Strang Wins G&J Trophy

These three Indianapolis News articles ran Sunday, August 21, 1909, and recount events of the second day of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's race meet. One article focuses on the benefits the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brought to the city and the other describes the 100-mile G&J Trophy race won by Buick driver Lewis Strang. G&J was a tire company. Strang broke all existing records for the distance. Attachment Indianapolis_Speedway_First_Races_3 contains both articles, while attachment IMSNewsRecords082109 focuses on Strang's success and the other (IMSIndy082109) is all about the benefits of the track to the Hoosier Capital city.
The article focusing on Strang's G&J Trophy victory paints the picture of a very successful day with some 22,000 spectators and a card of eight events. Numerous records were awarded. Johnny Aitken is credited with smashing the five-mile record to "smithereens" in his National with a time of 4:25. He finished the sprint race in a near dead heat with teammate Charlie Merz, who was 1.25 seconds behind. Len Zengle of Chadwick established a new record for 10 miles at 8:23.2. Strang's triumph in the 100-mile feature enabled him to tick off records for distances ranging between 20 and 100 miles.
Strang is credited with giving the most spectacular performance of the first two days of racing. He went the entire distance without a single pit stop and finished three laps ahead of one of his Buick teammate, George DeWitt. Stillman and Harroun were the next finishers, both with their Marmons four laps down. Strang's time was 2:32.43.5, which eclipsed the old record of 1:44 set by another of his teammates, Bob Burman, at Columbus, Ohio the previous July. 
Prior to the G&J Trophy American Automobile Association (AAA) officials considered shortening the feature to 50 miles as many competitors were also entered in the 300-mile Wheeler-Schebler Trophy scheduled the following day and there was concern about putting too much strain on equipment. However, given G&J Tire had sponsored the event on the understanding that it was for 100 miles, officials reconsidered and went through with the original plan.
The fifth race was for 50 miles and was a Stoddard-Dayton cakewalk. The winner was Carl Wright with teammate Louis Schwitzer second. They were the only two of five competitors to complete the distance. Two Buicks and a Velie also entered.
The sixth race was the 10-mile free-for-all where Zengle set his record, followed by Aitken's big victory in the five-mile free-for-all handicap. The crowd reportedly had a hometown bias for Indianapolis cars and drivers. Victories by Aitken and Charlie Merz were said to be particularly popular.
Barney Oldfield made his first appearance at the meeting the third race, the one Aitken won. Oldfield drove his National "Old Glory" and was injured when his cowling blew off toward his face. He instinctively covered with his arm, which incurred a deep slice. Initially, it appeared the injury was severe enough it would end his participation in the weekend, but he was back at it later that day.
Strang's G&J Trophy victory was greeted with cheers. Much was made of the dramatic greeting offered by his wife, actress Jeanne Spaulding, aka Louise Alexander,  who embraced and kissed her husband.
The article closes with this wonderful excerpt describing the atmosphere of glorious downtown Indianapolis the night before the race. It must have been 200-proof magic!
"The hotels were alive with automobile visitors and enthusiasts last night, and at the Denison, a banquet was spread for 150 Stoddard-Dayton officials and employees. The event was extremely enjoyable and the hosts and guests made merry until a late hour."

Indianapolis_Speedway_First_Races_3.pdf1.24 MB
IMSNewsRecords082109.pdf4.56 MB
IMSIndy082109.pdf6.13 MB