De Palma Fiat - IMS 1909

This image of Ralph De Palma first appeared in the August 19, 1909, Indianapolis News. It was part of coverage of the tragic first auto racing event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The day was the first day of the race meet. The original photo was grouped with three others under the heading, "Racing Cars Practice on Motor Speedway," and provided readers with some sense of how the exciting new machines looked at speed in the days leading up to the race meet. I believe the racer shown here is the Fiat Cyclone that DePalma drove in 1909 and 1910.
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:

DePalma remains a recognizable name, especially to Indianapolis 500 fans and true auto racing historians. Below are links to additional information about this great driver and champion found elsewhere on First Super Speedway.

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