Jump to content


Photo

1940 - Indy 500 price of admission


  • Please log in to reply
70 replies to this topic

#1 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 11 August 2008 - 19:22

I found my Fathers ticket he had saved from the 1940 Indy 500

His seat - old grandstand F - Row 7 - seat 46

Price - $2.23 with .27 tax for total $2.50! (I loved history but my math stinks! lol...I have no idea why I wrote 2.27 + .33 = 2.50...long days working with damn numbers is the excuse! )

Date: Thursday May 30th

1940's race was won by Wilbur Shaw with some assist from a light rain.

My Dad said that Rex Mays, Mauri Rose and Ted Horn were lined up and waiting to take him on. Wilbur cruised the last 150 or so miles under yellow with no passing allowed. I take nothing away from Wilbur Shaws victory, but I wonder if Rex Mays in the Bowes Seal special (Winfields super 8), or Rose or Ted Horn would have given him a tussel? ...we will never know, but can you imagine the angst of the crowd sitting that last 70 or so laps with a yellow! Dad was 11 yrs young at the time and he claimed that most of the crowd was happy for Wilbur...but they wanted an ending to the race just the same!

Can you imagine paying $2.50 to see the greatest race in the world?

Dad and Grandpa took the train from Jersey City NJ to Indy.

They stayed at a boarding house on Georgetown street. The cost for 3 nights? The astounding sum of $6...amazing. They got breakfast as part of that $2 per day! Lunch and dinner could have been included, but Dad said they went to the track each day to watch practice and had Hot Dogs Burgers and Pop. Could you imagine that now? Oh where have the good times gone indeed!

Advertisement

#2 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 11 August 2008 - 19:49

Yes, the good times... But tell me, what did your grandpa take home those days, then make another comparison.;) Most people make the mistake of taking money as a universal value, which it is not - just an arbitrary number to facilitate exchange of goods.

#3 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:04

Originally posted by fines
Yes, the good times... But tell me, what did your grandpa take home those days, then make another comparison.;) Most people make the mistake of taking money as a universal value, which it is not - just an arbitrary number to facilitate exchange of goods.


Considering that the Bell System paid well for the day (Western electric to be exact)..and he lasted 45 yrs there... 1940 would have been his 14th yr... he was a line supervisor that managed folks whom put together those old wonderful black phones that would still work after a bomb hit them...! My grandmother worked for Mallicrokt chemicals at the same time...a rarity in the day when the male spouse worked and the female tended home. Grandma's lungs were kaput and she left this earth when I was a teen....companies did not know about safety and a simple mask did not keep the chemicals from frying her lungs. she still liked her racing tho!

but - of course the point is made Michael.

Cost of living circa 1940 is vastly different that cost of living today.....

however, I still wish I lived in their shoes instead of mine! I would be gone now...but I would have had the opportunity to see these greats in person.

Rex Mays replaced the retired Louie Meyer in the Bowes Seal special. I often wonder if Rex would have caught Wilbur in his Maserati that day....we shall never know!

#4 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:12

That is a wonderful bit of nostalgia, Russ.

And it's always a good thing to get out of New Jersey--if only for a few days.

;)

#5 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:19

Originally posted by Flat Black
That is a wonderful bit of nostalgia, Russ.

And it's always a good thing to get out of New Jersey--if only for a few days.

;)


Thanks FB.

I found some stuff at Mom's this past weekend and I wanted to share with the community.

I miss my New Jersey now...you never know how much you miss it, until you no longer have it! Pizza, Bagels and the rest. Oh my goodness.....Virginia is not the same!

#6 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:33

Now the pizza I miss! No doubt. There's a little place outside of Trenton called Candela's that makes the best pie outside of the Old Country.

And I miss Cape May.

Outside of that, though, I must say I have no desire to return to the Garden State.

:)

#7 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:49

Originally posted by Flat Black
Now the pizza I miss! No doubt. There's a little place outside of Trenton called Candela's that makes the best pie outside of the Old Country.

And I miss Cape May.

Outside of that, though, I must say I have no desire to return to the Garden State.

:)


lol

Cape May is serene (a good word to describe?) compared to the rest of the NJ shore...not as crowded and for us old folks (he he he) its a little nicer.

Candela's? I will search it out and make a pit stop....I go through Trenton sometimes on I -195 ...usually doing 75 mph lol...but I will see if they still are around.

I try to bring back 2 or 3 whole pizzas and freeze the slices. I can't live w/o them, same with my salt bagels...high blood pressure be damned!

#8 HistoricMustang

HistoricMustang
  • Member

  • 4,076 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 11 August 2008 - 23:34

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
I found my Fathers ticket he had saved from the 1940 Indy 500

Dad and Grandpa took the train from Jersey City NJ to Indy.


I was able to spend the summer on a train in 1965 as my father made a living in Canada. Those moments have always stayed with me. Wonderful mode of transportation.

Henry

#9 fbarrett

fbarrett
  • Member

  • 1,001 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 12 August 2008 - 00:02

[i]I take nothing away from Wilbur Shaw's victory, but I wonder if Rex Mays in the Bowes Seal special (Winfields Super 8), or Rose or Ted Horn would have given him a tussle?...we will never know[/B]

Ah, the old "What If" game! Would they have beaten him, or were their engines/tires/transmissions/miscellaneous nuts and bolts wearing down, or would these competitors have been involved in some innocent "contact" or pit flub or officiating error that would have cost them the win? Would they have accidentally passed under yellow, or would their cars have leaked oil (always a favorite black flag justification at Indy)? Or maybe someone would have dumped oil in front of them and caused an off? Strange things happen.

Guess we just have to go with what really happened, but your dad certainly must have enjoyed the race, and it's great of you to bring it to our attention. How many folks today drive two or three days to any race, stay in a boarding house, and drive two or three days back?

After listening to the Indy 500 for years on the radio then watching it on television, I finally went to the shrine in 1994. It was like a trip to Mecca. When Penske's pushrod Ilmor-Mercedes engine won, the applause was not what it would have been had Hurtubise finished in front, but even for me, a sporty-car guy, it was an experience of a lifetime. I bet your dad felt the same...

Frank

#10 fbarrett

fbarrett
  • Member

  • 1,001 posts
  • Joined: January 08

Posted 12 August 2008 - 00:03

OK, he took the train, didn't drive! That must have been an experience, too...

Frank

#11 Rob G

Rob G
  • Member

  • 10,898 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:48

Just to give a sense of scale, $2.50 in 1940 would be $38.50 today. It really was a pretty good bargain.

#12 Rob29

Rob29
  • Member

  • 3,112 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 12 August 2008 - 06:41

Comparison with UK;Attended my first F1` GP Silverstone 1960-admission was 6 shillings(30p)Travelled on coach trip from near where we lived in norh london.Programme 5p-as to refreshments-I think mum provided thermos of coffee and sandwitches-total cost of day out-£1.05. I think 1£=4 US$ at that time.

#13 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:24

Originally posted by Rob29
Comparison with UK;Attended my first F1` GP Silverstone 1960-admission was 6 shillings(30p)Travelled on coach trip from near where we lived in norh london.Programme 5p-as to refreshments-I think mum provided thermos of coffee and sandwitches-total cost of day out-£1.05. I think 1£=4 US$ at that time.


nice one Rob. Thanks for sharing. I bet those sandwiches tasted great. Moms always make the best!

When doing a bit of work on the Beatles history (yes, I am an avid collector/fan of them too) I noticed that Paul Mccartney paid a huge sum for the day of 15 pounds for his Hofner Beatle bass, roughly $70. He bought it in Hamburg Germany late 1960. 1 pound did def = 4 or 5 dollars in 1960!

#14 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:32

Originally posted by fbarrett


Ah, the old "What If" game! Would they have beaten him, or were their engines/tires/transmissions/miscellaneous nuts and bolts wearing down, or would these competitors have been involved in some innocent "contact" or pit flub or officiating error that would have cost them the win? Would they have accidentally passed under yellow, or would their cars have leaked oil (always a favorite black flag justification at Indy)? Or maybe someone would have dumped oil in front of them and caused an off? Strange things happen.

