Oldfield, Christie, De Palma Barnstorm

The primary article in this collection reports on a 1908 Minneapolis-St. Paul track race. This covers the results of a contest which is described in another article on firstsuperspeedway. The featured drivers were Barney Oldfield, Walter Christie and a young upstart by the name of Ralph De Palma. In 1908 the popular notion was that stock car racing was the only meaningful speed contest as it provided more meaningful insight to the speed and durability the public could actually purchase. This may have been a rationalization of the manufacturers and an attempt to sell less exciting race cars to their patrons. Auto racing has always been expensive and American manufacturers at this point in history were not enamored with spending what it took to support racing programs.
A cutline to an associated image in this package quotes the mercurial Oldfield as saying that he was done with circular tracks and would stick to road racing. This aspiration lasted just a little bit longer than it took Oldfield to figure out that he still could make more money on the horse tracks. No shortage of irony, too, that the Minneapolis race meet was on a horse track. Note that De Palma drove for Allen-Kingston in 1908, and this was a year when Christie and Oldfield barnstormed together frequently; Christie driving his front wheel drive Christie racer.
There are a couple of other items that are interesting in this collection. One is a table of race results for 1909, which can be used as a good reference. Also, there is a clip for January 1909 reporting on Oldfield's purchase of the "Blitzen Benz" 200 HP racer. This is significant because there is confusion on this point. Some of this is because Oldfield drove a 125 HP racer in 1909, including his victory in the 25-mile contest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.

Oldfield_Walter_Christie_1908.pdf825.79 KB