Brilli Peri (Ballot)Materassi (Itala)Cesaroni (Mercedes)


Perugia (I), 24 May 1925.
18 laps x 16.4 km (10.19 mi) = 295.2 km (183.4 mi).


Category over 2000 cc
1Guido GinaldiG. GinaldiAlfa RomeoRLTF 243.0S-6
2Anselmo CesaroniA. CesaroniMercedesGP 19144.5S-4
Angelo RuggeriA. RuggeriAlfa RomeoRL TF 233.0S-6DNS - did not start
4Emilio MaterassiE. MaterassiItala Special5.8S-4
5Luigi Nardi PelagalliL. Nardi PelagalliAlfa RomeoRL3.0S-6
Ugo TarabusiU. TarabusiFast3.0S-4DNA - did not appear
7Gino GiniG. GiniAlfa RomeoES4.2S-6
8Gastone Brilli PeriG. Brilli PeriBallotIndy 19194.9S-8
Category 1501 to 2000 cc
9Pietro AnselmiP. AnselmiOM6652.0S-6
Guido CanestrariG. CanestrariOM2.0S-6DNA - did not appear
Ludovico De GobbisL. De GobbisDiatto20S2.0S-4DNA - did not appear
Gino MinciottiG. MinciottiBugattiT302.0S-8DNA - did not appear
Carlo MasettiCount C. MasettiBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
14Domenico AntonelliCount D. AntonelliBugattiT35 2.0S-8
Ferruccio ZanirattiF. ZanirattiBugattiT302.0S-8DNA - did not appear
Diego De SterlichMarquis D. De SterlichDiatto2.0S-4DNS- did not start
Category 1101 to 1500 cc
Pietro AnselmiP. AnselmiOM4691.5S-4DNS - start with 2000
Vasco SbraciV. SbraciChiribiri12/16 Monza S1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Guido CiriaciG. CiriaciBugattiT13 "Brescia"1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Gino CompagnoniG. CompagnoniBugatti1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Umberto SidoliU. SidoliFiat501 S1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Roberto SerboliR. SerboliChiribiri12/16 Monza C1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
23Pasquale CroceP. CroceBugattiT221.5S-4
Pio Tavanti TorrianiP. Tavanti TorrianiBugattiT13 "Brescia"1.5S-4
Luigi TattiniL. TattiniFiat501 S1.5S-4
26Luigi SpinozziL. SpinozziBugattiT13 "Brescia"1.5S-4
Ardicino Della PortaA. Della PortaFiat501 SS1.5S-4
28Alfredo BerrettaA. BerrettaAurea400 SC1.5S-4
Cesare FontaniC. FontaniFiat5011.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Giovanni NegroG. NegroChiribiri12/16 Monza S1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Edoardo WeberE. WeberFiat5011.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Category 500 to 1100 cc
Sandro RicciS. RicciAmilcar1.1S-4
Baconin BorzacchiniB. BorzacchiniSalmsonGS AL31.1S-4
Abele ClericiA. ClericiSalmsonGS AL31.1S-4
Guglielmo LagorioG. LagorioAmilcarCS1.1S-4
Roberto TortinaR. TortinaAmilcarCGS1.1S-4
Luigi FagioliL. FagioliSalmsonGP1.1S-4

Brilli Peri wins the Coppa della Perugina

by Hans Etzrodt
The race at Perugia attracted 36 entries which were divided into four categories. The six large cars over 2000 cc were the center of interest, but mainly the battle between Brilli Peri (4.9-L Ballot) and Materassi (5.8-L Itala). They finished the 18-lap race in this order ahead of Cesaroni (Mercedes), Ginaldi (Alfa Romeo), Croce (Bugatti), Nardi Pelagalli (Alfa Romeo), Spinozzi (Bugatti), the three Salmsons of Clerici, Borzacchini and Fagioli and Tortina (Amilcar) as 11th finisher. Amongst the nine retirements was the fast Bugatti of Count Antonelli who had held third place for over 15 laps.
The Coppa della Perugina had been held since 1924 making this the second event, organized again by the Automobile Club di Perugia with support by the ACI. It took place on the classic 16.400 km Circuit of Perugia, one of the most beautiful in Italy on the Piano di Marziano route, which passed Fontivegge Station, San Sisto, Strozzacapponi, Ellera, Olmo, the Ferro di Cavallo turn and back to the start and finish. It had to be lapped 18 times for a total of 295.200 km. The 36 entries were divided into four categories, up to 1100 cc, 1101 to1500 cc, 1501 to 2000 cc and over 2000 cc.
      The race had a prize fund of 50,000 lire. The overall winner received 25,000 lire. The first in each category received 5,000 lire, the second 2,500 and third 1,300. The prize for the fastest lap was 1,000 lire.
On Saturday from 4 to 10 PM was general practice of all the competitors. The popular race attracted 36 Italian entries, however only 20 of them appeared at the start. One of the favorites was the popular Emilio Materassi in the 5.8-L Itala Special, who had won the first event in 1924. Just as popular was Brilli Peri with the 4.9-L Indianapolis winning Ballot. The 2-Liter Bugatti of Count Antonelli was also a candidate for one of the leading positions. The Materassi's Special had only a few Itala parts (clutch, gearbox, transmission), so to call it an Itala 55 Special, as it is often done, is misleading. The car had a custom-built chassis and suspension. It was called an Itala for publicity reasons as Materassi owned the Itala agency in Florence. The engine was half of a V8 Hispano-Suiza aircraft engine, so the capacity was about 5.8 liters. The source of the figure of precisely 4722cc to be found in contemporary motor sport literature is a mystery. This is explained in Alessandro Silva's article about Italian aero-engined specials, which was published in The Automobile magazine.
      According to the reports, there was just one starter in the 2000 cc category, which was Count Antonelli in a Bugatti. However, Pietro Anselmi started with a 2000 cc type 665 OM according to OM documents but the entry lists in the various reports show Anselmi's OM entered in the 1500 category. Either Anselmi, who was the OM agent in Rome, or OM had sent two entries. He usually raced 1500 and 2-litre OM cars without preference. The most lamented absence was that of Count Carlo Masetti, who although he was in Perugia, was unable to start since he did not to have the car ready.
      From 15 entries in the 1500 cc category started only six cars. Croce in a 16-valve T22 Bugatti was the favorite while Spinozzi and Tavanti Torriani raced with Bugatti T13 "Brescia" Types.
      The 1100 cc cyclecar category comprised six cars of which the favorites were the Salmsons of Clerici, Borzacchini and Fagioli. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report.
A few cannon shots, at precisely 8.30 am announced the closure of the circuit while the drivers had already lined up at the finish line, two cars per row besides the Commissioner general Stuart Gallenga and other officials. Each category was to start separately with 2-minute intervals to the next.
Category over 2000 cc: Ginaldi (Alfa Romeo), Materassi (Itala Spl.), Nardi Pelagalli (Alfa Romeo), Cesaroni (Mercedes), Gini (Alfa Romeo) and Brilli Peri (Ballot).
Category 2000 cc: only Antonelli (Bugatti) and Anselmi (2000 OM).
Category 1500 cc: Tattini (Fiat), Della Porta (Fiat), Spinazzi (Bugatti), Torriani Tavanti (Bugatti), Berretta (Aurea) and Croce (Bugatti).
Category 1100 cc: Clerici (Salmson), Lagorio (Amilcar), Fagioli (Salmson), Borzacchini (Salmson), Tortina (Amilcar) and Ricci (Amilcar).
      Exactly at 8:40 AM as a few drops of rain began to fall, the starter commentatore Giovanni Buitoni lowered the flag, releasing the cars of the over 2000 cc category. The applause by the crowd was drowned out by the loud thunder of the six large cars launched into the race. After the short interval the 2-Liter cars of Antonelli and Anselmi started, followed after another break by the 1500 group and then the 1100 cc cars.
      Brilli Peri (Ballot) led the first lap, followed by Materassi (Itala Spl.) and Cesaroni (Mercedes) who was not that fast. Della Porta retired his Fiat at the ferro di cavallo turn where he came to a stop due to broken engine bearings. Tavanti Torriani (1500 Bugatti) also retired on the first lap. Tortina (Amilcar) and Fagioli (Salmson) stopped at the pits at the end of the lap, one for spark plugs the other for a tire.
      On the second lap Brilli Peri made a lap in 8m58.4s at 109.658 km/h average, still leading Materassi, Ginaldi (Alfa Romeo) and Antonelli (Bugatti), who had passed Nardi (Alfa Romeo). Croce (1500 Bugatti) and Clerici (1100 Salmson) were leading their categories. Anselmi (2000 OM) retired on the second lap.
      On the third lap Brilli Peri was followed by Materassi and Antonelli. Materassi did his best lap in 9m01s and Antonelli 9m22s. The 1500 category was led by Croce (Bugatti) followed by Spinozzi (Bugatti) and Berretta (Aurea). Ricci (Salmson) drove superbly but came to a stop after two laps when defective spark plugs forced him to retire.
      On the fourth lap Brilli Peri raised his pace with a lap of 103.325 km/h average race speed. The field was down to 16 cars with the following times of the leading group after five laps:
1.Brilli Peri (Ballot)47m31.2sover 2000 cc
2.Materassi (Itala Spl)49m16.4sover 2000 cc
3.Antonelli (Bugatti)49m25.8s2000 cc
4.Ginaldi (Alfa Romeo)50m20.0sover 2000 cc
5.Croce (Bugatti)53m19.8s1500 cc
6.Clerici (Salmson)59m02.2s1100 cc

Brilli Peri made the sixth lap at 108.421 km/h average speed and led Materassi by 1m49s with Antonelli in third place, who had a significant advantage over Ginaldi. After making his fast lap, Brilli Peri slowed his pace. Gini (Alfa Romeo) retired on the 7th lap and Berretta (Aurea) did so likewise on lap nine.
      The individual times after the 10th lap showed Antonelli with a time of 1h32m26.8s, which would have placed him in the lead. This was suspicious, an obvious mistake, as it was nowhere mentioned that Antonelli led the race at any time. For that reason, the time was changed from 32 to 36 minutes which placed Antonelli correctly in third place, as described in the reports. The field was down to 14 cars with the leaders in the following order after 10 laps:
1.Brilli Peri (Ballot)1h33m25.0sover 2000 cc
2.Materassi (Itala Spl)1h35m07.6sover 2000 cc
3.Antonelli (Bugatti)1h36m26.8s2000 cc
4.Ginaldi (Alfa Romeo)1h39m33.0sover 2000 cc
5.Cesaroni (Mercedes)1h42m21.6sover 2000 cc
6.Croce (Bugatti)1h46m15.0s1500 cc
7.Clerici (Salmson)1h51m55.0s1100 cc
8.Borzacchini (Samson)2h04m24.6s1100 cc

Tattini (Fiat) retired after ten laps with a carburetion problem. Brilli Peri completed the 12th lap in 8m58s at an average speed of 109.658 km/h, which stood as the fastest lap of the race. Lagoro (Amilcar) retired on the 13th lap. Clerci punctured two tires on the 13th and 14th laps and broke the accelerator spring, but still kept the lead in his category ahead of Borzacchini and Fagioli.
      During the 17th lap, Antonelli in third place behind Materassi and the "leader" Brilli Peri, retired the Bugatti at the beginning of lap 18 due to irreparable gearbox failure. Cesaroni then advanced to third place.
      The race was now decided and the spectators waited for the arrival of the winner who was greeted by thunderous applause of the crowd, hailing the triumph of Brilli Peri who had not stopped during the race.
      Nardi Pelagalli (Alfa Romeo) exceeded the allowable time with 3h24m37.6s and did not classify.



