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 is a great article that focuses on the pit work at the first Indianapolis 500. Lots of good detail you won't find elsewhere, such as Bob Burman's errant tire clobbering Eddie Hearne while he was working on his Fiat #18 in the pits (drivers frequently jumped out of their cars and helped complete pit stops), throwing him under his racer. Hearne, always game, was quickly back on his feet and back in the race. You gotta love these guys.
 

This package presents two articles on the first Indianapolis 500. One describes winner Ray Harroun's arrival in the pits immediately after taking the victory. Well-wishers back-slapping him, mounted police clearing a path for him to drive his Marmon Wasp back to the garage area, and his exhausted condition. On this last note I suspect this was hyperbole, as he is described as too weak to lift himself from his car, his lips split and dry, his face blistered from the sun. His attempts to drink water from a bottle are described as useless because his mouth and throat were too parched.

This is another of the articles that Barney Oldfield wrote for the Indianapolis Star during May 1911 to provide a driver's perspective to coverage of the first Indianapolis 500.

This article talks about the closing laps of the first Indianapolis 500, which is another perspective for those interested in the controversy over whether Ray Harroun or Ralph Mulford won the race. The article focuses on how close David Bruce-Brown was running to Harroun, and how Mulford had suffered tire failure.
 
The article also talks about how guards struggled to hold crowds in check and how the weather was perfect.
 
The article was published in the May 31, 1911 Indianapolis Star.

The topic of this article is what I call a "slice of life." It paints the picture of a setting the everyday people passed through. No celebrities or race drivers, just the average person coping with the challenges of either going to and returning from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the first Indianapolis 500.
 

This article from the May 31, 1911 Indianapolis Star includes an image of driver Arthur Greiner, who drove an Amplex in the first Indianapolis 500. Greiner crashed on lap 12 entering the backstretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ending the life of his riding mechanic, Sam Dickson.

This brief item was published in the May 31, 1911 Indianapolis Star. It features images of Joe Jagersberger, Harry Knight, Teddy Tetzlaff and his riding mechanic, Dave Lewis. The brief copy discusses how each of these men were involved in accidents during the race.

This item appeared in the May 31, 1911 Indianapolis Star. It includes a couple of images of Bob Burman being crowned "Speed King" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 9 a.m. on the morning of the first Indianapolis 500, May 30, 1911. The award was in recognition of his land speed record at Daytona Beach and followed his record runs at the Speedway on May 29, 1911.

This clip was published in the Indianapolis Star on May 31, 1911. It is an image of driver Herb Lytle and his riding mechanic, W.M.

This article was published in the May 31, 1911 Indianapolis Star, the day after the first Indianapolis 500. I find articles like this very special as typical history books and typical newspaper or magazine accounts rarely provide this kind of insight. For example, what is chronicled here are parties and dinners race day night as drivers, owners, teams and manufacturers celebrated events of the first Indianapolis 500.