Oldfield Vs. DePalma

Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma were more than rivals - they had a genuine dislike for one another. Some say it started when in 1908 young DePalma, an unknown upstart racer, beat Barney Oldfield in a best of three match race on a horse track. Incensed, Oldfield stormed off without congratulating the rookie. Nobody really knows the true cause, but the two competitors rubbed each other the wrong way. Both had ambitions beyond the race car. Each wanted acceptance in a world dominated by the wealthy. Money has always been a major ingredient in going fast. De Palma tried to fit in, but Barney, who demanded things on his own terms, may well have seen this as "sucking up." Regardless, there was bad blood.
When DePalma as defending champion of the Indianapolis 500 in 1916 tried to negotiate for appearance money and subsequently missed the deadline for filing an entry for that year's race, he begged forgiveness. As policy, Indianapolis Motor Speedway the management required that all entrants approve making an exception for Ralph. Oldfield, previously entered, took pleasure in being the only one to refuse. So what was DePalma's favorite race? Why, the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup - the race where he out-foxed Oldfield for the win. This article about these two legends - and their legendary rivalry - first appeared in the 2008 Indianapolis 500 program.

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