1.8Gastone Brilli PeriG. Brilli PeriBallotIndy 19194.9S-8182h46m14.8s
2.4Emilio MaterassiE. MaterassiItala Special5.8S-4182h49m21.6s+ 3m06.8s
3.2Anselmo CesaroniA. CesaroniMercedesGP 19144.5S-4183h01m55.0s+ 15m40.2s
4.1Guido GinaldiG. GinaldiAlfa RomeoRLTF 243.0S-6183h03m39.6s+ 17m24.8s
5.23Pasquale CroceP. CroceBugattiT221.5S-4183h11m03.8s+ 24m49.0s
6.26Luigi SpinozziL. SpinozziBugattiT13 "Brescia"1.5S-4183h25m25.0s+ 39m10.2s
7.Abele ClericiA. ClericiSalmsonGS AL31.1S-4183h30m19.2s+ 44m04.4s
8Baconin BorzacchiniB. BorzacchiniSalmsonGS AL31.1S-4183h42m24.6s+ 56m09.8s
9.Luigi FagioliL. FagioliSalmsonGP1.1S-4183h47m11.8s+ 1h00m57.0s
10.Roberto TortinaR. TortinaAmilcarCGS1.1S-4183h55m39.4s+ 1h09m24.6s
DNC5Luigi Nardi PelagalliL. Nardi PelagalliAlfa RomeoRL3.0S-618exceeded max. time 
DNF14Domenico AntonelliCount D. AntonelliBugattiT352.0S-817gearbox 
DNFGuglielmo LagorioG. LagorioAmilcarCS1.1S-412  
DNFLuigi TattiniL. TattiniFiat501 S1.5S-410  
DNF28Alfredo BerrettaA. BerrettaAurea400 SC1.5S-48  
DNF7Gino GiniG. GiniAlfa RomeoES4.2S-66  
DNFSandro RicciS. RicciSalmson1.1S-42spark plugs 
DNF9Pietro AnselmiP. AnselmiOM6652.0S-61  
DNFArdicino Della PortaA. Della PortaFiat501 SS1.5S-40engine bearing 
DNFPio Tavanti TorrianiT. Tavanti TorrianiBugattiT13 "Brescia"1.5S-40  
Fastest lap over 2000 cc: Gastone Billi Peri (Ballot) on lap 12 in 8m58.4s = 109.7 km/h (68.1 mph) (Note 1).
Fastest lap 2000 cc: Domenico Antonelli (Bugatti), no time issued.
Fastest lap 1500 cc: Pasquale Croce (Bugatti) on lap 17 in 10m19.8s = 95.3 km/h (59.2 mph).
Fastest lap 1100 cc: Abele Clerici (Salmson) in 10m46.6s = 91.3 km/h (56.7 mph).
Winner's average speed over 2000 cc, Billi Peri: 106.5 km/h (66.2 mph).
Winner's average speed, 1500 cc, Croce: 92.7 km/h (57.6 mph).
Winner's average speed 1100 cc, Clerici: 84.2 km/h (52.3 mph).
Weather: dry and warm.
In retrospect:
Nardi Pelagalli finished 38m22.8s after the category winner Brilli Peri, by which he exceeded the time allowance and was not classified. So, we reasoned that the maximum time allowance must have been 30 or 35 minutes after each category winner. But that was nowhere published in our sources.

The timekeepers evidently had a problem keeping track of 20 cars. Hence, intermediate times were published only twice in one source but incomplete and the reports were brief and incomplete. The finishing times after 18 laps varied between the sources and we hope to have selected the correct ones.

1. The official fastest lap time was just 8m58s but the published speed 109.659 km/h corresponds to 8m58.4s.

Primary sources researched for this article:
ACI - rivista, Torino
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Assalto, Perugia
Messaggero, Roma
Special thanks to:
Giuseppe Prisco
Alessandro Silva
Michael Müller
Giuseppe Prisco: Coppa della Perugina book

DePaolo (Duesenberg)Lewis (Miller)Schafer (Duesenberg)


Indianapolis Speedway (USA), 30 May 1925 (Saturday).
200 laps x 2.5 mi (4.023 km) = 500 mi (804.67 km)


1Dave LewisCliff DurantJunior 8 SpecialMiller FWD2.0S-8
2Earl CooperCliff DurantJunior 8Miller2.0S-8
3Bennett HillHarry MillerMiller Special2.0S-8
4Tommy MiltonT. MiltonMiller Special2.0S-8
5Fred ComerHarry HartzMiller Special2.0S-8
6Harry HartzHarry HartzMiller Special2.0S-8
7Milton C. JonesH. J. SkellySkelly SpecialFord T/Fronty-Ford2.0S-4
8Ralph DePalmaR. DePalmaMiller Special2.0S-8
9Phil ShaferP. ShaferDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-8
10Jules EllingboeJerry WonderlichMiller Special2.0S-8
11XXXXDNA - did not appear
12Pete DePaoloP. DePaoloDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-8
13Tom AlleyT. AlleyKess-Line SpecialFrontenacDNQ - did not qualify
14Bob McDonoghTommy MiltonMiller Special2.0S-8
15William 'Doc' ShattucDr.Wm. E. ShattucMiller Special2.0S-8
16Lora L. CorumL. L. CorumMillerSpecial2.0S-8DNS - practice crash
17Ralph HepburnEarl CooperMiller Special2.0S-8
18Harry ThickstenH. ThickstenSmith SpecialDNQ - did not qualify
19Ira VailReginald J. JohnsonR. J. SpecialMiller2.0S-8
20XXXXDNA - did not appear
21Bennett HillB. HillMiller FWDSpecial2.0S-8WD - car withdrawn
22Pietro BordinoP. BordinoFiatSpecial2.0S-8
23Wade MortonAntoine MourreDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-8
24Earl DeVoreBancroft & PopeMillerSpecial2.0S-8
25XXXXDNA - did not appear
26XXXXDNA - did not appear
27Frank ElliottRichard DoyleMillerSpecial2.0S-8
28Leon DurayHarry HartzMillerSpecial2.0S-8
29Herbert JonesH. JonesJones-WhitakerSpecial (Miller)2.0S-8
30XXXXDNA - did not appear
31XXXXDNA - did not appear
32Carl Greenor Clarence BeltFordSpecial2.0S-4DNQ - did not qualify
33Charles ShambaughC. ShambaughShambaughHosier SpecialDNQ - did not qualify
34Nick EckerleJ. HulesmanRotarySpecialDNQ - did not qualify
35Peter KreisP. KreisDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-8

