A Race For Millionaires

The main article attached (IMSdrivers010910) here was first published in the Indianapolis Star on January 10, 1910. The article concerns efforts by the management of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to secure American Automobile Association (AAA) sanction for an amateur race meet during the 1910 summer season. These were not just any amateurs, however, as leading the list was William K. Vanderbilt Jr., founder of the Vanderbilt Cup, the biggest and most famous of American auto races at the time. It was America's first international auto race in 1904.
In the earliest of days for racing in America these largely New York - based millionaire sportsmen were leading lights in establishing the nascent sport of auto racing in the United States. Understandably there was growing interest in the Speedway because of all the fanfare surrounding its inaugural race meet and track management's bold project of paving the course with bricks to alleviate safety concerns.
Like many reports of the day speculation was proclaimed as a certainty however unwarranted. The article assures that AAA sanction was a "foregone conclusion" which is amusing because the event never happened. From other sources I have read that Speedway President Carl Fisher had designs on hosting the Vanderbilt Cup at the Speedway. He sensed an opportunity to wrest the branded event from Long Island because the race received constant criticism for the organizers' inability to provide proper safety measures for spectators and competitors alike. Conducted on public roads there were simply no barriers. Spectators were know for their penchant for not just lining the course to present human "walls" but also running onto the racing surface in front of cars at full speed.
In many ways it is too bad this race meet never happened as the proposition sounds pretty cool. An interesting aspect was a kind of exchange between the Brickyard and the famous English concrete closed circuit course Brooklands. The ideas was that Brooklands would hold a similar race meet following the one in Indianapolis if the Americans would agree to travel there to compete. Brooklands and the Brickyard were the two great speedways of the world in the day.
The article is supported by an image that shares some of the names of the most prominent wealthy amateur drivers and their cars. Aside from Vanderbilt, others listed are: Louis Bergdoll (Benz); H. Levy (Hotchkiss); Edwin Ross Thomas (Mercedes); Walter Thomas Clifford Earp (Mercedes); A.L. Bowden (Mercedes) and S.M. Stevens (Mercedes).
This article also includes an update on changes to the AAA organization for 1910. In particular these announcements concern the Contest and Technical Boards. Three members of the Chicago Motor Club were appointed: David Beecroft, F.E. Edwards and F.C. Donald. Beecroft and Donald were on the Contest Board. Beecroft was also named to the Tech Board as was Edwards.
The five-man Contest Board was chaired by S.M. Butler of New York. Others on the board were Beecroft; S.B. Stevens (Rome, New York); T.A. Wright of Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania and Joseph H. Woods of Newark, New Jersey.
The Tech Board included Chairman A.L. McMurty (New York); Beecroft; F.E. Edwards (Chicago); Henry Suther (Hartford, Connecticut) and Alex Churchward of Schenectady, New York. Additional appointments to the Tech Board representing the Midwest, South and Pacific coast were planned.
Another minor article (attachment Fisher011310)was also published in the Indianapolis Star but three days later on January 13, 1910. It notes that the two biggest investors in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Carl Fisher and James Allison, took the trip to meet with the AAA in New York along with Ernie Moross, the famed promoter they hired to manage the track in 1909. The men were supremely confident believing that the Speedway was so far advanced beyond any other American facility that they deserved AAA sanction for events at their track on every holiday of the racing season.

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