IMS Second Day Schedule & Results

Here you will find two attachments containing Indianapolis Star articles published on subsequent days both reporting on the second day of auto racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Attachment IMSschedule092009 contains an article from August 20, 1909, and previews the second day of the first automobile race meet at the new Speedway. The second attachment IMSsummary092109 contains a simple summary of the results of the races. It is useful to compare the two as the schedule is basically accurate with one exception to the order of events as well as not all the entries ended up actually competing. A third attachment, IMSNews082009, is from the evening Indianapolis News and summarizes the contests held that same day, August 20.
This brief article provided a preview schedule of the race events planned for the second day - August 20 - of the first race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Many times such event schedules changed in real time at the promotor's discretion but in this case, the events played out largely as communicated in advance - with one exception. This was with respect to a time trial for world's track record at measured distances. The time trial was listed as event three but actually opened the day.
The other events ran as predicted although some of the references are confusing - as in referring to the final event, a 100-mile race, as "Event M" for 231 to 300 cubic inch displacement machines. As stated in the article, the first race was a five-mile contest for 231 to 300 cubic inches. The second race was a 10 miler for 301 to 450 cubic inch machines. More confusion or at least unclear information is introduced when another 10-mile race (event 4) is described as for "class No. 1" cars. This reference was more likely clearer in the day but requires research to understand over 100 years later.
The next event is referred to as "Event No. 9," which must be a typo which should have said, "Event No. 5." This was a 50-mile "stripped chassis" stock car race for engines with 161 to 230 cubic inches. Again, this is an accurate description of what really happened aside from the typo. The next contest, for 10 miles, is referred to as "open; Class E," which allowed engines of any size. This event and the next one, a five-mile "handicap," are described as "free for alls" or contests without engine capacity limitations. Handicap races mixed small cars with larger ones providing the latter with head starts.
The other area where the article's information is misleading is with respect to entries. Invariably the article reports a larger field than would eventually be assembled. What is most interesting to note is that the car brands that ran in the events for larger engines include: Benz, Christie, National, Chadwick, Stearns, and Lozier. Among the smaller cars were: Velie and Stoddard-Dayton.
Again, check out the actual results in attachment IMSsummary092109. These two attachments are excellent reference materials for anyone researching this first auto race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Indianapolis News (an afternoon daily) article, published August 20, is in attachment IMSNews082009. This article not only summarizes the day's results but also asserts that the American Automobile Association (AAA) was satisfied the track surface was in good condition. This was the second day of the three-day race meet.
Interestingly, the article provides only a passing reference to the fatal injuries to driver William "Billy" Bourque and his riding mechanic Harry Holcomb. The two key points of the article are that the AAA approved the track conditions and that local boy Charlie Merz had won a race.
With respect to the AAA, the article does report that there was some discussion of canceling the race meet after the deaths. It even hints that there was finger pointing between the track management and the AAA as to who was to blame for the unsafe running surface. 
The AAA measures to bring the Speedway up to their standards was to have the surface "oiled" and that a ditch at the outside of turn four filled. Oiling a track was a common practice in the era of dirt roads - as a measure to tamp down dust. Today, it seems absurd not just because an oily surface is to be avoided at all costs in modern, high-speed racing, but the environmental hazards of pouring hundreds, even thousands, of gallons of raw petroleum over the ground is frightful. Apparently, there was also a discussion about shortening the Friday feature - the 100-mile Prest-O-Lite Trophy and Saturday's 300-mile Wheeler-Schebler Trophy to avoid excessive wear on the crushed stone covered earthen track. This did not happen and the original distances were retained.
What is described as a "large crowd" gathered at the Speedway for events that were scheduled to commence at noon. The fatal accident of the previous did nothing to discourage spectator interest and might have increased it. No specific numbers are provided, but the assertion is made that the attendance was greater than the previous day.
The opening event was a time trial. There was no new record set. The much-anticipated run was by Barney Oldfield in his Benz, who was caught in the mile speed trap at 42.2 seconds. He had set a new record of 42 seconds the previous day. Len Zengel ran 49.3 seconds in the Big Six Chadwick, with Ralph DePalma running a 48.6 for Fiat.
The first wheel-to-wheel race of the day featured the Marion team of Adolph Monson and Ray Tinkler as well as the Buicks of Lewis Strang and Louis Chevrolet. Strang proved the winner in the five-mile sprint for cars of 231 to 300 cubic inch capacity. Chevrolet was second. Curiously, although he is not mentioned previously in the article, Stutz (probably Charles, not Harry) was third.
The next event was a 10-mile go for cars of 301 to 400 cubic inches. There were four cars competing, although two others were entered but failed to start. One of the four, the Stoddard-Dayton of Jap Clemens, dropped out with mechanical maladies in the first lap. Charlie Merz won in his National. The other two cars were Tobin DeHymel (Stoddard-Dayton) and Louis Chevrolet (Buick), who finished second. Note that DeHymel was a Native American, the first of that ethnicity to compete at IMS.
Merz' victory was reportedly quite popular as he was an Indianapolis-born driver in an Indianapolis-built car. His time was 9:16.3.
The third race was for 10 miles. It is described in this report that it included the most celebrated drivers on the grounds. These were: Herb Lytle (Apperson); Ralph DePalma (Fiat); Barney Oldfield (National "Old Glory"); Johnny Aitken (National); Tom Kincaid (National); Ralph Mulford (Lozier), and Clemens and DeHymel, both in Stoddard-Dayton cars. Oldfield's car failed on the first lap. Aitken won with Lytle, Mulford, and Kincaid finishing behind him in that order. Aitken's winning time was 9:26.6.
The fourth race was a 50-miler with five starters. Among them were the Stoddard-Dayton entries of Carl Wright and Louis Schwitzer as well as two Buicks in the hands of George DeWitt and John Ryall. A driver with the last name of Merritt in a Velie rounded out the field. Wright won with Schwitzer making it a Stoddard-Dayton one-two finish. The winning time was 29:02.2.
There were four more races that day but the newspaper's same-day deadline forced them to go to press prior to completion of all the day's contests. The attendance estimate was 5,000.

IMSschedule092009.pdf738.81 KB
IMSsummary092109.pdf929.93 KB
IMSNews082009.pdf11.48 MB