May 31 - Indianapolis Star Coverage

This collection of articles in the attachments below is from the May 31, 1913 Indianapolis Star the morning after the Indianapolis 500. The first attachment, StarThrong053113, contains two major articles and is probably the single most important pair of articles for anyone wanting to learn about the 1913 Indianapolis 500 to read. Both summarize the race although the article titled "Mighty Throng Hails Goux..." implies by its headline that it will focus more on the point of view of spectators. This really isn't true as it covers as much race detail as its companion, which is titled "Goux Maintains Speed...".
What struck me is that most of the events of the race, the battles for the lead and Jack Tower's big accident in his Mason, ocurred in the first half. Bob Burman's Keeton was clearly the fastest of the American entries but consistent engine maladies - including a fire - proved his undoing after the first 100 miles. See attachment StarFinishers053113 for a table revealing the top 10 finishers.
The key developments of the second half of the race centered on Stutz team drivers. Gil Andersen emerged as the only driver to get within shouting distance of Jules Goux. Albeit two laps down he got racy with Goux trying to unlap himself. Then Goux stormed into the pits with a flat tire and the biased American crowd cheered. Just as quickly, though, Andersen suffered the same malady and hopes sank. As it turned out the Norwegian-born driver's Stutz would finally give in to nagging gear trouble and fall 13 laps of finishing.
The other excitement came when a fire erupted under the engine cowling of Andersen's teammate Charlie Merz, just two laps from the finish. With his riding mechanic Harry Martin furiously batting back the fire with his shirt, Merz, who was running second, gamely hung on to the checkered. Slowing enough that he fell into the clutches of the Mercer of Spencer Whishart (who finished second - see image in StarWishart053113), Merz still managed a third in one of the most dramatic conclusions to a reace in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history.
Merz' heroics were described in an interesting sidebar captured in attachment StarBlazing053113. Upon seeing the ominous situation (see image in attachment StarMerz053113) the Stutz crew clamored over the pit wall and ran to the edge of the track flailing their arms for Merz to stop. He did not. Merz is described as leaning forward in his seat to asses the growth of the fire as he leaned on the throttle to get home as quickly as possible. Rapt at the spectacle spectators could not take their eyes off the incendiary Stutz. As soon as he passed under Starter Charles Root's checkered flag, Merz shot into the pits (in those days there was only one pit wall at the inside of the track, a second one was installed years later to create a pit lane). Martin jumped from the car to unleash the leather cowling straps to give a team of track workers armed with fire extinguishers full access to the flames.
The article in attachment StarKing053113 is entertaining and informative. It provides good biographical information on Goux from his early life with his father to the beginnings of his career as a mechanic and driver - such as his 106 MPH average on the banks of Brooklands and his first vitories in hill climbs. The bulk of the article describes Goux struggling to communicate with the newspaper reporters and photographers immediately following the race. As reported earlier he had amused himself with picking up American slang phrases of the day. Apparently, one was "I should worry," which he said with a thick French accent after throwing his hands up in frustration after rapid fire questioning by the press. See attachment StarImages053113 for some shots of Goux taking the checkered flag and his car with crew in the pits immediately afterward.
That night Goux and a small party dined at the Columbia Club. The group included Indianapolis Motor Speedway General Manager Charles Sedwick, riding mechanic Emile Begin, Firestone Branch Manager W.L. Esterly, J. Guy Monahan of Premier and A.G. Kaufman who was the United States representative of Peugeot. Paul Zuccarelli, the other Peugeot driver, also joined the group. Goux, through and unnamed interpreter reportedly said, "I did not have to go fast to win. If a man takes proper care of himself he need not be in danger during the race. Drivers tax themselves too much. They do not take as good care of themselves as they do their motors."
According to Kaufman, Goux typically "nourished" himself on chocolate, wine and sometimes brandy. Immediately after the race he asked for wine and chocolate cake. Another point that I thought was amusing was a woman spectator who got close to the winner after the race remarked, "Why he's just a kid!" At 28 he was beyond boyhood but nobody will ever know how old the observer was at the time. Anyway, this article is a great read.
Newspapers latched on to an American know-how angle (see attachment StarAitken053113) to the French victory by touting the contributions of Johnny Aitken and Herbert "Red" Lime (spelled Herbert Lyne in a 1909 race report) formerly of the National Motor Vehicle Company team that had been active in racing for years and won the "500" the year prior with Joe Dawson before withdrawing from the sport following that victory. Auto racing historians have noted Aitken's contributions to the Goux victory before but this is the first I have encountered information about Lyne who has an interesting story.
