Notes for 500 Miles to Go

Chapter 1

[1] Now U. S. Highway 40.

Chapter 2

[2] Set by Guy Vaughn at the wheel of a Decauville car on the one-mile Empire City dirt track at Yonkers, N. Y.

Chapter 3

[3] These shares were divided proportionately in the form of a stock dividend following the 1914 500-Mile Race.

[4] Forerunner of the Indianapolis Times.

Chapter 4

[5] Most of the early automobiles, including the Buick, were designed with the steering wheel on the right side.

[6] Root was to serve as clerk of the course and Trego as a member of the timing staff for the Speedway events.

[7] During the early days of racing, most signal flags had an entirely different meaning than at the present time. Red indicated the start of the race and a clear course ahead; yellow, "stop immediately, the race is halted"; white, "stop for consultation"; blue, "drive with care, danger ahead"; green, "you are starting your last lap"; checkered, "you have finished the race."

Chapter 5

[8] For the convenience of headline writers, sports editors soon scrapped "Yellow-Jacket" for the shorter name.

[9] He fared no better, however, than in the inaugural balloon race a year earlier.

Chapter 8

[10] This Indianapolis firm has presented a trophy to the winner of each "500." Prior to World War II the trophy always was a beautiful work of art imported from Europe. From 1946 to 1954 it was a portrait of the winner by the late Ernest Roose. Since 1955 it has taken the form of a distinctive bronze clock sculptured by Adolph Wolter.

[11] Speedometers seldom are used on race cars and the tachometers show only the revolutions per minute turned by the engines.

[12] Without the good wine, I would not have been able to win.

[13] The eastern part of the route from New York to Chicago already had been virtually determined.

Chapter 9

[14] Because Memorial Day fell on a Sunday in 1915, the race was scheduled originally on Saturday, May 29, with the hope of attracting a larger crowd than might be expected on Monday, May 31.

[15] This association, however, did not last long; Fisher resigned during a disagreement concerning track policy.

Chapter 11

[16] The time trials this year were increased from one lap to four laps (10 miles).

[17] The total payoff at the victory dinner in the Claypool Hotel the following night was $93,550.

[18] Available records fail to list all drivers who used the additive during the 1923 race, but it definitely was used by Milton, Murphy, Wilcox, and Hartz.

[19] Amateur sports, the circus, movies, etc., were not included.

[20] Fisher, however, continued to call on his friends in the racing fraternity to help publicize Miami Beach. In the spring of 1925, for example, he obtained eleven identical speedboats (Biscayne Babies built by the Purdy Boat Works and powered by Scripps F-6 engines) to attract nation-wide attention with a series of races involving Milton, Hartz, Harroun, L. Chevrolet, DePaolo, Shafer, Vail, Corum, Jerry Wonderlich, Billy Knipper, and Wade Morton.

Chapter 12

[21] Soon after the inaugural race the track was flattened by a hurricane and it never was rebuilt.

[22] Rules of the race stipulated the event would be regarded as complete if it became necessary to stop it for any reason after the leader had covered a minimum of 350 miles.

[23] The last run for the Stevens trophy was made with a Chrysler sedan which covered 2,157.5 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 89.89 miles an hour on October 29 and 30, 1953.

Chapter 13

[24] Offenhauser had been associated with Miller for many years as his shop superintendent.

[25] The first important changes in the meanings of the various signal flags, since the birth of racing, were put into effect for this race. The red flag, formerly used as a starting signal, now meant "stop, the race is halted"; green, which had been used to tell a driver he was starting his last lap, became the new starting flag, indicating a clear course ahead; blue, the caution flag of early years, indicated the start of the last lap; and yellow permitted the drivers to proceed with caution despite a hazard on the track. Additional changes were made in 1937. White replaced blue to indicate the start of the last lap; black ordered a driver to stop for consultation; and a blue flag with a diagonal orange stripe instructed a driver to make room for a faster car to pass.

[26] For an interesting description of this incident and many others, see Wilbur Shaw's action-packed autobiography, Gentlemen, Start Your Engines, published by Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, N.Y.

[27] The deed of gift, which accompanied this beautiful 7-1/2-foot silver cup created in 1909, had been revised after the inaugural "500" to specify that it should become the permanent property of the first car owner whose entries succeeded in leading the race at the 400-mile mark on three occasions.

[28] Although Rose was a rookie, he had driven many miles in practice before a broken radius rod on the last day of time trials prevented him from earning a starting position.

[29] In addition to limiting the amount of fuel for the race, the 1935 rules also allowed only 2-1/2 gallons for the 25-mile time trials.

[30] Only four drivers and two mechanics had been killed at the Indianapolis track during the period from 1911 to 1929, inclusive.

[31] Henry Banks, now director of competition for the United States Auto Club, was the first driver to pass this test.

Chapter 14

[32] After winning the 500-mile classic in 1937, Shaw raced only at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

[33] The other missing car was the Tom Joyce 7-Up Special, which had been wrecked by Sam Hanks during the final practice session on May 29.

[34] Portable electric starters were used on most of the newer cars.

[35] Wilbur always contended the wheel which failed unquestionably was the one he had marked with chalk on the day before the race.

[36] The same engine was destined to power the fabulous Novi Specials after World War II.

[37] Dr. Smith had succeeded Dr. Allen as chief of the Speedway's medical staff in 1938.

Chapter 15

[38] The long list of other prominent drivers who have tested Firestone tires at various times on the famous Indianapolis track includes the names of Barney Oldfield, Tom Milton, Pete DePaolo, Cliff Woodbury, Bennie Hill, Lou Moore, Fred Frame, Bill Cummings, Jimmy Snyder, Floyd Roberts, Mauri Rose, "Babe" Stapp, Harry McQuinn, Ted Horn, Rex Mays, Duane Carter, Jack McGrath, George Connor, Fred Agabashian, Sam Hanks, Tony Bettenhausen, Rodger Ward, Johnny Thomson, Jim Rathmann, and Eddie Sachs.

Chapter 16

[39] Following Bud Winfield's death in 1950, the name was changed to Novi Racing Corporation, with Jean Marcenac as chief mechanic.

[40] Developments revealed they actually had only 16.

[41] Criticisms by members of his crew, who charged him with failing to obtain maximum performance from the car, caused Williams to relinquish it prior to race day; and he was replaced by Herb Ardinger with the approval of chief steward Jack Mehan.

[42] Miss Landis was the first of the movie and TV stars to present the Borg-Warner trophy to the "500" winner. Others were Barbara Britton, Linda Darnell, Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, Arlene Dahl, Jane Greer, Marie Wilson, Dinah Shore, Virginia Mayo, Cyd Charisse, Shirley MacLaine, and Erin O'Brien.

[43] Connor's car, however, was a newer and lighter rear-drive creation which bore no resemblance to the original Blue Crown cars. The only thing they had in common were identical four-cylinder non-supercharged Meyer-Drake engines.

Chapter 17

[44] After placing second to Holland in his first Indianapolis race, Parsons earned sufficient points in big car championship events on other tracks to win the 1949 National driving title.

[45] This veteran race enthusiast, who was a member of the official staff for the first "500" in 1911, served as director of timing and scoring until his death, following the 1951 event.

Chapter 18

[46] Miller's new one-lap and four-lap records were 139.600 and 139.034.

[47] Floyd Roberts had been the first, in 1939.

Chapter 19

[48] The museum is open daily, including Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M. Admission is free. Other famous cars now on display include Carl Fisher's 1903 Premier; Joe Dawson's 1912 National; Jimmy Murphy's Duesenberg, Riley Brett's 16-cylinder Sampson Special, Harry Miller's rear-engine car, George Robson's 1946 Thorne Engineering Special, Mauri Rose's 1948 Blue Crown Special, the 1952 Cummins Diesel Special and one of the front-drive Novi specials.

[49] It had been necessary to interrupt the first time trial session because the three two-lane tunnels under the track could not accommodate the vehicle traffic headed for free infield parking space. This congestion had been relieved only by suspending track activities so that race fans could use the surface crossovers.

[50] Most members of the racing fraternity believe it invites bad luck to wear anything green or drive a green car.

Chapter 20

[51] The new limits were 170.856 cubic inches for supercharged engines and 256.284 cubic inches for non-supercharged engines as compared with 183 and 274, respectively.

[52] The first two pit stops made by Hanks required 43 seconds each as compared to stops of 33 and 32 seconds by Rathmann.

Chapter 21

[53] It's customary for a crew to keep the driver informed of his speed on each lap.

[54] This locked-brake feature was a Watson "exclusive" not duplicated on any other 1960 Indianapolis car.

[55] He finally finished fifth; trailing Paul Goldsmith and Don Branson as well as Rathmann and Ward.

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