Oldfield's Record Plans

This attachment contains an article which orginally appeared in the May 29, 1910 Indianapolis Star. The article ran in support of the May 1910 race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The May 1910 race meet weekend included "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. Check out other articles that provide additional summaries on the results of the races staged May 27 and May 28 elsewhere on First Super Speedway.
The specific article in the attachment below concerns the plans of Barney Oldfield to set new track records with the famous Blitzen Benz racer he had startled the world with by setting new world speed records at Daytona Beach in March. There he exceeded 131 MPH in the measured mile. Oldfield had acquired the Blitzen Benz, renaming it the "Lightning Benz" with the goal of reviving his career. 
The article, albeit brief, provides some good history points on the Blitzen Benz. Check 'em out:

  • The engine was 200 HP.
  • The Benz Company in Mannheim, Germany apparently reported the car cost $22,000 to design and construct.
  • The article claims that the mercurial driver Victor Hemery at least had a hand in the car's design.
  • Hemery attained amazing speeds in excess of 127 MPH at England's Brooklands closed-circuit, concrete-paved track.
  • Oldfield won a bidding contest after the classy machine was delivered to the Benz Import Company of New York.
  • Oldfield's mile time at Daytona :27.33 seconds.
  • Oldfield took the car to the Los Angeles motordrome board speedway (Playa Del Rey) to set a new mile track record with a time of :36.22 seconds. This time shattered marks set previously at the Atlanta speedway.
  • I found this very interesting - after California Oldfield traveled to Cheyenne, Wyoming where he lowered the track record further, pushing the time down to 36 flat. He also covered the half mile in 17 seconds.

Oldfield's appearance at the Brickyard had been in doubt up to just days prior to the Memorial Day Weekend race meet. The bone of contention was the amount of money Speedway management was putting up for his time trial record runs which were planned for the mile, half and quarter. The issue was resolved and while I have seen no information about the prize fund this article says, "officials of the big course will pay the veteran more money than was ever paid before for a single mile."

OldfieldRecord052910.pdf584.16 KB