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1949 AAA National Championship


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#1 john glenn printz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 18:09

HISTORY OF 1949 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING by John G. Printz and Ken M. McMaken. 1949 saw the United States move into a very prosperous era as America had now fully recovered from both the Great Depression and the trauma of World War II. The recent world peace of 1945-1946 was soon disturbed and overturned by the emerging "cold war", between the free world and the communist states as China, Russia, and those located in eastern Europe.

The low point and nadir of AAA National Championship automobile racing was the period 1938-1941, as there was were only three Champ car events staged in 1939, 1940, and 1941; and only two in 1938. 1933 and 1937 also had only three. The Depression years had a very sad effect on the AAA's circuit of National Championion events. After the war there was a revival of sorts. The AAA Championship Trial rebounded with six contests in 1946, eleven in 1947, and twelve for 1948. 1949 would record fourteen! By 1948-1949 the post-war AAA Championship schedule had been regularized to about a dozen events annually: i.e. the Indianapolis 500, the Milwaukee 200 (or 250), the Pikes Peak hill climb, and the remainder being mostly 100 milers staged on flat one mile dirt ovals constructed originally for horse racing.

Outside of the Indianapolis 500 itself, the U.S. public gave little actual attention, cognizance, or interest to the other dozen or so AAA National Championship point contests. The AAA National Championship Trail after World War II never became of major sports interest to the U.S. public at large.

The fourteen 1949 AAA Championship point events and their winners were;

1. April 24, Dallas 100, Parsons, Johnnie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948), 83.15 mph, D

2. May 30, Indianapolis 500, Holland, Bill, Offenhauser/Deidt FD, (1947), 121.32 mph PO NTR

3. June 5, Milwaukee 100, Fohr, Myron, Offenhauser/Marchese (1938), 83.61 mph D

4. June 19, Trenton 100, Fohr, Myron, Offenhauser/Marchese (1938), 75.77 mph D NTR

5. August 20, Springfield 100, Hansen, Mel, Offenhauser/Lesovsky (1949), 87.61 mph D

6. August 28, Milwaukee 200, Parsons, Johnnie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948) 85.81 mph D

7. Sept. 3, DuQuoin 100, Bettenhausen, Tony, Meyer-Drake/Kurtis SC (1949), 90.06 mph D NTR

8. Sept. 5, Pikes Peak 12.42, Rogers, Al, Offenhauser/Coniff, 46.85 mph H

9. Sept. 10, Syracuse 100, Parsons, Johnnie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948), 85.00 mph D

10. Sept. 11, Detroit 100, Bettenhausen, Tony, Meyer-Drake/Kurtis SC (1949), 81.26 mph D NTR

11. Sept. 25, Springfield 100, Parsons, Johnnie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948), 91.72 mph D

12. Oct. 16, Langhorne 100, Parsons, Johnnie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948), 92.39 mph D NTR (Note: NTR for Championship division races only)

13. Oct. 30, Scaramento 100, Agabashian, Fred, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948), 84.48 mph D NTR

14. Nov. 6, Del Mar 100, Davies, Jimmy, Offenhauser/Kurtis-Ewing (1948), 85.35 mph D NTR

Edited by john glenn printz, 20 November 2012 - 16:33.


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#2 E1pix

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 18:32

Congratulations, sounds like a great book.

My hat's off to you for doing this! I might have to get a copy for my Dad (he was raised a block from the Milwaukee Mile).

Best of Luck, please post a link for purchase.

:up:




#3 ensign14

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:31

Book?

#4 E.B.

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 20:42

The AAA Championship Trial rebounded with six in 1946


Or was it 77?

#5 E1pix

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 20:48

Book?

:blush: Whoops, sounded like a book announcement... maybe not! :rolleyes:

Just the 14 winners list, naturally picked up by E14? ;)

Edited by E1pix, 07 June 2012 - 20:49.


