Decoration Day Races Ad - 1906

This ad for a big Indianapolis auto race meet ran in the Indianapolis Star the morning of the event, May 30, 1906.
It's pretty apparent from all the advance promotion of the May 1906 Decoraion Day races at the Indiana State Fairgrounds that Barney Oldfield was the most marketable of all the drivers. This photo ran with an article about him in the May 26, 1906 Indianapolis News. While Oldfield had not established himself as a road racer (later in his career he turned in some pretty creditable road racing performances such as a second-place finish in the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup and a victory at the 1915 300-mile contest in Venice, California), he was the most decorated of the drivers barnstorming and running in races at horse track venues. These events, however, had come under fire after several injuries and fatal accidents to spectators and drivers alike. The previous year the motoring media had pushed for a ban at these facilities.
Regardless, fans still were drawn to the contests. Oldfield was widely respected for his "mile-a-minute" run on the same fairgrounds track three years earlier in June 1903. He had apparently bettered that mark by 6.8 seconds in subsequent runs at other tracks since then. Check out Barney Oldfield's record-setting performances at the Lexington Fairgrounds the previous Wednesday.

  • 20 miles: 36 minutes, 40.2 seconds
  • 30 miles: 43 minutes, 59.4 seconds
  • 35 miles: 51 minutes, 16.2 seconds
  • 40 miles: 58 minutes, 34.4 seconds
  • 45 miles: 1 hour, five minutes, 52.2 seconds
  • 50 miles*: 1 hour, 13 minutes, two seconds

* Broke world's record by two minutes, 18 seconds.
Note that Paul Kaiser and Jap Clemens are also listed as top drivers to appear in the contests.


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