Lyne was riding mechanic with Charlie Merz on the National team running in the ill-fated Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race in August 1909. When their car ran out of gas on the backstretch Lyne sprinted across the infield to notify the crew and retrieve gas. After doing so he nearly passed out from the exertion and was replaced by Claude Kellum, another riding mechanic that had started the race with Aitken but their car had retired with mechanical failure. Merz later had a tire explode triggering a massive accident that killed Kellum and two spectators. Lyne remained with the team but refrained from riding mechanic duties thereafter.
The article in the attachment noted in the previous paragraph reports that Aitken and Lime coached the Peugeot drivers on their approach and lines through the Brickyard's challenging corners. It reaffirms the late race "brush" with Andersen and the tire wear that resulted. The men supervised pit work and signaled Goux during the race. The other noteworthy information concerns selection of Firestone tires and Hartford shock absorbers. I took this as more of a genuine adaptation of the Peugeot to the Brickyard than a gratuitous plug for American auto tech. From the month-long coverage it seems a certainty the Peugeot drivers were perplexed by tire wear and the assistance of the National men in adapting the car to the Speedway was an important contribution. It leads me to believe the ride Goux took in the National earlier in the month had more to do with learning the Speedway than simply putting a show on for fans.
One the great and most colorful stories about Goux winning the Indianapolis 500 people always like to share as soon as they hear it is that he drank wine during his pit stops. The article in attachment StarWine051331 sheds some light on a subject that inevitably gets embellished with each telling of the story. According to the article Goux requested wine on one of his early pit stops and what's amazing to me is that given this was something he typically did in other races the crew apparently was unprepared to respond. Perhaps this could be a reflection of the observations about Aitken and Lime's pit management in the above paragraphs and that they simply were unaccustomed to their French driver's penchant for consuming alcohol during races. Who knows? What's more no one really knows how much he drank during the race.
The article says a crewman ran into the grandstands in search of vino and finding a group of fans from Pittsburgh who had placed bets on Goux returned with six bottles. Grabbing one, Goux reportedly broke the neck of the bottle against the pit wall and poured the contents (sorry for being a wimp but my mind goes to glass slivers permeating my esophagus) down his throat. Some of the tales I have heard or read suggest he consumed six pints of wine but I'm incredulous. Perhaps it was this article that fixed the half-dozen figure into the legend. More likely Goux took swigs and spat out some of it. Nonetheless it is amazing enough that he let any alcohol between his lips in the middle of high-speed, wheel-to-wheel competition.
A great summary of Goux's career comes in a simple chart within attachment StarGouxCareer053113 that lists his record in driving competition dating back to 1905. I have not searched the Internet extensively concerning his career but I am confident saying you won't find this information anywhere else, such as the default Wikipedia entry that could easily be updated with this data.
Contrast this statistical data with the personal insight gained through a small item in attachment StarGouxPics053113 which notes that just before the start of the race the driver saw a young man with what is described as a "pocket camera." Although he spoke no English he jumped from his car to greet the gentleman and took the camera from his hand. Goux then, with one knee on the bricks, knelt to snap a picture of the field (oh, to have that picture). According to the article Goux was fascinated by cameras and had brought one with him only to break it when he dropped it from his car earlier in the month. An image of Goux shaking the hand of his riding mechanic Emil Begin after the race is in attachment StarGoux053113. The photo caption incorrectly identifies the other man as his teammate Paul Zuccarelli.
The attachment StarDawson053113 is allegedly written by 1912 Indianapolis 500 winner Joe Dawson. While he compliments Goux on his outstanding drive he spends the bulk of the article on otherwise unreported aspects of the race. Let me note here that Dawson confirms the report above that Goux embraced the directions he was receiving from his pit. As to the other competitors he notes that Mercedes driver Ralph Mulford ran out of gas on the backstretch and his riding mechanic sprinted across the infield to alert his crew. Exhausted, he was replaced by another team mechanic he returned to the stopped car with the fuel to get Mulford back in action. Dawson also praises the sportsmanship of Ralph DePalma whose Mercer retired early. DePalma, as Mercer team captain, began directing the race efforts of the remaing two team cars. When approached by Frank Fox, the owner of Howdy Wilcox's car about borrowing tires because his supply was low, DePalma graciously complied.
Speaking of pit work the attachment StarPitman053113 contains an article that provides the point of view from that vantage point. The Stutz team (see image in attachment StutzPit053113) receives high praise for preparation of everything from tires, fuel, tools and even food systematically organized for efficient use. Harry Stutz is called out as an effective leader and, interestingly, tire changes are said to have been completed as quickly as 25 seconds. The ballsy drive of Merz in his flaming Stutz is recounted and the car is described as a "torch" and a "meteor." Good insight into the situation in the Peugeot pit is provided as apparently the language barrier between the American crewmen and the French drivers and mechanics was a real impediment. The article reports that the situation improved immediately when Johnny Aitken jumped into the fray. This indicates that Aitken was not in Goux's pit at the start but inserted himself perhaps after realizing their were issues. This lends credence to the hypothesis I have heard Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson pose: that Johnny Aitken could speak French.
