AAA Sanctions Brickyard Time Trials

The article in attachment IMStrials120409 originally appeared in the December 4, 1909 Indianapolis Star. The main focus of the article was the news that the American Automobile Association (AAA) had agreed to sanction the first competition on the newly brick-paved Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a time trial meet set for December 17 and 18, 1909. The event was announced by Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross.
In concert with that event was a planned ceremony to place the final brick in place - a "gold plated" brick at start-finish. Unreported was that the brick had no gold at all - it was cast using the same material as the Wheeler-Schebler Carburetor Company's flagship product. Speedway Co-Founder Frank Wheeler was president of that company. The article reports that up to that time the total investment in the Speedway was about $700,000.
As for the time trials the program was expected to involve the following classes of cars:

  • Class 1, 450 to 600 cubic inches
  • Class 2, 301 to 450
  • Class 3, 231 to 301
  • Class 4, 161 to 231
  • Class 5, 161 cubic inches and under

Plans called for speeds to be measured for:

  • One quarter mile
  • Half mile
  • Kilometer
  • Mile
  • Five miles
  • Ten miles
  • 20 miles
  • 100 miles
  • One hour timed run

The article reports that Walter Christie was tuning his Christie front wheel drive machine with the help of English driver Hughie Hughes. Fiat driver Lewis Strang (his first name is misspelled in the article) was also mentioned as ready to run. Strang had set several speed records with the Fiat at the inaugural event of the Atlanta Speedway the previous month.
The schedule for Friday (December 17) was for the cars to take to the track at 1 p.m. and then at noon the following day. The plan was to charge an admission fee of 25 cents for the infield stand and 50 cents for the grandstand. However, I believe these fees were later waived in order to attract any interest in the face of intense cold.

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