Brickyard, Daytona, Planes & Cars - 1910

The attachment below contains three interesting articles all appearing on the same page of the March 23, 1910 Indianapolis Star. One of the articles discusses the final day of racing at that year's Daytona-Ormond speed festival. The same article appears elsewhere on First Super Speedway and you can find my analysis there.
The primary article in this attachment concerns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's planning for 1910, especially its May auto race event. At the time they were looking to hold an aviation show "just a few days" after the national championship auto race meet. An air show was held, but not until the week of June 13, about two weeks after the Memorial Day weekend American Automobile Association (AAA) meet. Because airplanes were still so new there was much curiosity about the Speedway's air show plans. In prior weeks there had been much discussion about agreements struck with the Wright Brothers who were complicating things with patent rights claims and obtaining a court injunction against other airplane manufacturers.
The article indicates Speedway management was attempting to restrict spectators from observing any practice flights which is a bit ridiculous for two reasons. One, anyone determined to see the planes could simply stand outside the facility. Second, the need to wring hands over this possibility seems small minded in that the track was well out of town in those days - some five miles from the Circle Monument. This may seem a short distance by today's standards but in a time of primitive cars and the reality that most people still used horse-drawn conveyances to get around it was a lengthy trip. It's doubtful in that age anyone would whip a horse out into an remote area with the hope of glimpsing some aircraft.
Ideas for features of the aviation program included question and answer sessions with aviators as well as gas balloons and dirigibles. In addition to the Wright airplanes Speedway management had reached an agreement with Orville and Wilbur to include Carl Fisher airplane company craft as well as planes from Louis Bleriot and Henri Farman. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross was also at work trying to transport exhibits that had been on display at a recent Boston aviation show.
The article describes a visit to Moross' office which found him "surrounded by an army of visitors." The following excerpt captures the hustle and energy of the situation as anticipation swelled: "There were bill postmen, advertising men of all kinds, a band director, a man to see about policing the grounds, representatives of different automobile concerns and many others who all wanted attention..."
As with planning any major public event Moross must have found himself at the center of hundreds of requests all while he was trying to reach the people he most wanted to do business with. While inquiries poured into the Speedway office track officials were pushing hard to prepare the facility. A beautiful excerpt captures the situation: "While an army of laborers are busy grading the grounds and erecting new bridges at the Speedway the pilots are tuning swift machines. Yesterday J.R. Aude, who is here with a Chalmers Bluebird racer, drove the first car of this make ever on the course. He was liberal in his praise of the entire grounds. He has driven in Vanderbilt races and all the big motor classics, but brands the local site the greatest he has ever seen. He said this track is far better than the Atlanta Speedway."
The comment about the Atlanta track played well in the Hoosier capital as the two facilities were rivals. As for Aude, whose first name was John, he was winning Chalmers driver Joe Matson's riding mechanic at the Massapequa Sweepstakes, a support race to the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup. Despite what the article says he did not drive in the Vanderbilt Cup.
The article reports that manufacturers Marmon, National, Marion, American, Empire, Cole and Chalmers planned to test at the track the following week. Captain W.P. Carpenter of the Indiana National Guard was planning to lead a large force of soldiers to police the events. A repeat of the tragic inaugural races at the Speedway the previous August was deemed unaccpetable. Speedway officials were still planning a 24-hour race and shifts of soldiers were being organized. That event never took place.
A special emergency car with a soldier riding in it was planned to help deal with accidents. Exactly what a soldier rapidly deployed to the site of an accident was expected to do is unclear but probably as a safeguard against gathering crowds. Spectators were known to jump fences or even wield tools to cut through wires or knock down posts if they saw something they deemed interesting.
Perhaps most intriguing is that this article provides the first documented evidence I have found of a legal waiver of responsibility for spectator injuries. On the back of every ticket sold was the notice: "In consideration of the sale of this ticket the purchaser or holder thereof agrees to assume all risk and responsibility of and to rlease and discharge the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from all liability for personal injuries that said purchaser or holder may receive while on the grounds of said Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Grandstands and bleachers are for spectators."
The final article in the attachment, "Aviators Air Views," concerns the reported position of aviators with respect to the legal maneuverings of the Wright Brothers. A United States Representative by the name of J. Sloat Fassett had recently addressed the annual dinner of the Aero Club of America (ACA) saying, "Congress cannot afford to take the risk of assuming that craft for the conquest of the air are the rich man's plaything or scientific toys. Every dictate of prudence and patriotism ought to cause Congress to provide freely and generously for such experiments."
The implication was that Congress should "pay off" the Wrights to remove the legal injunction that blocked a free market that could foster innovation and progress in the nascent tech arena of aviation. The estimated gathering of 160 industry and government leaders included ACA President Cortlandt Field Bishop; Harvard Aeronautical Society President and Professor A. Lawrence Rotch; Brigadier General James Allen; Charles J. Glidden of Glidden Tour fame and James Gordon Bennett Cup (aviation) winner Glenn Curtiss.
Bishop was reportedly frustrated with the passive attitude of the U.S. government and American newspapers. He urged them to push for funding to develop aircraft in anticipation of war. I assume that tensions in Europe in advance of World War I must have been apparent to him.
Another attendee, William M. Page is quoted commenting on how the government should deal with the Wrights claims to patent rights:
"Congress should give the Wrights a million, or two millions, or five millions, take their patent and send them on their way rejoicing, thus throwing open the air to progress - and to aeroplanes."
Apparently those taking such a position believed this was a good use of taxpayer money...

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