May Brickyard Practice - Day 2, 1910

The attached article orginally appeared in the May 25, 1910 Indianapolis Star as part of the build-up to the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This article previewed the May 1910 "national championships," a newly-announced distinction by the American Automobile Association (AAA) for select race meets, car manufacturers were keen to make a great showing.
This wonderfully written article by C.E. Shuart summarizes the highlights from the second day of practice (May 24) so just soak up the color of his opening paragraph:
"Faster and faster, creeping by degrees up top the speed that they know must be shown to win, pilots representing almost every big motor factory in the Untied States are sending their metal mounts round and round the big oval at the motor Speeway for the final tryouts before Starter Wagner drops the flag to start the first furious fray Friday. In all classes, from the tiny voiturette to the steel monster with 601 to 750 cubic inches piston displacement, competition seems to be growing hotter, and the knowing ones who sit behind the wheel are bringing out every ounce of power they can, demand from their steeds. The rainbow painter has a mere tyro's production compared to the color picture these dashing car present, as red, yellow, white, blue, gray and varicolored creations rush down the brick stretch in attempts to turn time backward in its flight as far as possible. But color is not what impels the spectator to gaze in admiration wrapt. It's speed - ever that same goal of the pilot and demond of the onlooker - speed that makes the car leap and bound as a deer in its agonized death run."
Beautiful. It is so important to remember that to be there was to witness the spectacle in vivid, piercing color - not the black and white, sometimes grainy images we treasure today as artifacts of a lost age.
The article reports that Johnny Aitken (National "60") and Bob Burman (Buick) were cutting laps at roughly one minute, 50 seconds (about 82 MPH lap average) and triggered speculation that new national or worldwide speed records were likely to fall. Ray Harroun (Marmon) and Herb Lytle (American) are mentioned, but no substantive information is shared. 
Dr. Wadsworth Warren, the manager of the Buick team, is noted for predicting the speeds would continue to rise and lap times would be slashed another two seconds down to 36 or less. The prevailing view was that improvements to the track reassured drivers that the track was safe and encouraged greater risks. Other teams recognized in the article were: Newell Motsinger in the Empire; Leigh Lynch, Jackson; Louis Schwitzer, Fuller and Scott Miller, Warren-Detroit.
Apparently the local dealership - the Conduitt Automobile Company - intervened in the ongoing prize money negotiations between the Speedway and Barney Oldfield to offer a solution. After weeks of haggling Oldfield had apparently agreed to take part in the Decoration Day event. Conduitt apparently arranged for Oldfield to drive a Knox in the weekend feature event, the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy. There was no report forthcoming on the financial agreement between Oldfield and Knox. Knox did announce that Ed Updike planned to race in several events for them as an amateur.
In other notes the EMF Company filed late entries. A driver named "Cunningham" was reported to handle the equipment. Starter Fred Wagner was expected in Indianapolis the following day. The new National "70" racer was rexpected to officially practice later that day. Indiana State Coroner John J. Blackwell pronounced the newly reconditioned Speeway as, "The finest I ever saw and search for a flaw in the roadbed would be like a search for the proverbial needle in a haystack."

IMSpractice052510.pdf1.48 MB