1 9 1 9
The information within these pages was derived primarily from contemporary magazines and newspapers. I am indebted to all those outstanding journalists and newsmen for their dedicated reporting. Without their stories,
we would not have learned about what happened at these events. Secondary sources have also been helpful but to a much lesser extent. Several others have given valuable advice and corrected errors. I extend my
appreciation to all those helpful specialists. I am immensely grateful to Leif Snellman for providing a site where these factual and elaborate accounts enable us to relive these long-ago races and also for his
incredible lifelike drawings.
Howdy Wilcox and André Boillot should both be driver of the year with the Peugeot racecar as Wilcox won the International Indianapolis 500 with a Peugeot, the most significant race of the year,
deserving special recognition. André Boillot won the Targa Florio in a Peugeot and retired at Indianapolis five laps from the finish when in fourth position.
Only these two events were held in 1919, disregarding other AAA events in the USA.
Automobile sport activities of early 1919
The Great War, to be known over 20 years later as World War I, had started on July 28 1914, when Austria declared war on Serbia. Then on August 3, Germany declared war on France and German troops entered Belgium, then other nations joined in the madness. After four terrible years, the killing spree had come to a sudden end on November 11, 1918 with the negotiation of the armistice on the Western Front. Serious political changes took now place all over Europe and on June 28, 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
Already in 1919, the automobile sport flared up again. Only with hesitation did the factories find back to the sport, they had great worries because much reconstruction had to be carried out from ruins and ashes. Additionally, the factories had to convert their war production to the manufacture of automobiles and other peace production. There was a great problem of producing enough tires, besides a general gasoline shortage.
As early as February 1919, the Royal British Automobile Club intended to organize an automobile race on the Isle of Man in June or July. It was not assured if the race would take place because the Royal AC wanted to wait and see how far the manufacturers wanted to support this event and which position the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders would stand for. The race would be open exclusively for cars and the RAC would therefore only then organize the race if the industrialists were for it. At the same time, it was known that the French Grand Prix was not to take place in 1919 because the manufacturers were not ready.
In early March, 1919, the ACF, under the chairmanship of their president Baron de Zuylen, held their annual general meeting in their club rooms. In reference to future sporting events, he remarked that the Grand Prix of the ACF could not take place in 1919 because the industry was not yet sufficiently prepared but that the Sporting Commission would summon all powers for its execution in the year 1920. In 1920 the ACF was to celebrate its 25th anniversary of its existence, for which a row of brilliant events and festivities were planned.
March 23, 1919, Automobile representatives of the international allied powers had met in Paris to "study" their common interest. The two-day meetings of the congress were led by Baron Petiet, President of the syndicate chamber of French automobile constructors. A Bureau of the International Automobile Designers was formed, which included Belgium (Minerva, Excelsior); US (Studebaker); France (Aries, Schneider, Panhard-Levassor, Turcat-Mery); England (Brown Brothers, Daimler Co., Hall Ltd.) and Italy (Fiat). For obvious reasons Germany and Austria were not invited to this congress. Additional topics were discussed.
April 13, 1919, the AvD (Automobil-Club von Deutschland) held their annual general meeting and the ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club) held theirs on August 31.
May 24, 1919, the Syndicate of the French automobile constructors had decided not to participate in any motorsport events in 1919 which possibly could be staged in France. Only a small minority had an opposite viewpoint which were those companies who would send their cars to foreign countries. It was known that Peugeot and Ballot would enter cars at Indianapolis.
There was no formula in Europe, but before the war in 1914 the 3-liter formula was decided for Europe. Indianapolis 500 regulations required cars with a max. engine displacement of 300 cubic inches - 4.917-liter.
In 1919 only the Indianapolis 500 on May 31 and the Targa Florio on November 23 were held. Other AAA races in the USA were not included.
1919 SEASON LINEUP
Factory Racing Teams
SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & C. (Milan, Italy)
After World War I the pre-war Alfa models were marketed as Alfa Romeo when defunct L’Alfa was put into liquidation and absorbed by La Romeo. The Alfa type 40/60, was based on a 1913 design
with a 4-cylinder (110 x 160 mm) 6082 cc engine, producing 82 hp at 2400 rpm, capable of 150 km/h with a racing weight of 1100 kg. Campari and Fracassi drove this type at the Targa Florio.
Nino Franchini was assigned by the factory the 1914 Alfa Grand Prix car of which only one of the was made, taken out of storage and prepared for racing. The 4-cylinder (100 x 143 mm) 4490 cc engine,
produced 88 hp at 2950 rpm with the car’s weight 1050 kg and top speed 150 km/h.
Drivers: Giuseppe Campari - Nino Franchini. Eraldo Fracassi raced independent.
Races entered: Targa Florio.
Etablissements Ballot (Paris, France)
Ernest Ballot started as a car company only in 1919, that actually existed already before and during war time as the greatest engine producer in France. They had to design, built and complete
their first four cars in total secrecy in the incredible short time of 102 days, working day and night, according to W.F. Bradly, an unlikely chain of events. The 4.9-Liter Ballot, designed by
Ernest Henry for 1919 Indianapolis, had a straight-8-cylinder (74 x 140 mm) 4900 cc engine with 32 valves, driven by two o/h camshafts, delivering 125 hp at 3000 rpm, with peaks of 150 hp at
4000 rpm. The Ballots were said to be the fastest cars at that time.
Drivers: Albert Guyot - René Thomas - Paul Bablot - Louis Wagner.
Races entered: Indianapolis.
Diatto cars were built by Società Anonima Autocostruzioni Diatto (Turin, Italy)
Diatto had started building Clément cars under license in 1905 and in 1921 he started his own company. In 1919, Diatto produced the 25 HP 4DC with 4-cylinder (85 x 120 mm) 2724 cc engine,
producing 50 hp and a top speed of 95 km/h.
Drivers: independent entries: Domenico Gamboni, Giacinyo Ghia.
Races entered: Targa Florio.
Duesenberg Inc. (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)
The Duesenberg brothers had emigrated from Germany to America when still children and in 1903, started an automobile supply company in Iowa. Duesenberg racing cars first appeared in 1914.
Duesenberg had raced at Indianapolis every year since 1917. In 1919 all three cars retired at the Indy 500.
Drivers: Tommy Milton -Eddie O'Donnell - Wilbur D'Alene.
Races entered: Indianapolis and other races of the 21-race AAA championship in 1919.
Fiat SpA (Turin, Italy)
Fiat had built racecars since 1904. At the 1919 Targa Florio, Giulio Masetti entered one of the fast red Fiat 1914 racecars type 14B/S57 with a 4-cylinder (100 x 143 mm) 4492 cc engine producing
135 hp at 3000 rpm and a weight of 1150 kg, estimated maximum speed of 165 km/h. Antonio Ascari also raced a type 14B/S57 while Luigi Lopez Fiat type was unknown.
Drivers: independent entries only: Giulio Masetti - Antonio Ascari - Luigi Lopez.
Races entered: Targa Florio.
Frontenac Motor Company (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA)
The Frontenac Corporation was founded by Louis Chevrolet in 1914. In 1916 he won with a 4-cylinder Frontenac the Uniontown Board Speedway race. More Frontenac wins followed in 1917. Louis
Chevrolet finished seventh in the 1919 Indy 500 and Louis Chevrolet came tenth.
Drivers: Louis Chevrolet - Gaston Chevrolet - Ralph Mulford - Joe Boyer.
Races entered: 1919 Indianapolis and other races of the 21-race 1919 AAA championship.
SA des Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot (Lille, France)
Between 1913 and 1920 Peugeot had entered at Indianapolis and won in 1913, 1916 and 1919 with some good placings in 1914 and 1915. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway management had purchased
in 1916 two 1914 Peugeot 4.5-liter race cars, 4-cylinder (92 x 169 mm) and improved them considerably. At the 1919 Indy 500, Howdy Wilcox finished first, Jules Goux came third while the
other three cars retired. André Boillot had a "Baby-Peugeot" of 2.5-liter (73 x146 mm), designed in 1914 for voiturette racing.
