For nearly twenty years, from 1978 to 1997, Arthur W. Graham III held the auspicious title of “Director of Timing and Scoring” for all racing at the Indianapolis 500-mile race, the biggest such event in the world. This means that “Art” was a Very Important Person every May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.
Graham was an employee of IBM for fifteen years, working his way up to Senior Systems Engineer. He brought his engineering know-how to the various tasks of precision scoring for auto racing, and has a place in racing history as the creator of the first timing and scoring system that was fully automatic. Many of the other scoring tasks still used in open-wheel racing were also “Art” Graham’s contributions to that unique art-form.
Arthur Graham was born in Columbus, Indiana, which is one of the many satellite cities hovering around the state capital, Indianapolis. He spent most of his life, however, as a resident of Brownsburg, a west Indianapolis suburb only a few miles from Speedway, “racing capital of the world.”
By the time Graham began his stint as Director of Timing for the Indy-500, computers were already being employed as the best instruments for precision timing of the races. His contributions, however, revolutionized that particular field of endeavor, making overnight waits for the scoring results a thing of the distant past.
One of Graham’s lesser-touted accomplishments was his appointment as respresentative of the Four Freshmen Society for the state of Indiana. Graham loved big-band music and, like many other fans, found the tight, jazzy harmonies and big-band vocal arrangements by the group irresistible.
Now deceased, Arthur W. Graham III’s extended family survives him, and his name will undoubtedly remain on the list of famous Brownsburg people for many generations to come.
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