First Auto Races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - August 1909

This folder has numerous articles on the inaugural auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These races occurred only days after the Speedway hosted the Federation of American Motorcycles (FAM) race meet. The auto races were a blend of success and tragedy. Most of the major American drivers entered – Barney Oldfield, Ray Harroun, Bob Burman, Tom Kincaid, Lewis Strang, Louis Chevrolet, Jap Clemens, Charlie Merz, Eddie Hearne, Ralph De Palma and Tobin DeHymel among them. With the exception of a Fiat and a Benz, the entries were American, including: Marmon, Marion, Stearns, National, Jackson, Stoddard-Dayton, Buick and Apperson. Tragedy came in the loss of several lives, including Willfred Bourque, who became the first driver to die in a racing accident at the Speedway.


This offers a poor quality image of Barney Oldfield, promoting his appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the August 1909 race meet.

This is an interesting article written by newspaperman Roland Mellett about his three laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Louis Chevrolet in his Buick. The article appeared on June 18, 1909.

Printed August 16, 1909, these are tables of the entries and the program for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's first auto races.

This package contains articles that were published August 23, 1909. One describes the decision to withhold the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's marquee event of the meet because it was called off before its completion of 300 miles. This would be contested by the Jackson Automobile Company.

This package contains articles that ran the Indianapolis Star the morning of the first day of the first automobile races at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The articles provided an overview of the planned schedule of events for the first day of the race meet: August 19, 1909. One is a listing of drivers and cars that were scheduled to be in specific events for that day.

These two articles ran Sunday August 21, 1909 and recount events of the second day of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's race meet. One article focuses on the benefits the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brought to the city and the other describes the 100-mile G&J Trophy race won by Buick driver Lewis Strang. G&J was a tire company. Strang broke all existing records for the distance.

This is an interesting package of short items from the August 25, 1909 Indianapolis News. All were developments in the aftermath of the deadly events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway August 19 - 22.

This article - published August 17, 1909 - describes practice for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race meet scheduled to begin August 19, 1909.

This article ran in the Indianapolis Star on August 16, 1909. It covered practice runs the previous day for the upcoming first automobile races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which started August 19. Attached are two copies of the same article, the older one having notes I made in the margin. The newer copy is a bit more legible so I am sharing both.
 

This article ran the day before the first auto race race meet on August 17, 1909. It's a very interesting summary of how the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway was groomed for its first big events. Colorful language that helps you picture the setting including details such as three thousand hitching posts for horses. Also, good information on the work of the race teams.