Endangered Spectators

This is an image of the spectator-filled area in front of the grandstands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the first auto race meet at the track. This was prior to the fatal accident involving two spectators, James West and Homer Jolliff in the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race. The image was published in the August 22, 1909 Indianapolis Star, the day after the final day of the race meet.
Hours after this photo was snapped the National Motor Vehicle Company racer driven by Charlie Merz blew a tire, crashed through the fencing lining the course and catapulted into the crowd. Some of the people captured in this image may have been injured. Riding mechanic Claude Kellum - who rode with Merz at the time - lost his life in the incident. Another spectator, Henry Tapking, was featured in the newspaper as one of those injured.

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