#6 john glenn printz

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 14:00

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont. 1) 1. ARLINGTON DOWNS 100 April 26, 1946. There was some developments before the staging of the Dallas race in April 1949, the first Championship contest for 1949. Johnnie Parsons was retained as the driver of the factory-works machine, the Kutis-Kraft Special. In late 1948 Parsons had been hired to pilot it the last five AAA Championship races and had won at DuQuoin on October 10, 1948, where Ted Horn had been killed. The car during 1948 had previously been piloted by Tommy Hinnershitz and Walt Brown. Over the winter of 1948/1949 mechanic Harry Stephens had replaced its original De Dion type type rear end with a stiff axle. Parsons thought it was a vast improvement in the car. The De Dion type suspension was named after the same Jules Felix Philippe Albert De Dion (1855-1946), who won the very first automobile competitive event, i.e. the Paris to Rouen trial of July 22, 1894, which both started and triggered the sport of international motor racing. Consult the post of March 3, 2007 on the thread "THE YEARS 1894 TO 1897".

On February 3, 1949 it was announced that Rex Mays had quit the Bowes Seal Fast team with which he had joined for the 1940 season, as a replacement for Louie Meyer, who had retired after the 1939 Indianapolis 500. Rex in 1949 would now pilot the ex-Hepburn front drive Novi at Indianapolis, as a teammate to Duke Nalon. With regard to the 1949 AAA Championship dirt events Mays would drive for owner Erwin Wolfe, in a newly purchased Offenhauser/Kurtis KK 2000.

Up to 16 cars were allowed to start here at Arlington Downs, but only 11 actually did. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis) won the pole with a 42.07 second clocking (90.920 mph). Rex was followed by 2. Johnny McDowell (Offenhauser/Meyer) 44.20 (86.538 mph); 3. Troy Ruttman (0ffenhauser/Wetteroth) 44.20 (86.538 mph); 4. Bill Sheffler (Offenhauser/Bromme) 44.39 mph (86.168 mph); and 5. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese) 45.35 (84.344 mph).

The event witnessed the National Championship debut of a very young Troy Ruttman (1930-1997), who was one of the most talented and versatile speed merchants ever. The AAA required that all its racing drivers be at least of 21 years of age. Troy was only 19 in 1949, but fooled the AAA Contest Board with a fake birth certificate. Ruttman had only joined the AAA ranks in late February 1949, but his rise in U. S. racing was very rapid. The AAA, in 1949, thought Ruttman was 22 years of age. Troy drove his first race in late 1945 at the Tri-City Speedway, a 5/8 mile dirt track located at San Berardino, CA, using his father's souped up Model A Ford roadster. Troy had taken the car without his parent's knowledge or permission, but he won the race.

In 1947 and 1948 Ruttman won the California Roadster Association (CRA) titles and in 1948 the United Racing Association (URA) Midget title. Before entering the AAA in Febuary 1949 Ruttman had driven stock cars, jalopies, midget and sprint cars. During 1947 and 1948 Ruttman's finesse with an automobile had spread greatly beyond the borders of the state of California and had not gone unnoticed. Owner Ray W. Carter of Atlanta, GA, looking for a better than average prospect and learning of of Ruttman's prowess with a car, called him up and made a deal with Troy by phone on February 16 for Ruttman to pilot his Offenhauser/Wetteroth at Indianapolis. The deal with Carter forced Ruttman quickly to join the AAA. In early March 1949 Ruttman was suffering from hemorrhages caused by ulcers and was ordered by a physican to quit all automobile racing. Notwithstanding, Troy was entered at Indianapolis and here at Arlington Downs as well, by Carter.

At the drop of the green flag McDowell took the lead for three circuits before being passed by Ruttman. Parsons, who started 6th, moved up quickly and was in 2nd place by lap 12. Ruttman led laps 4-52. Parsons, on his 36th lap hit the outside wall on the backstretch but didn't damage his car, but he had lost some ground to Ruttman. Johnnie righted his machine and again started chasing Ruttman. Parsons finally passed Ruttman on lap 53 and led the rest of the way. Ruttman hung on, remaining in 2nd place, but retired after 73 circuits with a sheared off steering arm.

