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Pre-WWII Racing


The New York Times
June 1, 1915

Barney Also Pays a Tribute to the Three Placed American Cars.

European Cars Have Won Three Out of Five Contests.

The victory of Ralph De Palma driving a Mercedes car yesterday in the 500-mile international sweepstakes, marks the fifth running of the classic event.  In the previous competitions two had been won by American cars and two by European entries; the rubber therefore goes to Europe by the score of three victories to two.

The first race was held in 1911, when Ray Harroun in a Marmon car covered the distance in 6:42:08, at an average of 74.59 miles an hour.  Ralph Mulford in a Lozier was second and David Bruce-Brown, piloting a Fiat, was third.  Mulford's time was only seventeen seconds slower than that of Harroun.  Forty-four cars started in the race.

In 1912 the National car led the procession in 6:21:06, Joe Dawson driving at the rate of 78.80 miles an hour.  This was an improvement of three and one-half miles average over that of the previous year.  The Fiat, handled by Teddy Tetzlaff, was second in 6:31:29, or ten minutes twenty-three seconds behind the winner.  The Mercer, with Hughie Hughes steering, came in third in 6:33:09.  Out of twenty-seven entries twenty-four cars started.  This was the first year of the elimination trials.

The third race went to a foreign car, the Peugeot, driven by Jules Goux.  It was the first time a European car or driver had figured in the lead.  The time was 6:35:05, or a trifle less than seventy-six miles an hour.  The average was better than that of the first year, but behind the National average.  Spencer Fishart with a Mercer, was thirteen minutes behind the former, and Charles Merz in a Stutz was third, thirty-six seconds slower than the second car.

Under the process of elimination of cars, 1914 was the banner year, both as to entries and speed.  Forty-five cars competed for the big event, which was won by RenĂ© Thomas in a Delage car, in 6:03:45, which established a record for speed, the average being 82.47 miles an hour.  The first four positions at the end of the race were held by foreign cars.  The Peugeot, handled by Arthur Duray, was placed second in 6:10:24, while next in order came a second Delage, piloted by Albert Guyot, and a Peugeot, with Jules Goux, the 1913 winner, at the steering wheel.

Including yesterday's race the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company has distributed more than $250,000 in prize money to contestants in its various events since the beginning of the institution.  This year the total amount of prize money was $74,550, of which $50,000 was offered by the speedway and $24,550 by tire and accessory manufacturers.

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