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#51 Russ Snyder

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 19:46

JGP - Well...perhaps not getting excited might be a reasonable start? I for one would like my absolute respect for your specialist research to survive undented. Yes, really.


DCN



Mr Nye,

I can understand where Mr Printz's excitment/anger/euphoria/relief/consternation is coming from after all these years.

He has worked pre-internet for decade's searching/awaiting a true answer....and to finally get one like above in my mind is akin to getting a chocolate rabbit on easter, biting into it, then realizing its hollow.

I apologize if I offend.

All the best.

Russ Snyder



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#52 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 20:00

Ah - relative to Joe Freeman's input above, right? Now against the background you describe, I CAN sympathise. As I said earlier just a thick Brit ...

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 26 April 2012 - 20:04.


#53 ensign14

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 20:15

If his long-suspected falsification (or fabrication) of the historical record went too far, surely within the great scheme of things it's merely a misdemeanour - not a capital offence?

From another thick Brit (at least the gym trainer says that) I'd've thought that's the ultimate capital offence an historian could commit? It's one thing to put a massive spin on things, as at least the facts will out, but to change the facts themselves...

#54 Jim Thurman

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:00

Doug,

Please also keep in mind Mr. Printz was on the receiving end of contentiousness from Messrs. Catlin & Russo, down to false claims and character assassination. The truth coming out justifies Mr. Printz and proves he was right in his assessment and supports his research of many years. Their side seemed to take it personally and make it personal against Mr. Printz.

In face of what he went through, I can perfectly understand it. He has every right to feel as he does. I can only imagine what it has been like to have been in his shoes through all of this.

#55 luckytampa

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 02:09

The extensive damage done to pre-1921 US automobile racing history by four individuals in particular -- Arthur Means, Val Haresnape, Russo Catlin, and Bob Russo (although there are certainly others besides the Usual Suspects who belong in the same category) -- is only now finally beginning to be undone in great thanks to the persistent efforts of John Glenn Printz. The shabby treatment extended to Mr. Printz and Ken McMaken by CART and then others thanks to the efforts of Bob Russo to undermine their work and then, for lack of a better word, steal it, has long been a scandal.

Thanks to Mr. Printz, others are now finally beginning to join him and literally set The Record straight.

It is now clear that the tale that Catlin created regarding the rescue of the Contest Board does not hold up very well.

Likewise, how can there, finally, be any doubt regarding the ersatz national championships that were concocted?

Also, it would be nice if the folks at the Izod IndyCar Series would given belated credit to Mr. Printz and Mr. McMaken for providing the material that they are using in their not quite so historically correct Historical Record Book.

If there is anyone Dr. Freeman may wish to consider for his "Racemaker Press American Racing History Series" it should be Mr. Printz.

#56 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:52

Now fully understood. I appreciate this at last and fully sympathise. I still, however, recommend maintaining a proper sense of proportion. Within a world beset by so much peril and so many very real problems and actual horrors, the fact that what happened long ago just within a specialised minor sport has become muddied and distorted - however wilfully by some individuals - is hardly of earth-shattering importance beyond the enthusiast community.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 27 April 2012 - 11:54.


#57 john glenn printz

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 14:06

Well! Well! I have always regarded the two major automobile racing series, Grand Prix and Indy Car, as the greatest sports of them all. I never cared much for any of the others, i.e. baseball, football, golf, tennis, etc. I am very glad I was born in the 20th century, so that I could see some of it. Persons born before the 20th century didn't get in on the action.

I am not going to solve the major problems of the world and neither are you or anyone else. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon also became trivia and are of interest only some "old pendant" historians.

I have never regretted studying automobile racing history and view it with much interest and enjoyment.

I wish to thank the Autosport.com for their services to me and others. And without the internet, McMaken and myself would still be in limbo.

I thank everyone for their interest in automobile racing history and Mr. Doug Nye as well.

Edited by john glenn printz, 27 April 2012 - 17:00.


#58 arttidesco

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 14:17

Another thrilling TNF thread for someone standing, well sitting really, way up high in the peanut gallery, best wishes to all those involved in sorting out the mess :up:

#59 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 16:21

And so calm settled once more upon Lake Wobegone...

DCN

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#60 luckytampa

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 23:02

And so calm settled once more upon Lake Wobegone...

DCN



Not so fast...

Before he was killed in September of 1924 in a dirt track race at Syracuse, NY, Murphy was known as the 'King of the Boards' in an era that produced many famous names including 1920 champion Milton, the USA's first three-time champion Earl Cooper, twice champion (1925 and '27) Pete dePaolo, 1923 champion Eddie Hearne, plus multiple race winners Harry Hartz and Leon Duray--all of them renowned national sports figures.


This is a quote from Gordon Kirby's 30 April column reviewing the new book, Frank Lockhart, American Speed King, written by Jim O'Keefe and Sarah Morgan-Wu and published by Racemaker Press. I have no clue as to how to contact GK, but this is simply another instance where the damage done by Catlin continues to live on and on and on....

Much work remains to be done, obviously, to correct The Record.


#61 carl s

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:49

Lots of respect for those who devote time, energy and soul into an effort to get things right and righted.

btw-Isn't there a thread somewhere on this Forum that attempts to identify historical errors and right them?

Edited by carl s, 02 May 2012 - 04:52.


#62 john glenn printz

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 12:32

Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Russ Catlin was the acknowleged expert on the past history of AAA National Championship racing history. At the time he probably did know more than anyone else. Although the AAA was itself was founded in 1902 at Chicago, and its entire past was just half a century old in the early 1950s, much of its past doings were already obscured, mixed up, and/or totally forgotten. The sport of motor racing itself only went back to 1894, just 60 years in all.

Mr. Catlin in 1952 became much more involved with NASCAR than the AAA, at a time when NASCAR was on a huge movement upward. Russ however continued to pen articles on AAA National Championship racing history of which many appeared in AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY. These essays were generally of better quality and accuracy than most of his earlier writings.

As Catlin aged and was removed from the AAA-USAC-CART scene, Mr. Bob Russo moved into the vacuum left by the now largely absent Catlin. If the press, a PR man, or race officials wanted information on the past, they consulted with Bob. During the 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s, it was largely so. Russo now was the expert. Most of the information conveyed was strictly oral and there was no resort to documentation. Everything was much too trivial for that.

Russo had covered the AAA and USAC Championship action for SPEED AGE during the 1950s as a motor sports journalist, and as the decades moved on, Bob appeared more and more in the guise of a very well informed historian. By 1975 the 1950s was history! And Bob and Catlin had both worked for SPEED AGE in its heyday, i.e. the 1950s.

With regard to Mr. Catlin a story evolved (whatever its origin), that Russ had saved all or most of the pre-1931 AAA Contest Board files, when the Contest Board threw them out in 1950. Certainly part of Mr. Catlin's "expertise" and his reputation as an expert, were due to the fact that everyone thought that he had the private and sole access to the actual pre-1931 AAA Contest Board records. No one begrudged him for that. After all, if it wasn't for Russ, no pre-1931 AAA documents would still exist at all!

Everyone felt that Russ had a perfect right to their ownership but it was damn inconvenient to others that he retained the sole use of them. One big plus of the situation was that, at least, everyone knew where the early AAA records were. Catlin himself was very concerned about their ultimate perservation and with keeping them all intact, so he in his will, gave the entire pre-1931 AAA collection to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, upon his demise. Rumors had it too, that Russ was still working on his HISTORY OF AAA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING, and that he wouldn't give out too much real information until his AAA racing treatise was in full print. Only its early chapters were published (1909-1917) and as a SPEED AGE serial during 1954 and 1955.

The above is what appeared to be the situation c. 1980-1983, and then Catlin died in late 1983.

Edited by john glenn printz, 04 May 2012 - 20:16.


#63 RA Historian

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 16:26

This is a quote from Gordon Kirby's 30 April column reviewing the new book, Frank Lockhart, American Speed King, written by Jim O'Keefe and Sarah Morgan-Wu and published by Racemaker Press. I have no clue as to how to contact GK, but this is simply another instance where the damage done by Catlin continues to live on and on and on....

Try: http://www.gordonkir...contact_us.html

#64 luckytampa

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:01

Thanks, sent GK a note regarding this and suggesting that he contact Mr. Printz.

#65 john glenn printz

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:40

What an odd duck world it is. I have always regarded Gordon Kirby, Jan Shaffer, and Ken McMaken as my chief benefactors and hold them all in the highest honor. I still do. The wonder is that Gordon was the very first person to publish in print the McMaken-Printz reconstruction of pre-1921 AAA history in contrast to the old and established Harms-Haresnape-Catlin view of the situation. This was in his 1981 PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES ANNUAL, on pages 124-136. I told Mr. Kirby at the time, in 1980, it would start trouble. He asked me if I thought I was right and I relied, "Positive". Then Gordon said, "We will go ahead then."

I think here that Gordon, in the above quote, just had a temporary lapse of memory. We will see. U.S. IndyCarRacing is a complicated subject and the historical source material for the AAA days is very deficient. The myth makers (Harms, Haresnape, Catlin, Russo) do not help and are an added hinderance to a correct and more realistic interpretation.

Quite frankly I don't think these matters will ever be cleared up. There is just too much mis-information in print that looks authoritative and correct. And the mis-information gets continually repeated and reprinted. To try and correct the situation is just an effort in futility.

Catlin, I believe, is mostly responsible for this situation. Instead of clearing things up, he made things worst by his assent to existing errors, and then added more myths to them, as Milton's 1920 AAA Championship Title and the 1902-1908 AAA Driving Titles.

I tried but died. That's about how I feel. I'm sick of it all.

Edited by john glenn printz, 04 May 2012 - 18:46.


#66 ensign14

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 13:53

The truth will, eventually, out.

#67 Russ Snyder

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 14:56

Mr Nye - More like lake schmoe-begone at this point?


As a racing fan whom followed in his Dad and Grandad/grandmom's footstep's, this whole episode has me questioning the entire published catalogue of mr Catlin ....what is fact, what is fiction?

hang in there Mr Printz! ensign14 is right....however long it takes

Edited by Russ Snyder, 03 May 2012 - 15:32.


#68 luckytampa

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 23:41

I think here that Gordon, in the above quote, just had a temporary lapse of memory.


Gordon sent me a note stating that he really meant "1921" rather than 1920 and that should be corrected by the webmaster very shortly.

He also wanted to make a point that Earl Cooper was a driver worthy of recognition -- whether zero championships or three, a point I certainly agree with.


Despair not, JGP, since others will be -- and are -- carrying forward the fight that you started. Given that we are making progress with dispelling several other myths -- 1933 Tripoli and 1934 Eifelrennen, it is no longer out of the realm of possibility that this one will also bite the dust.

What boggles my mind about the IICS 2012 Historical Record Book is that the authors seem to make all the correct disclaimers (1920 excepted) and then proceed to count the ersatz "championships" and "wins" as if they were actual championships and wins in their "all-time" lists. I seem to have missed something here or slept through that class in graduate school....

The Ghost of Russ Catlin will not be eradicated easily, but unless people such as the authors of the IICS 2012 Historical Record Book, Steve Shunck (sshunck@indycar.com) & Tim Sullivan (tsullivan@brickyard.com), are reminded as to what the true history is, then the Catlin Mythology will continue to carry the day.

I am in the midst of yet another attempt to communicate with Shunck and Sullivan, given that the previous attempt was completely ignored by both.

As Chesty Puller is said to have told his Marines in December 1950 when surrounded by the Chinese, "We got the bastards right where we want them, now we can attack in any direction...."

Same here.

#69 jj2728

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 00:18

What a fascinating thread and what extraordinary reading. Many thanks to all who have contributed.

#70 john glenn printz

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 18:05

I maintain that overall the IZOD INDYCAR SERIES 2012 HISTORICAL RECORD BOOK is a very valuable, splendid, and a much needed volume. I know what its compilers went though as I worked on similar projects in 1980 (for Kirby) and 1984 (for Shaffer). But the two sentences on page 6 (quote), "AAA had two different listings for the 1920 season. At the start of the year, 11 races were listed as counting toward the Championship, but at the end of the season, AAA determined the championship to be based on the results of five races giving Gaston Chevrolet the championship." hit a very raw nerve with me. The two sentences are repeated again on page 89 both for emphasis and the reader's convenience. They are, in fact, a residue of the Catlin-Russo "Kennerdell" conspiracy hypothesis.

The 2011 and 2012 IZOD record books however also suffer from a lack of an explanative text or narrative. What is briefly given and included as textual helps, are intented to clear up some past and long standing AAA 1909-1955 historial puzzles. Unfortunately the attempt to provide authoritative guidance misfires and fails because the data itself is confused, contradictory and even incorrect. The two above quoted statements are untrue and originated in essence from Messars. Russ Catlin c. 1951. This data never obtained in the year 1920 itself.

Although I was aware of the problem of the two variant 1920 AAA National Championship reckonings in 1955, I had no clear solution of the problem until 1988. Now 24 years after publishing the solution with Mr. Ken McMaken in 1988, I still read in the 2011 & 2012 IZOD guides the old, tired, and erroneous ideas of Catlin-Russo about 1920, are still in full and healthy vogue as officially recognized information! I can't take it anymore.

The listing of the five winning Indianapolis 500 cars for 1946-1950 as roadsters on pages 84-85 is fully incorrect. The 1950 winner (Offenhauser/Kurtis) is not a roadster because its drive shaft goes between the driver's legs. The winning cars of 1947, 1948, and 1949, had no drive shaft at all, because they were all front drives. This was another method of constructing a lower profile vehicle, which lowered the center of gravity. The first front drives at Indianapolis were two Millers in 1925. One of them placed 2nd as piloted by Dave Lewis and Bennett Hill.

In 1949 Parsons won at Dallas (4/24), Milwaukee (8/28), Syracuse (9/10), Springfield (9/25), and Langhorne (10/16) using the exact same vehicle in which he won at Indianapolis in 1950. But in all these instances the car is now designated in the IZOD record books as a dirt track car. During 1948 this Offenhauser/Kurtis won two events, i.e. Langhorne (6/20) with Walt Brown and at DuQuoin (10/10) with Parsons. I believe it is improper to call this particular car either a roadster or a dirt car. It was for a time the Kurtis firm's work's car and featured a space frame but was very successful on dirt. More detail is available on the thread HISTORY OF 1948 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING.

Edited by john glenn printz, 04 May 2012 - 20:13.


#71 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 18:54

.... Now 24 years after publishing the solution with Mr. Ken McMaken in 1988, I still read in the 2011 & 2012 IZOD guides the old, tired, and erroneous ideas of Catlin-Russo about 1920, are still in full and healthy vogue as officially recognized information! I can't take it anymore.


John, now at long last - after I innocently launched this thread on Catlin - I appreciate and understand your pain.

DCN

#72 john glenn printz

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 20:04

Dear Doug;

Well it's a very good thing you started this thread! I had no idea of where it would lead when I made my post of April 9, 2012. Everything seemed to go my way and slip into my hands.

Back in 1989 you published a very good book entitled FAMOUS RACING CARS. If you remember you used some McMaken/Printz information taken from Gordon Kirby's 1981 PPG Indy Car Annual. It's the very article in which McMaken and myself took our first pokes at Catlin.

Anyway, Many Thanks,

John Glenn Printz

#73 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 21:00

Dear Doug;

Well it's a very good thing you started this thread! I had no idea of where it would lead when I made my post of April 9, 2012. Everything seemed to go my way and slip into my hands.

Back in 1989 you published a very good book entitled FAMOUS RACING CARS. If you remember you used some McMaken/Printz information taken from Gordon Kirby's 1981 PPG Indy Car Annual. It's the very article in which McMaken and myself took our first pokes at Catlin.

