of his racing was done in Glendale. He raced for
“In 1938, Roberts won the Pole Position [at the Indy 500] with an average speed of 125.506 mph. He led 92 laps to win the 26th Indy 500…
“[In the 1939 race] driving well, but not all-out, he was following Robert Swanson… When Swanson skidded coming out of the 2nd turn on the backstretch, Roberts swerved to the outside of the track to miss him; but Sawnson’s car shot toward the outer wall, momentarily locking wheels with Roberts’ car. [Roberts’ car] cartwheeled over the outside retaining wall and crashed at the foot of the embankment at the Speedway golf course… Roberts had a broken neck – the first 500 winner to die on the track. He never regained consciousness and died in the early afternoon at Methodist Hospital.”
Excerpts and image from http://indymotorspeedway.com/memorial_1939.html .