Bob Burman After Prest-O-Lite Win

This image of one of Buick's star race drivers, "Wild" Bob Burman was originally published in the August 20, 1909 Indianapolis Star. It was part of the coverage of the first auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that began the previous day. Burman won the first major race at the Speedway, the 250 mile Prest-O-Lite Trophy.
These races were both historic and tragic as driver William Bourque and mechanic Harry Holcomb lost their lives during the Prest-O-Lite event. The two men drove for the Knox Automobile Company who decided to withdraw from the duration of the race meet. Burman also elected to withdraw from the second day of racing not out of mourning but exhaustion from the strain of his challenging drive.
Burman was one of the most feared drivers of his era. He competed in all the major events of his time, the Indianapolis 500, the Vanderbilt Cup and the American Grand Prize. Burman set the world land speed record (141+ mph) at Ormond-Daytona Beach in 1911 as well as the mile speed record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the day before the first Indianapolis 500. Bob Burman died April 8, 1916 at the Carona, California road race. You can see a creative photo of his headstone elsewhere on First Super Speedway.

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