Anyway, Many Thanks,

John Glenn Printz


That is indeed when I first began to wonder about Russ Catlin...who he was, what did he do, what was he like? And perhaps above all, what was it precisely that he had done to cause such upset? Years ago here in England when I tried to research the British Grand Prix, I presented myself expectantly to the Royal Automobile Club where I had an appointment to "view their records". I can still feel the somersault my stomach turned when the very nice chap there led me to a shelf on which stood bound volumes of 'The Motor', 'The Autocar' and 'Autosport'...duplicating the volumes on my shelf at home. Of genuine in-house records, they had NONE... But at least we didn't forge ahead and invent some.

DCN


#74 E.B.

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 15:00

Ironically I've just watched a film of Russ Catlin interviewing Jimmy Bryan, and Catlin at one point remarks "that's what the writers say, and the writers are never wrong".

Catlin seemed to bear quite a physical likeness to Alfred Hitchcock (not the most scholarly contribution to this thread, I grant you).




#75 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 15:49

Years ago here in England when I tried to research the British Grand Prix, I presented myself expectantly to the Royal Automobile Club where I had an appointment to "view their records". I can still feel the somersault my stomach turned when the very nice chap there led me to a shelf on which stood bound volumes of 'The Motor', 'The Autocar' and 'Autosport'...duplicating the volumes on my shelf at home. Of genuine in-house records, they had NONE...


:D Wonderful, Doug! It precisely mirrors my feelings when I hear Mr. Printz (and many, many others) complaining about the "mess" that is the history of US auto racing!! "But you have all those wonderful AAA yearbooks and microfilmed documents, for crying out loud" is the usual gut reaction - we have never had anything the like in Europe until perhaps the Olivetti/Longines computer printouts of the eighties, basic and almost incomprehensible to the layman as they were. Ah, yes, I'm forgetting the "Yellow Books", when did they start? Early seventies? Official documentation of the FIA and/or CSI regarding events of the sixties or, for heaven's sake, the fifties, or even prewar years - oh my gosh, wouldn't we have almost literally killed somebody for something like that???

Even today, we could use just a little "official" explanation about various items, like the European Championship of the thirties, the World Championship of the twenties, or whether there was a WC point reward for 6th place finishers in 1958 and/or 1959 - things few people, even "experts" ever thought about until TNF raised these issues over the last ten years or so. Yes, shelves of long-running print magazines solve one problem or the other, but not everything... why else would you have bothered to contact the RAC?!

I can still recall the excitement when I first heard of Paul Sheldon and his team doing the now legendary "Black Books". That was like blowing layers of dust from history! Sure, nobody is perfect, and it's easy to find fault with these books today, but to a starving man they were meat and drink back in the day. I gather it was much the same with Russ Catlin in the US and in the fifties, which is why I can understand John's frustration so well. Imagine, just for a minute, to find out that Paul Sheldon had invented much of his "gold dust"... :eek::eek::eek:

There are quite a number of fundamental differences in European and US racing history, and it's something that is not at all obvious to "us", certainly not at first sight. I can say for myself that it took me years to really grasp these fundamentals. For one thing, auto racing in the US is a HUGE subject. When I started out researching Indy and the like, I might have guessed that 50 % of all racing, present and past, happened in the US and 50 % in the "rest of the world". By now, I'm convinced that the figures are more like 80 or 90 % for the US, believe it or not! There is just so much racing going on in this country, and has always been, it's a real culture shock! Just a few miles from where I am sitting right now, there is a US military airbase with adjacent housing, and quite naturally they have a speedway on their premises. I don't know much about it, but the presence of it alone makes one think. There are only two or three proper racing tracks in all of Germany, and I'm sort of privileged to live very "close" to the Nürburgring - less than an hour's drive. But it's only five minutes to the speedway at the airbase, which is exclusively for the amusement of the US military...

Secondly, there is not one powerful governing body for all of racing in the US like in all the rest of the world... there are dozens, if not hundreds! Sure, many of them do basically what we would call club meetings all the time, instead of grand gatherings of national or even international importance. But there have always been several with enough ambition and drive to challenge each other for local prominence, however big that "local" might be. To follow and even remotely understand the significance of the various groups is a challenge indeed - and it's a moving target to boot! Going hand in hand with that, there are a gazillion set of rules to follow if you are going to build and run a racing car. Formula 1, 2 and 3 racing cars, Group A, B and C production car classes - what a laugh! We've had several threads already about various interpretations of the basic Sprint Car or Super Modified specifications - and believe me, those are really BASIC racing categories - they differ from state to state, county to county, town to town. Yes, they may even be different for two tracks in the same neighbourhood, literally!

And lastly, documentation by way of magazines or even newspapers has a long tradition of being inadequate, even more so than in Europe. National Speed Sport News notwithstanding, a magazine that has been around for 80 years, but even they can and have always been pretty much "provincial". What happened in, say, Iowa in the thirties would never cross the borders of that state unless it was reported by drivers or promoters themselves, each of them having their own "agenda". The best humus to grow mythology. And that, precisely, is the biggest bugbear of US racing history! Now and then.

#76 john glenn printz

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 20:07

Well an advance has been made. We now know where we all stand. If we can't write the AAA past from AAA Contest Board documentation (i.e. primary sources), then we will just have to do the best we can with the secondary sources (newspapers and automobile magazines), such as they are.

It is actually the same situation for ancient Greece, ancient Rome and all other "world" civilizations. Most of the primary source material is gone and historians have to use what remains.

I must say that I don't think Catlin, in the beginning, tried to deceive anyone about his 1920 Kennerdell assertions. Russ simply reconstructed the situation in a false manner, and meant well. But a more intelligent man, with some historical training, would not have made such a totally erroneous reconstruction. But having got the AAA Contest Board in 1951 to officially award the 1920 Title to Milton, Russ couldn't come forward later, and admit he had been mistaken.

Nor do I think Russ faked any AAA documents, but some of the AAA papers given to the Speedway in 1967, may be in Catlin's hand. That is perfectly legitimate, as Mr. Catlin had worked for the AAA Contest Board.

As to his claim of saving all the pre-1931 AAA records, it is certainly more akin to outright lying. However Russ was fond of telling wild yarns and got carried away here. But in both instances it led to historical errors, false assumptions, and a false appraisal by others of Catlin's historical knowledge. Nor is his invention of the 1902-1908 AAA Championships easily gotten over.

I don't know what the situation on the record keeping of the European racing scene, is or was. I have always assumed it was much better than what we had here in the U.S. Maybe it was, unfortunately, not much better.

I certainly entered the area of U.S. automobile racing history with complete naivete and didn't know what I was getting into. Actually some wonders of saving the past have occurred, (some good books have been published!), and more information about the past important U.S. motor races and their actual context is now available than ever before.

In contrast to Michael Ferner (a very great investigator), I think the biggest bugbear of U.S. racing history, is the lack of authentic/contemporary documentation and records.

But the IZOD racing historical statistic book, as good as it now is, can be greatly improved and corrected. Let's continue to do it.

Edited by john glenn printz, 08 May 2012 - 15:07.


#77 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:18

... If we can't write the AAA past from AAA Contest Board documentation (i.e. primary sources), then we will just have to do the best we can with the secondary sources (newspapers and automobile magazines), such as they are...

As bilingual novice I always considered newspapers and automobile magazines as primary sources. John - do you regard racing programmes as YOUR primary source?


...I don't know what the situation on the record keeping of the European racing scene, is or was. I have always assumed it was much better than what we had here in the U.S. Maybe it was, unfortunately, not much better...

While researching the grand prix racing scene of the 20s and 30s, there are practically only newspapers and magazines to provide information, also an occasional programme or some ADAC official announcements. Worthy material is rather sparsely spread thinly through the various libraries. But this applies only to these early years. I do not know much about the postwar years.

...and John, do not give up hope. You can make your right version known. Contact the ones who make the errors. Eventually they will learn.


#78 john glenn printz

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 20:10

Historians generally divide their source material into primary and secondary. The distinction is seldom clear cut or perfectly laid out. And it greatly depends on what subject is being investigated. So far as the AAA Contest Board and its Championship Racing division is concerned, I would say that the type of documents, files, and letters so aptly and wondrously described in his second paragraph by Mr. "Luckytampa" on his post no. 33 above, is what I would assign as the primary. I would also regard a genuine race program as primary material.