DePaolo in Duesenberg sets new Indianapolis Record

by Hans Etzrodt
For the 13th International 500 Mile Sweepstakes at Indianapolis, 22 cars met on Memorial Day for a battle between Duesenberg with 4 cars and Miller with 16 including Specials. Bordino in a modified Fiat and the Skelly Special based on a Model T Ford chassis were also part of the battle. As a spectacle none of the 12 preceding International 500-mile speedway races could have matched the tenseness and the thrills of this the 13th and safest of them all. The yellow Duesenberg of Peter dePaolo and his relief driver Norm Batten won in record time at 101.13 mph, which would stand for 7 years. In second place was the first front wheel drive car at the Indy 500, a Miller that was renamed 'Junior 8'and driven by Dave Lewis and Benny Hill. Phil Shafer in a green Duesy Special came third. Harry Hartz was fourth, followed by Tommy Milton, Leon Duray and Ralph DePalma, all in Millers. The Duesenberg of Peter Kreis finished eighth and a horde of Miller Specials were the remaining finishers. The only foreign car was the privately entered Fiat 805 with a single seater body. It finished tenth, driven by Pietro Bordino and his relief driver Antoine Mourre. A total of 13 cars finished and only nine retired.
The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race was held on May 30, Memorial Day which was a national holiday. Contemporary European magazines referred to this event as the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The inclusion of the premier American race gave the newly formed World Championship the character of a true World Championship. However, only the AAZ (Vienna) mentioned Indianapolis as the first race of the World Championship series. For their part, the American press did not mention the World Championship in their reports. To assure participation of European cars, Indianapolis Circuit Director Pop Meyers undertook a special trip to Europe to persuade European factories to take part in the 500. But in the end, he returned with dashed hopes. However, Bordino had brought his Fiat to America in 1924 and stayed until May 30 the following year to contest the Indianapolis race.
      In 1909 the entire 2.5 mile Indianapolis Speedway circuit had been surfaced with bricks. Although it had a smooth surface at the time, this was no longer the case in 1925 due to deterioration over the years. For the first time in the history of the Speedway, tire manufacturers had refused to build the old standard, high-pressure race tire, and had equipped practically all of the cars entered with Firestone balloon type, or low-pressure tires. Contrary to the general opinion before the race, the balloons held up remarkably well and the two or three blowouts experienced did not result in serious injury to the drivers.
      Prize money of $50,000 was allocated to the first ten cars classified, with $20,000 for first, $10,000 for second, 5,000 for third, 3,500 for fourth, 3,000 for fifth, 2,200 for sixth, 1,800 for seventh, 1,600 for eighth, 1,500 for ninth and 1,400 for tenth. The leader of each lap received a $100 bonus ($20,000) and there were various consolation prizes for the drivers which brought the total to $85,000.
The American cars were narrow single-seaters with a body width of less than the required 80 cm - 31.5 in and therefore did not comply with the official AIACR rules. Another difference was in the weight, since AAA rules stated a minimum weight of 1,400 lb - 635 kg - versus the AIACR formula rule of 650 kg - 1433 lb. The lightest American car however, was probably the FWD Miller, which weighed 662 kg. The American cars ran to the 2-Liter formula equivalent to 122 ci maximum engine capacity.
      The Junior 8 front-wheel-drive car was a center of interest from the start because it was the first time such a car raced at Indianapolis. It was the latest design by Miller. Another front drive Miller had been entered by Harry Miller, the veteran builder of racing cars, and was to be driven by Bennett Hill. But Hill found this car not to his liking and with the consent of his fellow drivers he was permitted to start in a regular rear drive Miller. The FWD car assigned to him was then withdrawn. All other Millers were rear drive.
      A Duesenberg driven by Lora Corum and his relief driver Joe Boyer won the 1924 race and DePaolo finished sixth in a sister car. For 1925 the Duesenberg factory entered two cars, both Specials, a yellow car for Peter DePaolo, the nephew of Ralph DePalma, and a similar car for Phil Shafer which was green. Peter Kreis drove his own Duesenberg and Wade Morton drove one owned by Antoine Mourre.
      Remarks are in place to explain some of those odd 'Specials' when a car's name was changed for one reason or another. The Skelly Special, driven by Milton Jones, was named after its entrant H. J. Skelly. This is one of those typical cases of a one-race 'Special' for Indianapolis, which used a modified Ford Model T chassis replete with a Frontenac engine. Skelly was neither a 'constructor' nor a 'manufacturer' but merely an entrant. Ira Vail's Miller was another 'Special', a Miller car with a Miller chassis and a Miller engine. This car has gone into the history books as the R. J. Special, in recognition of its entrant R.J. Johnson. Reginald Johnson raced himself in some events of the 1925 AAA Championship trail but chose to enter his R.J. Special in no less than five other races for either Ira Vail or Jim Hill.
      Herbert Jones, who qualified the Jones-Whitaker Special on Tuesday the 26th, got under the wire by three days. He was 21 on May 23 and will be the "kid" driver in the race. According to AAA rules, all drivers must be at least 21.
      In 1924 Pietro Bordino had a Fiat 805 grand prix car shipped to the USA with 1,979 cc, straight 8-cylinder supercharged engine, producing nearly 150 hp. The car was furnished in the US with a monoposto body and raced at some Californian board tracks. He also entered the car at Indianapolis with help of his French relief driver Antoine Mourre. A list of all 35 entries is at the beginning of this report.