Nine of the eleven cars were running at the end. The finishing order (top four) was 1. Parsons, 2. Mays, 3. Mantz (Offenhauser/Kurtis), and 4. Fohr. The winning time was 1:16:40 or 83.15 mph. At the end Parsons had more than a full lap lead over Mays. Ruttman was placed 8th. Parsons won $2,600 for first place. Race director Babe Stapp said another 100 mile Championship event would held here in September, but that didn't happen. This race was the last AAA National Championship contest, of the three, staged here. The next event was the Indianapolis 500, to be run on May 30.

Since being assigned, beginning on August 21, 1948, to the official Kurtis-Kraft champ car, Johnnie Parsons had been on a roll. Parsons had now been in just six AAA National Championship events total and had won at DuQuoin (Oct. 10, 1948) and Arlington Park (April 24, 1949); and had placed 2nd at Springfield (August 21, 1948) and Milwaukee (August 29, 1948). But Johnnie, although he has passed his driving test at Indianapolis in 1948, would still be an Indy rookie for 1949, as he had never qualified there and/or had driven any laps in a 500 mile event. What would May 1949 bring?

Edited by john glenn printz, 18 July 2012 - 14:56.


#7 john glenn printz

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 14:05

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-2) 2. INDIANAPOLIS 500, May 30, 1949. There were 66 entries for 1949. The entry fee had been raised from $125 to $250 in 1949 to help weed out junk vehicle entries. Speedway president Wilbur Shaw said, "But this year a lot of the jaloppies which have been entered in previous years are going to stay home." Tommy Milton had become the new chief steward for 1949, replacing John "Jack" H. Mehan, who had occupied this position in 1946, 1947, and 1948. The annoucement was made on March 28. Wilbur Shaw then said, "Milton's constant interest in the race, since his own experience as a driver and car entrant a quarter of a century ago, made him the ideal choice for this important post. His familiarity with the many problems which invariably rise will assure all race participants of every possible consideration, and his appointment also is sure to meet with the complete approval of race fans."

Although the AAA National Championship title may have almost become meaningless during the Depression years, the same could not be said of the importance of the Indianapolis 500 itself. It's fame and importance increased during the Depression era and it's status as the one big and important U.S. automobile racing event was never in doubt. Even an attempted revivial of the old Vanderbilt Cup race in New York, during 1936 and 1937, didn't make the slightest dent in the prestige of the 500 mile race. Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) somehow ably streered the Speedway through the bleak Great Depression (1929-1941). Tony Hulman's big 1946 gamble to revive the 500 classic succeeded and Tony even survived the 1947 driver-owner ASPAR threat as well. By 1949 the Indianapolis 500 had been solidly reestablished as the great American race, without a rival anywhere in sight.

The U.S. automobile industry proper never had any entries, cars, or racing teams in the AAA National Championship racing or at the Indianapolis 500. This was a situation that had become pretty normal and general after World War I (1914-1918). The only real connection that they sustained, and it was somewhat tenuous, occurred at Indianapolis. Here the auto manufacturers, one at a time, would supply the pace car, and after the event would give it to the race winner. This annual tradition began in 1936 by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit. Tommy Milton, who was working for Packard at the time, is given credit for this idea. The said automobile maker selected, always thought it was worthwhile and an expedient thing to do, because it always provided good copy for their advertising.

The only automotive related firms that had a direct and real connection with Indy and AAA Championship racing were the Champion Spark Company of Toledo, OH and the Firestone Tire Company of Akron, OH. In 1949 their racing representatives in the field were Earl Twining for Champion and Johnny Moore for Firestone. Firestone Tire, for years, was sole suppier of rubber for the Champ car division. Both firms undoubtedly thought their added expense of a racing program was ambly returned by an added positive image of themselves, useful for advertising.

The immediate post-World War II AAA 500 mile races never lacked for entries. There had been 49 total entries for 1940 and 42 for 1941. 1946 saw it go up to 57, 1948 had 80, and in 1949 it was 66! Even under the 1947 ASPAR boycott the Speedway obtained 34 original entrants before the April 15 deadline, and later 17 ASPAR cars were added to them.

