On April 23, 1978 a plane carrying USAC officials left the Trenton New Jersey Championship race bound for Indianapolis. The aircraft encountered severe thunderstorms accompanied by hail and 100 m.p.h. winds. The pilot radioed the control tower at the Indianapolis International Airport and reported severe turbulence. He was advised to drop altitude.
However, the plane crashed in a muddy field near Arlington in Rush County, just 25 miles from the destination. All nine passengers aboard including prominent USAC officials, plus the pilot, were killed when their 10-seat Piper Navajo Chieftain crashed. Those lost in the accident were:
• Ray Marquette, USAC's vice-president of public affairs and a former sportswriter for The Indianapolis Star
• Frank Delroy, chairman of USAC technical committee
• Shim Malone, starter for USAC races and head of its midget racer division
• Judy Phillips, graphic artist and publication director of USAC's newsletter
• Stan Worley, chief registrar
• Ross Teeguarden, assistant technical chairman
• Don Peabody, head of the sprint division
• Dr. Bruce White, assistant staff doctor
• Don Mullendore, owner and pilot of the plane.
Witnesses stated they heard a big thump and saw a ball of fire. The deaths proved to have a significant impact for decades on the USAC. This historical marker was erected by the Indiana Racing Memorial association.