Time trials:
The minimum qualification speed was 85 mph this year instead of 80 mph, as had been the custom in the past. This means that the average for each of the four laps had to be 1m52.50s or 7m30s for the 10 miles.
      To make a time trial, drivers or entrants reported to starter Seth Klein at the starting wire when ready to make the trial. The driver brought the car to the starting wire and stopped until given the signal by the starter that the timers were ready and that the course was clear. Upon completing the trial, the driver had to stop at the starting wire to have the car stamped by the technical committee. Drivers who made 85 mph or more for the four laps were not entitled to any additional trials. Three trials were permitted if 85 mph was not attained. In making the trial, the driver was permitted a reasonable number of laps to warm up the engine but on starting his trial, he was required to signal to the starter by holding up his hand coming down the home stretch. If the red flag was not shown, the driver would understand that his trial had not started, due to the inability of the officials to see his signal and he would start his trial on the next lap.
      The time trials to qualify for the race began on Tuesday, May 26, between 1 and 5:00 PM when 18 drivers qualified. Milton's existing four-lap qualification record in 1923 was smashed by Cooper, Hartz, DePaolo and Leon Duray, (whose real name was James Stewart). Duray established a new four-lap record at a speed of 113.196 mph which earned him the No. 1 starting position. Peter DePaolo who qualified second, set the one-lap track record at 114.285 mph.
      By the end of Wednesday 21 cars had qualified after successful runs by DePalma (Miller), Vail (R.J. Spl.) and Corum (Miller). On Thursday, when McDonogh and Milton Jones qualified there were 23 starters. (Milton Jones and H.J. Skelly were mixed up in the reports!) Phil Shafer was the last to qualify on Friday in the #9 Duesenberg.
      A few starting numbers were scratched for which the drivers and cars were often unknown. The following drivers did not qualify at the time trials, were scratched or withdrew or a different driver started than the one who qualified, as was the case with the #7 Skelly. Albert Guyot had entered three of his Guyot cars, originally #10, #12 and #14. Since he did not appear, the numbers were reassigned to other entrants.
#3 Ray Cariens qualified the s/c Miller, but in the race Benny Hill drove the car.
#7 H. J. Skelly in a Skelly actually a Fronty-Ford did not qualify. But Milton Jones qualified on Thursday and drove it in the race. (Milton Jones and H.J. Skelly were mixed up in the reports!)
#9 Lora Corum in a Duesenberg did not qualify. Phil Shafer qualified the car on Friday, drove it and finished third.
#13 Tom Alley in a Kess Line Special, actually a Frontenac did not qualify.
#16 Lora Corum (the 1924 winner with Duesenberg), crashed his Miller Special in Friday practice. He drove as relief driver for Ralph de Palma.
#18 Harry Thicksten in a Smith Special, the car did not qualify and was scratched.
#21 Bennett Hill in the second FWD Miller, owned by Harry Miller, after qualifying he withdrew on Friday and drove his old rear drive Miller after obtaining consent from the other drivers.
#23 Antoine Mourre qualified his Duesenberg. In the race Wade Morton drove it.
#32 Carl Green or Clarence Belt in a 4-cylinder Super Ford Special did not qualify and was scratched.
#33 Charles Shambaugh in the Hoosier Special failed to qualify when a connecting rod broke and went through the casing on his second lap.
#34 Nick Eckerle, in a Rotary valve job Special, on its maiden appearance, did not qualify.
On the Friday before the race, a meeting of the drivers and crews was held in the press stand to announce the rules and regulations governing the contest. It was announced that to constitute a race, the winning car must complete at least 70% of the scheduled 500 miles, i.e. 350 miles. This ruling was made to safeguard against the possibility of rain. The ruling further qualified that the intermediate race points from 350 miles to 500 miles would be at intervals of 25 miles. In case it should be necessary to stop the contest, for example at 390 miles, the winner would be based on the standings at 375 miles. It was decided that the pacemaker of the lap before the flying start of the race should hold his speed down to sixty miles an hour.
Army airplanes flew overhead, American flags fluttered, and a band of nearly 1,000 members played stirring and patriotic music to celebrate Memorial Day on this Saturday morning at the race track. It was sunny and warm for the record crowd, estimate by Circuit Director Pop Meyers at 145,000 spectators.
      To pick a winner was a stab in the dark, merely a hit and miss proposition. Two former winners, DePalma and Milton (twice) were among the starters. Hepburn was driving the Miller Special in which Cooper finished second last year. It was one of the faster cars and had won the Charlotte 250-mile race over two weeks ago and might repeat it here. Corum crashed his Miller in Friday practice and did not start but was to serve as the relief driver for DePalma. The last car to qualify was the Duesenberg driven by Phil Shafer on Friday. It showed a speed of 103.522 mph and he started in last place. After Benny Hill had withdrawn his #21 FWD Miller, a field of only 22 starters lined up on the starting grid by order of their qualification records set during the time trials. Fast cars, like the one of DePalma in the sixth row with 108 mph were not placed in their 'natural' place on the grid. This was because he did not record that speed on the first day of the time trials. Cars that qualified on the first day were placed on the grid in order of their speed. Cars that qualified on the second day were placed after the first day qualifiers, even if, like de Palma, they were faster.
Pole Position









