Harry Stillman, Marmon @ Atlanta!

This photo was originally published in the November 10, 1909 Indianapolis Star. The image is of Harry Stillman in his Marmon racer and it supported an article about the  driver's victory in a 10-mile handicap race on opening day of the Atlanta Speedway, a crushed gravel two-mile oval. The handicap race gave Stillman a headstart on his teammate Ray Harroun who nearly overcame that advantage to lose in a very close finish.
Stillman was also the focus of the biggest accident of the first day of the race meet during the final event - a 200 miler - when his tire exploded while he was running second at 164 miles. Stillman's Marmon blew a rear tire on the backstretch and skidded into "the inner gutter" of the track - apparently lined by a six foot embankment. Stillman was thrown from the car and his riding mechanic, future Indianapolis 500 winner (1912) Joe Dawson, was jostled over to the driver's seat. Dawson applied the brakes and eventually the car stopped. Neither Stillman nor Dawson were injured. The race was won by Louis Chevrolet.
Chevrolet set new American speed records for distances throughout the race despite having to stop to extinguish an oil fire under the hood of his racer.  Atlanta Speedway was seen at the time to be a strong rival to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which was undergoing a transformation from crushed stone and "taroid" to a brick paved surface. The old records Chevrolet demolished had been established at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's first automobile race meet in August. Neither Atlanta nor Indianapolis were as fast as Brooklands, the high-banked concrete course in England.
One word of caution on this image. I noted that another photo supporting the same article was of Johnny Aitken in his National. Aitken won a 10-mile sprint race at the same Atlanta meet. The issue is that the photo was taken at Indianapolis, not Atlanta. Because of that it is hard to know if any of the photos supporting the Atlanta Speedway meet were actually taken there or were on file at the newspaper and re-used.

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