First Brickyard Race Day - May 27, 1910

These attachments contain essentially two articles which orginally appeared in the May 28, 1910 Indianapolis Star. The articles cover the first day of racing at the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These 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 another article that provides an additional summary of the race events for the day that was also published in the Indianapolis Star on the same day.
I am deeply embarrassed by what I have to tell you next. One of the articles in this attachment is incomplete. It was actually a "jump," or the completion of an article that started on the front page of the newspaper in its original form. It is in the right column in the first attachement (IMSrecords052710) and is titled, "Auto Pilots Set Marks in Safety," which was continued from page one. This is a huge inconvenience but you can find the other half of the article at a different and older entry elsewhere on First Super Speedway. It will be a little bit of a pain to sort out, but if you really want to read the article all the content is available it's just that you will have to work harder for it. I will endeavor here to summarize. In order to make it a little more convenient for you I include the attachment from the older entry here as an attachment (see bottom) to this entry: Indianapolis_Speedway_May_1910_2A.
Let's start with the article that is compete, which is in the left column when you open the attachment. This article is written by H.G. Deupree and is titled, "Old Records Fall in Speed Battles." 
The coverage starts with the feature race of the day: the 100-mile Prest-O-Lite Trophy which was won by Tom Kincaid (the name is misspelled as Kincade). His speed average of 71.64 MPH to establish an American speedway record. Kincaid's time was 83 minutes, 43.12 seconds - about 25 seconds from the previous record for cars in the 301-450 cubic inch piston displacement class set by Louis Chevrolet at Atlanta speedway the previous autumn.
The Prest-O-Lite Trophy race started as a battle between the Marmon and National Motor Vehicle Company teams. Johnny Aitken seized the lead at the start, but tire wear forced him into the pits at ten miles - just four laps. Marmon's Ray Harroun then assumed the lead, setting speed records throughout the first 30 miles. He was delayed in the pits which put teammate Joe Dawson into the lead and he continued the record smashing. 
In all there were 10 new speed records established during the Prest-O-Lite race and the 231-300 class sprint go. Those marks had been established by Louis Chevrolet at Atlanta the previous October during his 200-mile race victory.
Kincaid enjoyed other success during the day, picking up another American speedway record for 301-450 cubic inch cars driving his National 40 to victory in a five-mile sprint. His time was four minutes, 5.76 seconds. The previous record had been set by William Bourque at the Speedway the previous August during the meet in which he became the first driver to lose his life at the storied track.
As expected Chevrolet in his Buick was a force to be reckoned with. He drove his Buick 10 to triumph in the 161-230 cubic inch class five-mile race. Meanwhile Chicago's Art Greiner set a new five-mile amateur record in his privately owned National. Note that officials denied Caleb Bragg entry because his privately-owned Fiat was not registered as a stock car.
The top speed speedsters of the day were Bob Burman (Buick) and Caleb Bragg. Burman scorched the bricks for the fastest five-mile run at an 82.75 MPH average. Bragg revved up his Fiat to 91.14 MPH for the measured mile.
The article presents lists of records established by three manufacturers. Be sure to download the attachment for additional information, including the previous record. See below.
Marmon 32

National 40 (301-450 Cubic Inch Class)

Buick 10

Now, for the other article, the one in the right column of the attachment and titled, "Auto Pilots Set Marks in Safety." C.E. Shuart is given the byline. It starts with an information box summarizing the event winners. Here is that information:

  • First Event (Time Trials): Herb Lytle (American), 46.55 seconds; Kincaid (National 60), 46.55; Aitken, (National 70), 44.31; Bragg (Fiat 90), 39.50 seconds; Harroun, Marmon "Six," 41.05; Ben Kerscher (Darracq "100"), 43.4.
  • Second Race: Cancelled.
  • Third Race, Five Miles, (161-230 cubic inches): Chevrolet (Buick), winner, 4:41.7.
  • Fourth Race, Ten Miles (231 to 300 cubic inches), Harroun (Marmon "32"), 8:16.8.
  • Fifth Race, Five Miles (301 to 450 cubic inches), Kincaid (National), 4:05.76.
  • Sixth Race, Ten Miles (451 to 600 cubic inches), Aitken (National), 8:25.94.
  • Seventh Race, Five Miles, Handicap, Greiner (National), 5:44.90.
  • Eighth Race, Five Miles, Private Owners, Greiner (National), 4:09.3
  • Ninth Race, Five Miles, Speedway Helmet Free-For-All Open, Burman (Buick), 3:37.24.
  • Tenth Race, 100 Miles, Prest-O-Lite Trophy, Kincaid (National), 1:23:43.12.

The article kicks off with some interesting facts: the weather was pleasant, the crowd of spectators was estimated at 15,000 and 14 new records were established. Writer Schuart stresses how the events unfolded without injury, insinuating (correctly) that the brick paving project and retaining walls had improved safety at the facility. I also want to note that this is the first article I have come across that refers to Tom Kincaid as "Tommy." Also, the spelling of his last name is consistently varied between "Kincade" and "Kincaid." Whatever, this guy was an amazing driver...
One spectacular aspect of Kincaid's day is that at some point in the Prest-O-Lite race his National "40" cast the tread on one his rear tires. The flapping rubber slapped his left arm with tremendous force, numbing it temporarily. His riding mechanic, Don Herr, grabbed the wheel and together they brought the car to a stop for Kincaid to recover. It must have been electric to watch, pure excitement.
Burman won the Speedway Helmet trophy and the $50 weekly salary that came with it when he ushered his white Buick past Caleb Bragg's red Fiat in the final turn. The article indicates that the Fiat suffered some kind mechanical failure entering the front stretch but it is unclear exactly what that was.
The article reports on the performance of the Marmon team during the 100-mile Prest-O-Lite race. Harroun led early but broke a valve sometime after the 20-mile mark. The car was repaired and he made great gains but the setback was too severe to overcome. Teammate Dawson inherited the lead and held it to 85 miles only to have a fouled spark plug force him to the pits. The article reports that the "entire cylinder cap" had to be removed. He had attained a full lap lead on the field before the malady hampered him. Interestingly the car color is described as both maroon and yellow in two different sentences. My vote is for yellow if you are pursuing accuracy.
The article calls out the fourth race (231 to 300 cubic inches) for its exciting finish between the Marmon entries driven by Harroun and Dawson. The two battled incessantly and finished wheel-to-wheel with Harroun the winner. He broke the ten-mile speedway record by 47 seconds. 
The race meet endured controversy as the Buick, Jackson and American teams were cited by both the AAA and Speedway officials for entering cars in stock car races that did not, according to officials, meet the definition of stock cars. Buick and Jackson threatened to withdraw from the entire meet but apparently relented. The basic rule was the number of cars that had to be manufactured for sale as touring vehicles for the entry to qualify as "stock." Otherwise the cars were viewed as purpose-built for racing.
Local Buick Dealer R.H. Losey is quoted with the following commentary:
"Aside from whatever effect the decision of the referee will have on us. It is obvious that Mr. Pardington (Art) took no thought of its probable effect on the Speedway races now and hereafter. Our cars were permitted to enter only two of the races. The showing they made in these proved that if they had been permitted to participate as programmed they would at the very least have added interest to the other contests."
Meanwhile Dr. Wadsworth Warren, manager of the Buick team, said that the cars in question would continue to be manufactured as consumer product. As for the Speedway, Contest Director Ernie Moross said track managment could only abide by AAA rulings. 

IMSrecords052710.pdf1.47 MB
Indianapolis_Speedway_May_1910_2A (2) (1).pdf5.09 MB