IATA Goes to French Lick

This article summary is a continuation of another elsewhere on First Super Speedway that discusses the work of the Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association (IATA), established during the 1908 Indianapolis Automobile Show. The IATA consisted of a membership that had - apparently - seen false starts in previous attempt to organize the local automobile industry into a force for overall benefit. Its leadership was determined to sustain momentum gained coming out of the spring automobile show.
By August (see article in attachment ReliabilityRun081308) the IATA was probably inspired by the Glidden Tour just completed the previous month. Members put forth the notion that a Hoosier-style reliability run was important to local manufacturers. The exact course they had in mind is not clear but it seems from the article that they would depart from Indianapolis and head south to Columbus and then south to French Lick, returning to Indianapolis but on the return route pass through Martinsville.
Note that one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway founders Arthur C. Newby was prominent in the discussion, indicating a more active role by him personally than previous newspaper reports would indicate. Activists Frank Moore of Fisher Automobile Company and George Weidley of Premier continued to play leadership roles. It is also worth noting that apparently the group discussed a high-speed contest but decided against it due to road conditions. This indicates that the group - not surprisingly - had dissenting voices within with respect to the types of events to organize as previously their discussions indicated that high speed, wheel-to-wheel racing was not their preference. This is particularly interesting in that at the same time the Chicago Auto Club was openly discussing plans for a full-on road race in the style of the Vanderbilt Cup in northwestern Indiana.
Reminiscent of the sealed bonnet run the IATA Presdient Frank Staley announced that committees had been formed to organize the endurance event. Attachment Enduro082308 contains an article published August 23, 1908 in the Indianapolis Star explains that the sealed bonnet's tech committee of Weidley, Howard Marmon and W.G. "Guy" Wall (who later designed the National that won the 1912 Indianapolis 500) would reprise their roles for this go. Lew Wainwright was announced as event referee. IATA Secretary P.D. Stubbs also shared that offers were coming in from towns along the route - essentially as described in the previous paragraph - were stepping forward. In perhaps the most interesting piece of information was the previously dormant Indiana Auto Club had come out of their slumber and expressed interest in joining forces with the IATA. The article reports that the consensus was that some kind of hybrid organization modeled after the highly respected Chicago Auto Club was desired.
The article in attachment Enduro083008 (published August 30) quotes IATA President Staley extensively about the quality of the route of the event - stressing the variety of terrain and the rigorous test it would provide cars. Staley reaffirmed the date of the tour would be the first week of October and the oversight committe included Newby, Weidley, Moore and two other gentleman: Fred Willis and Frank Fanning.
The September 18, 1908 Indianapolis Star reported (attachment Enduro091808) that IATA President Frank Staley and a companion Joseph Moore spent two days traveling the proposed route to French Lick and then back. Reportedly they traveled the 131.2 mile route to French Lick in 10 hours, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. All the cities and towns they traveled through on that leg and the different, 122.2 mile return route are listed. The brief article in attachment Enduro092708 published September 27 expresses the concern the country roads will produce tremendous dust without rain showers to tamp it down. The IATA also agreed that the rules would be the same as the sealed bonnet event held earlier in the year.
The October 2 article in attachment Enduro100208 describes the first leg of the endurance run to French Lick. All the Indianapolis auto dealers participated with cars but the one that experienced the most trouble, ironically, was the techncial committee car with Marmon, Weidley, Wall and also event referee Wainwright. The group became so exhausted from making tire changes they had to call for relief from one of the towns along the route. The first car into French Lick was a National driven by Frank Moore of the Fisher Automobile Company. Among the most prominent citizens to welcome the contestants was Tom Taggart, a former mayor of Indianapolis and Democratic National Committee. I believe Taggart, an investor in the French Lick Hotel, lobbied his colleague Brickyard Founder Carl Fisher to locate his speedway project - what would become the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - in French Lick. Fortunately, Fisher thought better of it.
Details of the return trip - a different route as stated previously - are provided in the article from attachment Enduro100308, published October 3. While the return was some nine miles shorter it was deemed more strenuous largely due to a new gravel road between Bedford and Bloomington (the heart of American limestone country). The fresh stones were particularly sharp and numerous tire punctures were reported. Only two drivers were female - one identified only as "Miss Parry," and the other was Katrina Fertig. An American Motor Car Company car was singled out as having mechanical trouble but the issues were addressed and the entry finished on time. The challenging course and mechanical issues percipitated a number of performance penalties and officials had not calculated the results by the time this article was published.
The following day's paper on October 4 published an article pronouncing the results (attachment Enduro100408). Out of the 26 starting cars 15 finished with perfect scores. There were 13 Class A cars, five of which were penalized. Class B had nine cars, three of which were penalized while Class C had four entries, three recording penalties. Despite the previous day's report that there were only two female competitors a third, Elizabeth Love is recognized in the October 4 article  for driving a Class A Premier to a perfect score. The report has an air of condescension to it as in, "had her own wee hands on the steering wheel the whole way." Love's performance outstanding according to the scoring system - but most certainly called out due to her gender. Also published in the October 4 paper was a chart that provided the complete results (attachment EnduroResults100408) for the cars entered, indluding the car, the driver, the car's list price and any points assessed against its performance. The list of drivers provides several notables, including some future Indianapolis 500 drivers: Johnny Aitken, Charles Stutz, Harry Stillman and Thomas Kincaid.
Another item in the October 4 newspaper was an ad placed by the Fisher Autombobile Comapany (attachment FisherEnduro100408). The ad promotes the perfect scores of the National Motor Vehicle Company cars as well as the role it played in "rescuing" the technical committee when they became stranded as noted above.

ReliabilityRun081308.pdf484.81 KB
Enduro082308.pdf984.7 KB
Enduro083008.pdf672.53 KB
Enduro091808.pdf298.71 KB
Enduro092708.pdf273.6 KB
Enduro100208.pdf596.81 KB
Enduro100308.pdf452.42 KB
Enduro100408.pdf530.06 KB
EnduroResults100408.pdf202.08 KB
FisherEnduroAd100408.pdf359.07 KB