Other items worth noting from this article include that Caleb Bragg's Mercer first struggled with a snapped magneto bracket before dying completely due to a broken transmission (see image in attachment StarBragg053113) stranding his car at the inside of the course. Ralph DePalma served as relief driver for both his teammates (Bragg and Spencer Wishart) as did Englishman Hughie Hughes for Bob Burman and Harry Grant (after the demise of his Isotta) for Henderson driver Billy Knipper. This is also noted in a small item in attachment StarGrantRelief053013.
Attachment StarTech053115 has an article that provides some interesting insights to technical inspection as well as more information about what transpired in the pits. Most interesting was the Tech Committee's commitment to testing fuel. Apparently a commone practice especially in Europe was the addition of piric acid, an explosive that was used as an additive. Guys using nitro can relate. Also, note that seals were placed on the engines after tech inspection and then examined again prior to the race.
The article underscores that tire wear was an issue for all but a handful of teams, with Ralph Mulford (DePalma's Mercedes of the previous year) and the Theodore Pilette Mercedes-Knight entry. Mulford rode on Braender tires. There were different tire manufacturers in the race. As noted, the Peugeots used Firestones but the Stutz and the Mercers used Michelin. Interestingly, the Stutz cars had wooden wheels and the Mercers used wire wheels. Some of the teams found the quickest way to demount the rims was to deflate the tire by stabbing it with a knife although I am not sure I understand why if the rims were demountable. Again, the Stutz crew was reported to be very fast with their pit work.
Like Merz, Bob Burman (Keeton) and Paul Zuccarelli (Peugeot) both experienced engine fires albeit earlier in the race. Burman's blaze - which ignited while he was on the backstretch - was apparently so fierce he was compelled to stop at the north end of the track. Infield fans reportedly helped him extinguish the fire by tossing dirt on his engine. Wires were reportedly melted and, according to the article, he and his mechanic worked on the car for some time and finally got it running well enough to return to the pit. Another malady struck the Keeton when a gas tank leak developed. Relief driver Hughie Hughes is said to have stopped it with chewing gum but that improvisation could only endure for so long as he was again forced to the pits and a rubber stopper was applied.
Other interesting points brought to the surface in this article involve the Peugeot, Isotta, Henderson and Mason cars. The Peugeot teams used a different style jack for their pit stops and while it is not clear to me from the article apparently they could tilt the cars for faster getaways. The Masons and the Henderson entries all had engines developed by the Duesenberg brothers - and all experienced clutch problems. Predicatably, the Isottas who were so terribly late in arriving at the Speedway suffered from a lack of preparation. Two of the three cars were out early and the remaining car - driven by Teddy Tettzlaff was disqualified after it snapped a driving chain at the north end of the track. Actually Tetzlaff was not driving at the time - someone identified as "Lewis" was reported as relief driver but this is in question. He and Ray Gilhooley - who started the race as Tetzlaff's riding mechanic - began pushing the car to the pits. While it could have been repaired officials issued the disqualification because a "no pushing" rule had been announced at the driver's meeting the night before. See attachment StarTetzlaff053113 for an image with a caption that conflicts with the information in the article to insinuate that Gilhooley was actually driving in relief.
The article in the StarHurt053113 attachment covers the variety of injuries treated at the infield medical tent that day but focuses primarily on the accident to the Mason driven by Jack Tower. A persistent theme throughout all coverage is how hot the weather was on race day. The weather report is also available in this attachment and a quick look reveals that the high temperature of the day was 87 degrees Farenheit. A list of several people who were apparently suffering heat prostration were treated.
The cause of the accident to the Mason was not immediately clear. The facts, however, were that the car skidded off the track at the south end of the Speedway to bounce through the infield before hitting an embankment and briefly standing on its nose. It then fell upside down and rolled onto its side injuring both driver and riding mechanic Lee Gunning. Check out attachment StarMason053113 for images of the wreckage.
The article suggests that Gunning would die from his injuries but this was a bizarre journalistic practice in the day - predicting someone's death due to the severity of injuries. While Gunning Google searches are not particuarly productive I did find a 1915 mention of a Lee Gunning winning an auto race. I suspect Gunning did recover and apparently raced again.