Junior 8























H. Jones








M. Jones




After the mechanics cranked up the cars the loud roar of the engines was heard, accompanied by a cloud of castor oil fumes. At 10 in the morning the starter, Seth Klein, signaled with his red flag and the Rickenbacker Eight roadster pace car with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker at the wheel, took off with the pack on its heels. First row starter DePaolo stalled his motor, and while mechanics frantically pushed him into gear, the field passed him and he fell behind in the pack. That first lap behind Rickenbacker did not count as a lap of the race. They followed him until he pulled off into the pits. When the drivers came around and flashed across the electric timing tape past the stands, the race was under way. DePaolo surprised the crowd with his Duesenberg in the lead, followed by Duray and Hart. As Rickenbacker's speed was relatively modest at 60 mph, DePaolo had been able to overtake cars and pull into his assigned spot on the grid. At the end of the first lap, which DePaolo made in 1m26.6s, he was leading the field with Duray second ahead of Cooper, Hartz and Lewis.
      On the fourth lap DePaolo was firmly in the lead followed by Duray, Cooper, Hartz and Hepburn, but Cooper soon passed Duray to take second place. Bordino in the Fiat stopped at the pits for 55 seconds to change spark plugs. His supercharger was the noisiest one in the pack. DePaolo had a 200 yard lead over Cooper. After 25 miles, 10 laps, DePaolo held the lead after a time of 14m24.09s. Cooper was still in second place, followed by Hartz, Duray, Lewis, Hepburn, Ellingboe, Shafer, Milton and Morton.
      All cars were fitted with new type balloon tires and as a result when the first 25 miles had been covered, drivers found that they had misjudged some of the riding qualities of their cars and were forced in the pits to readjust shock absorbers and change the tire pressure. Ralph DePalma spent 50 seconds in his pit to adjust shock absorbers and ease the agony of the rough bricks as did several other drivers as well. Alfred Moss (He later became Stirling's dad.) relieved Herbert Jones in the #29 Jones-Whitaker Miller. DePaolo covered the first 50 miles at 104.13 mph average speed and lapped Morton in tenth place. Cooper followed 14 seconds behind in second place. Elliott and Jones drew into the pits with spark plug trouble.
      Bordino in the Fiat had already fallen two laps behind. Bennett Hill stopped at the pits for 1m25s to adjust shock absorbers. Ellingboe sheered a key in the steering gear of his Miller Special and was the first to retire. Milton Jones in the #7 Skelly Special was the second driver to be relieved; his seat was taken by Fred Harder. After 75 miles the order was DePaolo, Cooper, Hartz, Lewis, Duray, Shafer, Hepburn, Morton, DeVore and Milton.
      The #7 Skelly headed for the pits again. Cooper was closing the gap to the leader, so the fight was still between the Duesenberg and the Miller. Ellingboe who had retired earlier, relieved Benny Hill in the Miller. Milton Jones was back at the wheel of the #7 Skelly. DePaolo completed the first 100 miles in 57m44.94s at an average speed of 103.89 mph after 40 laps with the top ten in the following order:
1.DePaolo (Duesenberg Special)
2.Cooper (Junior 8)
3.Hartz (Miller Special)
4.Shafer (Duesenberg Special)
5.Lewis (Junior 8)
6.Duray (Miller)
7.Hepburn (Miller Special)
8.DeVore (Miller)
9.Morton (Duesenberg)
10.Milton (Miller Special)

"Red" Shafer had come from sixth place to fourth in his Duesenberg. McDonogh stopped at the pits with a broken truss rod attached to the frame, and to refuel. Shafer then passed both Hartz and Cooper for second place. The race was now between Shafer and his teammate DePaolo. After 125 miles, 50 laps, the average speed was 103.87 mph. The two Duesenbergs raced lap after lap with less than two car lengths separating them and roared down the stretches in a thrilling duel. DePaolo did not relinquish the lead until the 55th lap. Shafer then passed DePaolo with the crowd cheering. On the following lap Shafer was 75 yards ahead. The Duesenberg contingent in the pits was happy at this time. Cooper's Miller in third place was a quarter of a mile behind. Bordino's Fiat was now three laps behind. After 150 miles, 60 laps, Shafer was leading after 1h26m22s and the average speed was 104.20 mph. DePaolo was second ahead of Cooper, Hartz, Lewis, Duray, Hepburn, Milton, Comer and Kreis tenth.
      The Skelly stopped at the pits once more. Duray fell to sixth place. Ellingboe, who was now driving Benny Hill's Miller, spun around three times at the north turn when his right rear tire let go and went flat. Ellingboe stopped for 1m28s at the pits for a new tire, gas and oil. When the car resumed the race Benny Hill had taken over his seat again. On lap 61 Ira Vail visited the pits. At that time DePaolo overtook Shafer and resumed the lead amid howls from the stands. Ira Vail retired when the R.J. Special dropped a connecting rod. When Hill's Miller was eliminated on lap 68, after 170 miles with a broken rear spring, he was ready to relieve Dave Lewis at the wheel of the FWD Junior 8 Miller. After 175 miles, 70 laps, DePaolo led at an average speed of 104.18 mph, followed by Shafer, Hartz, Lewis, Cooper, Duray, Hepburn, Milton, Bordino (ninth and three laps behind) and Morton in the #23 Duesenberg.
      Bordino stopped at the pits and Antoine Mourre, the owner of the #23 Duesenberg took his seat behind the wheel of the Fiat. Bordino had injured his hand and went to the track hospital. The Jones-Whitaker Miller, driven by Herb Jones, hit the wall and caught fire. Jones jumped out and escaped injury but the car was out of the race. Others reported that Herb Jones was seriously injured and brought to the track hospital. From the 22 drivers there were only 18 left in the race after 200 miles and 80 laps in 1h55m36.89s at an average of 103.79 mph. The order at this time was:
1.DePaolo (Duesenberg Special)
2.Hartz (Miller Special)
3.Lewis (Junior 8)
4.Duray (Miller)
5.Hepburn (Miller Special)
6.Shafer (Duesenberg Special)
7.Cooper (Junior 8)
8.Milton (Miller Special)
9.Kreis (Duesenberg Special)
10.Gleason driving for Morton (Duesenberg)

