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Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500


The New York Times
February 21, 1911

Famous Driver Says Gymnastics Will Not Win International Sweepstakes.

Special to The New York Times

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., March 4.—Many methods of physical training for automobile race drivers have been tried, but the most novel suggested for some time is the plan which Louis Disbrow, who entered in the 500-mile international sweepstakes race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Memorial Day, May 30, will use.  Disbrow recently visited Indianapolis to make arrangements for the workouts of his big special car now being built at Jamaica, L. I., and told his idea of keeping in good physical condition.

"Gymnastics won't do a race driver much good," said Disbrow, "neither will any specified course of exercises.  There is one thing alone which will make a man fit to sit behind the wheel through a strain of seven hours such as the 500-mile race will mean.  That is taking a daily course of hard knocks over the county roads in a racing car at a fairly good rate of speed.  I have made plans to do this for at least thirty days before the race, and will be in Indianapolis with my racing car and two practice cars by May 1.

"The practice cars will be used the most, but the big car will be tried enough to put it into perfect tune.  In the practice cars I shall take cross country trips to the cities of the Middle West, such as St. Louis, Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, and others.  I shall drive 200 or 300 miles daily for several days at a stretch, and in the manner harden myself so that the 500-mile drive will be nothing unusual for me.

"It is my plan now to drive my practice cars through from New York to Indianapolis, and this will give me a fair start in training.  My mechanics will be carried along at all times, so that they will be in as good physical condition as I am.  I believe that every driver in the long race should carry a mechanic, as the course will have thirty-five or forty cars going at once, and the mechanic will be forced to keep his eye to the rear watching for cars that will want to pass."

The Speedway management will require every driver in the long grind to carry a mechanic and will arrange platforms at mile intervals around the track so that cars may run upon them and get off the track to make repairs or change tires when they find it necessary to do so at points other than at the pits.  It is probable that all of the cars will carry a spare tire or two during the race so that the drivers may avail themselves of the use of the repair platforms.

One-third of the required number of entries is now in, the last and tenth being the Stutz car, with Gil Anderson named as pilot.  The car is made by the Stutz Auto Parts Company of Indianapolis, and is a special racing type constructed to make a demonstration of the Stutz transmission and rear systems.  Both the designer and driver were formerly connected with the Marion Company as manager, designer, and driver of Marion racing cars.

The other entries now in are Lewis Strang, Louis Larsonneur, Joe Jagersburger, C. B. Baldwin, Johnny Aitken, Louis Disbrow, Frank P. Fox, Harry Knight, and a Simplex, which probably will be driven by either Ralph De Palma or Joe Matson.  Assurance that thirty to forty cars will start has been received by the Speedway management, and among the drivers will be five or six from Europe.  These will be Victor Hemery in a Benz, Felice Nazarro and Louis Wagner in Fiats, and Lancia in a Lancia car.

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