Guess we just have to go with what really happened, but your dad certainly must have enjoyed the race, and it's great of you to bring it to our attention. How many folks today drive two or three days to any race, stay in a boarding house, and drive two or three days back?

After listening to the Indy 500 for years on the radio then watching it on television, I finally went to the shrine in 1994. It was like a trip to Mecca. When Penske's pushrod Ilmor-Mercedes engine won, the applause was not what it would have been had Hurtubise finished in front, but even for me, a sporty-car guy, it was an experience of a lifetime. I bet your dad felt the same...

Frank


Frank - I know what you mean about the "what if" game...but as Dad always told me, those last laps (approx 70) under yellow were very tough to watch for the crowd. With all those crowd favorites lined up behind the incredible Wilbur Shaw...it was hard for them to sit through, imagine what it must have been like for Mays/Horn/Rose et al as they traversed the track....? side note...the other Maserati (carbon copy of Shaws ride) that was entered by the Schell's and driven by the French team of Lebugue/Dreyfuss was sitting at 10th when the rain came, a respectable showing up from 31st starting position!

Also, let it be noted that the 1939 race ended up under yellow, albeit just 2 or 3 laps, due to Louie Meyers wild spin and ejection coming into the backstretch. Wilbur was clearly in command that race over Jimmy Snyder and crew, but that 1940 race had ALOT of racing left that creeped along at 60/70 mph under the yellow.

#15 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,040 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:34

Originally posted by Rob29
Comparison with UK;Attended my first F1` GP Silverstone 1960-admission was 6 shillings(30p)Travelled on coach trip from near where we lived in norh london.Programme 5p-as to refreshments-I think mum provided thermos of coffee and sandwitches-total cost of day out-£1.05. I think 1£=4 US$ at that time.


$2.80 = £1 from Stafford Cripps' devaluation in 1949? to Harold Wilson's in 1967. $4.03 before and $2.40 after.

#16 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 16:15

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


I was able to spend the summer on a train in 1965 as my father made a living in Canada. Those moments have always stayed with me. Wonderful mode of transportation.

Henry


Henry

thanks for sharing. My Dad told me the train ride was great. It took awhile to get to Indy, but it had to be a fun ride for an 11 yr old at the time....

now, for their transport to the 1946 Indy???

Dad & Grandpa flew on a converted Army Aircorp DC 6 that was used to tranport troops. WW2 had recently ended and the surpluss of troop transports were being used for commercial flights....they took off from Newark airport....they sat on benches (!) and it was an apparently bumpy ride out to Indy and back home. hmm, I wonder why lol

however

no extra baggage charges (like today)

no extra charges for a glass of water or pillow (like today)

no fuel surcharge (like today)

see Michael - times were indeed simpler....if not as comfortable as us spoiled travelers of today. ;)

#17 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 12 August 2008 - 16:26

Russ,

Did your pa and grandpa attend (m)any races at Trenton Speedway?

#18 Jerome

Jerome
  • Member

  • 2,088 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 12 August 2008 - 16:28

Originally posted by Rob G
Just to give a sense of scale, $2.50 in 1940 would be $38.50 today. It really was a pretty good bargain.


True. It was a good bargain, but those kinds of comparisons are always quite hard to make. I've done quite some historic research myself (for books and stuff), and it always was a pain to calculate: 'How should I value 1 dollar shortly before WWII?'

In the Netherlands, the amount of welfare always was a good measure. In 1937 an umemployed labourer (if he had at least two childeren) received 300 euro per year. Let assume (for arguments sake) that an American labourer on minimumwages was payed roughly the same. That means he would earn 1 dollar 25 per day, which means that for an Indy ticket he payed two days wages.

How much is a ticket the Indy 500 nowadays, actually?

#19 GeoffE

GeoffE
  • Member

  • 152 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 16:33

Originally posted by Jerome
Let assume (for arguments sake) that an American labourer on minimumwages was payed roughly the same. That means he would earn 1 dollar 25 per day, which means that for an Indy ticket he payed two days wages.


