Monday, June 6, 2016

500 Facts About the Indy 500-- Part 8: Mayhem in Early Races

11.  THE FIRST ENGINE-POWERED VEHICLES RACING ON THE TRACK AT IMS: MOTORCYCLES.

Two days of racing were planned for August 14-15, 1909, but track conditions deteriorated so rapidly that the event was called off after seven races on day one.

12.  THE EARLIEST GATE ADMISSION TICKETS COST 50 CENTS EACH.

And, kids got in for just 25 cents.  We paid $205 for out catwalk seats between turns one and two on May 29th.

13.  THE FIRST AUTO RACES AT THE SPEEDWAY WERE ABSOLUTE MAYHEM.

Driver Wilfred Bourque and mechanic Harry Holcomb were killed in the 300-mile Prest-O-Lite Race (the name of Carl Fisher's company) on August 19, 1909.  Charlie Merz's car blew a tire and flipped.  The crash claimed his mechanic Claude Kellum and spectators Howard Homer Jolliff and James West.

In the early days, drivers were required to take their mechanics along with them for the ride.

For an interesting account of the mayhem involved with the first Indy 500 race in 1911, see the Smithsonian magazine."One Hundred Years of the Indy 500" article.

15.  THE "BRICKYARD" WAS BORN IN THE FALL OF 1909.

3.2 million ten-pound bricks were laid, the last one being a solid-gold block in a special ceremony.

--RoadHem


No comments: