Johnny Aitken Profile - 1910

This profile of Heroic Age racing star Johnny Aitken was published in the April 17, 1910, Indianapolis Star. This was printed early in Aitken's career as he was ascending. While the article focuses on Aitken it also offers an opinion of the relative "ranking" of drivers' abilities in the minds of fans and sports writers of the day.
Barney Oldfield's recent world land speed record in the Blitzen-Benz bolstered his reputation mightily after several years of decline. George Robertson's reputation was still flying high, largely based on his big win in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup, but with other triumphs such as at Fairmount Park and Brighton Beach proved he was a consistent winner. Ralph DePalma is mentioned as a contender for king of the hill but still seen as a rung on the ladder down from the two previously mentioned.
Aitken is called the dark horse and more accurately the young pilot that looked to be the future superstar. Comparisons between him and Oldfield based on the previous year when both drove National Motor Vehicle Company cars were inevitable. There could be no denying Aitken had wrung more speed out his mount than Oldfield from his, nicknamed "Old Glory" based on its stars and stripes paint job. Aitken had been awesome in several events, including his dominance of the Wheeler-Schebler 300 at the first auto race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - before mechanical failure sidelined him. The article refers to the National machines as the fastest stock cars in the world.
In the closing paragraph, the article effectively rates the drivers of the day, in order: Oldfield, Robertson, Aitken, Ray Harroun, Lewis Strang, DePalma, Louis Chevrolet and Bob Burman. While the order was undoubtedly a topic of debate among bench racers of the day the list is a solid one regardless of personal preferences.
Note, too, that the article mentions debate within the National ranks about the color scheme for the upcoming season. While I am unaware of National utilizing anything but the midnight blue of Joe Dawson's then-future 1912 Indianapolis 500 winner, apparently the Indianapolis-based firm was considering a red, white and blue color scheme at the time.

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