Nationals Running 24 Hours

This is a rare image of the National Motor Vehicle Company stock cars during their run to set the world's record for distance covered in 24 hours. The cars were 1905 Model C Nationals and the drivers were 17-year-old Charlie Merz and W.F. "Jap" Clemens. In an event organized by future Indianapolis Motor Speedway founders Carl Fisher and Art Newby, the teammates toughed out the frigid Indiana November weather throughout the night of November 16 and the early morning hours of November 17.
This image is particularly rare in that it was taken in the early hours of the record-setting attempt because both cars are on the track. The Clemens car broke a steering knuckle and crashed after running only about five hours. It may have been for the best as the driver was unhurt and with the cold the team really needed both of them spotting one another. In the end, they were successful in setting a new world record of 1,094.56 miles at just over 45 miles per hour.
You can read all about this amazing story in an article I wrote for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2005 Allstate 400 NASCAR program.

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