Time Trial Practice Begins

The article in attachment IMStrials121509 was first published in the Indianapolis Star December 15, 1909. This article reports on the initial practice laps on the newly brick paved Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the previous day, December 14. Marmon driver Harry Stillman and Newell Motsinger in an Empire "20" exceeded the still-magic "mile a minute" speed mark.
Recent wet weather had dampened the track but the cars ran anyway with both drivers exceeding the speeds they had attained in August on the gravel and "taroid" original surface. The turns were reportedly treacherous but the straightaways allowed full speed. Howard Marmon, who accompanied Stillman to the track praised the new smooth surface.
Stillman proclaimed that once the turns dried they would be able to support "full speed." Motsinger covered a mile of the track in under a minute, considered fast for the 20 HP car. Stillman drove the same Marmon Ray Harroun used to win the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes earlier that year. Harroun was expected to take to the track later the same day the article was published. Keep in mind the Star was and is a morning paper - a more important distinction in 1909 when the only forms of electronic communication were the telephone and telegraph.
Walter Christie was at the track but did not drive his powerful front wheel drive beast. He did take to the track in a touring car to examine the corners and get a sense of the smoothness of the brick surface. Christie predicted he would hit 120 MPH on the bricks. Lewis Strang, who set American speed records at Atlanta Speedway the previous month was expected with his "Giant" Fiat at the new Brickyard later that day.
The article indicates that racing experts believed the cold December temperatures portended greater speed. The constitution of the rubber compounds of the day was such that tires began to decompose at temperatures in excess of 120 degrees fahrenheit.
Director of Speedway Contests Ernie Moross announced that the speed trials would take place on Friday and Saturday (December 17 and 18) regardless of weather. Amazingly he announced that the Speedway crew would pour gasoline on the track and set it ablaze if need be to dry it in the event of rain, snow or ice.
Interestingly, a small sidebar article in this attachment quotes Moross in saying he expected a strong crowd of specators at the track. He said, "If none but devotees of automobile races and the many visitors interested in motor achievements attend we will have a large crowd."
The time trial event failed to draw anymore than a small handful of spectators.

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