Cummins Diesel Engine Sets Lap Record at 1952 Indy 500

When Cummins entered its #28 Special race car in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 Race, the company wasn’t looking to get into the racing business. It was trying to prove a point about diesel engines, and boy, did they succeed. The JT-600 engine was, at the time, an in-production truck engine modified somewhat for the race, but not drastically. The race proved the innovative PT fuel system and the use of turbochargers, and put Cummins out ahead of the competition in the truck engine business for some years to come.

After being relegated to parades and then to a display case at company headquarters in Columbus, Ind. for many years, the car is up and running again. It’s now lovingly cared for and driven but the fellow instrumental in saving it from the display case, retired Cummins engineer, Bruce Watson.

Equipment Editor Jim Park met Bruce and got a close look at the car at the launch event of Cummins 2017 engine lineup in July. There’s nearly 70 years between the JT-600 and the X15, but the bloodline is unmistakable. Check out Jim’s report on the #28 special here.

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