Harroun Talks Race Craft - 1910

This attached article first appeared in the May 2, 1910 Indianapolis Star. The article features an interview with driver Ray Harroun who was riding high after some stout results in 1909 and fesh from starring as the dominant performer at the April 7 - 18 Playa Del Rey board speedway race meet.
The article is a gem as Harroun describes his philosophy of race craft that would eventually earn him a kind of immortality as the first winner of the storied Indianapolis 500. Harroun's comments reveal a man brimming with confidence.
"My cars are in fine shape and I never felt better in my life. My recent wins at the motordrome in Los Angeles have simply given me a greater appetite for what I expect to do at the greater meets of Atlanta and the national championship meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
The article also illustrates the meteoric rise of the Brickyard as America's top racing facility boasting its most coveted trophies. The track was not even a year old and yet it had established itself as America's premier auto racing facility in a burgeoning age. What a great testimony to the true leadership of the facility's founders. Again, Harroun comments:
"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the spot that I have set my highest hopes on. Why, do you know what the May 30 championship meet means to me? It means that to win a race on that date carries with it the honor of being the champion of the the United States for 1910. This will be my first championship race and I am doing my motordrome and Atlanta work simply as preparation for the greater meet to take place here."
Check out this next quote as the driver explains his philosophy of race strategy:
"A driver to drive a conservative race must be a perfect judge of distance and pace. He must be able to judge the speed of his car to the smallest fraction of a second to the mile. He must also have a perfect knowledge of his motor. He must use good judgment in placing his various rivals, also the distance he is gaining or losing them. He must know his motor and its action under every condition. The average man who watches a race figures that the driver has his car out to its limit and that winning all depends on just how well the car will stand the strain. This is all wrong, for various reasons. A driver must win with his skill as well as with the car. A good driver without a good car will never win and a good car with a poor driver also suffers. Team work is a great factor to contend with. I never use team work to defeat a rival, but it often has been used against me."
We can assume that by "teamwork" Harroun means that one driver on a team might be instructed by his managers to inhibit a competitor's pace while his teammate surges ahead. Most importantly, though, Harroun stresses that a driver must think through the variables affecting his machine's performance and access the wisdom of the choices his rivals are making during the race.
The car's durability, fuel supply and the condition of his tires are considerations Harroun identifies. Much of this is what comes into play today during a race, but with radio communication and other telemetric technology the driver largely takes direction from his or her crew. In Harroun's time these assessments and judgment calls rested primarily on the driver's shoulders.
Harroun's "thinking man's" conservative approach is illustrated in the closing quote to the article. Understand that this is exactly the approach he took to winning the first Indianapolis 500.
"In the last half a dozen races I have won I have gone through without a stop. In fact, it has been the ability of my cars to go through races without a stop that has often encouraged other teams to resort to the teaming methods, which, while perfectly fair, work a hardship against the driver who is the butt of this attack so it requires more than the ability of the car to stand the strain to win the race."
As an aside: the iconic "Marmon Wasp" was being developed at the time this article was written.

HarrounAtlanta050210.pdf686.76 KB