It seems the "New Deal" of 1938 set the minimum wage to 25 cents an hour.

http://www.cyberessa.../History/84.htm

Advertisement

#20 MPea3

MPea3
  • Member

  • 2,144 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 12 August 2008 - 16:36

Originally posted by Jerome
How much is a ticket the Indy 500 nowadays, actually?


That depends. Ticket scalping is legal in Indiana, so most of the available tickets are grabbed by ticket brokers as soon as they become available for sale, and resell at as much as three times face value. The same ticket brokers then sell their leftovers out on Georgetown in the days leading up to the race, and the price drops during that time. If you're willing to wait until Jim Nabors starts to sing you can go for almost free.

#21 MPea3

MPea3
  • Member

  • 2,144 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 12 August 2008 - 16:38

Originally posted by GeoffE


It seems the "New Deal" of 1938 set the minimum wage to 25 cents an hour.

http://www.cyberessa.../History/84.htm


Being self employed, I've had days when I didn't make that much.

#22 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 17:34

Originally posted by Flat Black
Russ,

Did your pa and grandpa attend (m)any races at Trenton Speedway?


FB - thanks for asking.

yes!

my grandmother would be with them for these races:

Trenton NJ
Langhorne PA
Williams Grove PA
Lyndhurst (small track folks, approx 7 sec's for a lap....midget only???)
Flemington NJ
Allentown PA fairgrounds

..and basically anywhere else racing could be found in the tri-state area. Odd that the 1936/37 Vanderbilt cups were never talked about...I don't think they attended those for some reason, but they are all gone now so I can't ask "why?"...

Grandma loved racing too! A real "family affair" for the days.

..and when Dad met Mom in circa 1955...where do you all think he took her on Date(s) sometimes???

Langhorne! to see Eddie Sachs, Jimmy Bryan & co in the mid to late 50's lol, ah romance...she said they were covered in mud onetime due to standing near the fence (!?!) (no, not from rolling around doing hanky panky...altho, who knows??lol)

#23 HDonaldCapps

HDonaldCapps
  • Member

  • 2,482 posts
  • Joined: April 05

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:14

The Inflation Calculator is probably the most commonly used such source on the internet. It is simply a much easier to use version of the tabular materials that have been in use in academia for years upon years. The nice thing is that it gets updated automatically, the bad thing is that the old tables allowed you to -- within some limits, of course, to calculate this sort of thing by month. This was, to be honest, often a bit of overkill and usually a tool of the specialists while the rest of us were happy with "close/good enough."

#24 Jerome

Jerome
  • Member

  • 2,088 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:14

Originally posted by GeoffE


It seems the "New Deal" of 1938 set the minimum wage to 25 cents an hour.

http://www.cyberessa.../History/84.htm


Interesting. Seems I was not too far off the mark! So: 10 hours of work for a modest labourer. Mmm... what do we think about that?

#25 Jerome

Jerome
  • Member

  • 2,088 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:15

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
The Inflation Calculator is probably the most commonly used such source on the internet. It is simply a much easier to use version of the tabular materials that have been in use in academia for years upon years. The nice thing is that it gets updated automatically, the bad thing is that the old tables allowed you to -- within some limits, of course, to calculate this sort of thing by month. This was, to be honest, often a bit of overkill and usually a tool of the specialists while the rest of us were happy with "close/good enough."


Thank you very much Don! I never knew of this! All that work I put in as a journalist by digging in old newspapers to find the prices of bread!

#26 HDonaldCapps

HDonaldCapps
  • Member

  • 2,482 posts
  • Joined: April 05

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:24

Originally posted by Jerome
Thank you very much Don! I never knew of this! All that work I put in as a journalist by digging in old newspapers to find the prices of bread!


That is still very valuable work since even the best "inflation calculators" provide simply an approximation of what the values would/could/should be. As we know, the actual prices do vary, and for any number of reasons. These calculations provide some context or perceptions of the relative value of items. I always found it very helpful to have the prices of items taken from contemporary sources for both the obvious reasons as well as the serendipitous discoveries that always seem to accompany the research.

#27 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:26

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
The Inflation Calculator is probably the most commonly used such source on the internet. It is simply a much easier to use version of the tabular materials that have been in use in academia for years upon years. The nice thing is that it gets updated automatically, the bad thing is that the old tables allowed you to -- within some limits, of course, to calculate this sort of thing by month. This was, to be honest, often a bit of overkill and usually a tool of the specialists while the rest of us were happy with "close/good enough."


thanks Don...a rather mind provoking website for yours truly.

Rob G was almost "spot on" as my ol' Blighty friends would state

2.50 in 1940 is = 36.96 today.

Vukeys purse winnings in 1953 (approx 90K) are worth $695,896.83 today

and

Louie Meyers purse winnings in 1933 (approx 10k - lowered due to depression) are worth $150,492.10 today

#28 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:46

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


FB - thanks for asking.

yes!

my grandmother would be with them for these races:

Trenton NJ
Langhorne PA
Williams Grove PA
Lyndhurst (small track folks, approx 7 sec's for a lap....midget only???)
Flemington NJ
Allentown PA fairgrounds


It's funny that the Midwest is typically thought of as the heartland of racing in the US, when, in point of fact, there were probably just as many if not more great race tracks in the Northeast (the Altoona board track, Pocono Speedway and Syracuse are other examples). Now I'm not suggesting that the Northeast, which had the advantage of greater population, is the true epicenter of American racing (Indy, the High Banks, the Motor City connection make a claim that's tough to top), but the Northeast really has quite a racing heritage. Alas, much of it has disapeared.

#29 Jerome

Jerome
  • Member

  • 2,088 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 12 August 2008 - 18:50

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


That is still very valuable work since even the best "inflation calculators" provide simply an approximation of what the values would/could/should be. As we know, the actual prices do vary, and for any number of reasons. These calculations provide some context or perceptions of the relative value of items. I always found it very helpful to have the prices of items taken from contemporary sources for both the obvious reasons as well as the serendipitous discoveries that always seem to accompany the research.


Thanx, but ofcourse I am not really sad about the research. I always liked to see some basic things in perspective. But the calculator you mentioned is very interesting for motorsportfans. I, for instance, will look at some old threads in which the funds of F1 teams in the past are mentioned.

Ofcourse, in your own lifetime, you can do these comparisons also. When I was 18, I worked in a shop where they sold camcorders (videocamera's). Those early ones costed about 3000 guilders, say 1500 euro's. You can buy a very good one for 300 euro's or something...

(Then again, I pay 3,00 euro's for a good bread.)

#30 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 19:17

Originally posted by Jerome


Thanx, but ofcourse I am not really sad about the research. I always liked to see some basic things in perspective. But the calculator you mentioned is very interesting for motorsportfans. I, for instance, will look at some old threads in which the funds of F1 teams in the past are mentioned.

Ofcourse, in your own lifetime, you can do these comparisons also. When I was 18, I worked in a shop where they sold camcorders (videocamera's). Those early ones costed about 3000 guilders, say 1500 euro's. You can buy a very good one for 300 euro's or something...

(Then again, I pay 3,00 euro's for a good bread.)


Jerome

how true...

I recently bought a Technics turntable (I love records).....I paid $90 american dollars.

that same turntable "technics" cost my Dad close to $900 in 1976! I have his old one, but the motor finally broke and the cost to fix was...you guessed it, more than a brand new one!

My first camcorder was a 1985 cumbersome and lumbersome Sony valued at $2,100 with all the bells and whistles...got it on sale for $1,800! thought that was a bargain...

I bought a Sony palm corder a few years back with steadiness for my old shakey hands for a few hundred dollars...that palmcorder can tell time, do my laundry and pay my ex's alimony...ok, well its not that universal, but you get the idea.

#31 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 12 August 2008 - 19:23

Originally posted by Flat Black


It's funny that the Midwest is typically thought of as the heartland of racing in the US, when, in point of fact, there were probably just as many if not more great race tracks in the Northeast (the Altoona board track, Pocono Speedway and Syracuse are other examples). Now I'm not suggesting that the Northeast, which had the advantage of greater population, is the true epicenter of American racing (Indy, the High Banks, the Motor City connection make a claim that's tough to top), but the Northeast really has quite a racing heritage. Alas, much of it has disapeared.



