Antique Helper to hold Sirois Family Racing Memorabilia Auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children Friday, June 3 2011
(March 2, 2011) Indianapolis, Indiana Antique Helper Auctions is pleased to announce a charity auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children on Friday, June 3. The Sirois Family Racing Memorabilia Auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children will showcase racing memorabilia from the personal collections of Jigger Sirois and his father, Frenchy Sirois.
Jigger Sirois was immortalized in the Indy Car racing world in 1969, when trying out for the pole position in that year’s Indy 500. After being waved off his fourth lap on the first day of tryouts, two more attempts were also cancelled—the second with another yellow flag, and the third when his car’s engine blew out. The fact that Jigger handled this set-back with a gentleman’s manners, placing no blame, raised him in the esteem of the entire racing community.
Attempts to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 during two additional years saw similar setbacks, with Sirois placing 35th fastest both times—just shy of being among the fastest 33 drivers to make the 500 field.
The Jigger Award is tough luck award given to the driver who has the worst luck at the track during the month leading up to the Indianapolis 500. Given annually at the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association at the Indianapolis 500 AARWBA breakfast, “It’s the award no one wants to get,” say the amicable Sirois. Considering that it is this award, rather than a string of victories that put his name on the racing map, Sirois is charmingly upbeat. “I feel quite lucky that I had that unusual experience,” he says. “Without the Indy Speedway, I’d just be another guy who just didn’t make the race.”
Sirois was born into a racing family. His father, Earl Aloysius “Frenchy” Sirois was a mechanic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He worked on winning Indy 500 crews in 1951, 1957 and 1958. The facts that Jigger was named after Indy 500 racer Leon Duray and acquired his nickname after Speedway mechanic, Jigger Johnson attest to the Sirois family’s racing linage.
Throughout his career, Jigger raced against some of auto racing’s greatest drivers, including Foyt, Andretti, Rutherford and the Unsers. After 20 years in the racing world, Jigger Sirois hung up his racing gear. He drove his last race at the Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana in 1977.
The decision to share his racing heritage with the world, while giving to a good cause was an easy one for Sirois. Through his retirement, he has been actively involved in raising awareness about childhood stuttering through the Stuttering Foundation. Along with his wife, Jigger works to raise awareness and promote early detection and intervention. For more information, visit the Stuttering Foundations’ website: http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=568.
With no children of his own to inherit his family collection of racing memorabilia, Sirois decided to organize a charity auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children. Though he now lives in Virginia, Sirois chose Indiana’s Riley Hospital for Children as the beneficiary of his charity because, he says he will always be a Hoosier at Heart. “I just think it’s a fine way to make a contribution. Everybody wins. Children’s Hospitals are wonderful. They add to the future immeasurably.”
The majority of items featured in this sale are from Jigger’s father, the late Frenchy Sirois. Among the highlights of the sale will be autographs including Clark Gable, Jim Clark and Juan Fangio, as well as a rare early 1950s driver’s arm band from the Mexican Road Race. Two with two late 1950s Ferarri uniforms from the Monza races are expected to generate a lot of interest.
In the spirit of community giving, Sirois and Antique Helper are extending an invitation to auto racing collectors to submit items for consignment in this historic auction event. selected for this historic auction event. Submissions will be considered based on value and Riley donation considerations.