Brickyard Card - May 28, 1910

This attachment contains an article which orginally appeared in the May 28, 1910 Indianapolis Star. The article reports on the program organized for the second day of racing for the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These races were part of the May 1910 weekend that included "national championships," a newly-announced distinction by the American Automobile Association (AAA) for select race meets. Car manufacturers were keen to make a great showing. Check out other articles that provide additional summaries on the results of the races staged the previous day (May 27). These were also published in the Indianapolis Star on the same day. You can also find an article that reports the results of this day of racing elsewhere on First Super Speedway.
The attached article kicks off with a list of the contests as such:

  • First Event - Record trials, one mile
  • Second Event - Ten miles, stock chassis, 301 to 450 cubic inches
  • Third Event - Five-mile stock chassis, 451 to 600 cubic inches
  • Fourth Event - Ten-miles, free-for-all handicap
  • Fifth Event - Ten miles, amateur
  • Sixth Event - Ten miles, free-for-all, open
  • Seventh Event - Two hundred miles, Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, cars under 600 cubic inches

The much anticipated Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race was not just the feature event of the day, but the entire three day meet. This was Saturday and the day Speedway Management anticipated their biggest gate.
Actually, the first event of the day is described as the open of the program, the Overland Hazard Race, which commenced at 1 PM. This obstacle course showed off the marque's off-road prowess with the use of steep wooden ramps (described as "wooden hills") as well as a circuitous route that traversed not only the track but off it and through the infield including the creek at the inside of the southwest turn.
In a surprising turn of events cars ruled ineligible (see final paragraph at this link) in a dispute about compliance with AAA stock car rules were suddenly reinstated. The action seems capricious especially since no further explanation was provided. The discontent of the affected manufacturers, especially the huge Buick team but also Jackson and American had to be a consideration. The Speedway, too, may have applied pressure due to their incentive to attract larger spectator attendance.
Speaking of attendance, track officials forecast a crowd of 25,000 people. Among the driving stars seen as big draws were Barney Oldfield, Louis Chevrolet and Bob Burman.
From here the article shares insights about travel and lodging which I find hugely interesting. Such details add color and help me imagine what the experience was like given the context of the times.
Trains and interurban rail cars were still huge people movers during this nascent era of the automobile and the closing days of horse-drawn conveyances. Both the Big Four train line and the interurban train service promised 20-minute service from their depots to the track. This meant passengers could expect the trains to pick them up at regular 20 minute intervals from various points around Indianapolis and the surrounding area. The service was advertising as starting at 11 o'clock.
The Premier Motor Manufacturing Company - one of the larger employers in the city at the time - announced that in honor of the big race meet they closing their factories for both Saturday and Monday, Memorial Day. There was no racing on the Sabbath in those days. Since the car manufacturing plant was normally closed on Sunday this meant three successive days of what the newspaper calls a "layoff."
Attendance the previous day, Friday, was estimated at 15,000. Sensitive to the devestating accidents involving spectators at the track's inaugural auto race meet the previous August the article - although it does not mention the tragic deaths on that occasion - highlights the use of national guard soldiers to keep people out of restricted areas.
The article credits Starter Fred Wagner with efficiently conducting the contests. The Warner timing device is reported to have performed without flaws.
As for hotels, they were already taxed to their limits and with more people pouring in from the surrounding region for the holiday weekend the newspaper predicted the influx to exceed capacity. Among the major hotels the Claypool still had room but the Denison was reportedly full and The English Hotel and Opera House had turned away more than 75 people seeking shelter the previous evening. The Grand was "doubling up" rooms and putting cots in halls. This was common practice in those days. The paper describes the influx size as a "state fair crowd" and predicted people would have to turn to boarding houses and hotels in smaller towns of the surrounding area. 

IMSprogram052810.pdf719.98 KB