FB - us northeaster's get short shrifted when racing is brought up...but you are right, the amount of tracks available was abundant onceuponatime in the NJ/PA/NY area.

My family relocated to St Louis Mo in 1972 and lived in that wonderful city for about a little more than a decade.

I had many many local tracks to go see modified, midget and sprint cars race every Friday and Saturday night in MO/Ill.... ...its also where I was doing my drivers test in a midget and flipped around summer of 1982...and as I have said in another thread...my underwear needed to be changed and I never raced again. oh well...my Indy career was finished before it even began. btw, My Mom was elated with that decision!

#32 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 12 August 2008 - 19:40

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
btw, My Mom was elated with that decision!

Now there's a surprise! :D

#33 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 12 August 2008 - 20:04

It would be very interesting to diachronically chart the geographical diffusion of racing in the United States. The very first race was from Chicago to Joliet, was it not? That would be your starting point. Did racing then slowly radiate outward from the Chicago/Detroit corridor? Or, perhaps, did racing spring up more or less simultaneously in the Midwest and the Northeast?

#34 HistoricMustang

HistoricMustang
  • Member

  • 4,076 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 12 August 2008 - 20:50

Originally posted by Flat Black
It would be very interesting to diachronically chart the geographical diffusion of racing in the United States. The very first race was from Chicago to Joliet, was it not? That would be your starting point. Did racing then slowly radiate outward from the Chicago/Detroit corridor? Or, perhaps, did racing spring up more or less simultaneously in the Midwest and the Northeast?


WOW! :up:

I believe this would be a great topic that deserves its own thread!

Documenting the geographic migration of automobile racing. :smoking:

Flat Black, it is all yours.........................

Henry

#35 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 12 August 2008 - 21:03

Originally posted by Flat Black
It would be very interesting to diachronically chart the geographical diffusion of racing in the United States. The very first race was from Chicago to Joliet, was it not? That would be your starting point. Did racing then slowly radiate outward from the Chicago/Detroit corridor? Or, perhaps, did racing spring up more or less simultaneously in the Midwest and the Northeast?

Very roughly: almost exclusively in the East in the beginning, mostly Northeast, then Florida and other Dixie states in the winters. Then, early in the 20th century, barnstorming tours through the cornbelt, and from late 00s onwards California and other West Coast states. By 1910, full activity in practically all corners of the country.

#36 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:08

Well, unless another poster has something to add--or subtract--from Michael's post, I'd say he's just about nailed it down.

#37 MPea3

MPea3
  • Member

  • 2,144 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:52

Originally posted by Flat Black
Well, unless another poster has something to add--or subtract--from Michael's post, I'd say he's just about nailed it down.


Just that I suppose that 100 years ago Florida was part of Dixie. These days the joke is that Georgia's the only state where you travel south in order to end up in the north.

#38 David M. Woodhouse

David M. Woodhouse
  • Member

  • 125 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 13 August 2008 - 15:52

I hate to nitpick among such knowledgeable posters, but the 1895 race was NOT Chicago to Joliet. It was run in wintry conditions from Chicago's Jackson Park to the northern suburb of Evanston.

Slightly off topic, but ticket price inflation has really accelerated in recent years. The Monterey Historics are this weekend, and I first attended in 1975. That year my wife and I drove down from San Jose on Friday afternoon and found a motel room with no trouble (lots of vacancy signs). I went to the Raceway office and asked about tickets for the Historic Races. the nice lady said "We have a combination ticket for the Historic Races on Saturday (it was a single day event then), and the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance on Sunday - both events for twelve dollars." "I'll Take two". How times have changed!

I leave in an hour for my 34th consecutive year at Monterey.

Woody

#39 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 13 August 2008 - 16:13

That's not a nit picked, it's a major correction. Evanston and Joliet are opposite directions from Chicago, are they not?!

I screwed up because I was going by my defective memory.

Advertisement

#40 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 13 August 2008 - 16:16

Originally posted by David M. Woodhouse
I hate to nitpick among such knowledgeable posters, but the 1895 race was NOT Chicago to Joliet. It was run in wintry conditions from Chicago's Jackson Park to the northern suburb of Evanston.

Slightly off topic, but ticket price inflation has really accelerated in recent years. The Monterey Historics are this weekend, and I first attended in 1975. That year my wife and I drove down from San Jose on Friday afternoon and found a motel room with no trouble (lots of vacancy signs). I went to the Raceway office and asked about tickets for the Historic Races. the nice lady said "We have a combination ticket for the Historic Races on Saturday (it was a single day event then), and the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance on Sunday - both events for twelve dollars." "I'll Take two". How times have changed!

I leave in an hour for my 34th consecutive year at Monterey.

Woody


Thanks Woody - have a great time in Monterey and enjoy those nice cafe Bistros that overlook the bay.

and

Thanks for 1895 Ill race update...this is an information sharing center and its much appreciated!

#41 O Volante

O Volante
  • Member

  • 291 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 13 August 2008 - 19:26

Read about this only now: Apart from memories and nostalgia about a possibly better past, to get things in a better balance, what about the relation between admission and the winner's earning?
This year Scott Dixon got about $2.9 mio, if I remember correctly. What was Wilbur Shaw's purse in 1940?
As mentioned above, admission at a rather reasonable seat was $2.50. How much this year?

#42 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 13 August 2008 - 20:26

Shaw took home $30,000. General admission was $2.50 already before 1933, then reduced to $2.- because of the depression. Biggest purse up to that time was Arnold's $50,000 in 1930.

#43 HistoricMustang

HistoricMustang
  • Member

  • 4,076 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 13 August 2008 - 21:22

Originally posted by David M. Woodhouse
I hate to nitpick among such knowledgeable posters, but the 1895 race was NOT Chicago to Joliet. It was run in wintry conditions from Chicago's Jackson Park to the northern suburb of Evanston.


This is why we need a dedicated thread. :wave:

Henry

#44 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 14 August 2008 - 12:20

Originally posted by fines
Shaw took home $30,000. General admission was $2.50 already before 1933, then reduced to $2.- because of the depression. Biggest purse up to that time was Arnold's $50,000 in 1930.


...and i will add why that was such a large dollar amount for 1930....Billy Arnold led 198 out of 200 possible laps! and the lap prize winnings were not taken away until 1933, when Louie Meyer won his second. Thats Why Louie's winnings in 1933 seemed dwarfed to Arnolds 1930.

Interesting story about Billy Arnold ....I will call him an unknown dominator of the 500 for his day.

Unknown now because he is never really mentioned like a Vukey, but in 1930,31 & 32? well, he was leading the 1931 by a good margin when he broke a rear axle in the NW turn o.n the 167 lap. He was hit by Luther Johnson. Arnolds car burst into flames and his wheel crossed Georgetown rd and felled 12 year Old Wilbur Brink, killing Brink in his front yard while playing. Arnold was hurt pretty badly, broken shoulder whilst his mechanic Sider Matlock suffered a broken pelvis. Arnold then appeared in a movie (!)with James Cagney aka Joe Greer called "The crowd roars". His only scene is when Cagney is talking to him, as Arnold, in what appears to be incredible pain, is leaning and twisted against the inside rail during qualifying. I have not seen the movie if a few, but I am pretty sure he gingerly shakes Cagneys hand as Jimmy says "Hey Bill, how you doing? you had a rough crash last year, how ya feeling?"...."I'm fine Joe, just fine" was the answer...Arnold then came back in 1932 and was again leading the race by a good margin until lap 59 when he went over the NE wall. This time the injuries for he and Matlock were reversed. Arnold never raced at Indy again. (thanks to Jack Fox for this info!)

#45 Jim Thurman

Jim Thurman
  • Member

  • 4,169 posts
  • Joined: February 01

Posted 14 August 2008 - 17:02

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
Originally posted by Flat Black
It's funny that the Midwest is typically thought of as the heartland of racing in the US, when, in point of fact, there were probably just as many if not more great race tracks in the Northeast

FB - us northeaster's get short shrifted when racing is brought up...but you are right, the amount of tracks available was abundant onceuponatime in the NJ/PA/NY area.

It's only been in the last few years that California didn't top the list of states with the most race tracks. Historically, at least after the short track era took hold, California was always ranked #1 in tracks. More impressive when one considers it wasn't the most populous state during some of that time.

Talk about being short shrifted ;)

#46 Russ Snyder

Russ Snyder
  • Member

  • 360 posts
  • Joined: October 07

Posted 14 August 2008 - 17:37

Originally posted by Jim Thurman

It's only been in the last few years that California didn't top the list of states with the most race tracks. Historically, at least after the short track era took hold, California was always ranked #1 in tracks. More impressive when one considers it wasn't the most populous state during some of that time.

Talk about being short shrifted ;)


I'll raise you 2 short shrifts ...

As I was going to post the other day when the question was raised by Flatback but held off to see what the community said...

Pretty much the MOMENT the automobile was made public...racing started.

simplistic? of course...but its true.

I think the question might be more defined as "sanctioned racing - where was its origins?"

Jim - for me growing up, I never thought of California as not being a hot bed of racing , if you were to ask the normal race fan circa 1970's "Cali or NJ" I guarantee they would say "California!" and then go "racing in NJ? where? on the Turnpike?"

Technically our friends in Europe can point to the 1901 "city to city" races that started ...but I would think the true answer was like our country.... as soon as the Auto's became public.

#47 Flat Black

Flat Black
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: May 08

Posted 14 August 2008 - 18:54

Yeah I agree with Russ here. I've always thought of California as a real hotbed of racing in the post-war era. And even before WWII there were many great tracks in and around LA--Ascot, Beverly Hills, etc. But the Northeast? Never really gave it much credit until I started doing a bit of research on the subject.

#48 vashlin

vashlin
  • Member

  • 322 posts
  • Joined: December 06

Posted 15 August 2008 - 16:37

Russ,

Have enjoyed scrolling thru' this thread.

Pardon my ignorance of the history of my native state's great race, but I was struck by the fact that they ran the last 70 laps under yellow in the rain. Was this common for wet races in the 40's? Did they ever attempt to stop the race and wait for the track to dry out? Were there "rain" tires? I just wonder what the prevailing thought was about this at the time. It would be so disappointing to see a race run for SO long under yellow, right to the end like that.

I have had experience myself with Indy rain delays. Recall vividly the 1967 race. As we drove to the track that morn the skies were leaden but the radio announcer, trying to sound positive, said there was a mere 30 percent chance of rain that day.
:rolleyes:

Saw only the 19 laps. Spent the rest of the day trudging thru mud, cold and wet, huddling under grandstands, yet not giving up hope that the sun would come out. : It was gloriously sunny the next day. but I, alas, had to be back at school. Listened when I could to the race on my little transistor radio which I had smuggled into classes. Don't think I fooled any teachers that day. They were all interested, too.

Was disappointed that my GP heroes all dropped out. Still, Foyt's drive thru' that last lap wreck was something to remember.

Lin

#49 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:44

Originally posted by vashlin
Still, Foyt's drive thru' that last lap wreck was something to remember.

Lin

:up: Few people probably realise what a close shave that was, on the very last turn of the Indy 500!!! Imagine that, 799 turns alright, heading for victory, then... CHAOS! Four cars crashed in that corner, three of them running ahead of Foyt, and one trailing him - only A. J. made it through!!! What a scene as he gingerly drives through the wreckage, with his fist raised to the sky: number three, accomplished! :up:

#50 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:52

Originally posted by vashlin
Pardon my ignorance of the history of my native state's great race, but I was struck by the fact that they ran the last 70 laps under yellow in the rain. Was this common for wet races in the 40's? Did they ever attempt to stop the race and wait for the track to dry out?

Yes, once! And though "rain tyres/wets" weren't unknown in the thirties & forties, I don't believe they ever considered using them at Indy. Y'know, with a surface like bricks, ain't no tyres doin' ya any good in the rain!

Also, I believe the flag was out for 50 laps "only", and Shaw was almost a full lap ahead of Mays, so I don't think there's too big an issue with the results - they're in order.