Start of IMS Handicap Race

This image of the start of a "free-for-all handicap" race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was originally published in the August 21, 1909 Indianapolis Star. It was part of the coverage of the first auto races that began the previous day at the new Speedway.
This was the second day of the three day race meet. The race was a 10 mile free-for-all or "open " contest. The winner was Len Zengel (the paper finally managed to spell his name correctly after nearly a week of "Zeingel") in his big Chadwick No. 50. In the process he set a new record time of 8:23.2, annihilating the long-lived 1904 record set for the distance by Barney Oldfield in the Peerless Green Dragon. Oldfield actually led the first lap, bravely attempting competition fresh from stitching up flesh at the infield hospital after an arm-slicing injury suffered in the previous race. The injury was incurred when the bonnet of his National "Old Glory" broke loose.

StartIMS09.jpg1.42 MB