IMS Financial Investment - 1910

The attached article by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Contest Director Ernie Moross was originally published in the April 10, 1910 Indianapolis Star. In this article Moross blatantly sings the praises of the founders of the Speedway, especially President Carl Fisher. He makes the valid point that while other civic leaders from around America talked a good game only Fisher and his team - along with the backers of rival track Atlanta Speedway, headed by Coca-Cola executive Asa Candler - delivered racing facilities.
The only qualification I would put on that proclamation is that one could argue that William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. also delivered a high-speed course, the Long Island Motor Parkway. This, however, was not a real speedway and was, in fact, deliberately named a parkway in order to cope with government regulations concerning land use. The concrete parkway, while probably the first "modern" highway in America, was a point-to-point road and therefore of limited use in motorsport. Nonetheless it formed a portion of the Vanderbilt Cup Race course from 1908 through 1910.
The purpose of Moross' article I am sure was to state the case for how Fisher and his team had provided the Hoosier capital with a huge asset for economic leverage. The benefits to the local auto manufacturing base - which was substantial at the time - and the city overall with the attraction of outside business and sports investment were undeniable. 
Moross favorably differentiates the Brickyard from the Atlanta track by underscoring the recent $700,000 brick paving project to achieve a "vitrified" surface as well as pointing to its aviation grounds. He flatly states that the Atlanta Speedway cost about one-third of the Indianapolis track. 
This, again, is a clear message to Indianapolis civic leadership that Speedway management had done much to advantage the local community. Stressing that the founders - Fisher, Art Newby, James Allison and Frank Wheeler - had personally financed the enterprise instead of issuing stock. To this point he calls "net receipts" for various events at the track a "serious problem."
Moross cites that not only were large crowds expected to be attracted to the track's events but also notes that 44,000 spectators attended the biggest day of the inaugural auto race meet in August 1909. Despite the solid turnout Moross indicates that the track had yet to recover the construction and paving investment. Moross asserts that never in the history of sport had an investment group had made such a tremendous cash outlay.
With respect to the upcoming June 13-18 aviation show Moross reports that the Wright Brothers were guaranteed a percentage of gate receipts totaling no less than $50,000 as long as they provided at least five planes for the show. IMS also committed at least $25,000 in prize money and $20,000 to promote the event. He points out that this meant that $95,000 in costs were committed before track management could look for profit. 
Moross points to a full calendar of auto race meets, along with a National Balloon Championship contest in September. Despite all this Moross reports that the cash flow would not recover even the costs of the recent paving project. He calls that, "a true test of sportsmanship." He compares the commitment of the Speedway founders to the investments made by millionaires James Gordon Bennett, Sir Thomas Lipton, Foxhall Keene, Richard Croker and William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. With the exception of Lipton (Lipton Tea founder) the others had all been boosters of auto racing as well as other sports. Lipton was best know for his investments in yachting and especially his pursuit of The America's Cup.
Moross insinuates that Fisher's sportsmanship is more sincere than those of born into money - such as the sportsmen listed previously - in that his investment in not just auto racing but also ballooning, airplanes, yachts and power boats stemmed from money he earned, not inherited. Moross reported what he viewed as the greatest of all compliments heaped upon Fisher in the form of comments from the Detroit Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's statement read as follows:
"We are spending vast sums to bring to the City of the Straits business enterprises, and we are succeeding wonderfully, beyond our fondest dreams. Detroit is the greatest automobile center in the world today, but, gentlemen, the best investment we can make is to get live hustlers amongst us and we could welll afford, if such an arrangement could be made, to give Carl Fisher of Indianapolis $100,000 to live in Detroit. We need him, and need him badly, while I hop that a few amongst us now will try to emulate him."

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