Speedway "Better Than Brooklands"

These three attachments contain articles about the mad rush to prepare the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for its first motor races in August 1909. Two of the attachments, star81309 and MotoDevils081309 contain the same article published in the Indianapolis Star on August 13, 1909. The third attachment is from the August 12, 1909, Indianapolis News and discusses the frenetic efforts to get the track ready for high-speed racing.
This article originally published in the August 13, 1909, Indianapolis Star is an important source that discusses "tuning day" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the motorcycle racers of the first motorized competition at the Speedway on August 12. The information was presented on the morning of what was scheduled to be the first day of motorized competition at the historic track. They could not know at the time the races would be postponed to the following day due to rain.
Note that I include two copies of the same article here. The more recent copy is a little more legible but my older version includes handwritten notes and color highlights of key points.
The article discusses the consternation of the riders who found the crushed stone track excessively rough and dangerous. It also reports on the decision of the sanctioning body, the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM) to go forward with the meet at the new Speedway despite pleas from some corners that the meet move to the Indiana State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt oval. Officials of the meet, such as a prominent car maker, played leadership roles.
Other top ranking men in the Indianapolis-based motoring world - four and two wheels - provided leadership including Howard Marmon, Frank Willis, Ernie Moross, Art Newby, W. Guy Wall, George Dickson, Earle Ovington, Frank Wheeler and George Weidley. Ovington was the president of FAM. Newby, Dickson and Wall were all executives at the National Motor Vehicle Company and Marmon was the top engineer of Marmon automobiles. Weidley was the top engineer at Premier Motor Manufacturing Company.
Two smaller articles appear at the end of the main piece. One reports on a "record" achieved by California rider Ed Lingenfelder. This was almost certainly a stunt organized by Ernie Moross and Carl Fisher to convince fans and officials alike that the Speedway was fit for wheel-to-wheel competition.
To that point, another small article quotes Carl Fisher on the readiness of the running surface. Fisher, who was obsessed with the fact that Brooklands in England had beat him to the punch by two years in creating a super high-speed paved, closed circuit course, is quoted saying:
"The Speedway will positively be in finished condition and ready for record time. The track is better now than the Brooklands ever was. We have double the force of men working day and night smoothing out the few remaining defects and there is no reason records cannot be broken. The records on the track tomorrow will demonstrate the truth of this assertion as the practices have already done."
The Indianapolis News article (attachment IMSNews081209) is a composite of two articles, the first about the round-the-clock work at the Speedway, the second announcing the Remy Electric Company's sponsorship of a 25-mile auto race for the upcoming meet called, "The Remy Brassard and Trophy."
True Indianapolis Motor Speedway aficionados will cheer as they read the confirmation that 100 Prest-O-Lite tanks with "special" burners were used to shed light on the late night work. Carl Fisher was reportedly overseeing the work of the laborers even into the wee hours of each day. One of the challenges was for workers to smooth out rough spots on the track that could not be reached by the giant multi-ton steam rollers. The article does not provide details, but I can only guess they were wielding sledge hammers. The article reports plans for that day were to apply another coat of oil to the track. This may have actually bend the "taroid" concoction that is referenced frequently about the track's original construction. Special Big Four trains carrying "back-up" loads of oil were rushed to trackside from Chicago. A similar shipment had been held up in consignment so Fisher ordered a second load to mitigate the risk of not having what he needed.
The second portion of the article concerns the Remy Grand Brassard, called the most unique award. It is described as a "curiously wrought armband in the shape of a shield." It was to be awarded in a 25-mile race open to all cars. In addition to the brassard, the winning driver was awarded $75 a week as long as he successfully defended in contests for the prize. The plan at the time was to stage additional races for the prize at race meets in September and October, but those never took place.
In the event that a driver was unsuccessful in defending his award, his weekly salary ended and he forfeited the brassard. Among the drivers expected to enter were Barney Oldfield, Walter Christie, Sewall Croker, Eddie Hearne, Ralph DePalma, Louis Strang and Len Zengle

star81309.pdf10.68 MB
MotoDevils081309.pdf1.76 MB
IMSNews081209.pdf884.8 KB