Elgin 1913

The original source reports this photo is of Ralph DePalma (#21 Mercer) and Joe Dawson (#20 Deltal) at the Elgin, Illinois road race in 1913. Here's what I think is significant about this image. Dawson was a last-minute entry in the 1913 Indianapolis 500 in the Deltal. The car was still under development and although he was able to record a couple of practice laps, it simply was not ready for wheel-to-wheel competition. Dawson was both the defending champion of the Indianapolis 500, driving for National the previous year.
 
Dawson was actually a Marmon employee but was on loan to National as Marmon had pulled the plug on their race team after winning the "500" in 1911. National followed suit and folded their racing operations after winning 1912. As a result, Dawson was without a ride for 1913. The Deltal was a last-minute attempt to get the champion into the field. They ran out of time. This Elgin race ran three months later on August 29, 1913.

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1913 chicago auto club trophy, elgin, illinois - joe dawson (deltal-mercer) 2nd, ralph de palma (mercer 35f) 1st.jpg144.73 KB