Clemens at First IMS Races

This image of Stoddard-Dayton driver Fred "Jap" Clemens first appeared in the August 29, 1909, Indianapolis Star. It was part of the follow-up coverage of the tragic first auto racing event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
These races were controversial due to the devastating fatal accidents on the first and third days of the meet. In all, five men were killed:

In the wake of the carnage, some in the sport including the Knox Automobile Company and the National Motor Vehicle Company threatened to withdraw from the sport entirely. Clemens, considered one of the top drivers of his time announced that he intended to forge ahead despite the sad events. Clemens did not win any of the races at the meet but did manage a second place finish to "Wild" Bob Burman in the 250-mile Prest-O-Lite Trophy. In 1905 he teamed with 17-year-old Charlie Merz to set a new world's record for distance covered in 24 hours.
The original caption for the image reads as follows:
"After the narrow escapes of many and the fatal accidents to a few at the Speedway races recently, some of the drivers and manufacturers declared that they were done, so far as motor races are concerned. Jap Clemens of this city however, declares he will stick to the sport despite its perils. Clemens drove in several of the races but his skillful engineering of the big Stoddard-Dayton No. 61 in the 250-mile race of Thursday stamped him an expert. He came in a close second and drove the surprise race of the meet. When the grueling contest started Jap was seated coolly and apparently listlessly behind his wheel with his feet cocked up in front of him on the dashboard. Soon several of the cars began to drop out of the run because of a variety of troubles, but Jap was still making the circuits. As the race neared the end, he became a little more in earnest. He dropped his feet and bent far over the wheel. He will remain in the Stoddard-Dayton camp most probably."

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