Wayne Petersen Trip Report


Today's blog post was authored by Wayne Petersen, great-nephew of Barney Oldfield and expert on the master driver's career and life events. Petersen is an avid collector of Oldfield memorabilia and an enthusiastic supporter of this Web site's efforts to provide information about his career, among other topics.
Wayne recently visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, The Henry Ford, the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame. What follows is his trip report of that fact-finding mission.
Trip to Indianapolis Speedway Museum, Automotive Hall of Fame, Henry Ford Museum & the Motorsports Hall of Fame

On 6.22.09 good friend Larry Snoreen & I flew into Indianapolis, Indiana.  Larry, a friend since school has been involved with California NASCAR. On 6.23.09, Donald Davidson, Indianapolis Speedway Historian, graciously gave us a grand tour of the Museum and archive before introducing us to Ellen Bireley, Director of the Indianapolis Speedway Museum.

Donald Davidson, Ellen Bireley, Larry Snoreen and I sat and talked about Barney Oldfield and of his accomplishments. Larry and I took many photographs & video of the extensive collection. My favorites included the Hall of Fame plaques, specifically of Barney Oldfield, the Carl Fisher Premier and the Marmon Wasp Racers. A history of the Indianapolis video, narrated by Donald Davidson, included Barney Oldfield and was very informative & educational. Before we left, we took the tour around the track.

On 6.24.09 we visited the Automotive Hall of Fame & the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. We were met by Jeff Leestma, President of the Automotive Hall of Fame, and given the grand tour. We viewed another educational video that included Barney Oldfield. Larry & I took photos and video of various displays, one included Bessie Oldfield and, of course, his name on the Automotive Hall of Fame plaque. We then went to the Henry Ford Museum where we were met and given a tour by Bob Casey, Curator of the Henry Ford Museum Transportation Dept.  Bob handed us over to Terry Hoover, Chief Archivist of the Benson Ford Research Center, who brought out numerous file boxes on Barney Oldfield, for our review, of documents, photos, letters between Barney & Henry Ford etc. Following the Archive went through the Henry Ford Museum and again took photos & video, which included the original 999 racer, the Sweepstakes racer, one of Barney racing bicycles and an awesome display of Barney.

On 6/25/09 we were off to the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi, Michigan were we were met by Ron Watson, President of the Motorsports Hall of Fame, and again given a grand tour, which included a replica of the 999 race; Barney Oldfield Motorsports Hall of Fame induction plague; and a large picture of Barney Oldfield which hung from the ceiling.

This trip was everything I hoped for and more. The incredible and gracious hospitality that was extended to us from Donald Davidson, Ellen Bireley, Jeff Leestma, Bob Casey, Terry Hoover and Ron Watson was amazing.  The success of the trip was a result of the time and effort from these wonderful people.  Thank you to Margaret Garrett and Jan Layden for helping it all happen.
Barney Oldfield's "999" Racer