Just imagine an investigator in a room full of that kind of direct evidence! But we do not have much of that type of evidence.

Newspapers and automobile magazines I would say, are certainly secondary. However here's the catch. Since most of the primary AAA stuff is long gone, it follows that the secondary data moves in by pure default, and becomes the primary source material. I have had no AAA Contest Board documentation to use and no race programs except for some stray 1934-1955 Indy 500 programs, for any of my AAA surveys except the Gordon White microfilm reels, which are useless for the pre-1931 years. Normally the lack of, and the non-use of pristine-primary source materials, would vitiate any book of supposed or real history.

Actually my real godsend was Mr. Ken McMaken, who had the AAA data, and a real knowledge, that was mistakenly attributed to others who did not really have it (Catlin & Russo). However in the final analysis a historian has to use the sources which posterity has handed down to him. I was very lucky during the decade 1975-1985, to be able to talk to a lot of important people and pump them for information. Contemporary testimony is usually essential. The use of newspaper and motor journals has one big advantage however, not to be forgotten. They cannot be faked or tampered with. An issue of the NEW YORK TIMES for November 26, 1920 is unlikely to have been altered, and especially in the trivial area of automobile racing. I try to extract from the contempary newspaper data and automobile journal reports what information I can. It was only in the mid-1970s that the old newspaper back issues even became available. Apparently I was in the right time zone and place when this occurred.

How Mr. Ferner or Mr. McMaken come up with all their data is a mystery to me, but somehow they do it.

What now remains are the AAA box scores put together by Phil Harms and Ken McMaken. They should be published in black books similar to those of Paul Sheldon or all will be soon lost.

Edited by john glenn printz, 08 May 2012 - 17:01.


#79 sramoa

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 20:23

Mr. Printz!

I believe it a lot this kind would interest it work.Sees the things very gloomily in this topic,on the other hand the history already only so.

It would not be possible to create a database with a some kind of closed circle and then it to write some book?

Everybody what he would know would contribute,would analyse it,would discuss it and some wonderful work would be born really finally...
What does my lord believe about this?

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#80 Vitesse2

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 21:44

Years ago here in England when I tried to research the British Grand Prix, I presented myself expectantly to the Royal Automobile Club where I had an appointment to "view their records". I can still feel the somersault my stomach turned when the very nice chap there led me to a shelf on which stood bound volumes of 'The Motor', 'The Autocar' and 'Autosport'...duplicating the volumes on my shelf at home. Of genuine in-house records, they had NONE... But at least we didn't forge ahead and invent some.

DCN

I once sent them an email regarding the possibility of the RAC library having copies of minutes or agendas of AIACR CSI meetings from the 1930s. The very sniffy answer I got was along the lines of "Oh no, we don't have that sort of thing". But you have to wonder what happened to the personal papers of the two Colonels, O'Gorman and Lindsay Lloyd, who between them attended just about every CSI meeting, not to mention the bi-annual AIACR congresses and the other commissions. :well:

#81 john glenn printz

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 20:01

A quote from post No. 68 ("luckytampa"): "What boggles my mind about the IICS 2012 HISTORICAL YEARBOOK is that the authors seem to make all the correct disclaimers (1920 excepted) and then proceed to count the ersatz "championships" and "wins" as if they were actual championship and wins in their "alltime" lists. I seem to have missed something here or slept through that class in graduate school...."

This is an astute observation. However I am entirely and exactly guilty of the same precise thing. In Jan Shaffer's 1985 CART NEWS MEDIA GUIDE I had an article (pages 223-227) entitled ALLTIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP INDY CAR WINNERS (1909-1984) where I included all of Arthur Means' non-Championship selected races of 1909-1915 and 1917-1920. My philosophy at the time (1984) was to include as much information and race data as I could. But I was at the time somewhat abashed and disconcerted about it. It is sometimes difficult to know just how to present statistical data. I established that 204 drivers had won a race, with Mr. Means' selections included, from 1909 to 1984.

It had been only in 1981 that McMaken and myself had presented just which AAA races were National Championship events, which is necessary to know, to further reckon who won what and how many wins each driver had.

But I have subsequently made amends. I think Arthur Means' work, done during 1926, 1927, & 1928, should be entirely thrown out. I scrapped it entirely in the "AMERICAN RACING 1894-1920" thread. Consult here in particular Post No. 277 (i.e. March 1, 2010). I have selected my own pre-1915 and 1917-1919 events, both adding and substracting from Means' picks, as well as adding contests from both the 1907 and 1908 seasons, neglected entirely by Means. I can only beg pardon that my picks are better and more objective than those of Mr. Means.

P.S. The AAA Contest Board Yearbooks (mentioned by Mr. Ferner on post 75 above) were only issued after World War II from 1946 on. I don't know if one was published for 1955 or not. They are not as useful as one might think and do not even contain box scores for the AAA Championship contests! After the year 1916 the Contest Board did issue a booklet of box scores for that season. It is the only example and/or year, in which they seem to have done so.

Edited by john glenn printz, 09 May 2012 - 12:47.


#82 john glenn printz

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 14:24

Mr. Sramoa (a reply to post 79 above):

Sorry. I do not believe or know of any human agency or device that can ensure or guarantee the general accuracy of aesthetic judgement, or of historical or scientific fact. It's the human condition.

David Hume (1711-1776, a Scotsman) wrote, "The rational man bases his opinions on the evidence." This method is seldom put in use, but is the best we have. Unfortunely it too, is fallible. Hume is generally considered the greatest philosopher who ever wrote in the English language.

Sincerely, John Glenn Printz

Edited by john glenn printz, 09 May 2012 - 20:31.


#83 Lemnpiper

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:16

Mr. Sramoa (a reply to post 79 above):

Sorry. I do not believe or know of any human agency or device that can ensure or guarantee the general accuracy of aesthetic judgement, or of historical or scientific fact. It's the human condition.

David Hume (1711-1776, a Scotsman) wrote, "The rational man bases his opinions on the evidence." This method is seldom put in use, but is the best we have. Unfortunely it too, is fallible. Hume is generally considered the greatest philosopher who ever wrote in the English language.

Sincerely, John Glenn Printz



Mr Printz,


Knowing what we do is there any way you are able to be very specific about what year/races that could be loaded is accuracy issues?


Also did many drivers who remained involved in the sport outside of actual racing (Joe Dawson as a regional official for example) ever have their informal papers get donated to museums in the hometowns?

Or one of the promotors like Sam Nunis , or even say a track like Langhorne's owners that may have kept a duplicate copy for something as showing their expenses for tax purposes?

Somehow i gotta beleive if we can narrow down what ifo about which races is suspect , then the seach for the correct info might be easier to do, since at this point a lot appears to me to be in question.


And as the 1946 racing thread showed , if you get emough interested parties involved , the answers may come easier than it first appears.




Paul


#84 Michael Ferner

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 16:12

Well, an entry list for the 1930 Langhorne race would be nice, for starters. :)

#85 john glenn printz

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 17:35

I quite agree. The Langhorne 100 of May 3, 1930 is a great mystery. Was it run under the new junk rules or not? A race day program seems to have survived, as a cover of one, is pictured on page 524 of Riggs' LANGHORNE! NO MAN'S LAND. It is said to have been in the Lengenfolder Collection. I would like to see what's on the inside of this program.

Mr. McMaken once told me that he thought the AAA rules might have been "Formula Libre", in this instance. Russ Snowberger's stock block 337 cubic inch Studebaker seems to have been a starter, placing 14th, according to Phil Harms. But the Motor magazine for January 1931 on page 84, which has a box score for this event, does not list Snowberger at all. Thus Russ' two-man vehicle may not have been present. I don't think any of the other machines can be positively identified as junk formula vehicles, except perhaps Wilbur Shaw's "Empire Special". But again was the Empire State Special a single or two seat vehicle in early May? Where there any cars in the May 3 Langhorne 100 whose engine displacement was above 183 cubic inches? Presently I don't know.

If Harms' listing of Snowberger's Studebaker is a miscue, then I would opine that the 1930 Langhorne 100 (May 3) was probably run under a 183 cubic inch limit. This was the standard formula for all the AAA National Championship 100 mile contests staged in 1928 and 1929, held on dirt tracks.

The surviving AAA Contest Board file, preserved at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, begins with the Syracuse 100 run on September 12, 1931. All of 1930 and most of 1931 are missing and/or gone. Most unfortunate.

Edited by john glenn printz, 11 May 2012 - 15:49.


#86 sramoa

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:33

An idea was born not died possibly then well what I wrote recently.

If I take it well from time before 1931 we do not have accurate informations only.

The research could be from there to start,what we know punctually how and what no.
What we do not know it to publish the shreds.For example,that 1930 Langhorn event maybe Lengenfelder in a collection can be found.Somebody has an acquaintance maybe who has an acquaintance who knows it...

#87 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 17:53

I quite agree. The Langhorne 100 of May 3, 1930 is a great mystery. Was it run under the new junk rules or not? A race day program seems to have survived, as a cover of one, is pictured on page 524 of Riggs' LANGHORNE! NO MAN'S LAND. It is said to have been in the Lengenfolder Collection. I would like to see what's on the inside of this program.

Mr. McMaken once told me that he thought the AAA rules might have been "Formula Libre", in this instance. Russ Snowberger's stock block 337 cubic inch Studebaker seems to have been a starter, placing 14th, according to Phil Harms. But the Motor magazine for January 1931 on page 84, which has a box score for this event, does not list Snowberger at all. Thus Russ' two-man vehicle may not have been present. I don't think any of the other machines can be positively identified as junk formula vehicles, except perhaps Wilbur Shaw's "Empire Special". But again was the Empire State Special a single or two seat vehicle in early May? Where there any cars in the May 3 Langhorne 100 whose engine displacement was above 183 cubic inches? Presently I don't know.

If Harms' listing of Snowberger's Studebaker is a miscue, then I would opine that the 1930 Langhorne 100 (May 3) was probably run under a 183 cubic inch limit. This was the standard formula for all the AAA National Championship 100 mile contests staged in 1928 and 1929, held on dirt tracks.

The surviving AAA Contest Board file, preserved at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, begins with the Syracuse 100 run on September 12, 1931. All of 1930 and most of 1931 are missing and/or gone. Most unfortunate.


I tend to agree with Ken McMaken here: the rules may have been "something old, something new" for this event, it seems. I would love to see that box score of the Motor magazine, John - could you perhaps scan it and post it here, or send it to me so that I can post it? Was it accompanied by an article on the race, however short? This is one event even the local newspapers managed to miss entirely! :(

There's a picture of the first three rows of the starting grid in the late Don Radbruch's "Dirt Track Auto Racing 1919 - 1941" on page 219, though it is not identified as such. It is credited to the Jim Way collection - Jim is (was?) the son of long-time racing journalist J. Earl Way, who must've been present at the event. The picture is not very clear, but I believe it shows five single-seat Millers and Shaw's Empire State two-man car. On the pole is Bill Cummings in the #29 Karl Kizer Miller 91, outside Fred Frame in the #4 Clarence Tarbet Miller "Locomobile Junior 8"; second row Deacon Litz #12 Miller 91 and Frank Brisko #9 Miller 122; third row Shaw and Ira Vail's ex-Lockhart Miller 183 #Circle-4, presumably driven by Herman Schurch. It is not entirely impossible that Shaw did drive a single-seat Miller, too, for his entrant (Floyd Smith) still had the ex-Murphy Miller 122 in late 1929 - it may or may not have been the "donor car" for the two-man "Empire State Special".

I would also think it likely that Zeke Meyer and Jimmy Gleason drove two-man cars in this race, namely the #21 Miller and #7 Waverly Oil cars, respectively, that they drove at Indy later that month. Meyer's car, however, looks like it was hastily made up as a two-seater in the IMS photos; it may well have been a single-seater, still, at Langhorne. Pretty solidly in single-seaters were Bill Albertson (ex-Durant Miller 122), Al Stewart (ex-de Paolo Duesenberg 122) and Ralph de Palma (Miller 122), but others are more difficult to ascertain: Frank Farmer's car owner Ed Yagle still had the ex-Keech Miller 91 at the time, and ran it in some races with the same number and sponsor as his two-man car. Freddie Winnai's "Freedom Oil Special" may have been a two-man Duesenberg, but the only other mention of that car name that I have is from the the May 25 Toledo 100-miler, when Louis Schneider seems to have been entered to drive it - at a time when qualifying was well under way at Indy! Lastly, Henry Turgeon's Miller may have been the original Miller front-drive of 1924, now owned by a Pennsylvanian and rebuilt as a two-man car - it was driven by Speed Gardner at Indy.

At least as interesting would be to see who else didn't make the starting field that day. The entry was said to have been "huge", and names like Al Aspen, Cliff Bergere, Jimmy Patterson, Bob Robinson, Louis Schneider and Billy Winn had been mentioned in pre-race publicity and/or later newspaper articles refering to this Langhorne event. Most would appear to have been in single-seaters, although Bergere's front-drive Miller was said to have been bought by Bill White and rebuilt as a two-man car - it never appeared at Indy in that form!

#88 john glenn printz

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 13:42

Russ Catlin (1908-1983) was the top "historian" during the years 1946 to c. 1970 on AAA major league automobile racing and his views and opinions were everywhere accepted after World War II, until the early 1980s. Russ, when still alive, was considered the universally acknowledged expert. After Catlin's death in 1983, racing publicist Bob Russo (1928-1999) took up Catlin's ideas, and defended them for another decade.

I have in my possession two xexoxed multi-page letters written by Mr. Catlin himself. They were addressed to two individuals who had asked Russ about the history of the AAA Contest Board, the survival of AAA race records, and about the AAA National Championship Title itself.

Here is information and/or the opinions of Mr. Russ Catlin, coming directly from Mr. Catlin himself, i.e. direct testimony. I will transcribe the two epistles verbatim, including spelling errors. Both should be of high interest to anyone interested in U.S. major league motor racing history before 1956 (before USAC) and/or Mr. Russ Catlin himself, his historiography, and his opinions.

Ken McMaken, sent me copies of the two letters 30 years ago, but he does not now remember how he came by them. Possibly the first letter was a reply to James O'Keefe's questions sent to Russ in 1977.

I don't think Russ had much real grasp of AAA racing history, 1902-1955. A lot of his statements are untrue, delusional, and map-cap.

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 December 2012 - 21:13.


#89 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 14:51

FIRST LETTER (Page 1)

August 23, 1977
2201 E. Bailey Red.
Cuy. Falls, Oh. 44221

Hi Jim:

Please forgive me for my delayed answer to your inspiring letter of 8/2. The reason is that I have been trying to get you answers to your questions from my very meager remaining material on a long-ago ill-fated labor of love. I've had some success but, mostly, had to depend on memory and at age 71 trying to recall fact of 25 plus years ago is not what I would like it to be.

To answer why the series stopped after 1917 I can answer positively. Lack of payment. The series was written and researched through 1948 after which I authered the AAA Yearbook in the same statistical format and, I presume, USAC has carried on. But, with only one payment in nine months I simply refused to offer anymore manuscripts and, finally, SPEED AGE took bankrupcy and when finished in the court I received some $25 or so as settlement. I had a personal hurt when they answered a letter-to-the-editor asking the same same question with the off-hand statement the series was dropped for a lack of interest. The mail had been heavy on it and, with your letter,still is. I did have grounds for a suit but, common sense told me, how much could I get from a bankrupt company? Both ny years of labor plus, I thought, my professional reputation had gone down the drain with a blatant lie.\

The championship races of 1918 was 5/16, Uniontown; 7/4, Tacoma; 7/18, Uniontown; 7/28, Chicago; 8/17, Sheepshead Bay; 9/2, Uniontown. The championship races of 1919 was 3/15, Santa Monica; 3/23. Ascot; 5/19, Uniontown; 5/31, Indianapolis; 6/14, Sheepshead Bay; 7/4, Tacoma; 7/4, Sheepshead Bay; 7/19, Uniontown; 8/23, Elgin; 9/1, Uniontown; 9/20, Sheepshead Bay; 10/12, Cincinnati.

