Trophies & Fan Engagement

The two attachments here contain articles that are more artifacts from a special Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star that touted the excitement of the upcoming first automobile races at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The date was August 15, 1909.
Attachment IMStrophies091509 contains a very interesting piece on the support manufacturers gave the Speedway on their initial races, specifically the donation of trophies. Among these were:

  • The Wheeler-Schebler Trophy which was reported elsewhere to be valued at $10,000, designed by Tiffany and roughly seven feet tall. It still exists today and is on display the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. This trophy was offered as the prize for the last and biggest race of the weekend.
  • Overland Automobile Company donated one of their model No. 38 Roadsters with a special twist - the car was gold plated. This was the prize for the driver that set the fastest time for a mile run.
  • The Prest-O-Lite Trophy, donated by the company of the same name, was for the feature race of the first day of racing. It was described as containing 2,000 ounces of coin silver with a "melting value" of $1,000 and offered a "manufacturer's certificate" for redemption at the same price. This trophy was further described as weighing almost 150 pounds of "troy silver" costing $1,500.
  • The G&J Tire Company is listed as donating a shield award valued at $1,000 for one of the longer races.
  • The National Motor Vehicle Company is also mentioned as ready to donate a $500 trophy but the event is not mentioned and it is unclear this award was ever actually presented.
  • The article provides no details but mentions that the Speedway was prepared to present medals to the top performers in each of the events. There is a photo with caption of the medal I believe they are referring to elsewhere on First Super Speedway.

The article also mentions an early example of fan engagement. Suggestion boxes were positioned around the track to solicit ideas for superior customer experiences. These same boxes were also used to collect predictions for speeds and race winners with prizes for those making the best guesses.
Attachment RemyBrassard091509 contains an article that discusses a unique award aimed at drivers that was created by the the Remy Electric Company. The award came in the form of the Remy Brassard, an armband in the shape of a shield made of silver. A supplement to the award was a $75 weekly "salary" to the winning driver which would continue until the next planned contest for the prize when he would have to defend his title to enjoy the continuance of the salary.
Remy Electric was the brainchild of Anderson, Indiana millionaire Frank Remy. It was best known for its magneto products. Among the expected contenders for the award were Barney Oldfield (Benz); Len Zengel (Chadwick); Sewall Crocker (Peerless); J. Walter Christie (Christie); Lewis Strang (Buick) as well as Eddie Hearne and Ralph DePalma, both in Fiats.

IMStrophies091509.pdf560.6 KB
RemyBrassard091509.pdf952.07 KB