DePalma @ St. Paul - 1909

Attachment DePalma091209 contains two very brief articles about events involving automobiles on dirt horse tracks. These small items were published in the September 12, 1909 Indianapolis Star.
Easily the article of greater significance is one reporting on the record breaking performance of Ralph DePalma in this Fiat Cyclone at the one-mile St. Paul, Minnesota State Fair track. DePalma reportedly broke three world's recrords for "circular" tracks with his 90 HP machine. He set the one mile record in winning a match race with Hotchkiss driver H.J. Kilpatrick. His time was 50.8 seconds. DePalma also set records for three miles and 10 at times of two minutes, 38 seconds and eight minutes, 49.6 seconds respectively.
The other item is simply interesting for its historical context. Horse races were regular fare at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 1909. Apparently the track was excessively muddy due to heavy rains and fears rose that the facility would lose two full days of racing. Secretary Charles Downing of the State Board of Agriculture consulted Overland Automobile Company Vice President Brown who responded by deploying five of his company's cars to "work over the track." After spending the entire morning circling the oval the automobiles drew big harrows (smoothing action) over the track which improved it sufficiently for use by the horses.

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