As for Tower, he broke his right leg and was pretty dazed when pulled from the wreckage. Neither Mason occupant was tossed from the car and both had to be extracted. Interestingly the track workers and medical personnel struggled to get through a crowd of people in the infield as they attempted to aid the stricken men. Tower attempted to stand at one point but that proved ambitious and he was ushered to a stretcher. Both men spent time in the infield hospital before being removed to Methodist Hospital. As a side note Bob Burman joined them in the tent to rest for about an hour - the paper says - while Hughie Hughes spotted him in relief. Note that the article also reports that Tower endured other serious injuries in a 1910 racing accident during a 24 hour race at Brighton Beach.
Attachment StarTower053113 provides additional coverage of the Mason accident. It notes again that the accident took place at the south end of the Speedway and not too far from the hugely tragic Charlie Merz incident in 1909 where three people lost their lives. The article also notes that Anel driver Billy Liesaw had a scary moment at the same point as much as an hour later. Another of the Mason cars - the driver not identified - apparently lost a tire that came off the rim and bounced down the track late in the race.
Another interesting sidebar to the Mason accident story comes in StarGuards053113 where it is apparent Speedway guards were at odds with newspaper photographers. The photographers were storming the scene to score pictures of the devestation. The guards, brandising their wooden clubs, were zealously swinging away. Photographer O.G. Voss, who represented several Chicago trade papers, narrowly avoided having his camera smashed by a club blow. He claimed the guard then drew a pistol and pressed it to his chest. Nathan Meissler of the Chicago American reportedly was ordered to surrender his exposed glass plates which were then smashed by a club. The article indicates Meissler tricked the guard by forking over unexposed plates.
At the hospital Dr. Frank Allen, the medical director for the Speedway, ordered reporters out of his space. He was quoted saying, "I cannot honor your passes. They may be good anywhere else on the grounds but not here. I am running a hospital and I won't stand for it."
Much as the Indianapolis News had reported the previous afternoon, attachment StarCongest053113 contains an article covering the mad rush - especially at Union Station - for people to get to the Speedway via rail. Almost all the drama appears to have occurred on railroads as opposed to the interurban street cars. Again, the stories of couples being separated when passenger car gates closed and women struggling - and in some cases tearing and ruining - their floor-length dresses are reported. An amusing descriptive point is the report the "husky" police and rail guards employed football tactics - specifically a "wedge formation" - to disperse crowds.
A very interesting piece of information is in the number of two-way tickets to the Speedway sold. Henry Martin, general ticket agent for Union Station reported that 25,500 round-trip tickets were sold - up about 5,000 from 1912. The electric interurban cars were up as well with T.J. Gore, general joint ticket agent at the Traction Terminal Station reporting sales of 16,000 tickets - also up "several thousand" from the previous years. With estimates of total attendance at the race coming closer to 90,000 it appears that just under half the attendees elected to arrive by public transit. Automobiles were very much in evidence at the Speedway - and proof of that can be found in the image in StarParking053113. A good shot of the grandstand crowd is in StarCrowd053113.
Perhaps an indication that by the end of May Indianapolis was a bit frazzled by not only the speed demons but the international attention they were so unaccustomed to, an editorial cartoon in attachment StarWorld053113 depicts the world struggling to sleep as visions of race cars zoom through its head. Also, despite withdrawing from racing, National Motor Vehicle Company still ran ads (see attachment StarNationalAd053113) pushing their big success in winning the previous year's race in 1912.

StarThrong053113.pdf3.38 MB
StarFinishers053113.pdf287.25 KB
StarBlazing053113.pdf547.44 KB
StarMerz053113.pdf493.72 KB
StarKing053113.pdf1.23 MB
StarImages053113.pdf1.4 MB
StarAitken053113.pdf1.61 MB
StarWine053113.pdf393.76 KB
StarGouxPics053113.pdf245.19 KB
StarGoux053113.pdf244.55 KB
StarDawson053113.pdf1.01 MB
StarPitman053113.pdf1.14 MB
StutzPit053113.pdf829.8 KB
StarBragg053113.pdf305.5 KB
StarGrantRelief053113.pdf210.08 KB
StarTech053113.pdf1.44 MB
StarTetzlaff053113.pdf261.71 KB
StarHurt053113.pdf1.46 MB
StarMason053113.pdf689.78 KB
StarTower053113.pdf847.16 KB
StarGuards053113.pdf384.61 KB
StarCongest053113.pdf826.21 KB
StarParking053113.pdf312.26 KB
StarCrowd053113.pdf396.99 KB
StarWishart053113.pdf297.4 KB
StarWorld053113.pdf257.96 KB
StarNationalAd05313.pdf360.31 KB