First Auto Races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - August 1909

This folder has numerous articles on the inaugural auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These races occurred only days after the Speedway hosted the Federation of American Motorcycles (FAM) race meet. The auto races were a blend of success and tragedy. Most of the major American drivers entered – Barney Oldfield, Ray Harroun, Bob Burman, Tom Kincaid, Lewis Strang, Louis Chevrolet, Jap Clemens, Charlie Merz, Eddie Hearne, Ralph De Palma and Tobin DeHymel among them. With the exception of a Fiat and a Benz, the entries were American, including: Marmon, Marion, Stearns, National, Jackson, Stoddard-Dayton, Buick and Apperson. Tragedy came in the loss of several lives, including Willfred Bourque, who became the first driver to die in a racing accident at the Speedway.

This article in attachment IMSAAA101209 first appeared in the October 12, 1909 Indianapolis Star and reports on the decision by the contest board of the American Automobile Association (AAA) to ban the Jackson Automobile Company from auto racing until January 1, 1910.

Get ready to meet Frank Hower, Walter Hempel and Homer George - all for the most part forgotten today, but influencers in

The article in the attachment below is from the July 16, 1909, Indianapolis News touted the excitement of the upcoming first automobile races at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Early entries for the first auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway fueled excitment among throughout the Hoosier capital city about big-time racing on America's first major purpose-built speedway in 1909. Two brief Indianapolis News articles in the attachments below tell the story.

This is an interesting attached article from the August 7, 1909, Indianapolis News forecasting the level of spectator and industry interest in the first auto race meet of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway based on hotel reservations for the scheduled days of August 19, 20, and 21.

The article attached here is a digest of news events for August 10, 1909, and was printed in the Indianapolis News.

Here find in the attachments below two Indianapolis News articles about the entries for the first auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August 1909.

This is an interesting article focusing on the threat of pickpockets at the first automobile race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, August 19, 20, and 22 (no racing on the Sabbath!), 1909. It was originally published in the August 18, 1909, Indianapolis News - the eve of the races at the track.

The attached Indianapolis News article (download below) on the new, rushed-into-service  Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a curiosity if for no other reason than it discusses track's suitability for upcoming auto races on the very day it was opening for the motorcycle racers of the 

In the wake of the disaster that was the first automobile races at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the American Automobile Association (AAA) had to make a public statement and at least appear to be doing something to mitigate future carnage.