04Feb
02/04/2016
Mark Dill

Recently a fairly prominent motorsports journalist mentioned in an article that Indianapolis was once the American capital of automobile manufacturing. Not to be persnickety, but that just isn't true. The rise of Henry Ford's company along with such players as Cadillac, Dodge, Oldsmobile and others pretty much established Detroit as the top dog from the get-go.
 

Feb.7.2016
2821
02Feb
02/02/2016
Mark Dill

Our post last week about Heroic Age journeyman driver and mechanic Al Poole inspired historian Chucky Ruddy Jr. to share a picture he came across of Mr. Poole at the 1909 Indiana Trophy. Poole drove for Chalmers-Detroit at that June event.
 

Feb.2.2016
2820
28Jan
01/28/2016
Mark Dill

Important to understanding the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 is learning the influences active in the mind of the leading founder of the institution: Carl Graham Fisher. Clearly, the momentum of his work in establishing the facility in 1909 and the great race in 1911 is far more relevant to any success they both enjoy today than anything the people currently taking up space in the facility's executive offices do now.
 

Jan.28.2016
2815
25Jan
01/25/2016
Mark Dill

Long lost to open wheel racing is the role of the riding mechanic, called "mechanician" in the Heroic Age. The men that took the assignment in the day were typically understudies to the driver and aspired to take responsibility for the wheel.

Jan.25.2016
2814
22Jan
01/22/2016
Mark Dill

In the early days of auto racing it makes perfect sense that there was a paucity of driving stars. The sport had only just begun and in 1906 there were many in remote areas of the United States who had yet to lay eyes on a car. The idea of organized races had hardly been around long enough to establish household names.

Jan.22.2016
2811
19Jan
01/19/2016
Mark Dill

This young man peers at you through the mist of decades gone - meet Tom Kincaid. A massive talent, Indianapolis-born Kincaid raced for one of his hometown's top automobile manufacturers, National Motor Vehicle Company. He was a protege of one of the sport's most intelligent and prolific winning drivers, Johnny Aitken.
 

Jan.19.2016
2809
14Jan
01/14/2016
Mark Dill

In 1910 the first purpose-built auto racing speedways were emerging. The technology underpinning them was sorting itself out as well. The 2.5-mile squared-off oval just outside Indianapolis had been paved with rugged, durable brick. Down south near Atlanta a two mile speedway of red clay had sprouted up the previous year. Out on the West Coast outside Los Angeles America's first wood plank speedway was completed and launched into action. The high-banked board track was blazingly fast.
 

Jan.14.2016
2802
13Jan
01/13/2016
Mark Dill

Just one example of minds born of nineteenth century sensibilities struggling to get wrapped around the realities of not just a new century but also the industrial age comes in the reactions of so many to the dangers of auto racing.

Jan.13.2016
2801
12Jan
01/12/2016
Mark Dill

People have said with wry smiles that the first auto race took place when the second car was produced. Funny. Yeah, there's some truth to it. There was Paris to Rouen in 1894 and the following year America got into the act with the snowy November Chicago Times-Herald's Chicago to Evanston go.

Jan.12.2016
2799
06Jan
01/06/2016
Mark Dill

As Carl Fisher considered promotions for the upcoming 1906 Decoration Day auto races at the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt horse track he knew he needed the drama of competition - and confrontation. He keyed on the best known name among drivers in America, Barney Oldfield, a grassroots hero literally born in an Ohio log cabin in 1878 - really the 20th Century's answer to frontiersman Davy Crockett.
 

Jan.6.2016
2793