Knipper, Lorimer & Jay

Attached are three brief articles that provide verbal "snapshots" on the activities of three noted drivers in 1910. All the articles were published in the Indianapolis Star during the month of January 1910. The first article, in chronological order, concerns Lee Lorimer and was published January 9. Lorimer, a star driver for the Chalmers-Detroit Company, comments on the dangers of auto racing. This article is somewhat reminiscent of another one about driver Joe Matson who discussed the same topic.
Both drivers had endured painful injuries in racing accidents but took the position such incidents did not discourage or unnerve real professionals. Lorimer took the position that while he recognized accidents were inevitable he simply did not dwell on such probabilities.
"I have heard that a couple of accidents take a man's nerve - that he is never as good a driver afterward. I don't believe there is anything in that. I have never found time to get frightened in an accident. Take that spill of mine at Buffalo, for example. Everything was running smoothly the last I remember; the next thing I knew I was lying in a hospital bandaged up like a mummy and too busy with a few broken ribs to lose my nerve. It was the same way at Atlanta. When I saw Hardie's car across the track and less than two lengths ahead of me I didn't have any chance to get frightened. It was all over in short order. And I always figured it out that there is no logic in getting frightened about a thing of the past. I don't know what the future holds. It may be that I shall never figure in another accident, then again - oh, well, it's fascinating anyway."
This article also appeared in the New York Times but is longer and includes more information about the state of the Chalmers company. Chalmers was enjoying double-digit sales growth and was expanding their manufacturing facilities accordingly.
The next article, published January 13, concerns retired driver Webb Jay who nearly lost his life in a horrific accident at the Kennilworth track near Buffalo when his Whistling Billy steam engine racer busted through a fence and landed in a pond. Jay suffered a closed head injury that left him a coma for weeks. With no medical technology to treat the wound his survival rested in the hands of God and his body's inherent ability to heal itself.
Jay did survive and remained in the automobile business, hooking up with the Premier Motor Manufacturing Company and heading their operation in Chicago. Another article from May 1909 elsewhere on First Super Speedway provided an update on Jay. This article reports that Jay had been assigned a new job with Premier and now had responsibility for distribution to wholesale outlets throughout the the Western United States. Reading between the lines I believe that Jay had previously headed Premier's Chicago dearlership and this news item meant that he was now directly employed with the company and managed business relationships with dealerships throughout the West. Jay's office was at 2329 Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The final of the three articles, published January 30, concerns driver Billy Knipper who, like Lorimer, was a Chalmers driver. The article focuses on Knipper's endurance runs for the company in Mexico. In the previous year he had driven a Chalmers "pathfinding car" to chart a course from Denver to Mexico City. At the time of this article Knipper had been in Mexico apparently promoting Chalmers for their Mexico City dealership, Mohler & DeGress.
The article reports that Knipper had just set a new record for continuous non-stop driving and hill climbing. Mohler & DeGress issued the following statement to commemorate the occasion:
"Knipper has made his first record run, that from Mexico City to the city of Toluca and return. The distance is forty miles, up over the mountains. In the first twenty-five miles the road rises to an altitude of 11,000 feet. Toluca itself is at an elevation of 7,500 feet. Total elapsed time was two hours and forty-nine minutes. Actual running time, one hour and sixteen minutes to Toluca; one hour and eighteen minutes returning."

LeeLorimer010910.pdf289.18 KB
WebbJay011310.pdf196.69 KB
Knipper013010.pdf220.22 KB