Drivers: Howdy Wilcox - Jules Goux - André Boillot - Ray Howard - Art Klein.
Races entered: Indianapolis.
VICTORIOUS DRIVERS and others nearby|
The success of drivers in Major Grand Prix races can be found in the list of 1919 Major Grand Prix Races.
André Boillot, born 1891, was the younger brother of the famous Georges Boillot, who won the 1912 and 13 Grand Prix and died April 21, 1916 during the great war, who met his end in unequal
combat with five German airplanes. Swearing to avenge his brother's loss, the younger Boillot applied for the French air service, qualified as a pilot, and so
successfully fulfilled his vow that at the close of the war he ranked as a French ace and a terror to the Germans. One of André's first races was at the 1914
Grand Prix as reserve driver to Victor Rigal's Peugeot. At the 1919 Indianapolis 500 he raced a Baby Peugeot of 2.5-liter. Five laps from the end while holding fourth place, Boillot suffered a
broken wheel and crashed to still place in 15th position. The 1919 Targa Florio was his first great victory with a 5-year-old 2.5-liter Peugeot. His racing career was going to span over many
years until 1932. He was 41 when he crashed into a tree in a 301 sports Peugeot during practice at Ars-La Châtre in France on June 4. He died three days later.
Ralph DePalma, 36, was born December 19, 1882 in Biccari, Italy. Since 1893 in the USA where he was the dirt track king from 1906 to 1911 and national champion in 1912 and 1914. He won
the 1912, 1914 and 1920 Elgin National Trophy, the 1912 and 1914 Vanderbilt Cup. In the following years DePalma won many AAA championship races and raced at Indianapolis since 1911 when he came
sixth in a Simplex. In 1912 he was leading with his Mercedes when his engine broke three laps from the end. He retired early in 1913 when his Mercer broke down and did not race in 1914. He won
the 1915 Indy 500 in new record time. He raced with a Packard in the following years and established many speed records. After the Great War in 1919 he drove a 4.9-L Packard at Indianapolis,
where he finished sixth.
Giuseppe Campari, 28, born June 8, 1892, in Fanfullo, Lodi, south of Milan in Italy, had raced with the Alfa team since 1913 at the Parma - Poggio di Berceto hill climb where he finished
fifth. At the 1914 Giro di Sicilia he retired but at the following 1914 Coppa Florio, Campari finished fourth with the Alfa 40/60 and later finished second at the Parma-Poggio di Berceto hill
climb. After WW I at the 1919 Targa Florio, he retired with the Alfa Romeo.
Jules Goux, 41, was born April 6, 1885 in France. In 1903 the young Goux was chief tester at Peugeot and started racing the same year. Over the following years he participated at
voiturette events and won in 1909 with the works Lion-Peugeot, the Madonie Voiturette race, and in Spain the Coppa di Catalonia and finished second at the Boulogne voiturette race. There were
more wins in 1910. In 1912 he won the Coupe de la Sarthe at Le Mans and set a 100-Mile record at Brooklands. He was the first European driver to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1913, driving a
Peugeot. Back in Europe, Goux finished second to George Boillot in the Grand Prix. Goux finished fourth at the 1914 Indy 500 and at the 1914 Grand Prix, Goux placed fourth after the three
winning Mercedes. After the Great War Goux finished third in the 1919 Indy 500.
Eddie Hearne, 42, born March 1, 1887 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, raced as early as November 1908, driving a Buick 18, finishing fourth at the 196-Mile race in Savannah, Georgia. In
1909 he raced a Fiat, and in 1910 driving a Benz, he won the Indianapolis 100-Mile race and the 50-Mile event. Since 1911 he raced at Indianapolis, where his greatest success was in 1919, when
he finished second in the Durant Special.
René Thomas, 34, was born March 7, 1886 in Perigueux, France. Thomas won the 1914 Indy 500 in a Delage and in 1919 at the Indy 500 he finished 11th with an 8-cylinder Ballot. Prior to
that, he finished fifth at the 1908 Voiturette Grand Prix at Dieppe. In June 1909 he was third at the Coupe de l'Auto at Boulogne in a Le Gui and in 1911 at the same pace came third with a
Delage. At the 1912 Grand Prix he retired his Lion-Peugeot but finished 9th in 1913 in a Schneider. In 1914 he went to America and won the Indy 500. At the 1919 Indy 500 he finished eleventh
in the Ballot.
Howdy Wilcox, 30, born June 24, 1898 in Crawfordsville, Indiana, USA, won the 1919 Indianapolis 500 in a French Peugeot. He also became the 1919 AAA Champion having had the most points
from only two races in the 21-race AAA championship. His other race was the July 4 Sheepshead Bay 100 Mile Race, where he finished second behind Gaston Chevrolet's Frontenac. Wilcox had raced
at Indianapolis since 1910 at the 100 Mile race in July where he crashed his National and two days later at the Indianapolis 200 Mile Race, he was flagged off in 9th place. But at the
Indianapolis 100 Mile Race in September, he won with the National. At the 500 Mile Speedway in 1911 he came 14th with the National. In 1912 he placed the National in ninth place and in
1913 he came sixth in a Gray Fox, a Pope-Hartford car but retired with the same car at the 1914 500 Mile Race. In 1915 when he placed a Stutz on pole position for the 500, he finished seventh
and came 12th in the AAA-Championship. In 1916 he again came seventh in a Premier, a copy of the Peugeot and finished 11th in the AAA-Championship. There were no Indianapolis races until
1919. His nickname was "Cocky". Besides his races at Indianapolis, in the 1914 Vanderbilt and Grand Prize he put up one of the most daring performances in racing history on a wet and slippery
track, and though he was beaten in both contests by the great Dario Resta, having to contend himself with second place.
May 31, 1919 - Arthur Thurman (USA) born 12 September 1897 in Flintstone, Georgia, USA, driving a Duesenberg on lap 45 of the Indianapolis 500 race when he lost control in turn two.
His car struck the wall, turned over three times after swerving into the inner wall and skidded down the backstretch. Thurman was thrown about 25 feet. Men leaped onto the track, chancing the
oncoming, roaring machines and had the two men on the field inside in half a minute. Thurman was unconscious. He lived about ten minutes after being hurried by ambulance to the emergency
hospital. His mechanician, Nicholas Molinaro, suffered a fractured skull. Surgeons at once set to work on Molinaro, who was in critical condition, but eventually he made a full recovery.
Thurman himself had prepared his Duesenberg, renamed Thurman Special. It was an independent entry. Most of his racing career had been on the Indiana dirt tracks and the 1919 Indy 500 was
Thurman's first start in a big race.
May 31, 1919 - Louis LeCocq (USA) born 27 March 1892 in Pella, Iowa, USA, driving a Roamer, on lap 96 of the Indianapolis 500 race, he burst a worn tire in the second turn and the car
spun with its rear into the outer wall and overturned. The fuel tank broke on impact when the Roamer immediately burst into flames with driver and his mechanician, Robert Bandini covered with
burning gasoline, trapped underneath the car, burning five minutes before guards and spectators could put out the flames. Meanwhile the burning gas spread over the inclined track and several of
the speeding cars were compelled to dash through the blaze. The accident was one of the most serious in the history of the track. The emergency patrol came after more than five minutes with
physicians, and willing hands lifted the blackened metal that had once been a handsome white racer. There under the frame were the charred remains of Lecocq and Bandiini.
LeCocq had been working with the Duesenberg team in 1913 and was riding mechanic with Ralph Mulford in 1914. He rode with Jack Callaghan in 1915 and later rode with Eddie Hearne. He started as
a driver in 1915 with the IMCA, in 1918 he crashed his Roamer at Ascot. He finished third in the Santa Monica 250 on 15 March 1919. The Indianapolis 500 was his first great race.
May 31, 1919 - Robert Bandini (USA) born 19 November 1896 in Los Angeles, riding mechanic to Louis LeCocq in a Roamer, was killed instantly at the Indianapolis 500 race.
On lap 96 a worn tire burst in the second turn, the car spun with its rear into the outer wall and overturned. The fuel tank broke on impact when the Roamer immediately burst into flames,
driver and mechanic were covered with burning gasoline, trapped underneath the car, burning five minutes before guards and spectators could put out the flames.
Bandini came from Los Angeles where he owned property valued at more than one million dollars, which he had inherited from his grandmother, Mrs. Arcadia B. De Baker. Bandini was a speed freak
and bought cars for drivers if they would agree to take him on as the riding mechanic. He first sponsored a local California driver, Brent Harding, in 1917, then helped Roscoe Sarles, and lastly
Indianapolis Speedway (USA), 31 May 1919 (Saturday).
200 laps x 2.5 mi (4.023 km) = 500 mi (804.67 km)
|1||Cliff Durant||R. Cliff Durant||Stutz||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|2||Ralph Mulford||Ralph Mulford||Frontenac||300 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|3||Howdy Wilcox||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Peugeot||275 c. in||4.5||S-4|
|4||Ralph DePalma||Packard Motor Car Co.||Packard||299 c. in||4.9||V-12|
|5||W.W. Brown||C.L. Richards||Richards Special||288 c. in||4.8||S-6|
|6||Jules Goux||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Peugeot||275 c. in||4.5||S-4|
|7||Louis Chevrolet||Frontenac Motors||Frontenac||300 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|8||Earl Cooper||Earl Cooper||Stutz||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|9||Tommy Milton||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|10||Eddie O'Donnell||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|11||Tommy Milton||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||raced #9 car|
|12||Kurt Hitke||Roscoe Sarles||Roamer||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|13||Dave Lewis||Meteor Motor Co.||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||raced #38 car|
|14||Eddie Hearne||R. Cliff Durant||Durant Special||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|15||Louis LeCocq||Roscoe Sarles||Roamer||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|16||George Buzane||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Premier||275 c. in||4.5||S-4||practice crash|
|17||Ora Haibe||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in||4.8||S-6|
|18||Arthur Thurman||Arthur Thurman||Thurman Special||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|19||Chas. Kirkpatrick||Frank P. Book||Detroit||254 c. in||4.5||S-4|
|20||Ira Vail||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in||4.8||S-6||raced #27 car|
|21||Denny Hickey||A.C. Stickle||Stickle||289 c. in||4.8||S-6|
|22||Wilbur D'Alene||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|23||Elmer T. Shannon||Elmer T. Shannon||Masaba||299 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|24||Jack Reynolds||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in||4.8||S-6||did not qualify|
|25||Max McVey||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in||4.8||S-6||withdrawn|
|26||Tom Alley||Ahlberg Bearing Co.||Bender Special||289 c. in||4.8||S-4|
|27||Ira Vail||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in||4.8||S-6|
|28||Roscoe Sarles||Barney Oldfield||Oldfield Special||289 c. in||4.8||S-4|
|29||Art Klein||Arthur H. Klein||Peugeot||275 c. in||4.5||S-4|
|31||René Thomas||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in||4.9||S-8|
|32||Albert Guyot||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in||4.9||S-8|
|33||Paul Bablot||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in||4.9||S-8|
|34||Louis Wagner||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in||4.9||S-8|
|35||Al Cotey||Ogren Motor Car Co||Ogren Special||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||did not qualify|
|36||J.J. McCoy||J.J. McCoy||McCoy Special||293 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|37||André Boillot||Jules Goux||Baby Peugeot||150 c. in||2.5||S-4|
|38||Dave Lewis||Meteor Motor Co||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||did not qualify|
|39||Joe Boyer||Frontenac Motors||Frontenac||300 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|41||Gaston Chevrolet||Frontenac Motors||Frontenac||300 c. in||4.9||S-4|
|42||Ray Howard||Alphonse G. Kaufman||Peugeot||275 c. in||4.5||S-4||raced #48 car|
|43||Omar Toft||Omar Toft||Darco Special||289 c. in||4.8||S-4|
|45||Howdy Wilcox||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Peugeot||4.5||S-4||raced #3 car|
|46||X||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Premier|
|47||X||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||Premier||
|48||Ray Howard||Alphonse G. Kaufman||Peugeot||275 c. in||4.5||S-4|
|7||Gaston Chevrolet||Frontenac||300||unknown||Rel. Louis Chevrolet|
|8||Reeves Dutton||Stutz||299||unknown||Rel. Earl Cooper|
|23||F.T. Steege||Masaba||299||125||Rel. Elmer T. Shannon|
|32||Louis Wagner||Ballot||296||unknown||Rel. Albert Guyot|
|33||Jean Chassagne||Ballot||296||unknown||Rel. Paul Bablot|
|41||Louis Chevrolet||Frontenac||300||unknown||Rel. Gaston Chevrolet|
Howdy Wilcox wins Indianapolis 500, Eddie Hearne 2nd, Goux 3rd
by Hans Etzrodt
The 7th International 500 Mile Liberty Sweepstakes at Indianapolis was held to the 300 cubic-inch formula for the last time. It was the only international event apart of the Targa Florio.
Of the 33 starting cars, nine were of French design and 24 were created by American Engineers. It was the biggest collection of European cars and drivers in an American race which started at
11 o'clock under a sweltering sun with a flying start. DePalma (Packard) set a dizzying pace in the first half of the race, at times averaging about 92 mph, shattering all records of the
Indianapolis speedway for the first 200 miles. Louis Chevrolet (Frontenac) crowded into the lead for 8 laps, at the 150-mile post. A broken valve spring was the first difficulty encountered
by DePalma when he lost his lead to Wilcox (Peugeot) near the 250-mile mark and was unable to regain first position. After another stop for more repairs, he quickly passed from tenth to sixth
position at the finish which he managed only by his terrific speed and barely nosed out Louis Chevrolet. From the very beginning Wilcox was dangerous, but not sensational. At 150 miles Wilcox
made his first determined bid for position when he pulled up behind DePalma and Louis Chevrolet. Wilcox crowded into second place at 200 miles, forcing the Frontenac into third and brushing
the Packard on the turns. At the half-way mark Wilcox shot into the lead to hold it for the remaining 250 miles.
Tragic accidents killed three lives, a fourth one not expected to live. Arthur Thurman was dead, Louis LeCocq and mechanic Robert Bandini burned for 5 minutes under their flaming car.
Molinero dying and Shannon badly cut. Howdy Wilcox, an Indy driver since 1910, won with a French Peugeot of 1914, ahead of Eddie Hearne (Durant Special), Jules Goux (Peugeot),
Albert Guyot (Ballot), Tom Alley (Bender), Ralph DePalma (Packard), Louis Chevrolet (Frontenac), Ira Vail (Hudson), Denny Hickey (Stickle) and Gaston Chevrolet (Frontenac) in tenth place.
Thomas, Cooper, Steege for Shannon and Haibe finished out of the money and 19 drivers did not reach the finish.
The seventh Indianapolis 500 Mile race on Saturday May 31, Memorial Day, a national holiday, was held after a 3-year break when America began to join in 1917 the Great War, which ended with the
Armistice between the Allies and Germany on 11 November 1918. In order to take account of the victory by the allied forces and to grow advertising, the term "Liberty" was used for the event and
a Liberty Race was announced.
Of the 43 entries some drivers were not known. Only 33 were allowed to start, referring here to just a few.
Ballot started as a car company only in 1919, but actually existed already before and during war time as the greatest engine producer in France. They had to design, built and complete their
four cars in total secrecy in the incredible short time of 102 days, working day and night, according to W.F. Bradly, an unlikely chain of events. The 4.9-Liter Ballot, had a straight-8
(74 x 140 mm) 4900 cc engine with 32 valves, driven by two o/h camshafts, delivering 125 hp at 3000 rpm, with peaks of 150 hp at 4000 rpm.
Durant Special was originally Gil Anderson's 1915 Stutz, purchased by a wealthy young sportsman, Cliff Durant, and was entered as a Durant Special with Eddie Hearne as driver.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway owned four cars, two Peugeots from 1914 and two Premiers (three of which the Premier factory built in 1916, exact copies of the 1914 Peugeot) all in good
condition when removed from storage. Because the Peugeots and Premiers were of similar design, Jules Goux accepted an attractive offer by Speedway President Carl Fisher, builder and owner of
the 2.5-mile speedway, to visit America again and prepare all four cars with Howdy Wilcox. One of the Peugeots' engines was damaged beyond repair during practice and was replaced with one of
the Premiers, which were exact copies. So, the Speedway was represented in the race by three of its own cars. George Buzane drove the third one.
Peugeot in the last four Indianapolis races had been two times victorious and twice finished second. The Peugeot were originally built in France but had been improved considerably since
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway management became the owner of two 1914 cars, 4-cylinder (92 x 169 mm) 4.5-liters. André Boillot had a "Baby-Peugeot" of 2.5-liter (73 x146 mm), designed in 1914
for voiturette racing.
Sunbeam entered two 6-cylinder cars for Chassagne and Resta with their designer Louis Coatalen also present. After practice on Tuesday, 20 May, the two cars were withdrawn without any
explanation. Laurence Pomeroy wrote, "...some say because the engines were found to have a capacity of 4,924 cc (and were thus oversize); others because Resta's report on the torsional oscillations
in the crank at 2,500 rpm was decisive." Also: "...measurements made by Brooklands scrutineers, which gave the capacity as 4,914 cc. It is unlikely that the pistons and blocks had been changed
after the cars came back to England." The whole blame was placed upon the late Josef Christaens for this blunder by Sunbeam's engineering head, Louis Coatalen. He said, "Evidently Christaens
and his associates made a slip-up of some sort. Exactly how it came to pass I can't tell until I get back to the factory and make a thorough investigation." Anthony S. Heal claimed that it
remains a mystery and reports by W.F. Bradley about the withdrawal were somewhat doubtful. However, according to Robert Dick, the British Sunbeams were withdrawn from the start due to engine
problems, and described thoroughly in his book. The drivers Chassagne and Resta, the 1916 Indy 500 winner, were now looking for a drive in the big 500 race.
#2 - Ralph DePalma, 36, was born December 19, 1882 in Biccari, Italy. Since 1893 in the USA, where he was the dirt track king from 1906 to 1911 and national champion in 1912 and 1914.
He won the 1912, 1914 and 1920 Elgin National Trophy also the 1912 and 1914 Vanderbilt Cup. In the following years DePalma won many AAA championship races and entered at Indianapolis since 1911
when he came sixth in a Simplex. In 1912 he was leading with his Mercedes when his engine broke three laps from the end. He retired early in 1913 when his Mercer broke down and did not start
in 1914. He won the 1915 Indy 500 in new record time. In the following years he raced with a Packard on the board tracks and established many speed records. After the Great War in 1919 he
drove a 4.9-liter V-12 Packard at Indianapolis. He had been leading 96 laps when his car required long repairs but still finished sixth.
#3 - Howard "Howdy" Wilcox, 30, born June 24, 1898 in Crawfordsville, Indiana, USA, had raced at Indianapolis since 1910 at the 100 Mile race in July where he crashed his National and
two days later at the Indianapolis 200-Mile race, he was flagged off in 9th place, but at the 100-Mile race in September, he won with the National. At the 500 Mile Speedway in 1911 he came
14th with the National. In 1912 he placed the National in ninth place and in 1913 he came sixth in a Gray Fox, a Pope-Hartford car, but retired with it at the 1914 500-Mile race. In 1915
when he placed a Stutz on pole position for the 500, he finished seventh and came 12th in the AAA-Championship. In 1916 he again came seventh in a Premier, a copy of the Peugeot and finished
11th in the AAA-Championship. There were no Indianapolis races until 1919. His nickname was "Cocky". Besides his races at Indianapolis, in the 1914 Vanderbilt and Grand Prize he put up
daring performances on wet and slippery tracks, and though he was beaten in both contests by the great Dario Resta, he had to contend himself with second place. He won the 1919 Indianapolis
500 in a French Peugeot. He also became the 1919 AAA Champion having had the most points from only two races in the 21-race AAA championship. His other race was the July 4 Sheepshead Bay
100 Mile Race, where he finished second behind Gaston Chevrolet's Frontenac.
#6 - Jules Goux, 41, was born April 6, 1885 in France. In 1903 the young Goux was chief tester at Peugeot and started racing the same year. Over the following years he participated
in voiturette events and won with the works Lion-Peugeot in 1909, the Madonie Voiturette race, and in Spain the Coppa di Catalonia and finished second at the Boulogne voiturette race. There
were more wins in 1910. In 1912 he won the Coupe de la Sarthe at Le Mans and set a 100-Mile record at Brooklands. He was the first European driver to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1913,
driving a Peugeot. Back in Europe, Goux finished second to George Boillot in the Grand Prix. Goux finished fourth at the 1914 Indy 500 and at the 1914 Grand Prix he placed fourth
after the three winning Mercedes. After the Great War Goux finished third in the 1919 Indy 500.
#14 - Eddie Hearne, 42, born March 1, 1887 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, raced as early as November 1908, driving a Buick 18, finishing fourth at the 196-mile race in Savannah, Georgia.
In 1909 he raced a Fiat and a Benz in 1910, winning the Indianapolis 100-mile race and a few days later the 50-mile event. Since 1911 he raced at Indianapolis, with his greatest success in
1919, finishing second in the Durant Special.
Most drivers practiced long before the elimination trials. On Sunday, May 18 André Boillot, Paul Bablot and Louis Wagner arrived, completing the European entries. The balance of the
foreign group, Jean Chassagne, Dario Resta, Jules Goux, René Thomas and Albert Guyot, had been practicing at the track for some time. Ralph DePalma arrived on Sunday accompanied by
Mrs. DePalma, motored down from Detroit in their touring phaeton, while Louis Montaine, his mechanician, brought the Packard special down by express. Some time ago the Speedway management
declared itself opposed to Sunday racing and interpreted this to include even exhibitions. The track was therefore closed on Sunday, though during week days visitors were allowed on payment
of the usual admission fee.
On Monday, May 19, it was announced that Howard Wilcox who had been under consideration by the Speedway for some time as driver for the second Peugeot, was now contracted. The second
announcement was the nomination of George Buzane to drive one of the Premier cars entered by the Speedway. Whether Buzane would start or not depended upon his showing in the elimination trials.
On Tuesday, May 20, it was announced that the British Sunbeams were withdrawn from the start and their drivers Dario Resta, winner of the 1916 AAA Championship, and Jean Chassagne were
receiving overtures to drive new mounts in the big 500 race.
On Wednesday, May 21, the Frontenac team, composed of Louis Chevrolet, Ralph Mulford, Gaston Chevrolet and Joseph Boyer Jr. was arriving, including three members of the Duesenberg quartet,
Tommy Milton, Eddie O'Donnell and Wilbur DeAlene, also a number of individual drivers, Eddie Hearne, Tom Alley, Omar Toft, Louis LeCocq and Ray Howard. René Thomas of the Ballot team did a
fast lap at the track, in 1m31s. Wet and foggy weather had greatly interfered with practice at the track.
On Thursday, May 22, the Ballot team, composed of René Thomas, Paul Bablot, Albert Guyot and Louis Wagner was the most talked of outfit at Indianapolis. The apparent ease with which the
Frenchmen got around the track, knocking off laps in 1m31s and 1m33s, or nearly 100 mph was a revelation.
On Friday, May 23, two cars were withdrawn, P.W. Monaghan (Jay-Bee Special) nominated by C.W. Johnson, president of the Uniontown Speedway and H.C. Simmons (Hudson) who would not be able
to get their cars ready in time for the elimination trials.
On Saturday, May 24, in the afternoon, DePalma drove a new fastest lap at 98 mph in 1m31.8s with his 12-cylinder Packard special. He contended himself with 25 miles at paces of 91 mph.
Barney Oldfield's Indianapolis record at 1m27s, equivalent to 102.6 mph, set in 1914, was not yet broken.
On Sunday, May 25, George Buzane, star Greek driver of an Indianapolis Speedway-owned Premier, crashed in the afternoon. He was seen to swerve first towards the inside retaining wall,
bounced off with the rear end of the car crashing against the outer wall. The impact overturned the car, ejecting the mechanic, then came to rest on its wheels again, finally stopping
when its rear end once more struck the wall. Buzane escaped with a few bruises and a cut on his head. Carl Weinbrecht, his mechanician, was thrown clear of the car as it rolled over and
suffered a wrenched hip but was otherwise not hurt. The car was towed to the shops of the Allison Experimental Company, near the Speedway grounds, where the Indianapolis Speedway maintained
its racing headquarters. The radiator and hood were damaged, but no vital parts, the frame was bent. The Indianapolis Speedway had to make a quick repair in time for the Tuesday elimination trials.
Fastest time on Sunday was made by Eddie O'Donnell, the 1916 AAA champion, who put his Duesenberg over the route in 1m38, equivalent to 96 mph. Other drivers were Earl Cooper (Stutz),
Arthur Klein, Howard Wilcox and Jules Goux (Peugeot), Kurt Hitke (Roamer), J.F. Reynolds (Hudson), Charles Kirkpatrick (Detroit Special), W.W. Brown (Richards Special) and
Ralph DePalma (Packard). All drivers were practicing at a good speed except Reynolds who did not seem to get the required speed out of his car.
Drivers practiced in Sunday's sunshine to good advantage, reeling lap after lap around the track in an attempt to get their mounts in final shape and to get used to the peculiarities of
the big track surface, as well as to determine for themselves whether the track had changed in any particular way since it was last raced upon. Drivers stated that the Indianapolis
Speedway had the habit of shifting about minor irregularities in its surface, due to the expansion and contraction of the bricks. Since the track was built, the Speedway management had
taken out from time to time six rows of bricks all the way across the track, yet the course was exactly the same length as before. Though climate changes did not produce visible variations
in the track surface, but were nevertheless apparent when passing over them at high speed, and it demanded every driver to know them so well that he unconsciously took them into account
during the race.
On Monday, May 26, Denny Hickey blew a tire of his Stickle as he came out of the southwest turn and spun around three times before he straightened his car out again. On his third spin,
the tail of his car shot over the inside retaining wall, flattening it out underneath and he proceeded to the pits as though nothing had happened. Both Hickey and car were unscathed,
save for the flat spot underneath the tail of the car.
Tuesday elimination trials:|
Drivers could qualify also on Wednesday and Thursday. Only one official trial was permitted to each driver, instead three, as in former years. The only exception to this rule being that
if in his trial a driver failed to make the minimum speed of 80 mph, he was allowed two additional attempts. The rule of only one official trial was passed to shorten the time necessary
to conduct the tests, on account of the large field entered for the race. The record was held by Georges Boillot with his 300-cu inch Peugeot in 1m30.13s, just less than 100 mph during the
elimination trials for the 1914 race. Oldfield's record of 1m27s flat, an average of 102.6 mph, was made in 1914 with the old front drive Christie.
The elimination trial to determine the starting order for the race was conducted in the afternoon. The four fastest drivers were getting the front row positions, the next four the second
row and so on. Cars that failed to qualify had a second opportunity on Wednesday and also on Thursday. The rules demanded an average minimum qualification speed of 80 mph. This
meant that the average for the lap had to be 1m52.50s or less. Drivers who made 80 mph or more were not entitled to additional trials. The fastest times set on Wednesday would take
positions behind of those which had qualified on Tuesday.
Eleven drivers qualified on Tuesday. The fastest was René Thomas with the blue Ballot, breaking the track record in 1m25.89s at 104.7 mph. His driving was sensational and daring. He
and his mechanic, Robert Laly, held a long consultation in front of the timing stands before they made the trial. Then both took particular care about their positions in the car. When
they finally gave the signal, after making a practice lap or two, the two men sat close together and ducked low in the car. Thomas' driving on the turns was sensational. Not once did
he take his foot off the gun, but gave the car all and drove the turns wide-open as steady as he thundered down the stretches.
Howdy Wilcox in his blue Peugeot chased around in 1m29.99s at an average of 100.0 mph. He went into the first turn as fast as Thomas but as he came into the stretch, a couple of skips
were heard from the motor, but he set a new record for American drivers. Albert Guyot (Ballot) was third fastest in 1m31.63 at 98.3 mph, followed by Ralph DePalma (Packard) in 1m31.71s
at 98.2 mph to complete the first row. Eddie O'Donnell (Duesenberg) made his lap in 1m32.60s at 97.3 mph and qualified for the second row, followed by Paul Bablot (Ballot) in 1m34.80
at 94.9 mph, next came Art Klein (Peugeot) in 1m34.81 at 94.9 mph with Eddie Hearne (Durant Special) in 1m35.30s at 94.5 mph, last in the second row. Earl Cooper (Stutz) in 1m35.37s
at 94.2 mph qualified for the third row ahead of Ira Vail (Hudson Special) in 1m35.63s at 94.1 mph and Charles Kirkpatrick (Detroit Special) 1m40s at 90 mph.
Wednesday elimination trials:|
Louis Chevrolet's entire team of four Frontenacs qualified at a speed of more than 100 mph. This was the fastest speed record for a team ever set on the race course. Louis Chevrolet was
fastest with his Frontenac in 1m27.37s at 103.1 mph and qualified for the third row. Louis Wagner (Ballot) in 1m28.55s at 101.7 mph placed on the fourth row ahead of Joe Boyer (Frontenac)
in 1m29.18s at 100.9 mph, followed by Ralph Mulford (Frontenac) in 1h29.60s at100.5 mph and Gaston Chevrolet (Frontenac) in 1h29.65s at 100.4 mph. Next was Arthur Thurman (Thurman Special)
in 1h31.99s at 98.0 mph, Cliff Durant (Stutz) in 1h33.35s at 96.5 mph, Wilbur D'Alene (Duesenberg) in 1h35.47s at 94.2s mph and Louis LeCocq (Roamer) in 1m35.83s at 92.9 mph, Denny Hickey
(Stickle) in 1h37.21s at 92.5 mph, Elmer T. Shannon (Mesaba) in 1m38.12s at 91.7 mph, Tommy Milton (Duesenberg) in 1m40.16s at 89.9 mph and André Boillot (Baby Peugeot) in 1m40.60s at
89.5 mph. Omar Toft driving a Darco Special spun around twice on the south turn, then straightened up his car and proceeded. Al Coty, driving an Ogren Special, failed to qualify on his
first lap. He averaged 74.6 mph. He would make another attempt on Thursday, likewise Dave Lewis (Duesenberg) who attempted a trial but withdrew because of engine trouble. Twelve drivers
had qualified during the day, five of them exceeding 100 mph, an unheard-of record in Speedway race circles. So far, a total of 23 drivers qualified out of the 33 cars allowed under the
AAA rules. There were 10 places left for 14 drivers.
Thursday elimination trials:|
The fastest was W.W. Brown (Richards) in 1m30.32s at 99.8 mph, Roscoe Sarles qualified his (Oldfield Special) in 1m32.26s at 97.7 mph, Ray Howard (Peugeot) in 1m34.69 at 95.0 mph, Jules
Goux (Peugeot) in 1m34.47 at 95.0 mph, Kurt Hitke (Roamer) in 1m36.33 at 93.5 mph, Ora Haibe (Hudson Special) in 1m36.99s at 92.8 mph, Tom Alley (Ogren Special) in 1m37.57s at 92.2 mph,
Omar Toft (Darco Special) in 1m38.95 at 91.5 mph and J. J. McCoy (McCoy Special) in 1m43.97 at 86.5 mph. Reynolds (Hudson) and Coty (Ogren) did not qualify.
The nine drivers that qualified Thursday and twelve from Wednesday were grouped together and then sorted by fastest times ahead of the slower ones. This way the elimination time lists
were published in the Indiana papers, which placed André Boillot (Baby Peugeot) who qualified on Wednesday, near the end of the grid. The following starting grid is unofficial but in the
order of the regulations with Tuesday qualifiers first ahead of Wednesday and those from Thursday last. An official starting grid was not published.
The night before the race one sprinkling wagon and ten men were actually scrubbing every brick on the 2.5-mile course to remove oil and grease. This was done just before the big
event to ensure safety for the drivers.
The race took place under a sweltering sun and intense heat. The rough track and scorching bricks played havoc with the tires. The crowd estimate was over the 100,000-mark, possibly
125,000. The 33 cars lined up on the starting grid in rows of four according to the order established during the qualification runs.
After the mechanics cranked up the cars, the loud bark and rumble of the 33 engines was heard accompanied by a cloud of castor oil fumes. Engines were warmed up, drivers and mechanics
climbed into the cars. Bombs were fired at minute intervals to announce the start and at 10:55 the field moved forward in a paced lap that did not count in the 200 laps. Colonel Jesse Vincent paced the
lap with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, the referee, in a green Packard roadster. His pace was at a speed of about 60 mph around the south turns. The large crowds in the stands rose to
their feet and a mighty shout followed the racers. At the north turns the speed was increased and when the stretch was reached, Vincent went even faster. As the field neared the
starting wire the pace maker was hitting an eighty-mile clip. When Vincent turned to the side at the pits, the cars took the green flag and the field shot away at full speed to the wild
cheering and excitement of the enthusiastic crowd.
At the end of the first lap, René Thomas (Ballot) was in the lead, ahead of a close five-car group in unclear order and the rest of the field was strung out. Al Coty (Ogren), who had
not qualified, merely started, not expecting to remain in the race unless someone dropped out on the first lap. As this did not happen, Coty pulled into the pits after the first lap.
At the end of the second lap, Thomas was still leading DePalma with Earl Cooper third. The third lap showed DePalma leading Thomas by several yards while Cooper and Louis Wagner, in a
battle for third were about a hundred yards back. DePalma and Thomas were setting a terrific pace on the fourth lap, more than half a lap ahead of the field. After the end of eight
laps, or twenty miles, DePalma was leading ahead of Thomas, Wilcox and Cooper in this order. Cliff Durant in his Stutz pulled into his pit to wire a loose hood down and got away in a
After 10 laps or 25 miles, De Palma was leading after 14m55,20s, Wilcox 14m56.25s, Thomas 14m56.75s, Cooper 14m57.65s and Wagner 14m59.90s in this order. At the end of the eleventh
lap, W.W. Brown pulled into the pits and retired his Richard Special with a broken connecting rod, while Roscoe Sarles limped into the pits and retired with a broken rocker arm on his
Oldfield Special. At 40 miles DePalma and Thomas were running almost neck to neck and were greeted with a great cheer from the stands. Wilcox was in third place about a dozen lengths
behind. At 50 miles, De Palma was in the lead when the pace had climbed to an average speed of 92.14 mph with the leaders in the following order after 20 laps, 50 miles:
|1.||De Palma (Packard)||29m20.70s|
|2.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||29m29.90s|
|7.||R. Thomas (Ballot)||30m55.30s|
|10.||G. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||31m05.30s|
At sixty miles Thomas had moved up to second place instead of Wilcox, both making a desperate effort to overtake DePalma, who was about ten lengths ahead. Jules Goux (Peugeot) lost two
laps with two stops at the pits. At his second stop he replaced two burst tires. At 75 miles, 30 laps, DePalma and Thomas were fighting it out for the lead with Bablot (Ballot) in
third place. Albert Guyot (Ballot) was fourth and Eddie Hearne (Durant) fifth. Joe Boyer (Frontenac) who was well up amongst the leaders, had the left rear wheel fly off and the car
completed a 360-degree spin. Boyer and his mechanician, Ernie Ansterberg, were not hurt. The car rolled on three wheels into the pits at the end of lap 30 and retired with a broken
rear axle. Howdy Wilcox drew first recognition from the crowd on the 30th lap, when he limped in on a flat tire. A new wheel was locked on and he was away in thirty seconds with a
mighty applause of approval spurring him to nobler efforts. After repairing an exhaust valve on his Detroit Special, Kirkpatrick returned to the race five laps behind the leaders.
After lap 37, Ralph Mulford pulled his Frontenac on to the grass near the tape and was out of the race with a broken driveshaft. Jim McCoy retired on the same lap with a broken oil
line. De Palma broke the track record for 100 miles with an average speed of 92.20 mph when the leaders were in the following order after 40 laps, 100 miles:
|1.||De Palma (Packard)||1h01m31.45s|
|2.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||1h02m32.50s|
|9.||R. Thomas (Ballot)||1h05m09.50s|
|11.||G. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||1h05m51.15s|
The average speed went up to 92.80 mph after 110 miles, 44 laps. DePalma was more than half a lap ahead of Louis Chevrolet. Omar Toft in the Darco Special retired after 44 laps with
broken connecting rod. On the same lap Louis Wagner with his mechanician Jules Moriceau, had a narrow escape on the south turn. Wagner lost a rear wheel and his Ballot whirled
around several times, striking both inner and outer walls. When the car came to a standstill, Wagner and Moriceau jumped out and shook hands. It was a thrilling spectacle for the
spectators in the nearby stands. The car was declared out of the race.
Arthur Thurman driving a Duesenberg lost control on lap 45 in turn two, doing about 90 mph. His car struck the wall, turned over three times after swerving into the inner wall and
skidded down the backstretch. Thurman was thrown about 25 feet. Men leaped onto the track, chancing the oncoming, roaring machines and had the two men on the field inside in half
a minute. Thurman was unconscious. He lived about ten minutes after the ambulance hurried the men to the emergency hospital. His mechanician, Nicholas Molinaro, suffered a fractured
skull. Surgeons at once set to work on Molinaro, who was in critical condition, but eventually he made a full recovery. Thurman, an independent driver, had prepared his Duesenberg
himself, renamed Thurman Special. Most of his racing career had been on the Indiana dirt tracks and the 1919 Indy 500 was Thurman's first start in a big race. Tommy Milton retired
his Duesenberg on lap 50 with a broken connecting rod. Cliff Durant retired his Stutz on lap 55 with broken steering gear. After 56 laps, 140 miles Ralph DePalma had a big lead and
stopped at his pits for water and gas and got away still in first place. Kurt Hitke retired the Roamer on lap 57 with a broken con-rod bearing. After 60 laps, DePalma held on to
first place at 92 mph average when the leaders were in the following order after 60 laps, 150 miles:
|1.||De Palma (Packard)||1h36m16.90s|
|2.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||1h37m01.70s|
|4.||R. Thomas (Ballot)||1h38m45.20s|
|10.||G. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||1h40m38.30s|
|12.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot)||1h42m26.00s|
On the 63rd lap, Chassagne, the former Sunbeam driver, who had relieved Paul Bablot of the Ballot team, hit the outer retaining wall due to a collapsed wheel. The car turned over
twice, tossing out both driver and the mechanician A. Romiguire who was cut and bruised and severely injured about the head but Chassagne did not have a scratch. The seriously damaged
car was brought in under its own power and was retired. Louis Chevrolet in the fast Frontenac had edged into the lead on lap 66, ahead of DePalma with Wilcox a close third.
Eddie O'Donnell retired his Duesenberg on lap 66 with broken piston.
At 175 miles or 70 laps, the pace was down to 90.89 mph with Louis Chevrolet in 1h52m23.90s, DePalma in 1h52m43.25s, Wilcox in 1h54m23.25s, Cooper 1h55m09.85s, LeCocq 1h57m10.10s,
Gaston Chevrolet in 1h57m08.00s and Durant in 1h52m26.46s; all others took more than two hours. After lap 70, Chas Kirkpatrick retired his Detroit Mercedes with a broken connecting
rod. On lap 72 Art Klein was forced to stop his Peugeot near the northwest turn. A broken oil line put him out of the race. With his mechanic he pushed the car three-quarters of a
mile into the pits.
Al Bloemker wrote in 500 miles to GO, "Louis Chevrolet's Frontenac lost one of its wire wheels when the right rear hub broke as he was completing his 74th lap. He kept the car
between the walls and headed for his pit. But a sharp edge of the broken hub, dragging on the track, snapped the thin electric timing wire stretched across the bricks at the
start-and-finish-line. The severed ends of the timing wire lashed through the air. One end caught Elmer Shannon under the chin as he swerved his own car to avoid hitting the
crippled Frontenac. An artery in his neck was severed as if cut by a surgeon's knife. Later, he said he had experienced a sensation which seamed no more serious than a bee sting.
But the front of his uniform shirt suddenly was saturated with his own blood and he could feel the strength ebb from his hands and arms. With the help of his riding mechanic, he
succeeded in completing the next lap before blacking out as he brought the car to a stop at his own pit. Only quick work by his crew helped Shannon from bleeding to death before
he was rushed to the emergency hospital." His mechanic, F.T. Steege, finished the race for Shannon. The fact that the timing wire was cut by a car which came in without a wheel
and nearly decapitated a following driver, suggested an upgrading of some kind other than a wire under tension stretched across the track to operate the timer. With the timing
system broken, hand timing became necessary for the 18 surviving cars.
After lap 75, DePalma regained the lead from Louis Chevrolet, who resumed the race after a 20-minute repair, replacing the right steering knuckle, tie-rod, and wheel. The three
Frontenac team cars all suffered from constant wheel hub, chassis, and steering problems. In completing the 80th lap, Gaston Chevrolet stopped at the pits. Louis Chevrolet must
have taken the wheel of Gaston's Frontenac but the timekeepers changed Gaston's car to Louis' car for the rest of the race and vice versa. DePalma was still in first place with
the leaders in the following order after 80 laps, 200 miles
|1.||De Palma (Packard)||2h08m31.50s|
|2.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||2h09m16.80s||in Gaston's car|
|7.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot||2h17m11.00s|
|9.||G. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||2h17m46.30s||in Louis' car|
At the end of 90 laps or 225 miles, DePalma was in the lead after 2h24m15.90s, two minutes ahead of Wilcox, followed by Cooper another two minutes back, then Louis Chevrolet, LeCocq,
Hearne, Gaston Chevrolet, Boillot, D'Alene and Goux, the first ten cars.
Louis LeCocq driving a Roamer, who held fifth place on lap 90, burst a worn tire on lap 96 in the second turn when the car spun with its rear into the outer wall and overturned. The
fuel tank broke on impact and the Roamer immediately burst into flames with driver and mechanic, Robert Bandini, covered with burning gasoline, trapped inside the overturned car,
burning five minutes before guards and spectators could put out the fire. Meanwhile the burning gas ran down over the inclined track and several of the speeding cars were compelled
to dash through the blaze. The accident was one of the most serious in the history of the track. The emergency patrol came after more than five minutes with physicians, and willing
hands lifted the blackened metal that had once been a handsome white racer. There under the frame were the charred remains of LeCocq and Bandini. The first half of the race produced
a new track record, but thereafter the pace slackened greatly. DePalma was still in first place with the order as follows after 100 laps, 250 miles:
|1.||De Palma (Packard)||2h40m18.40s|
|3.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||2h45m27.75s||in Gaston's car|
|6.||G. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||2h49m52.50s||in Louis' car|
|7.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot||2h51m26.50s|
De Palma stopped at the pits at the end of the 100th lap to change tires all around. It emerged that he had a broken valve spring and lost many laps while mechanics worked on his car.
DePalma finally rejoined in tenth position after losing 25 miles. With 17 cars still in the race after 110 laps or 275 miles, Wilcox now held the lead after 2h58m57.20s, followed by
Cooper 3h05m29.95s, Hearne 3h05m34.60s, Gaston Chevrolet 3h06m41.90s, Boillot 3h09m03.85s, D'Alene 3h12m28.65s, Guyot 3h12m35.90s, Goux 3h12m58.30s, Alley (Bender) 3h14m23.15s, and
DePalma 3h15m26.40s who had dropped to tenth place, followed by Vail (Hudson), Hickey (Stickle), Thomas (Ballot), Shannon (Shannon), driven by Steege, L. Chevrolet (Frontenac),
Haibe (Hudson), and last was Howard (Peugeot) 2h54m48.35s.
After his pit stop on lap 100, DePalma in the fastest car was able to regain a lot of ground. At the 300-mile mark, he was already seventh. Wilcox was still in first place after
120 laps, 300 miles:
|2.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||3h23m25.45s||in Gaston's car|
|5.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot||3h26m24.80s|
|7.||De Palma (Packard)||3h31m56.85s|
After 120 laps, Wilbur D'Alene broke an axle on that lap and retired his Duesenberg while in 8th position when 16 cars were still in the race. After 300 miles or lap 120, Guyot was
relieved by teammate Louis Wagner, who had retired earlier in the race. Wagner narrowly averted an accident when his car collided with the wall, swinging him out of his course somewhat,
but he kept the car under control and continued.
After 130 laps or 325 miles, Wilcox was in the lead with a time of 3h35m27.75s, followed by Gaston Chevrolet, Hearne, Boillot, DePalma, Goux, Alley, Guyot, Vail, Cooper, Hickey, Thomas,
L. Chevrolet, Haibe, Shannon, and last was Howard (Peugeot) in 5h18m28.85s. On lap 130, Ray Howard retired his Peugeot with loss of oil pressure. After 140 laps DePalma had passed
Boillot for fourth place. Wilcox was still in first place when the leaders were in the following order after 140 laps, 350 miles:
|2.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||3h57m13.10s||in Gaston's car|
|4.||De Palma (Packard)||4h03m07.80s|
|5.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot||4h04m17.95s|
|8.||Guyot (Ballot)||4h09m47.65s||relieved by Wagner|
After 150 laps or 375 miles, Wilcox was leading after 4h08m27.55s, followed by Hearne 4h16m23.50s and DePalma third in 4h19m38.25s, followed by Goux, Boillot, Gaston Chevrolet, Alley, Guyot,
Cooper, Vail, Hickey, L. Chevrolet, Haibe, Thomas and last was Shannon, driven by Steege in 4h48m08.25s.
After 160 laps, DePalma had stopped at the pits to replace a front wheel bearing and rejoined in 13th place, more than 38 minutes behind the leader. Speedway officials admitted the electronic
scoring device had run ahead of them and they were attempting to catch up. Louis Chevrolet earlier had relieved Gaston Chevrolet and was in fifth place. Wilcox was still in first place after
4h25m31.16s, when the leaders were in the following order after 160 laps, 400 miles:
|3.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot||4h40m03.60s|
|5.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||4h42m09.30s||in Gaston's car|
After 170 laps or 425 miles, Wilcox was in the lead after 4h42m57.15s, followed by Hearne 4h50m31.00s, Goux 4h57m26.30s, Boillot 5h00m54.15s, Guyot 5h03m03.35s, Alley (Bender) 5h09m31.85s,
Gaston Chevrolet 5h09m38.25s, Vail 5h13m28.00s, L. Chevrolet 5h19m03.20s, Hickey 5h18m52.65s, Cooper 5h20m36.35s, DePalma 5h20m42.70s, Thomas 5h23m58.35s, Shannon, driven by Steege
5h31m12.90s and 15st was Haibe (Hudson) 5h37m21.60s. At the 450-mile mark Wilcox was leading with the order as follows after 180 laps, 450 miles:
|4.||Boillot (Baby Peugeot||5h18m24.40s|
|8.||De Palma (Packard)||5h37m27.90s|
|9.||L. Chevrolet (Frontenac)||5h37m37.90s||in Gaston's car|
The real race was between Louis Chevrolet and DePalma for eighth and ninth place. Lap after lap they fought, DePalma coming up from his stop to replace a wheel bearing and Chevrolet
fighting to make up time after stop for more repairs. At 190 laps Wilcox was leading after 5h22m35.65s, followed by Hearne 5h26m20.10s, Goux 5h31m42.40s, Boillot 5h35m54.75s, Guyot
5h38m38.55s, Alley 5h46m12.85s, Vail 5h53m42.90s, DePalma 5h53m58.30s, L. Chevrolet 5h53m58.75s, Hickey 5h56m01.60s, Gaston Chevrolet 6h00m20.90s, Thomas 6h00m48.00, Cooper 6h02m58.60s,
Shannon, driven by Steege, 6h12m14.65s and last was Haibe 6h15m33.90s. On lap 195, Boillot crashed his Baby Peugeot when a front tire collapsed. Boillot and his mechanic McKee were
tossed out when their car turned over but escaped with slight injuries.
At the end of the last lap, when Howdy Wilcox passed the checkered flag from the overhead bridge, the grandstands crowd went totally wild with excitement, one of the American boys had
won after 5h40m42.87s at an average down to 88.6 mph. Almost four minutes later finished Eddie Hearne (Durant Special) in second place. Nearly five minutes back was Goux (Peugeot) who
crossed the line in third place, a further six minutes later finished Guyot (Ballot) as fourth, possibly with Wagner at the wheel. After just less than ten minutes, finished Tom Alley
(Bender Special) in fifth place. The close battle between DePalma and Louis Chevrolet brought the grandstands to their feet time after time, this after the race had been won already half
an hour earlier. DePalma crossed the finish line in sixth place, four inches ahead of Louis Chevrolet. So close was the finish that only a re-check of the timing tape could determine who
got in first. In the re-check, DePalma, who had been given sixth, unofficially, first was seventh and then sixth. Some results showed Denny Hickey in 8th place, which was a mistake by
time keeping. Ira Vail was eighth and Hickey ninth. In tenth place finished Gaston Chevrolet in Louis' Frontenac. Following the race, Ira Vail filed a protest with timing and scoring
and asked for a recheck of the tape. His claim was that he was not credited with certain laps. When the recheck was made it was found that Vail had not been given credit for five laps
between the 154th and 159th laps. It made a difference of 29.15 minutes. The mistake was made when a checker miscalled the laps during the progress of the race.
Prizes to the winners were $100 per mile, total of $50,000 divided among the first ten to finish. Howdy Wilcox cashed the $20,000 first prize plus a number of rich accessory awards.
Eddie Hearne won $10,000 for second place, Jules Goux collected $5,000 for third place, Albert Guyot $3,500 for fourth place, Tom Alley $3,000 for fifth place, Ralph DePalma $2,200 for
sixth place, Louis Chevrolet received $1,800 for seventh place, Ira Vail $1,600 for eighth place, Denny Hickey $1500 for ninth place, Gaston Chevrolet $1,400 for tenth place.
|1.||3||Howdy Wilcox||Indianapolis Motor Speedway Peugeot||275 c. in.||4.5||S-4||200||5h40m42.87s - 88.06 mph|
|2.||14||Eddie Hearne||R. Cliff Durant||Durant Special||299 c. in.||4.9||S-4||200||5h44m29.05s - 89.08 mph|
|3.||6||Jules Goux||Indianapolis Motor Speedway Peugeot||275 c. in.||4.5||S-4||200||5h49m06.18s - 85.93 mph|
|4.||32||Albert Guyot/Louis Wagner||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in.||4.9||S-8||200||5h55m16.27s - 84.44 mph|
|5.||26||Tom Alley||Ahlberg Bearing Co.||Bender Special||289 c. in.||4.8||S-4||200||6h05m03.92s - 82.18 mph|
|6.||4||Ralph DePalma||Packard Motor Car Co.||Packard||299 c. in.||4.9||V-12||200||6h10m10.64s - 81.04 mph|
|7.||7||Louis/Gaston Chevrolet||Frontenac Motors||Frontenac||300 c. in.||4.9||S-4||200||6h10m10.92s - 81.04 mph|
|8.||27||Ira Vail||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in.||4.8||S-6||200||6h12m42.00s - 80.49 mph|
|9.||21||Denny Hickey||A.C. Stickle||Stickle||289 c. in.||4.8||S-6||200||6h13m57.24s - 80.22 mph|
|10.||41||Gaston/Louis Chevrolet||Frontenac Motors||Frontenac||300 c. in.||4.9||S-4||200||6h17m21.79s - 79.50 mph|
|11.||31||René Thomas||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in.||4.9||S-8||200||6h21m10.92s - 78.70 mph|
|12.||8||Earl Cooper||Earl Cooper||Stutz||299 c. in.||4.9||S-4||200||6h21m35.05s - 78.62 mph|
|13.||23||Elmer Shannon/F.T. Steege||Elmer T. Shannon||Masaba||299 c. in.||4.9||S-4||200||6h30m50.75s - 76.76 mph|
|14.||17||Ora Haibe||Hudson Motor Car Co.||Hudson||289 c. in.||4.8||S-6||200||6h34m28.09s - 76.05 mph|
|DNF||37||André Boillot||Jules Goux||Baby Peugeot||150 c. in.||2.5||S-4||195||crashed|
|DNF||48||Ray Howard||Alphonse G. Kaufman||Peugeot||275 c. in.||4.5||S-4||130||oil pressure|
|DNF||22||Wilbur D'Alene||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||120||broken axle|
|DNF||15||Louis LeCocq||Roscoe Sarles||Roamer||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||97||fatal crash|
|DNF||29||Art Klein||Arthur H. Klein||Peugeot||275 c. in||4.5||S-4||72||broken oil line|
|DNF||19||Chas. Kirkpatrick||Frank P. Book||Detroit||254 c. in.||4.5||S-4||70||broken connecting rod|
|DNF||10||Eddie O'Donnell||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||60||piston|
|DNF||33||Paul Bablot/Jean Chassagne||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in.||4.9||S-8||63||crash by Chassagne|
|DNF||12||Kurt Hitke||Roscoe Sarles||Roamer||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||57||broken connecting rod|
|DNF||1||Cliff Durant||R. Cliff Durant||Stutz||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||54||steering gear|
|DNF||9||Tommy Milton||Duesenberg Brothers||Duesenberg||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||50||broken connecting rod|
|DNF||18||Arthur Thurman||Arthur Thurman||Thurman Special||299 c. in||4.9||S-4||44||fatal crash|
|DNF||34||Louis Wagner||Ernest Ballot||Ballot||296 c. in.||4.9||S-8||44||broken wheel|
|DNF||43||Omar Toft||Omar Toft||Darco Special||289 c. in.||4.8||S-4||44||broken connecting rod|
|DNF||2||Ralph Mulford||Ralph Mulford||Frontenac||300 c. in.||4.9||S-4||37||broken driveshaft|
|DNF||36||J.J. McCoy||J.J. McCoy||McCoy Special||293 c. in.||4.9||S-4||37||broken oil line|
|DNF||39||Joe Boyer||Frontenac Motors||Frontenac||300 c. in.||4.9||S-4||30||broken rear axle|
|DNF||5||W.W. Brown||C.L. Richards||Richards Special||288 c. in.||4.8||S-6||11||broken connecting rod|
|DNF||28||Roscoe Sarles||Barney Oldfield||Oldfield Special||289 c. in.||4.8||S-4||11||broken rocker arm|
Fastest lap was not timed.|
Winner's average speed: - 88.05 mph (141.7 km/h).
Fastest lap in time trials: Louis Chevrolet (Frontenac) 1m27.37s = 103.01 mph (165.8 km/h).
Weather: hot, dry.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Motor Age, Chicago
San Francisco Cronicle, San Francisco
The Boston Globe, Boston
The Indianapolis News, Indianapolis
The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis
Special thanks to: