Oldfield Hobnobs at Indy

This article by Barney Oldfield shares his day of hobnobbing with racing cronies, even dating back to his days as a bicycle racer on the Newby Oval board velodrome in 1898-99 (developed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway co-founder Arthur C. Newby). He talks about stopping in the Claypool Hotel lobby (check a photo) and reuniting with a wealthy acquaintence from Japan he met in 1903 when he raced the Winton Bullet in California. Especially interesting in his description is the evidence he provides of the worldwide appeal of the race in its first year - very much similar to the circumstances of today. He talks of visitors from England, France, Germany and all corners of the United States.
Oldfield's description also notes that Starter Fred Wagner played the same role in the professional bicycling races that took place in the 1890's. On another point, one of his comments indicates that he believed the Vanderbilt Cup - which was leaving Long Island, New York after 1910, was no longer the classic of its previous years.
It was at this time that Oldfield was serving a suspension from the AAA for staging an unsanctioned race against heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. As a result, he was not eligible to drive in the first Indianapolis 500, but served as a racing analyst and wrote articles for the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News newspapers.
This article was published May 30, 1911 in the Indianapolis Star.

star053011 13.pdf7.75 MB