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The Montgomery County Coroner's Office confirmed the death Friday, saying Walther was reported dead Thursday night and that the cause of death hadn't been determined.
Walther also drove briefly in NASCAR, finishing 12th in the 1976 Daytona 500.
At the start of the 1973 Indy 500, Walther's car pinwheeled down the track, his legs sticking out of his torn up racer, after touching wheels with Jerry Grant and slamming into the catch-fencing in a fiery crash near the starting line. Blinded by the fireball that spread across the front straightaway, several other drivers slammed into Walther's car.
He lived in the next town over - Dayton for a long time. We would pass by the company headquarters (Dayton-Walther) when we went down to the Dayton Mall (surprisingly in the middle of Centerville). It is now a college campus...
As noted above - he got seriously messed up and got hooked on pain killers. He wore black gloves because his hands were so badly burned. He had the car put in his office - leaning against a wall.
I also probably say him race hydroplanes a the Dayton HydroBowl.
Got messed up with the law for child support and other things - he was arrested last month for something in 2007....
Sad way for him to end up - was one of the guys who would run one race - the Indy 500 like so many other drivers in the 60's and 70's.--
"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain