Pre-Brickyard May Racing in Indianapolis

Memorial Day as a big motor racing tradition was established in Indianapolis even before there was an Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The primary organizer? Well, Carl Fisher of course.
Welcome to a collection of articles in attachments below that are about how the Indianapolis Motor Association, headed by Fisher, assembled a major racing meet at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on what they called Decoration Day in 1906. The race received substantial advance promotion, including advertising of which a sample is in attachment Raceadi. The ad touts the participation of name drivers such as Barney Oldfield (who is referred to as "world's champion"); W.F. "Jap" Clemens; Charles "C.A." Coey; Paul Kaiser and Jerry Ellis. Tickets were just 50 cents and box seats - probably special reserved seating - could be purchased in advance at Fisher's sales dealership, Fisher Automobile Company.
The article in attachment ClemensinRace is a good summary of the the early entries for the race meet. This article was published in the Indianapolis Star but I have somehow misplaced the exact date. Among the drivers noted as scheduled to appear are Oldfield, Clemens, Coey, Ellis and Will Muir. Oldfield had his renowned Peerless Green Dragon and a Peerless touring car entered. Coey had a special racered called the Thomas Toronado while Ellis was to drive a Frayer-Miller
Muir is described as a young millionaire from Lexington, Kentucky and he had entered a Pope-Toledo. He was reportedly so determined to beat Oldfield in competition after losing to him the previous week in Lexington that he had announced he would follow Barney around the country until accomplishing his goal. The article also asserts that Muir was the United States representative in the James Gordon Bennett Cup but I have found nothing to corroborate that report. Coey is referred to as "the crack Chicago driver" (he was also an aeronaut who eventually competed in the early balloon races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Ellis is called "the amateur champion," a title he allegedly earned during a race meet at Morris Park the previous year. This event was to be his debut as a professional. 
Despite the fact that a 100-mile contest was planned the feature event of the day was a five-mile sprint called the "Hoosier Sweepstakes," which paid $1,000 to win. Coey and Oldfield reportedly had a rivalry stemming from Coey's belief that Oldfield had crowded him during a race in Chicago the previous year. Paul Kaiser is described as quiet and unassuming out of the car, but as tough as anyone behind the wheel.
Note that placed beside this article was an ad from the Indiana Automobile Company - another dealership and service business - promoting that both Oldfield's car, the Green Dragon, and Kaiser's, the White Streak, were on display at their location. The races were important to the local auto industry.
Attachment memorialday06 contains an Indianapolis Star article published Wednesday, May 23. This is a relatively brief item that highlights Fisher's success in securing an agreement with Oldfield to take part in the event. The driver was fresh from races in Kentucky and was set to depart from Louisville to arrive in Indianapolis later in the week. As with other articles, mention is made that the fairgrounds had hosted an auto racing event around the Decoration Day holiday on five previous occasions. It was not conducted the previous year reportedly due to rain. The article reports that organizers believed the 1906 event would be the biggest, most elaborate of its kind yet.
The article also shares news about ancillary events such as a hillclimb at Valley Mills - I believe this is a seperate contest from the local Glenn Valley Hillclimb, but I am not certain. An automobile parade is mentioned and Fisher was looking to ascend his recently acquired airship from the fairgrounds the day of the races. He was in New York and his colleagues were awaiting his return to Indianapolis. A meeting was expected at Fisher's dealership - also known as his garage - to review planning details.
The Indianapolis News published two small items on May 24, 1906 you'll find in attachment OldfieldRecordNews052406. Despite their brevity they contain significant information. The first concerns events developing at the Glenn Valley Hill Climb reportedly seven miles southwest of Indianapolis on Three Notch Road. Forty entrants weighed in on the hay market scales on Kentucky Avenue. Another significant point is the article reports the much ballyhooed automobile parade had been cancelled the previous evening due to a lack of preparation. This was a harbinger of disappointing developments to come.
A second, briefer article, reports that Barney Oldfield had just arrived in Indianapolis. He was fresh from setting the 50-mile track record in Lexington, Kentucky the previous week. His time was one hour, 13 minutes, 2 seconds.
Attachment decoration1 offers up an Indianapolis Star article published Friday, May 25, 1906, more than a week before the race. It's pretty apparent from all the advance coverage that Oldfield was the most marketable of all the drivers. The sub-head to the story reads, "Greatest of all track racers will take part in decoration day program."
Frankly, I don't see the comment as hyperbole. While Oldfield had not established himself as a road racer (later in his career he turned in some pretty creditable road racing performances such as a second-place finish in the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup and a victory at the 1915 300-mile contest in Venice, California), he was the most decorated of the drivers barnstorming and running in races at horse track venues. These events, however, had come under fire after several injuries and fatal accidents to spectators and drivers alike. The previous year the motoring media had pushed for a ban at these facilities. The article also recounts Oldfield's "mile-a-minute" run on the same fairgrounds track three years earlier in June 1903. He had apparently bettered that mark by 6.8 seconds in subsequent runs at other tracks since then.
Another article published on October 25, 1905 in the Indianapolis News (decorationplanNews) spells out the event schedule. This is very similar to what you see in what is listed below in the attachment, "decorationdayschedule." The conditions of entry are included as well - just as they are spelled out below.
The Indianapolis Star article in attachment OldfieldInIndy is but a paragraph but contains useful information. The publication date was Saturday May 26 and reported that Barney Oldfield had arrived in Indianapolis after driving in from Cincinnati. Apparently he raced an electric interurban rail car from Greenfield on the city's east side. The trip from Cincinnati reportedly required eight hours. Oldfield's wife, Bess, and another woman identified as Mrs. Wilson accompanied him on the trip.
Attachment OldfieldNews052606 contains an Indianapolis News article published May 26. It contains important information about Barney Oldfield's recent record-setting performances at the Lexington Fairgrounds the previous Wednesday.

  • 20 miles: 36 minutes, 40.2 seconds
  • 30 miles: 43 minutes, 59.4 seconds
  • 35 miles: 51 minutes, 16.2 seconds
  • 40 miles: 58 minutes, 34.4 seconds
  • 45 miles: 1 hour, five minutes, 52.2 seconds
  • 50 miles: 1 hour, 13 minutes, two seconds

* Broke world's record by two minutes, 18 seconds.
Interestingly, the article also mentions that Oldfield had plans to continue his stage performance work in the Broadway play, "The Vanderbilt Cup," retruning to the production in September. In addition to that there is speculation that he would race in the real Vanderbilt Cup - but that did not materialize in 1906. Oldfield never raced in any of the Vanderbilt Cup contests on Long Island.
The article in the attachment decorationdayschedule (Indianapolis Star, May 27, 1906) hypes the event to an extreme, proclaiming it would "bring together some of the fastest cars in the world and greatest drivers of the age." It also again asserts that this is the fifth annual edition of the event but provides no detail on the previous years' contests. It does note that there was no such event in 1905 due to "hoodoo," probably a reference to weather.
The article reports that the feature event of the meet would be "The Hoosier Sweepstakes," with a prize of $1,000 in gold coin plus a $500 bonus should the winner establish a new time record for the distance. The partcipation of Oldfield is assured. A Tuesday night automobile parade was planned and lighting was said to be provided by the organizing Indianapolis Motor Association. Interestingly, it is referred to as the greatest such event in "The West." During this era Indiana was considered part of "The West," and this was sometimes Eastern elitist code for more derisive terms such as "hicks," "backwater" or the less combative, "unsophisticated." This article affirms that the event was sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA). The article includes a list of the events planned and that is detailed here:

  1. Indianapolis Endurance Derby, 100 miles. Open to all fully equipped touring cars - lamps and fenders could be stripped.
  2. Motorcycles, three miles.
  3. "Catalogue" cars under $1,000, three miles.
  4. "Catalogue" cars between $1,000 to $2,000, three miles.
  5. Novelty race, three miles. Cars stop at the end of one mile to unload passengers, then stop at second mile to pick them up again. They were to stop at the end of the third mile to pick up the passengers and race to the finish.
  6. Fully equiped touring cars listing at $2,000 or more. Five miles.
  7. The Great Hoosier Sweepstakes. Fully open contest, first prize $1,000 in gold coin, another $500 if record for five mile distance was broken.
  8. Record time trials for racing cars. $500 in gold coin if world mile track record was broken.

The article also provides interesting information under the heading, "Conditions of Entry." Let's just do a direct lift: "Fully equipped cars must be proven in accordance with catalogue equipment if demanded by other contestants. Three starters will be required in all races. Entries close with the racing secretary on Tuesday, May 29 at noon. Entrance fee for each event $2. Motorcycle event, 50 cents."
Note that this attachment also contains an item with a poor quality image concerning two hill climbs that had recently taken place. The first was the local Glenn Valley Hillclimb and the second the recent and more well-known Dead Horse Hillclimb. The article reads almost like an ad, reporting that Marmon had a victory in an amateur contest and taken second and third honors against competition from purpose-built race cars - all at the Dead Horse contest.
The attachment Oldfieldspeaks contains perhaps the most valuable article (May 27 Indianapolis Star) in this collection - actually one of the most important articles on this entire site. It focuses on the commentary of Barney Oldfield, easily the star of the show and the promoters were using him overtime to build interest in the upcoming meet. The insights to Oldfield's attitude are tremendous here. I think in many ways in other accounts he is presented as a jovial, slap-on-the-back, one-of-the-boys guy, but a lot of cynicism comes through here. Bottom line, Barney had a pretty low opinion of the people in the grandstands. This was probably born of some of his personal experiences such as some of his worst accidents in 1903 and 1904 when he was lucky not to be severely injuried in accidents that ended in spectator fatalities. He had also busted through the fence and out of the track to narrowly escape death in an August 1905 race. The essence of Oldfield's message in the article is that people are drawn to danger and even crave witnessing death and gore. In the most recent accident he watched spectators pulling off pieces of his car as he lay dazed and wounded beside his destroyed machine. Oldfield was holding court at the Claypool Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. Check out some of his quotes from the article:

  • "We are living in a fast age and the man who is willing to sacrifice his bones and gore on the altar of a highly seasoned sport is the man of the hour. It is not enough that Americans bring forth beautiful specimens of inventive genius and mechanical skill, but they must be raced around a circular track where there is a chance of killing a driver or two."
  • "I have witnessed bull fights across the river from El Paso, Texas. Four-fifths of those I saw were Americans, and in that particular place they patronize the 'sport' and make its continuance possible. Why, in St. Louis a couple of years ago an enterprising promoter advertised a genuine bull fight and a crowd numbering over 30,000 persons was attracted. Of course, the authorities stopped the affair, but the people showed that they were disappointed in not having the opportunity to witness an exhibition where gore was to be spouted in large streams by tearing up the grandstands and fences of the enclosure."
  • "I have crashed through fences a dozen times while racing on the track and on four of these occasions spectators were killed. It was because they had crowded past the danger lines that were stretched off with ropes."

Oldfield's next comments seem to work against his self-interest. It is unclear to me whether he had a clever agenda or was just being brutally honest. It seems from what he says that he wishes the governors of the sport would make the decision for him by outlawing racing but their unwillingness to do so provides a temptation he simply couldn't refuse. The financial rewards available were the best of his options. Check out his surprising comments and note that he references the movement to ban racing after the late summer accidents of 1905 which most notably ended the careers of star drivers Webb Jay and Earl Kiser. A little later, in 1907, Henry Ford announced he was withdrawing his company from racing due to what he veiwed as unnecessary risk. Again, Oldfield is quoted:

  • "I have smashed up seven times and I know what it all means. I want to quit this dangerous business but I cannot. There has been a lot of talk during the past year about the governing body of automobile racing stopping track racing contests. I wish they would, but so long as there are accidents to drivers so long the public will pay to see it, and so long as there are gate receipts and my accidents have made my services so much more in demand."

There is a backstory not found in the article to the next quote . Oldfield had decided to retire from racing at the close of the 1905 season and pursue a Broadway acting career like his friend and World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jim Jeffries who starred in a play about the frontiersman Davy Crockett. Oldfield appeared in and developed a special effect for the play about the great Long Island road race, the Vanderbilt Cup. The work proved something less glamorous and exciting as adrenaline junkie Oldfield had hoped. 

  • "In the winter I made up my mind that I am through with track racing, but with the spring come offers of half a hundred promoters and clubs making me propositions I cannot decline and I am at the steering wheel before the frost is off the ground."
  • "I frequently sit in a public place and overhear a conversation between two men. One is saying, 'Let's go out to the automobile races and see that fool Oldfield kill himself.' I haven't much of a chance to be an egoist for I realize then that it is not any love of the sport that draws them, but because they scent the danger and don't want to miss the chance to see 'that something happen.' If  could guarantee to go through the fence in Indianapolis Wednesday the merchants would have to close their stores, for they would have neither customers nor clerks."

A sidebar ran with the story and is also found in the attachment. The title was, "No Sensations for Oldfield." The essence of this brief item is Oldfield fielding a question from someone listening to him in the Claypool Hotel lobby. The inquirer wanted to know what were the sensations of driving a car at the rate of less than a minute. Not surprisingly, Oldfield essentially says that he is quite accustomed to it and should he allow himself to be distracted while driving at the limit the likely result would be an accident.
The Indianapolis News ran an article (attachment DdayMornNews052806) on May 28 discussing - and hyping - the entries already arriving in town for the race three days later. It opens with a report on Paul Kaiser's arrival the previous day. Kaiser was the driver of the White Streak purpose-built racer. Kaiser is described as a "game and nervy German." This is totally a guess, but I question that this man's name was truly, "Kaiser." If it was, then I question that he was actually German.
Hyperbole was the rule in these days and whether or not Kaiser was German is a question. Such pronouncements were many times done when the driver was not foreign at all, but promoters believed it made him sound more glamorous than his reality. The article proclaims that Kaiser was "sent to this country after the scalp of Oldfield." He was billed as the most skilled European on circular tracks as for the most part drivers from overseas were already seen as road racers.
C.A. Coey, referred to as the Chicago millionaire, was reportedly in town with his Thomas "Tornado." This proved untrue in the end as the car never arrived. Also untrue is the article's claim that Coey drove the car to fourth place in the most recent Vanderbilt Cup. The car was entered in was was known as the American Elimiation Trial for the Vanderbilt Cup and finished fifth there but with Montague Roberts driving. The article further reports that Fisher negotiated with Coey to redirect the car to Indianapolis on its way to France for that country's Grand Prix.
Another driver the article discusses is Jerry Ellis, described as the American amateur champion and officials were awaiting his arrival with a Frayer-Miller race car. He is reported to be the holder of a record for traveling the public roads between New York and Chicago.
The article highlights local hero W.F. "Jap" Clemens and his Indianapolis-built National. Clemens had gained household name status at least in the Midwest when he set the 24 hour distance record on the Indianapolis Fairgrounds horse track the previous November. Frank Moore, sometimes driver but full time business manager at Carl Fisher's auto dealership, was also announced as an entry with a Stoddard-Dayton. The article references his second place finish in a hill climb but no further information is provided. There had been some local hill climb races earlier in the month.
Barney Oldfield is also mentioned as he was expected to arrive later that day with his Green Dragon racer. The article says the Green Dragon could not be run in the streets because it had no muffler and only a high speed gear. The car was not, the article says, capable of driving at less than 40 MPH without stalling. The sound of the exhaust is said to have resembled a battery of Gatling guns in action. Elmer Apperson of Kokomo was expected to enter one of his cars. This never materialized. Also, there was an expectation of some 20 entries in the motorcycle event - but in the end only two bikes would compete. 
Attachment DdayNews052906 contains an Indianapolis News article published May 29, 1906. It opens with a callout box highlighting the Pope-Toledo Company announcing a $1,000 bet that Will Muir would "defeat" Barney Oldfield. C.A. Coey is again noted as the owner of the Thomas six-cylinder "Toronado" Vanderbilt Cup racer and trumpeted as a threat for the $1,000 gold prize in the Hoosier Sweepstakes. The Thomas is referred to as having a "monster" engine producing 100 HP.
Three other entries are highlighted: Paul Kaiser's White Streak; the Frayer-Miller of Jerry Ellis and Will Muir. Muir was reportedly arrested for speeding when he and Oldfield apprarently engaged in some "unofficial" racing on public roads between Frankfort and Lexington, Kentucky a few days prior. Muir is also reported as the United States representative to the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup, but it is unclear as to his role. The clear insinuation is that he was the country's driver but there is no record of that. Herb Lytle represented the United States with Pope-Toledo in the race. Muir may have been there in some other capacity but I have not seen any record of that.
More evidence that Barney Oldfield was not just the most marketable personality of this race meet but for American motorsport in general at this time comes in a second Indianapolis News of May 29 article found in attachment OldfieldNews052906. It is also an interesting insight into the sentiment of public opinion with respect to auto racing in the times. Check out the wording of this excerpt:
"Oldfield - the name spells madness. According to popular opinion, Barney Oldfield, who will drive his auto against time at the State Fair grounds Wednesday, is a speed-crazed monomaniac; motor-mad enthusiast who juggles with life and death for the bare sensation of the thing; a crack-brained youngster who risks life and limb for the tawdry title of champion of motor pilot; a notoriety seeker who takes desperate chances for the cheap reward that a cheering crowd can give."
Barney is described as a "clever talker" with "clear brown eyes." This report is from his conversations in the lobby of the Claypool Hotel where he is described as lounging in a chair and chewing the stump of a big black cigar. He insisted his primary motivation was financial, and I believe him:
"If there is a man in this country who has a keener appreciation than myself of what it means every time I drive a mile in less than a minute, I want to see the color of his hair. They say I am a fool, they say I am a reckless driver, a wild man. I know they do, for I have heard them. They say a man would not take such a chance unless he were half-crazy, and I want to be quoted as saying that all these people are dead wrong. There is just one consideration in the world that tempts me to risk my life every time I drive, and that one consideration is money."
Oldfield, 27 at the time of the interview, underscores this message when he insists that public adulation meant little to him. 
"I tell you I am much aware of the desperate chances I take as the most timid little woman in the grandstand who was never in an automobile in her life. I'm in this game for money, and nothing else in the world. The championship? Bah, that's a detail and only figures because it helps to draw the crowd to see me work. Glory doesn't get you anything when your neck is broken, or when your left lege is wrapped around your neck..."
Oldfield is regularly quoted as saying racing was too dangerous and that he wanted to quit the sport but the seduction of financially lucrative rewards proved irresistable. Oldfield also admits to be irresponsible with his money - this is a reputation he earned by spending freely.
"I want to get out of this business, but I haven't as much money laid away as I ought to have and I must make so much before I can quit. You see, a fellow leading the sort of life I have been following the lot of money and forms expensive habits that cannot be shaken off. If I quit the game with $25,000 it would not last me long. So the real reason I am driving all sorts of tracks, and taking these awful chances, is because I have set my figure and need my share of the gate receipts of a big lot of meets to bring my pile up to the mark."
Oldfield was well aware the dangerous of the sport - especially in this era - had much to do with chance.
"The fault does not have to be with the driver. A little flaw somewhere in the steel - the crystallizing of a bit of metal that never shows the least weakness until it snaps, and then it's too late - a tire that blows up on the turn, and there you are. Oh, I'm not a fool, and if you call me a reckless driver you insult my intelligence. I know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and money is the answer."
Oldfield is not without desire for recognition. Rightfully he pointed to how he blazed the trail in establishing racing lines on ovals.
"All I want is to have the credit given me for being the first man in the country to drive a racing car a mile under the minute on a circular track. I showed them it was possible, and after they watched how I made the turns with shutting off and saw it was not an impossible task they undertook it, and America now has many good track drivers. But I don't intend to stick to it. I value the day I'm going to quit."
The attachment racemorn053006 contains an article published in the May 30, 1906 Indianapolis Star setting the stage for that afternoon's racing at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This was Decoration Day, a national holiday triggered by remembering the fallen, especially in the wake of the Civil War. The article positions W.F. "Jap" Clemens as a hometown hero pitted against the world champion Barney Oldfield. All of this would lead to little consequence but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The main point is that these articles illustrate the joint community support to not just promote a motorsports event but also to invest in the burgeoning local automotive industry. Clemens was driving for National Motor Vehicle Company and perhaps even using the same stripped down National stock cars he flailed through record runs the previous autumn in 100-mile and 24-hour endurances events also on the fairgrounds oval.
This article is another that refers to Indianapolis as "The West," which was clearly a northeastern United States perspective. The people in the Hoosier state were probably seen as less sophisticated - which could be interpreted as "hicks" if you think employing derisive terms are more to the point. The article asserts that the event - given good weather - had the potential to be the biggest and best of its kind up to that point. Certainly the impressive results of the two events the previous November must have lent credibility to this claim.
Oldfield, always in step with promotion, is quoted in the article with bold predictions:
"If the weather is good Wenesday afternoon there is no reason why some of the fastest miles ever reeled off on a circular mile track should not be made. I made my first mile below the minute mark on the Indianapolis track and I am going to throw the throttle of the Green Dragon wide open to see if I can make another record in the Hoosier metropolis. Under favorable conditions I expect to see some of the grandest automobile racing ever held in this country."
This article, like the others here, asserts that the 100-mile "century" race was not the feature of the race as that designation went to the five-mile "Hoosier Sweepstakes" for $1,000 worth of gold. Despite that fact the century race is referred to as marking a new epoch in auto racing because it mixed professionals with amateurs. It further claims the event was only the second attempt to stage a competition of the 100-mile distance anywhere in the world. This claim is both suspect and curious as the 24-hour "grinders" were becoming popular and memories were still fresh of Clemens and Charlie Merz setting a new world record for distance covered in 24 hours on the same track the previous November.
The article attempts to establish in the reader's mind a rivalry between Muir and Oldfield who had battled in a reportedly close 50-mile race in Lexington, Kentucky a week or so earlier. Muir is referred to as, "the Kentucky champion." Oldfield was reportedly focused on the 100-mile go because he held all speed records for one to 50 miles at the time and wanted to add to the total. Such credentials were not always directly rewarded but did increase his value as a drawing card - a point he could leverage at later race meet promotions.
The Hoosier Sweepstakes feature race for $1,000 worth of gold with a $500 bonus for a new world's record was billed as a clash between Oldfield in this Green Dragon and Charles C.A. Coey in his Thomas Torpedo. A big part of the appeal of this race is that it was for purpose-built, all-out race cars, unlike the century race for stripped stock cars. Other entries noted were Kaiser in his "White Streak" and Ellis in his Pope-Toledo. Clemens was regarded as a dark horse with a new six-cylinder National stock entry.
Also highlighted on the card was the one-mile time trial for a new world record. Many involved could recall Oldfield's barrier-busting moment in covering the fairgrounds track in less than a minute just three years earlier.
The article spells out the officials of the meet:

  • Referee - Frank L. Moore
  • Judges - S.W. Elston, Cecil Gibson, Clarence Stanley and Commodore Zoller.
  • Timers - George S. Kerns, B.F. Meixel, Lew Wainright and Millard Sanders.
  • Starter - Gus (name obscured in artifact).
  • Clerk of course - C.R. Newby, assistant - James Allison. (Newby was a local auto business owner, no documented relationship to Art Newby)
  • Announcer - Sid Black (member of the Cincinnati Auto Club)

The article reports that Tuesday night automobile parade was cancelled. The reason is not clear, but apparently there had been an accident in a similar event at some point in the rececnt past and officials balked at the risk. 
The events and their entries (manufacurer and owner) are listed and I reproduce them here

  • Event 1: Indianapolis Endurance Derby, open to fully equipped touring cars, stripped of lights and fenders:
  1. Peerless, Barney Oldfield
  2. Peerless, Indiana Auto Company
  3. Thomas, C.A. Coey
  4. Pope-Toledo, W.T. Muir
  5. National, L.M. Richardson
  6. Olds 28-HP, S.W. Elston
  7. Cadillac, Indiana Auto Company

Note: The article says: "Records for one to fifty miles for this class of cars in competition held by Barney Oldfield, driving his Peerless twenty-four horse power, Lexington, Kentucky, May 23, 1906. Records over fifty miles will be established." The second sentence is trying to communicate that the records for mileage milestones above 50 miles were in play because the race was for 100 miles.

  • Event 2: Three miles, open race for motorcycles
  1. Indian, Walter Berner
  2. Indian, Herman Thomas
  3. Orient, M.M. Race


  • Event 3: Three miles for Cadillacs, solid silver Elston Trophy. Drivers: E.B. Thompson; J.E. Head; S.W. Elston; E. Zoller and E. Shirts.


  • Event 4: Three miles for stock cars listing under $1,000.
  1. Oldsmobile, Indian Auto Company
  2. Cadillac, S.W. Elston
  3. Cadillac, E. Zoller
  4. Buick, Sidney Hughes


  • Event 5: Three mile novelty race with passengers.
  1. Peerless, Barney Oldfield
  2. Franklin, W.S. Elston
  3. Thomas, C.A. Coey
  4. Olds 28 HP, Indiana Auto Company
  5. Pope-Toledo, Will T. Muir


  • Event 6: The Great Hoosier Sweepstakes, five miles, $1,000 gold coin prize, $500 bonus for setting a record
  1. Thomas Toronado, C.A. Coey (first heat)
  2. National six cylinder, Clemens (first heat)
  3. Green Dragon, Barney Oldfield (second heat)
  4. White Streak, Paul Kaiser (second heat)


  • Event 8, time trials for one mile.
  1. ​Barney Oldfield, Green Dragon
  2. C.A. Coey, Thomas Torpedo
  3. Jap Clemens, National
  4. Paul Kaiser, White Streak

Attachment DdayNews053006 contains an Indianapolis News article published the day of the races. Frankly, it is a lot of repetition of what I have already covered but I include it for thoroughness.
Attachment raceresults053106 contains the Indianapolis Star article published the day after the races reporting on the results. Overall, he event was reported as a disappointment and the big headline was that Oldfield broke the track record - but not the world record - for the mile oval. He cut a lap a full second faster (58.6 seconds) with his Green Dragon than he did in June 1903 with the Ford "999." Coey and his White Streak was a DNS (did not start) as it failed to arrive from Chicago for some unexplained reason.
The 100-mile race was reduced to 50 miles and the starters were Oldfield (six cylinder Peerless touring car), Harry Stutz (note his name is misspelled as, "Stutts") in a 28 HP Olds, Will Muir (Pope-Toledo) and Red Davidson (Cadillac). The only finisher was Oldfield who was a lap down to Stutz until the latter developed lost all his oil by the 37th mile. Muir had a side bet with Oldfield for $1,000 but lost it when his car failed by the 12th lap. Why the conquering Nationals of the previous autumn did not partcipate is not explained.
The second race was the three-mile motorcycle go. The winner was Herman Thomas on an Indian. He handily outdistanced his two competitors and completed the run in 5 minutes, 23.6 seconds. The third race was the one for Cadillacs. The description is almost comical, referring to one car (or driver?) as "Snowball" and reporting that Cadillacs from all around the city were "pressed into service." I am not sure of the referenence, but the article identifies the winning driver as, "Ford." 
With Coey and his Thomas Toronado a no-show, the heat races were reorganized. In the first heat Oldfield took on Kaiser in his White Streak. Somehow there was miscommunication and confusion as the event was slated for three miles but the drivers kept after it for five. Oldfield was ahead at the end, but Kaiser had led at three. Officials decided to have the drivers compete for another two miles and Oldfield again prevailed. After winning that heat, Oldfield and his purpose-built Green Dragon lined up against Clemens in the modified stock National. Oldfield overwhelmed Clemens and won the contest in five minutes, 28.4 seconds. The day was capped off by Oldfield breaking the Indiana State Fairgrounds track record with a 58.6 second mile lap run. He was given what was described as a tremendous ovation.
Summary of results:

  • Event 1, Indianapolis Endurance Derby, stock cars, 50 miles: Oldfield, Peerless, only finisher. Others: Muir, Pope-Toledo; Stutz, Oldsmobile; Davidson, Cadillac.
  • Event 2, Motorcycles, three miles: Indian, Herman Thomas; Indian, Walter Berner.
  • Event 3, Cadillacs, won by a driver identified as "Ford." I cannot believe this was Henry but obviously the question comes up. The article does not address the question even though Henry Ford was prominent by this time.
  • Event 4, Touring cars under $1,000, three miles: Winning car was a "Leader," driven by someone named, "Church."
  • Event 5, Three-mile novelty race, loading and unloading passengers each mile. Won by Harry Stutz in an Olds. Oldfield in Peerless was second.
  • Event 6, Great Hoosier Sweepstakes, five miles. Winner: Oldfield, Peerless Green Dragon. He defeated Kaiser in first heat, Clemens in second.
  • Event 7, One-mile time trial, Oldfield set new track record at 58.6 seconds for mile lap.

The article in attachment Oldfield053106 was published in the May 30 Indianapolis News and presents a more positive take on the event, casting it as a great spectacle. My sense is the article analyzed immediately previous to this one is a more accurate description with its conclusion that the races were a disappointment. This article also focuses on the success of Oldfield as did most of the other coverage concerning these races. He was clearly the star of the day. I also have to say that the quality of this copy is as good as I could get but nonetheless still quite poor. You will need to be motivated to wade through it.
The crowd was called large and unfortunately due to the poor reproduction of the article the estimated number is not legible. The blurry figure tells us the number is something between 10,000 and 19,000. The article offers the very credible observation that auto racing had developed tremendously over the previous five years. One point is that track races had begun the practice of starting drivers side-by-side as opposed to a half a lap apart. Oldfield's new track lap record of 58.6 seconds is highlighted. It's interesting to callout that the record he broke was his own, from June 1903 when he became the first driver to best a mile in a minute on a closed circuit track.
Oldfield's victory in the Hoosier Sweepstakes, as reported earlier, was controversial. Confusion reigned as the drivers apparently thought the race distance was five miles while the officials believed they had made it clear the event was for only three miles. Worse, while Kaiser led at three miles, Oldfield led at five. This forced an additional two-mile runnoff heat and Oldfield ended up winning that. The two cars were apparently evenly matched as they ran wheel-to-wheel the entire time.
C.A. Coey was on hand but his Thomas Tornado car was not. Its absence was blamed on the railroad company contracted to ship the machine.
The first event, the Indianapolis Endurance Derby, had to be a dud. Only Oldfield finished. Originally scheduled for 100 miles, the race was shortened to 50. This was one of several examples of where the officials under delivered on promises, such as the failure of the automobile parade or a motorcycle field of 20 entries when only three were filed. In the Endurance Derby Oldfield was a lap behind Harry Stutz (whose name is consistently misspelled in all the news covearge as "Stutts") in an Oldsmobile. When Stutz' Olds failed with four miles to go Oldfield brought his Peerless touring car - entered by a local dealship - home first.
All the events are summarized with the same information already shared above here. Still, if you can tolerate the quality of the article and truly invested in corroborative research, you can click thru to the attachment to cross reference.

RaceAdi.pdf2.81 MB
ClemmonsInRace.pdf3.22 MB
memorialday06.pdf4.54 MB
OldfieldRecordNews052406.pdf516.44 KB
decoration1.pdf7.14 MB
DecorationPlanNews052506.pdf540.2 KB
OldfieldinIndy.pdf3.06 MB
OldfieldNews052606.pdf326.06 KB
decorationdayschedule.pdf13.57 MB
Oldfieldspeaks.pdf9.71 MB
DdayMornNews052806.pdf709.04 KB
DdayNews052906.pdf586.62 KB
OldfieldNews052906.pdf1.25 MB
racemorn053006.pdf9.8 MB
DdayNews053006.pdf1.94 MB
raceresults053106.pdf11.21 MB
OldfieldNews053106.pdf954.25 KB