Ray Harroun Portrait

Ray Harroun, the first winner of the Indianapolis 500 and his Marmon Wasp have become iconic figures in auto racing, especially at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, because he was declared the winner of the first Indianapolis 500. The story of his triumph is legendary and part of the tale is his work to design the winning the car, the Marmon Wasp and how he is credited with introducing the first rearview mirror. For some great photos and information on the Marmon Wasp, check out Conceptcarz.com. Harroun actually worked on the design of the car in probably late 1909, driving it at the Speedway in May 1910 and winning the Wheeler-Schebler 200 and then wrecking it two days later.
Harroun was no stranger to success in driving cars. He won a variety of races, including seven other contests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, the biggest of the pre-Indy 500 races. Harroun also won races at Atlanta and, of all places, Churchill Downs - yes, that venue of the world-famous Kentucky Derby. Harroun also drove to victory on the Long Island Motor Parkway course in a support race to the Vanderbilt Cup called the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes.
In addition to auto racing, Harroun also worked in early aviation and even served as a flight instructor at one point in his career. Retiring at age 79, Harroun's working life was focused on mechanical engineering. Born in 1879, Harroun died in January 1968 just days after his 89th birthday.
For more information and images of Ray Harroun elsewhere on First Super Speedway check out these links:

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