Cooper's two non-championship wins in 1913 I cannot find or recall but it came during one of our many conversations while room mates on the Mobil Economy Runs. From many, such as Earl, one of the prime gripes during these years were races between the same championship drivers and cars that did not carry championship POINT ranking. This was due to AAA policy depending on the chairman of the board or secretary of the time. Some held that championship designate races should be held to a minimum to thus increase the public valuation. Inasmuch as AAA Clubs usually looked on championship races as a boon to their membership protests to the Contest Board were bitter and forcefull. As a result the number of races fluctuated from a low of three to a high of twenty some. Also there was bitterness between the size of schedules in the east compared to those in the west. Utopia was never reached.

I cannot find, with my present material, Cooper winning five BT races in 1923. It might have been later as Earl retired for almost four years and when he returned swept everything. As Milton explained to me, "Earl was a pacer and never punished his cars and thus won many of the long races. However, when he came back he was changed driver with a heavy foot and simply ran everyone else off the track."

On 2/27 1921 there were two 25-mile championhip races at Beverly Hills but Roscoe Sarles won the first and Jimmy Murphy the second. Milton was second in both.

Tacoma must be an egnima to moderns. It was not a true board track but, orginally, a dirt surface that later was covered with board planking to fit the contours and not elevated except where dirt fill could support the turns.

(End of page 1)

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 December 2012 - 15:22.


#90 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 15:52

FIRST LETTER (page 2)

Thus it was not a true two-miles. However, the AAA ruled the lap closest past the advertised distance would constitute the race and thus you have the variables.

Those are the answers I have come up with. I must delve into history, some personal, to explain my assertions.

As an automotive writer and editor, plus other sports, I was always miffed at the lack of statistical reference in auto racing such as afforded by other sports. Furthermore I could not raise any cooperation from AAA in Washington so in 1949 when the Contest Board offered me the post of Director of Public and Press Relations I grabbed it for no other reason that to sort out history.

Within a week my shock was almost terminal. Past records, and even knowledge, simply did not exist. My frustration was blast off because nom where could I find and answers as to what were championship schedules or, even, tabulated point standings. I did know, however, the 1920 championship was awarded to Gaston Chevrolet, then deceased, while Tommy Milton, easily won the point championship but was never acknowledged. This was changed in executive session of the Board but even Milton didn't know it until I told him many years later.

But, I want to state right now I found AAA as an auto club a magnificent organization of great integrity and glagly would I have remained with them except it was plain knowledge even then that AAA would eventually abolish the Contest Board.

AAA was moving, then, from their Hills Bldg. offices to their now building on 17th Street that had been used by the Government during WW II. A friend advised the basement held "boxes and boxes" of Contest Board material tagged to be burned when the move was made. I received permission to examine this material and with the late Norris Friel, then technical secretary, we went into this catecomb which actually was the sewers beneath Penna. Ave. My God, there were rooms and rooms of boxes and we dressed in coveralls armed with flashlights and cudgels (for the rats) and worked on our own time.

Here were the lost records! We worked out a format as he was looking for technical material and I the history. Each box we opened we marked as to "technical" or "history". Here I found the ORIGINAL race reports going back before 1909 and quite a few minute books of past Contest Board executive meetings. But, the Gideon Stone was a loose-leaf indexed book-style account of championship races, points, and comment authored by one Val Harsnape, a Contest Board secretary who had been a civil engineer in private life. Val was meticulous, explanative and precision clear. Val died in 1929 during a record run at Daytona. He had a massive heart attack so his research came to an end.

I quit hunting then and studied Val's modus operandi and determined to take up where he ended. By combining the race results with the executive session minutes I was soon compiling true history as Val had done. But, WHAT A CAN OF WORMS I RAN INTO!

As a starter I could not validate point standings. Of course they remained constant through the years at 200 points per 100 miles except for two years when it was dropped to 600 points for a 500 miler and one year when one non-racing secretary included sprint, non-championship and even midget and stock races in the total. Mathematically it was easy to re-figure them all on a common basis and those totals are used today by anyone interested. But, the big bugaboo were the fines for rule violations. Without the minute books no could tell who what fined or how much. Plus, some years releif

(End of page 2)

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 December 2012 - 21:05.


#91 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 16:42

FIRST LETTER (page 3)

drivers were awarded points and some years releif drivers weren't even mentioned. Later I placed on the meeting agenda a resolution that past fines should stand but points, won in battle, shoulsd be restored in fairness. This was tabled and never acted on and I can understand the reason. Many years drivers would jump to rival organizations and, thus, AAA could have a national champion racing with IMCA etc.

One thing I found was a telegram from Eddie Edenburn, then a prominent Detroit sports editor, demanding an explanation for the 1920 Chevrolet championship award. The Board did make the change then buried the fact to prevent embarrassment.

Oh, what a joy to reconstruct this history. By then I knew how AAA worked and had worked and I could understand. I lived, worked, socialized and met many who had been involved in those days. Besides Cooper and Milton (he always called me his biographer and our correspondence fills one of my boxes) DePalma, Rick, Verbeck, Dutton. Vail and many, many more. Pillsbury and Ted Allen, Board Secretary during the turbulent years just before, during and right after the War, spent days and much corresponence with me explaining many situations that were a puzzle. The drivers and mechanics gave me another angle and I felt I had the complete story.

Now for the sad part. All of this material, except for Val's book, is now boxed for shipment and stored. Available to me now is only Val's book which I have in my room. Indianapolis secured all the material I left in Washington and I promised Al Bloemker my material would go to them at my death. Nine months ago I underwent surgery for a malignent tumor and lost my left lung so I had this material packed for shipment.

So, after all these years of work you can see my bitternees at SPEED AGE for their slanderous statement on my work. I had one other revolting experience with this material and that came after the SPEED AGE experience. I decided to sign with a literary agent and, through friends, got the best. He was a former Collier's editor and a ten percenter. The rule is the lower the percentage thebetter the agent. This fellow did get me murder mystery assignments, pirate gold stories and when I told him about my series and that I thought it should be done in book form he said for me to send him about three chapters and he would see if there was a market.

That I did and after a short while he returned the material with a short note, "There's no market for this type of thing and if you continue I suggest you get a co-author who knows how to write a book!" $#%!'&& Of course I didn't realized he was a non-racing man and that the reason he was 10% was because he dealt with volume and top-pay publications. So, I quit although I had written books, the first was a best seller, but writers are thin skinned. I have used much of the material in later features for AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY for which I am still a Contributing Editor. This still is a labor of love for me.

Sincerely,

Russ Catlin

(End of page 3 and the letter)

Edited by john glenn printz, 23 January 2013 - 13:22.


#92 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 18:39

SECOND LETTER (Page 1)

2201 E. Bailey
Cuy. Fls. Oh. 44221
5/26/80
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Hi Venlo:

What a bag of worms I've just been through. However, I have been able to authenicate the championship races thru 1929 and, of course, I know you will need some explanation.

You remark that it is odd that some nut had not collected this information and I advise many nuts, including myself, have attempted to do so and still are. I surmise more than half my mail comes from such "researchers." They face an impossible task and will fail for the simple reason there is no authenic research material except that which I have and Indianapolis has and both of ours is quite incomplete. At my demise Indy will get what I have.

AAA has nothing of value. About 1951 when I was with the Contest Board I was shocked to learne all the old records and memo's etc. were boxed and stored in the sewer vaults beneath 16th st., and tagged to be burned when they (AAA) moved from the Hills Bldg. to their new building. Norris Friel and I received permission to review this material and were so given if we used our own time. Wearing coveralls and carrying flashlights and cudgels (for rats) we went to work. There were ROOMS of this material stacked to the ceiling. Norris concentrated on the boxes containing technical material and I on race reports, secretaries confidential reports of Board meetings and rulings plus correspondence. We hauled boxes and boxes of this out to our homes. I had a hand-written (and tearful letter) frpm Oldfield asking for reinstatement plus Eddie Edenburn's vitrolic telegram that caused the Board to "declare" Milton the very first (*) champion in sports, the deliberately goofed up 1920 season that had Gaston Chevrolet the champion, and much more hidden bones. Sorryfull, I allowed so many researchers to paw through this material that some got away. But, I still had the original chief steward race reports and many of the Board's meeting minutes. These are still filed in many boxes and have traveled with me from homes in South Carolina, Florida, and now Ohio.

May I say the authenticity of such records depended on the ability and sorryfully, the interest of the various secretaries. Some cared less and some felt it was their interest only and not the publics. Then, in the '20s a secretary named Val Haresnape came on the scene. Val was an engineer in private life and asw those types deal only in reality and not theory I found his paperwork to be not only complete but full of explanations. He compiled a personal loose-leaf hard-back notebook that contained every championship and outstanding race of each year plus other pertinent data up to 1929 when he died of a heart attack at Daytona during a record run he was supervising. I HAVE THAT BOOK and still use it.

So, I was not reluctant to leave 1930 on for Indianapolis and do know both AAA and USAC have printed statistical year books since. In fact I did quite a few when I was with the AAA.

You ask for comment on the point standing (scoring sysems) and I smell your thot of reconstructing the point standings. Good luck!

The point system was devised by Sam Butler, the first chairman-secretrary of the AAA Contest Board ($4,000 per year) in 1909. It was identical to that used today at 2 points per mile. However, champions were declared by popular vote of the press until 1916 when Board finally adopted Butler's plan. Ironically, the popular vote, in every instance but one, coincided with the point standings except for 1909 when Bert Dingley (popular) won the vote of

(End of page 1)

Edited by john glenn printz, 20 January 2013 - 17:45.


#93 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 19:11

SECOND LETTER (page 2)

the press while George Robertson was clearly the point championship. This stood until I was with the Board and urged Art Pillsbury to give George recognition. This he did so auto racing now has two (*)s in its history. There was some sort of a dinner and presentation to George and Pillsbury introduced me to him saying, "Russ is the person responsible for getting this error corrected,) and George answered "Well, it's about time someone did." One tough guy. Incidentially I nominated him for the Hall of Fame, this year, and he was one of three elected. Were he living I presume he would ask, "Do I get a pension?"

At one time, and I believe it was in the '30s, the point values were dropped to 600 points for a win at Indianapolis and graduated from there but this was corrected (changed) later by Ted Allen when he was secretary and theb 600 point years re-figured. Ted was a very good secretary. Then, right after the war a former shoe salesman who was secretary got the impossible idea that every AAA race, midget, sprint, stock, or what have you shold receive championship points. This resulted in a snowfall of fractions, decimal points and crossed fingers that poor Dorrell (the figure in the office and a good one) became immobile and a prime candidate for the funny farm. He was so far behind I could not issue point stands or any press releases pertinent to the championship. Once again I took the problem to Pillsbury and one again the board, in executive session, whacked the knuckles of the seretary and ordered him to return to the adopted point system for championship only. I was told not to give ANY publicity to this former hodge podge. Dorrell recovered.

But, the real problem in reconstructing the points for any year is impossible without the point fines for infractions. This was a hammer used by secretaries in which rule infractions were punished by either money fines or points or both. No record was kept except in some cases when they were recorded in Board minute books. No publicity was ever given and no one seemed to care. I found enough to let me surmise there was no standard for such fines and the amount was based on the secretarie's own likes or dislikes for the individual. Once again I went to Pillsbury and he exploded, "Why, if this is continued we could be accused of manipulating points to make our own champion." I was gone from the AAA when Board action wiped this out.

Researching old news accounts is quite dangerous yet I spent hours and weeks in the Library of Congress (Jefferson room) doing just this. From these accounts I could capture the color and feelings of the time but I realized the statistics could and in a lot of cases were erronious (due to deadlines) and such errors were picked up by others.

One other practice which could cause trouble was a practice in the late '30s and early '40s. There was so little championship racing, due to the depression, that promotors would apply for a championship sanction, advertise it as such in both papers, telegraph poles and barns, and then declare it non-chapionship because the revenue was too low. AAA winked at that and was glad to get the sanction fee without the championship bonus. Ralph Hankinson was the prime practioner but not the only one. Even drivers did not know this and when Wilbur Shaw read a yarn of mine listing championship winners he called me listing his many victories during that period. When I told him this fact he was furious, "Why, those S.O.Bs" he said.

Although I have been hard on AAA I do want to establish the fact I still feel overall the AAA Contest Board was very great, and AAA too, and when over half a century auto racing was regulated so meticulously and honestly one can't criticize too much. When I review such organizations as NASCAR today today I think of the Contest Board requiements for appointment. One could have no financial interest in racing. The powers who ruled had to be disinterested parties of integrity. "You can't be the policeman and arrest yourself!"

Need anymore?

Sincerely,

Russ Catlin
(End of page 2 and the letter)

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 December 2012 - 21:00.


#94 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 20:47

John - what fabulous material. I for one just don't know enough about Catlin to feel capable of reading between his lines to sense what's genuine, what's sincere, what's truly believed, and what might well be quite the opposite. Your analysis, almost paragraph by paragraph - if you feel like providing same - would complete this wonderful insight into such a muddled, and muddied, saga.

For what it's worth, thank you very, very much indeed for posting these extraordinary letters. I am glad now that I asked the original question which launched this thread.

Happy Christmas!

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 21 December 2012 - 20:51.


#95 Michael Ferner

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 22:32

I quite concur - what a load of interesting insight! Thanks for taking the time to type it verbatim. :clap: :clap:

#96 carl s

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 05:30



Agreed!

John - what fabulous material. I for one just don't know enough about Catlin to feel capable of reading between his lines to sense what's genuine, what's sincere, what's truly believed, and what might well be quite the opposite. Your analysis, almost paragraph by paragraph - if you feel like providing same - would complete this wonderful insight into such a muddled, and muddied, saga.For what it's worth, thank you very, very much indeed for posting these extraordinary letters. I am glad now that I asked the original question which launched this thread.

Happy Christmas!

DCN



#97 john glenn printz

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 15:25

I have one more Russ Catlin letter. It consists of six pages and was sent to Ken M. McMaken, on November 8, 1982. In some ways it is the most revealing of the three! I will post it henceforth. But read it at your peril and beware. There's a madman lose in the belfrey.

Edited by john glenn printz, 02 January 2013 - 19:45.


#98 john glenn printz

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 16:23

THIRD LETTER (Page 1)

2201 E. Bailey
Cuy. Fla., Oh. 44221

Hi Ken:

De-lighted to have heard from you -- and ALL that material! More about that later but right now I want to say if we corresponded when I had my arm troubles that certainly was a passel of time ago. Yet, I remember. You see, Ken, so many have searching for the Holy Grail and write that answering became nearly a full-time job and some, I'm sure, simply wanted me to do their work for them. But, some I could read sincerity and yours was one and those I tried to help because no one knows more than I the enjoyment in research and the satisfaction in finding the answers. Periodically there seems to be a new flury of activity in this and eventually they get to me. I do what I can but now it is very little.

My arm troubles was only the beginning. That followed with sundry other annoyances and hospitalizations until the GUESSsperts called Specialists told me I had some form of malignent cancer and as a result removed my left lung. That was four years ago and although I'm still here recovery has not been good. I'm practically house-bound and must use a cane. My strength has dissipated to where I can read or type for short periods. As a result I've had to cancel almost all activity entirely but did make the Oldtimers this May by the grace of God and what determination I have left.

Long ago I told Al at Indy I would will all my rescued from AAA to him at Indy as I feel it all should be in one place for researchers to use. Since my health problems I have been sending Al plus two young fellows in California (one who has a computer and inputs the stats) the material piecemeal. They copy and return but I have lost track of what is where. As a result I really miss digging and working with it but happy it all will be where it can be used, eventually.

So, the purpose of this letter is to reminisce and advise, for what it is worth, but by no means discourage. I have leafed your material and can see the great amount of work gone into it and off hand feel it is relatively correct. To all those now doing this same job I try to encourage and help because the good Lord knows how auto racing history has been so badly written and so full of errors. I feel in time a correct compilation will emerge but it is too much to hope it is in my time. I tried to do the job but never finished.

Before I get into that let me say I've been on the staff of AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY for about two decades and although I've tried to resign they keep coming up with such interesting assignments I do "one more." The winter issue will contain my history of the AAA Contest Board and although I'm not interested in selling magazines it (the story) should tell researchers a lot. I do tell the true story, warts and all, because a lot of the blame for muddled history can be laid at their doorstep and some of the arrogant inepts that held power during history. On the other hand two magnificient secretaries, Val Harsnape and Art Means, authored most of the material I had and to them we owe much. Then, too, few know or realize the Contest Board's and AAA's problems during much of early history. I spend one night with Ted Allen in Salt Lake City when I was on the Mobil Run and he divulged much of the administration problems to me. We talked the night out and saw the sun come up. He drove home the point that from year 1 through the '30s AAA and the CB faced serious competition from such as IMCA, WAA and anti-AAA individuals as the montebanks Pickens, Moross, and Oldfield. Cover ups were used to save not only face but to not give opposition amunition.

(End of page 1)

Edited by john glenn printz, 02 January 2013 - 16:42.


#99 john glenn printz

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 18:21

THIRD LETTER (Page 2)

I can't say I personally approved the way some chairman operated the coverup game but I was only an employe of the board who received assignments and was asked for opinions. I will say Col. Herrington, chairman during my tenure, was an honest, knowledgeable, competent and productive chairman. I also had great respect for some board members such as Pillsbury, Milton, and Shipper. Down through history some very great public figures served actively on that board and I talked to many of them, including that egomaniac Eddie Rickenbacker who hated midgets!

But, back to the advice column. Newspaper research. I did all of research before AAA in the Library of Congress -- literally hours, days, and weeks. I'v researched in librarys from Detroit to L.A. and next to the L of C they stand as the best, in my estimation. Years ago I was invited to a symposium at as eastern university forb historians in which topic was historical authentication. In attendance was writers from about six countries and all agreed on the same methods of authentication. Low on the list was periodical research and eye-witness. This due to copy errors, failure to follow up and hasty deadlines. Of course I didn't want to believe that, and didn't, until much later and it all came home to roost with me. Some history I hd written, from news accounts, later proved wrong and I had no way of correcting. Then, when I found the real authenticated AAA records and compared them with those I compiled over the long years I was heartsick. Not only heartsick but discouraged. It was a long time before I started it all over again.

The real value in periodicals is a lead, at best. But, one must go further. In some cases there is no further then it has to be used but should always be astericked as to the source. A good illustration of this I'm enclosing. Proof sheets just sent to me by AUTOMOBILE QURTERLY of my explanation on the Bob Burman Jumbo Benz I had written was raced first in 1912. A reader had written I was wrong and that HORSELESS AGE carried an article that Burman, Moross and the New York Benz distributor had sailed for Germany in 1911 to take delivery on the 300 hp Jumbo Benz. The story was published four years after I had written it so I had to dig to find where I got my dates and found they were included in an interview with DePalma some 30 years ago. Just in case Ralph could have been off a year I wrote my friends at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart (I did a lot of work for them right after the war) to see if they had any records. A month later two researchers from their archives, a von Prein and Krupansky, sent me an affidavit and 32 pages of material including all the specs. Ralph had been right. What had happened Moross had fed news outlets they were taking delivery on the Benz when actually the order had been turned down. The clip is self explanatory.

Where news accounts lead modern researchers astray (and, believe me I can understand this) is news clips from year-end summaries in 1920 stating Chevrolet was the 1920 champion and no champion had been named since 1916. Oh, what a can of worms! How can anyone know otherwise when there was no official AAA comment, retraction or followup? The clips were in the 1920 or 1924 folder I rescued from AAA with hand-written notation by Means that "This is as it should have been." I tell this in my history and just pray AQ doesn't flub the proofs. However, the minutes of the 1924 executive session of the Contest Board carries this notation, "Championship races and point awards back to and including 1909 are now approved with the stipulation that such champions to be known as 'point champions'." I interpreted this as a ploy to save face for Dingley, Chevrolet and the press." Obviously the compilation was done by Harnape and he had converted all points to the method in use that time, i.e. 2 points-per-mile per winner. Point values did change three or four times during history.

(End of page 2)

Edited by john glenn printz, 02 January 2013 - 18:35.


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#100 john glenn printz

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 19:06

THIRD LETTER (Page 3)

The 1920 Milton thing was complicated and at one time amusing. Tommy prided himself with being correct on everything. I had an assignment from Fawcett to do a story on Tommy titled "The Great Milton" and spent a week at his home taping the interview. What a week! We'd start taping in the morning , take a break for happy hour, tape some more then break some more. During the breaks we'd argue and converse and I then brought up the fact he was the 1920 champion. By then he had enough Christians Bros. brandy to get argumentive and trotted out his second place medal for me to see. No one, I mean no one argued with Milton.

A year later he visited us at our home in South Carolina and asked to go over the 1920 material which he did. Then, later he visited us again for the same purpose at our winter home on the Keys. He was very ill but still full of fire. All he sais was "What I can't figure out is where was Milton in 1920?" Returning home he wrote me asking that I tell the story in a GOOD publication but I never did until now. I do try to explain in A.C. history.

What had happened is this. Kennerdell, the CB chairman then, certainly must stand as the most secretive, inept, conniving yellow-spine chairman in history. He not only failed to release points or standings during the year but wouldn't allow others to do so. When Chevrolet was killed the press, in the obit, called him the champion off his Indy win but Eddie Edenburn was upset and wired the board office prior to the Tacoma race for the point standings. Kennerdell found he was caught and that Milton was actually leading so he devised a rule that only races of 350 or 400 miles (I forget which) or longer was to count for championship. This did give Chevrolet the title and Edenburn so wrote his year-end column and this rule to the board for approval (in February) it was turned down by the opposition led by Edenburn. So, the problem was plain to Eddie. Should be, as a newsman, bare the fact or, as a sworn-to-secrecy board member say nothing and inasmuch as the new season was underway in California Eddie buried the entire thing.

I still have Milton's letter and Edenburn's telegram. Also the tapes, which we have been lost for years, have now been found in California and are being copied and my copy will go to Indy.

I could say a lot about Kennerdell but the man is dead and I won't. But, he came as chairman at a time of plenty and when the going got rough proved he was not capable of running such a complex and demanding activity. However, I was curious about him and tried to trace his background by asking a cousin of mine, a businesswoman, who lived in his hometown to see what she could dig up. Her letter was a shocker (I sent a copy to Al.) Kennerdell came from a good and influential family whose sister was married to a U.S. Senator. Calling on her with the aid of a reporter from the local paper they were practically thrown out of the house and told to let "Kenny sleep in peace." She dug up his obit which said very little so went to the cemetary caretaker who showed her the grave and said instructions were not not even put the date of birth on it! (That's how secretive he was). Because the coroner was her physician she got from him that the cause of death was the same illness that took Tetzlaff and Duray and that probably answers why he never married. I have often thought that was the reason AAA allowed him to keep his offices at his home rather than Washington and inasmuch as that disease does affect the brain might be the reason for some of his unexplained actions as chairman.

As for the 1917-1919 lack of naming champions all I can say is that one would have had to live through that WW-I period to understand. I did. The patriotic fever, although we were not yet in war, was at a heighth never neared in WW-II or any other time. The whole mess came about when the AAA Executive Committee met in their annual session and came out waving American flags in both hands. They

(End of page 3)

Edited by john glenn printz, 06 January 2013 - 17:38.