May 31 - Indianapolis News

These articles are from the evening paper, the Indianapolis News, the day after the 1913 Indianapolis 500.
The best of the bunch is in attachment NewsGouxMerz053113. Maybe the most interesting fact about this article is how little time it spends discussing the winner, Jules Goux. The first third of the article offers a high drama description of the firey finish of Stutz driver Charlie Merz who drove the last two laps of the race with his engine on fire and his riding mechanic, Harry Martin, flailing away at the flames with his jacket. They braved out those last five miles to place third. An interesting point in this description is when it discusses the perspective from the front stretch grandstands because it gives you a sense of what people could see from that vantage point. Based on this description fans could see the car almost entirely around the track with the exception of a few seconds when it disappeared from view due to a stand of trees at the inside of turn three. Just imagine the brick track with buildings too short to block your view...
The next portion of the article describes Merz' teammate Gil Andersen who ran second late in the race. The article focuses on this final pit stop for tires when the engine died. Riding mechanic Frank Agan tried to crank it and upon failing allowed other crew members to give it a whirl. The report indicates that they discovered a broken magneto but conflicting reports indicated transmission trouble. Also, this report is inaccurate in that it indicates that Andersen only had two laps to go when in reality he only completed 187 laps. Somebody didn't get their facts straight on this one.
Another intriguing point included here is that Bob Burman is described to be driving an almost crazy race after his car burst into flames on lap 55. While he successfully extinguished the flames repairs forced him to fall some 25 to 30 laps behind. Upon returning to the race the article indicates Burman drove like a wild man even slowing at time to challenge rivals - especially Goux - to dice with him. If this is true it is bizarre by today's standards.
The performance of other drivers are discussed such as Ralph Mulford (Mercedes), Theodore Pilette (Mercedes-Knight) and Albert Guyot (Sunbeam). All are described as driving steady races to land spots in the top 10.
In attachment NewsChallenge053113 there is an article that lends some credence to the depiction of Burman as a bit speed mad and confrontational. Following the race Burman and his car owner Forrest M. Keeton issued a challenge to Peugeot and Goux to a $30,000 match race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Burman and Keeton both asserted that their troubles were purely flukes. Most interesting of all, Burman blamed his Miller carburetor - a stock part, he said - for not being up to the task. The carburetor was an early product of a man who would eventually become known as one of the great genuises of American auto racing as his Miller racers were dominant forces in the 1920's and 1930's.
A colorful tale of Burman's race woes is also reported in this article. This is with respect to a gas tank puncture that was caused by a flying lugnut off the Sunbeam driven by Albert Guyot. The crew developed a temporary fix using chewing gum. Burman turned the car over to relief pilot Hughie Hughes while he worked in the pits to fashion a more permanent plug. Meanwhile, on the track, riding mechanic Tony Jeanette reportedly masticated (their word) one piece of gum after another so a fresh supply of the gooey stuff could mashed over the hole. As for the Keeton challenge, it never produced a race.
Attachment NewsMerzMartin053113 contains a great image of Charlie Merz and mechanic Harry Martin talking through a pit fence to Charlie's wife and a friend identified as Mrs. E.W. McClanahan of Los Angeles. One can only wonder if Merz' wife scolded him or beamed with pride over his daring drive to finish the final two laps while his Stutz was ablaze.
NewsTable053113 is a quick reference table that provides the number of laps completed by each car, complete with its make and number. As for images, NewsChekered053113 contains a dramatic image of winner Jules Goux racing his number 16 Peugeot past the finish line as starter Charles Root unfurls the checkered flag. Two attachments, NewsHandshake053113 and NewsWinners053113 show winning driver Jules Goux and riding mechanic Emile Begin shaking hands. In the latter of the two they are joined by teammate driver Paul Zuccarelli.
In attachment NewsCrowd053113 is an article the discussed crowd control - primarily the work of Speedway guards inside the track. The brouhaha concerning reporters and photographers trying to gain access to the scene of Jack Tower's accident with his Mason at the south end of the track is reported as it was in the Indianapolis Star the previous day. Speedway guards, many moonlighting from their Indiana National Guard jobs, wore their kahki uniforms and weilded clubs. Confiscating cameras and smashing glass plates (the technology of the day to capture pictures) the guards offended members of the press as well as others who believed they should be granted free access to the track hospital - a wooden structure also near the south end of the track.
The article also touches on the automobile traffic into the track but only speaks in general terms with no numbers mentioned. It does provide a peculiar story of what is described as "three little negro boys" who had a block of ice at the edge of the road. Apparently some jerk stopped his car to steal their ice. Amazingly, given the widespread bigoted behavior of the time, people intervened and actually forced the man to provide the kids soft drinks as compensation for his poor treatment of the children.
Speaking of police and crowd control the article in attachment NewsPolice053113 desribes a downtown assault and battery situation that awakened some Speedway fans who were catching naps in the tonneaus of their touring cars parked on Ohio Street between Illinois and Meridian Streets. I include it because it paints details into the larger picture of the experience of the 1913 Indianapolis 500. The entire city was keenly aware of the race and like many celebrations it became an excuse for some to behave poorly. Also, the fact that some people slept in their cars was evidence of how the capacity of Indianapolis - by every measure - was pressed to its limits or beyond. More of this is evident in the article within attachment NewsCrowds053113 which describes the scene in downtown Indianapolis the evening of race day. While some people headed off on their journeys out of town to home the city still bustled and the cafes and barrooms were packed.
The attachment NewsChristmas053113 has an article purportedly written by a first-time visitor to the track. This is an interesting point of view from the grandstands. There was a decided bias to "Speed King" Bob Burman and his success in the early laps reinforced it. The crowd held an American bias and continued to look for a home country challenger to Goux. After hopes were lost with Burman cheers were heard for Gil Andersen but his departure on lap 187 resigned fans to a French victory.
Another aspect of these articles and all the others written about the fans and crowds is how the 1913 Indianapolis 500 held the singular focus of the city. It is as if there was nothing else in the city - effectively there was not - and while the crowds of roughly 100,000 are about half of what the Speedway draws today the city was much smaller. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the city's population in 2011 was roughly 837K, while in 1910 it was 234K or less than a third. The city, in 1913, collectively thought of nothing else but the "500." One hundred years later the competition for "mind share" is intense and many in Indianapolis are hardly aware the race is going on. To the point about the obsession of Indianapolis with its great global event, the Indianapolis 500, the Indianapolis News ran an editorial cartoon (attachment NewsCartoon053113) on its front page the day after the race to communicate how everyone in the city had been bitten by the "speed bug."
Perhaps the biggest challenge of the month for Peugeot team had been chronic tire wear issues. Part of the solution was to select Firestone tires and the company celebrated with an ad making sure the world new about it. Check out attachment NewsFirestone053113 to see the ad.

NewsGouxMerz053113.pdf3.87 MB
NewsChallenge053113.pdf2.4 MB
NewsMerzMartin053113.pdf1.66 MB
NewsTable053113.pdf353.69 KB
NewsHandshake053113.pdf256.19 KB
NewsWinners053113.pdf234 KB
NewsCrowd053113.pdf1.71 MB
NewsPolice053113.pdf466.75 KB
NewsChristmas053113.pdf1.29 MB
NewsFirestone053113.pdf256.64 KB