Airplanes & Balloons Promised

The founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were full of ideas, some beyond their grasp. That became glaringly apparent after suffering through the tragic fiasco of their initial motorcycle and auto racing events in August 1909. The car racing was particularly problematic as five people, one driver, two mechanics and two spectators lost their lives. Others were injured.
Prior to that disastrous start track officials were spelling out an agenda of events that included air shows for airplanes and dirigibles as a Labor Day extravaganza. The August setbacks forced their reconsideration as the priority became focusing on the safety of the Speedway which was transformed in the following months, most notably with the brick paving of the 2.5-mile oval running surface.
The June 24, 1909 Indianapolis News article in the attachment below was published prior to all that messy stuff. In those heady weeks the founders were big and bold in announcing plans. The air show was to be even grander than the recently completed National Championship balloon race meet earlier in the month. The Indiana Aero Club was to be front and center in project planning the meet under the sanction of the Aero Club of America
A very interesting point tucked in the middle of this brief piece is a mention that accommodations for fans, including gates for smooth ingress and egress, were to be far superior for the planned meet than they were for June balloon races. The balloon championship contest took place while the Speedway was still under construction and, from this report, we have a clear statement that traffic flow was challenging.
The Indiana Aero Club and its counterpart in St. Louis had agreed to collaborate. In these days the two markets had limited overlap as the distance between the two limited cannibalizing customers. The two organizations agreed to support both events by filing the same - or at least the same number - of entries.

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