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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500


The New York Times
May 31, 1915

Indianapolis Sweepstakes Will Start at 10 o'Clock This Morning, Rain or Shine.

INDIANAPOLIS, May 30.—Twenty-four of the fastest racing automobiles in the world will compete here tomorrow in the fifth annual 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The contest, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 29, was postponed to Monday because of rain, which has fallen almost continuously for the last four days. Speedway officials announced tonight that the contest will start at 10 o'clock tomorrow, regardless of weather conditions.

The downpour of rain stopped late this afternoon, and it is indicated that Monday will be clear and warmer. If no more rain falls before the cars start the long grind the course will be dried out by the wind, race officials said.

The fact that the brick surface of the track has been thoroughly chilled by the rain means that the racers will be able to make faster time than otherwise would be possible, it was said. Tires will last much longer on such a course, it was stated, than on one heated by several days of bright sunshine. This, race enthusiasts point out, indicates that the record for the contest—6:03:45, made last year by René Thomas in a Delage car—will be broken.

Among the drivers who will compete are men who have gained the highest honors in automobile racing. Ralph De Palma and Bob Burman are two of the best known of the pilots who will try for a share of the $50,000 prize money. Fifteen American and nine foreign cars will face the starter.

The number of contestants this year is less than ever before, and the motors are limited to 300 cubic inches' piston displacement, smaller than in any previous sweepstakes race. the speed of the cars, however, seemingly has been increased. Ten of the entrants have circled the two-and-one-half-mile course at a speed of better than 90 miles an hour, and every car that will start has made a lap at an average of more than 80 miles an hour.

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