First Indianapolis 500 - 1911

This is a large collection of articles concerning the 1911 Indianapolis 500. This content covers practice and preparation for the event, many featuring the star drivers such as eventual winner Ray Harroun, Ralph Mulford, Bob Burman and Ralph DePlama. Barney Oldfield, who was banned by the AAA during this period and missed the first Indianapolis 500, wrote a racing column and several of his contributions are contained in this folder. Complete race day coverage is yet to be added, but will be included them in the future.


This package contains an interesting item about "Farmer" Bill Endicott at a May 13, 1911 race at Latonia, a track near Cincinnati. Endicott was praised for keeping his head when entangled in a multi-car pile-up at the start of the race. He dashed down the backstretch to warn race leaders of the cars blocking the track. Boy, did these guys need a yellow-light system!

These items from the May 14, 1911 Indianapolis Star are of great human interest. First there is the story of Louis Disbrow, who drove his "firey red" Pope-Hartford racer over 1,000 miles from Hartford, Connecticut to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to drive it in the first Indianapolis 500.

Harry Grant was one of the most understated drivers of the early days.

This article provides an image of Ray Harroun as well as a brief biographical sketch of the first winner of the Indianapolis 500. Among other things, the article talks about his founding of an aircraft business and his family history dating back to Arabia and then their moves to Ireland, and, finally, America. There's not a lot of information available about Ray Harroun, so this makes this piece, published in the May 23, 1911 Indianapolis Star all the more important.

This collection of articles is particularly interesting. It covers practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 23, 1911.

This article package was published in the May 25, 1911 Indianapolis Star. It focuses on Joe Horan's practice accident on May 24, 1911. Horan was driving the #12 Amplex, an ill-fated machine that may have been wrecked by Art Greiner during the first Indianapolis 500 (although there is information indicating it was not), causing the death of riding mechanic Sam Dickson.

This article presents an interesting report on how drivers prepared on the final day of practice before the first time tirals for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This article was published the morning of the time trial day, May 26, 1911, in the Indianapolis Star.

This article contains a lot of great information. It lists all the qualifiers from the first day of time trials and shares that ten cars remained unqualified as of that time. It also discusses a "final instruction" meeting that Fisher and other officials were to host downtown in Tomlinson Hall. Drivers and mechanics were required to attend, much like today's drivers meetings. The article also warns against counterfeit programs and tickets. The article was published in the Indianapolis Star on May 27, 1911.

This 10-page PDF package contains some interesting, even amusing information. There is a lengthy article about how the initial wave of visitors from outside Indianapolis had arrived and were filling up hotels. Undeniably the most interesting article discusses how 27-year-old Bob Burman's astrological stars were in alignment for him to win the first Indianapolis 500. This is supported by an interesting image which is in decent shape for a photocopy scan from an old newspaper.

This package includes two interesting articles leading up to the first Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911. The longer of the two discusses the various teams and their preparations. It is supported by some decent images of drivers - some that are tough to find anywhere else.