Henry Banks
Henry Banks
Category: Historic
CLASS OF: 2023
BORN: June 14, 1913
DIED: December 18, 1994
BIRTHPLACE: Surrey, United Kingdom

• Pioneering USAC driver and official
• Led introduction of numerous safety components
• 1941 East Coast Midget Champion
• 1950 AAA Big Car National Champion
• Six-time Indianapolis 500 participant
• USAC Director of Competition (1959-1973)


Banks made his mark first as a driver and then as a longtime United States Auto Club (USAC) official. Born in England and raised in Royal Oak, MI, Banks competed in both midgets and Indy or “Champ cars” as they were known then. He was the 1941 East Coast Midget champion; in 1947, he won 30 events. Banks’ best year was 1950 when he became AAA Big Car National Champion in the Lindsey Hopkins-owned Blue Crown sprinter and finished second in National Midget points. Banks ran the Indianapolis 500 six times, finishing 6th in ‘51. He served as USAC Director of Competition from 1959 until 1973 when he became VP of USAC Properties. As competition director, he helped introduce numerous safety advances, including roll bars, fuel cells, fire-retardant uniforms and driver restraint systems. As VP, he oversaw the timing of land-speed-record runs and various automaker tests. Retiring from USAC in 1984, he was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) Hall of Fame in 1985 and the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.

  • Image