Hartz passed DePaolo on lap 86 but soon afterwards DePaolo repassed Hartz. Elliott stopped at the pits with tire trouble and Ora Haibe took Elliott's seat in the #27 Miller. DePaolo increased his lead over Lewis in the FWD Junior 8. DePalma was now six laps behind De Paolo. After 225 miles DePaolo led at 103.68 mph average ahead of Hartz, Cooper, Lewis, Hepburn, Duray, Shafer, Milton, Gleason (for Morton) and Kreis.
      Hartz stopped at the pits to replace the right rear tire. Shafer also stopped to replace the right rear tire. At the half-way mark, after 250 miles, the order was DePaolo, Lewis, Cooper, Hepburn, Duray, Shafer, Hartz, Milton, Gleason (for Morton) and Shattuc at an average speed of 103.48 mph after 2h24m59.31s, with 18 cars still in the running. Ellingboe, Skelly, Vail and Jones were the ones eliminated.
      Hartz hit the wall at the south turn when the right rear tire blew out. He was not hurt and the car was still in the race. On lap 106, after 265 miles, when DePaolo stopped for a new right rear tire, Lewis took the lead with his FWD Junior 8. Norm Batten was now driving for DePaolo who had his blistered hands bandaged. Batten, although driving skillfully, could not maintain the pace set by DePaolo and gradually the Duesenberg fell back. On lap 108 Hepburn was in the lead. Gleason (for Morton) driving Mourre's Duesenberg, stopped at the pits. After 275 miles the average speed had dropped to 102.10 mph in the order: Hepburn, Cooper, Shafer, Batten (for DePaolo), Lewis, Hartz, Milton, Gleason (for Morton), Kreis and DePalma.
      Comer relieved Duray when 18 cars were still in the race. Schultz relieved Earl DeVore in the Miller and DePalma went to the pits to be relieved by Lora Corum. Hepburn also went to the pits on his 116th lap. Ellingboe, who had retired the #10 Miller after 24 laps, was now driving Bennett Hill's #3 Miller Special and retired on his 68th lap with a broken rear spring and bearing trouble. Duray stopped to take on oil, gas and two tires in 30 seconds. After 300 miles, 120 laps, in 2h56m33.59s at an average of 101.95 mph the order was:
1.Hepburn (Miller Special)
2.Cooper (Junior 8)
3.Shafer (Duesenberg Special)
4.Batten driving for DePaolo (Duesenberg Special)
5.Lewis (Junior 8)
6.Hartz (Miller Special)
7.Milton (Miller Special)
8.Kreis (Duesenberg Special)
9.Gleason driving for Morton (Duesenberg)
10.Duray (Miller)

Hepburn lost the lead to Cooper's Junior 8 on the 121st lap, after 302.5 miles, when he stopped to take on oil, gas, water and both right tires in the record time of 35 seconds. Cooper, who had not yet been to the pits, was leading comfortably. On his 124th lap Cooper hit the wall on the south turn and the car was out, but the driver was not injured. Lewis now held the lead followed by Batten (for DePaolo) and Hepburn in third place. At lap 128, after 320 miles, DePaolo was back in his car, replacing Batten who had relieved him. Batten had remained at the wheel of the Duesenberg for only 34 minutes and during that time the leadership fluctuated, but when the car was called in and DePaolo took over, Lewis in the Junior 8 front wheel drive was well in the lead. McDonogh was once again driving his #14 Miller Special, replacing Bennett Hill who had relieved him. After 325 miles, 130 laps, the average speed was 101.11 mph in the order: Lewis, Shafer, Hepburn, DePaolo, Hartz, Milton, Kreis, Gleason (for Morton), Duray and Corum (for DePalma).
      DePaolo passed Hepburn for third place, and Kreis stopped at the pits. Elliott who had been relieved by Haibe was again driving his #27 Miller. After 350 miles, 140 laps, the average speed was 101.26 mph and the time 3h27m23.34s, with the order: Lewis, Shafer, DePaolo, Hepburn, Hartz, Milton, Kreis, Gleason (for Morton), Duray and Corum (for DePalma).
      Bennett Hill, who was now without a drive, became ready to act as relief driver for Dave Lewis' FWD Miller. DePaolo passed Shafer's green Duesenberg Special for second place and chased after Lewis' FWD in the lead. After his 149th lap Lewis was a lap and a half ahead of Shafer in third place while DePaolo in second place continued to gain on the front wheel drive Junior 8 Special. After 375 miles, 150 laps, the average speed was 101.34 mph in the order: Lewis, DePaolo, Shafer, Hartz, Milton, Gleason (for Morton), Duray, Kreis, Corum (for DePalma) and Mourre (for Bordino).
      On completion of lap 160, after 400 miles, at an average speed of 101.48 mph after 3h56m30.20s, Shafer stopped at the pits. Lewis grimly held on to the 30 seconds lead ahead of DePaolo, with Shafer now third and on the same lap. Shortly afterwards the #23 Duesenberg Special driven by Gleason (for Morton) hit the wall at the North end of the track. The car was out of the race but Gleason escaped uninjured.
1.Lewis (Junior 8)
2.DePaolo (Duesenberg Special)
3.Shafer (Duesenberg Special)
4.Hartz (Miller Special)
5.Milton (Miller Special)
6.Gleason driving for Morton (Duesenberg), just crashed
7.Duray (Miller)
8.Kreis (Duesenberg Special)
9.Shattuc (Miller Special)
10.DePalma (Miller Special)

Morton relieved Shafer in the green Duesenberg Special. Elliott was in the pits for 11 seconds to change a tire. After 425 miles or 170 laps at 101.49 mph average, the order was: Lewis, DePaolo, Shafer, Hartz, Milton and Duray.
      Soon Lewis slowed down as if to stop at the pit but did not stop. The tiring Lewis went around and stopped for his long-delayed pit stop for tires on lap 173. Due to badly worn brakes or his own fatigue, Lewis overshot his pit and had to carry on for another lap. The time he lost, enabled DePaolo to take the lead. Bennett Hill relieved Lewis in the seat of the Junior 8 FWD. When he rejoined, the yellow Duesenberg of Pete was a full lap ahead and Hill was closely pressed by Shafer who was third, Hartz was fourth ahead of Milton. Hill was stepping on the gas with a heavy foot, warming up into the race. On the 181st lap Bennett Hill was fighting to overhaul the Duesenberg but Peter DePaolo increased the gap to the FWD Miller. Bennett was some 150 yards behind Pete, plus a lap. The crowd was excited. It wanted to see a good finish and the end was not far off now. After 450 miles, 180 laps, after 4h26m28.87s, at an average speed of 101.32 mph the order was: DePaolo, Hill (for Lewis), Morton (for Shafer), Hartz, Milton, Duray, Kreis, Shattuc, DePalma and Bordino, who had returned from hospital and taken back his seat in the Fiat.
      Hill in the Junior 8 front wheel drive took the turns beautifully. On the 184th lap Hill nearly overtook DePalma in front of the stands. The fans were cheering again. They liked this sort of stuff. Hill was about to go by Pete at the turn when the Duesy driver shot around the curve ahead and plus a lap on Bennett.
      On the 188th lap with 30 miles to go, DePaolo and Hill continued the fight. Morton (for Shafer) in third place was two laps behind. Around they came again; Bennett and Pete were about abreast. Al Bloemker recites in 500 MILES TO GO: "... De Paolo apparently was not aware of his advantage. For several laps he ran hub-to-hub with Hill as if they were on the same lap and battling for first place. Many of the spectators, not realizing the true situation, also were on their feet and cheering wildly. But the Duesenberg pit crew finally succeeded in getting Pete to ease the pressure on his throttle with 30 miles to go". Then the Junior 8 was about 100 yards ahead of Pete and going at a terrific rate. Pete was still nearly a lap ahead on the 500 mile distance. On the 196th lap DePaolo was only half a lap ahead of Hill. Pete started on the 199th lap. Seth Klein, the starter, was ready with flags. DePaolo was given the green flag; more cheering. The last lap for DePaolo was starting. The checkered flag was waved as DePaolo crossed the finish line. How they cheered! He received one of the greatest ovations ever given a winner on the local track as he headed toward the Duesenberg pits. DePaolo set a new record for the Indianapolis Speedway in 4h56m39.47s at an average speed of 101.13 mph and had carried along the tiny shoes of his one year old boy, tied to the front of his car. Hill driving the front wheel drive Junior 8 for Dave Lewis finished just 54 seconds behind. DePaolo became the first driver to complete the 500 miles in less than five hours at an average of over 100 mph. Norman Batten drove 21 laps of relief (laps 106-127).
      Mrs. DePaolo, who occupied a seat in the paddock boxes, just across from her husband's pit, was the first to greet him when the car was rolled into the garage. Pete's smile was even broader than the one he wore when he came down the straightaway after two extra laps, and Mrs. DePaolo's joy was expressed in the same way. Fred Duesenberg was one of the first to congratulate the winner on his remarkable performance. As the owner and designer of the cream-colored No. 12 car shook hands with DePaolo, he said, "Pete, it was a wonderful race you drove."
      "Thanks Mr. Duesenberg" returned DePaolo, "It was a wonderful car I had."



1.12Pete DePaolo / Norman BattenP. DePaoloDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-82004h56m39.47s
2.1Dave Lewis / Bennett HillCliff DurantJunior 8 SpecialMiller FWD2.0S-82004h57m33.15s+ 53.68s
3.9Phil Shafer/ Wade MortonP. ShaferDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-82004h59m26.79s+ 2m47.32s
4.6Harry HartzHarry HartzMiller Special2.0S-82005h03m21.59s+ 6m42.12s
5.4Tommy MiltonT. MiltonMiller Special2.0S-82005h08m25.71s+ 11m46.24s
6.28Leon Duray / Fred ComerHarry HartzMillerSpecial2.0S-82005h09m34.11s+ 12m56.24s
7.8Ralph DePalma / Lora CorumR. DePalmaMiller Special2.0S-82005h09m46.86s+ 13m07.39s
8.35Peter Kreis / Norman BattenP. KreisDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-82005h11m26.86s+ 14m47.39s
9.15William 'Doc' ShattucDr.Wm. E. ShattucMiller Special2.0S-82005h13m20.48s+ 16m41.01s
10.22Pietro Bordino / Antoine MourreP. BordinoFiatSpecial2.0S-82005h16m37.97s+ 19m58.5s
11.5Fred Comer / Ira VailHarry HartzMiller Special2.0S-82005h16m48.71s+ 20m09.24s
12.27Frank Elliott / Ora HaibeRichard DoyleMillerSpecial2.0S-82005h25m15.71s+ 28m36.24s
13.24Earl DeVore / Glenn Schultz *Bancroft & PopeMillerSpecial2.0S-8198flagged off
DNF14Bob McDonogh / Bennett HillTommy MiltonMiller Special2.0S-8188truss rod
DNF23Wade Morton/Jimmy GleasonAntoine MourreDuesenbergSpecial2.0S-8156crash
DNF17Ralph HepburnEarl CooperMiller Special2.0S-8144broke fuel tank
DNF2Earl CooperCliff DurantJunior 8Miller2.0S-8127crash
DNF3Bennett Hill /Jules Ellingboe **Harry MillerMiller SpecialMiller2.0S-8 68rear spring
DNF29Herbert Jones / Alfred MossH. JonesJones-WhitakerMiller2.0S-8 69crash
DNF19Ira VailReginald J. JohnsonR. J. SpecialMiller2.0S-8 63connecting rod
DNF7Milton C. Jones / Fred HarderH. J. SkellySkelly SpecialFord T/Fronty-Ford2.0S-4 31transmission
DNF10Jules EllingboeJerry WonderlichMiller Special2.0S-824steering
Fastest lap was not timed.
Winner's average speed: 101.13 mph (162.75 km/h).
Fastest lap made during the time trials: Pete DePaolo (Duesenberg) in 1m18.75s = 114.29 mph (183.93 km/h).
Weather: warm, dry.
* - Additional relief driver for #24 car was Lora Corum.
** - Additional relief drivers for #3 car were Ray Cariens and Jerry Wonderlich.
In retrospect:
Indianapolis was the first event of the 1925 World Championship. In regards to points scored, it is only known from later magazine reports that Duesenberg had received one point for winning Indianapolis. Junior Eight received two points and Miller four. The single factory Miller for Bennett Hill retired after completing 69 laps and does not show up with five points. The question whether Miller received two, four or five points from the AIACR is in the end irrelevant because Miller did not enter the obligatory Italian Grand Prix and was thereby excluded from the final result. The Fiat in tenth place, a non-factory entry, would have received four points for finishing the total of 200 laps but this was not mentioned in any sources.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Chicago Sunday Tribune, Chicago
L'Auto, Paris
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles
Motor Age, Chicago
The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis


© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 02.07.2021