IMS Prepares for Racing - 1910

This article from the May 22, 1910 Indianapolis Sun reports on planning by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's management team to prepare for their May 1910 race meet - the first Memorial Day weekend of racing at the track. The race meet was held May 27-30 but skipped May 29 as it was the Sabbath. The meet 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 other articles that provide additional summaries on the results of the races staged May 27 and May 28 elsewhere on First Super Speedway.
The article starts by asserting that the best drivers in the United States were entered. This was largely true. Interestingly the article categorizes Louis Chevrolet and Ralph DePalma as "foreign" drivers. Despite the fact that they were born in Switzerland and Italy respectively, the information is misleading as they had built their careers in the United States and had done very little racing beyond its borders if at all. They were, effectively, American race drivers. This has all the earmarks of an Ernie Moross spin job with an enabling press. "Foreign champions" were seen to increase the appeal of the event.
Among the favorites fully embraced as Americans were:

The article reports that by this article's publication date Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross had received 50 entries and was expecting 10 more. The latest was amateur Art Greiner in his personal National racer. Also noted is the controversy over Barney Oldfield's apparent demands for appearance money, called a "bonus." He was reportedly staying at the Claypool Hotel as he negotiated. He had been in Chicago with his world land speed record-setting Blitzen Benz only days before.
The Sun suggests that Oldfield was pricing himself out of the contest and would most likely be sitting on the sidelines. This proved not to be true and the cigar-chomping icon had a very successful weekend. Pit stalls and car numbers were assigned based on order of entry. Among the larger teams was Buick with a total of 10 cars with three drivers: Chevrolet, Bob Burman and George DeWitt.
The brick paving project since the Speedway's inaugural races in August 1909 is cited as an example of the massive preparations for the first weekend of racing in 1910. Also, the work to "shave" the brick running surface is described. Here's an excerpt:
"Huge blocks of carborundum from Niagara Falls are hitched as drags behind test cars, furnished by local factories, and pulled around the track."
The necessity for shaving came because as the concrete between the bricks wore, it exposed the rough edges of the blocks producing excessive tire wear. Imagine Carl Fisher's frustration to think that after investing heavily to pave the track in order to produce a safer running surface than the original crushed stone blamed for the tragic inaugural event in August 1909 he now faced the threat of more unsafe conditions. By all reports, though, the shaving process produced the desired results.
The article also describes the concrete retaining wall around the banked turns. Grandstand seating was estimated at 45,000. Infield - then known as the aviation field - capacity was said to be 200,000. This area also contained "many garages" and the aerodrome to house airplanes and balloons.
The card of events for each day is reviewed. This article reports that a total of 32 events were planned. The first day, May 27, featured the five-mile Speedway Helmet contest and the Prest-O-Lite 100. The prize for the 100-miler is described as a solid block of coin silver worth $1,000. On the second day, May 28, the feature event is flagged as the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy offering $1,000 in cash as well as temporary use of the Tiffany trophy created from $5,000 worth of silver and costing $8,000 to produce - according to the article. The article reports that eight events were planned for May 28. The final day, after a break on the May 29 Sabbath, was Decoration Day, May 30. Here 14 events are promised including the much publicized national championship races as referenced in the first paragraph of this analysis.
The national championships are billed as especially important to manufacturers. The article takes the position that in many ways these were the most important contest of the year - enabling factories to claim the title of champion for a full year. 
The next part of the article must have been confusing for the reader. The way it is written it could easily be interpreted that the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, the Cobe Trophy, the Prest-O-Lite Trophy, the G&J Trophy, the Speedway Helmet and the Remy Grand Brassard would all be contended for during the May weekend. In reality, and especially in the case of the Cobe and G&J Trophies, these prizes were to be offered at race meets later in the summer.
Note that the article has one reference to Memorial Day indicating that people of the time used the terms "Memorial Day" and "Decoration Day" interchangably.

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