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Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1911 - Indy "500" Questions Needing Answers

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

Here and There in Motoring's Past: 1911 - Indy "500" Questions Needing Answers

Peter Helck
Antique Automobile
March-April 1972


1911 Indianapolis 500 Who Really Won?
This was the first of the great mid-west annuals.  Ray Harroun's Marmon "Wasp" was officially declared the winner, but only after prolonged discussions involving the promoters, officials and those protesting the uncertain results.  The electrical timing apparatus had failed.  After the resulting confusion there was less than perfect manual recording of the lap-by-lap progress of the cars.  To this day Ralph Mulford firmly believes he had been the actual winner.  There exists some evidence that supports his contention.

Quite aside from this question are the official records that indicate Harroun as winner completely on his own.  However, his co-driver, Cyrus Patschke, who drove about 100-miles to hold the Marmon's lead, is ignored in these summaries.  Later instances of Indy winners having had co-drivers are recorded for all time.  Poor Patschke, for reasons totally obscure, has never been officially recorded this distinction.

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