The front drive type vehicle had both a happy resurgence and much success at the Speedway in the immediate post World War II years (1946-1950). The first front drives, i.e. two Millers, appeared at Indy in 1925, but a front drive car didn't win the 500 until 1930, the first season that the Speedway ran under the new Junk Formula rules. In 1930 Billy Arnold won with a Harry Hartz owned Miller by averaging 100.448 mph. Front drives won again in 1932 (Frame-104.144 mph) and in 1934 (Cummings-104.863 mph). After 1934, but before the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, front drives didn't win at Indianapolis but placed 2nd in 1935 and 1936, and took 3rds in 1937, 1938, and 1939.

On May 26, 1946 Ralph Hepburn set new qualifving records in Lew Welch's new supercharged V8 front drive Novi. Ralph's new marks were 1 lap at 134.449 and a 4 lap speed average of 133.944 mph. In the race itself Jimmy Jackson placed 2nd in a front drive chassis previously owned by Mike Boyle. The car had been raced at the Speedway by Cummings in 1938; Horn in 1939 & 1940; and by Chet Miller in 1941. In all these cases it then housed a Miller 8, but in 1946 it was powered by an Offenhauser 4. Lou Moore (1904-1956) hit paydirt at Indy in 1947, when his two new Emil Deidt front drives finished 1st (Rose) and 2nd (Holland). In the 1948 "500" Rose and Holland did exactly the same thing again (!), with Duke Nalon in a Novi placing 3rd. Thus in 1948, front drive power had a 1-2-3 placement payday.

In early May 1949 all the racing pundits and Speedway aficionados looked upon the upcoming 500 as a battle between the two front drive machines owned by Lou Moore and the two front drive Novi cars of Lew Welch. Rose and Holland were both back again with Moore, as they had been in 1947 and 1948, while Welch had enlisted Nalon and Mays as his two chauffeurs. Both Lou Moore and Lew Welch meant business. Moore's three cars were at the track by April 20th, and Welch's two Novis arrived on May 2. Holland, Mays, Nalon, and Rose, were all top notch pilots, and each thought he had an excellent chance of winning. Moore had entered his dirt track car also, and it was assigned to veteran George Connor. For 1949 Welch had secured Mobil as his major and prestigious sponsor.

The first qualifications and pole day were on May 14. Lew Welch, Speedway president Wilbur Shaw, and many newsmen expected it would take a speed average in the 135 mph bracket to win the pole. 14 cars qualified on May 14, with Nalon and Mays grabbing the top two positions in the front row. Nalon's speeds, one lap at 133.730 mph, four laps at 132.939 mph, were not new records as Ralph Hepburn's old 1946 marks still stood. Mays four lap average was 129.552 mph. Bill Holland was clocked at 128.673 mph to earn the 4th spot, while Rose's speed was 127.759 mph, good enough for only 10th place in the race day lineup. Even George Connor, in Moore's rear drive dirt car, went faster than Rose. Connor would start 6th by his post of 128.228 mph. Bill Cantrell (1914-1986) posted 125.022 mph, which was hailed as a new record for a stock block motor. The big surprize was Jack McGrath, who in a Offenhauser/Kurtis KK2000, ran a 128.880 mph average to join the two Novis in the first row.

Six more cars qualified on May 15, but the big news was all about the rookie Parsons in the factory Kurtis-Kraft No. 12 entry. Johnnie qualified at 132.900 mph which was faster than Mays in the Novi did, just the day before! Parsons' run was the third fastest in all of Speedway history, eclipsed only by the two Novi qualifications of Hepburn in 1946 and Nalon in 1949. And it was a new record for a rear drive vehicle.

Edited by john glenn printz, 16 November 2012 - 13:20.


#8 Jim Thurman

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 17:06

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont. 1)
The event witnessed the National Championship debut of a very young Troy Ruttman (1930-1997), who was one of the most talented and versatile speed merchants ever. The AAA required that all its racing drivers be at least of 21 years of age. Troy was only 19 in 1949, but fooled the AAA Contest Board with a fake birth certificate. Ruttman had only joined the AAA ranks in late February 1949, but his rise in U. S. racing was very rapid. The AAA, in 1949, thought Ruttman was 22 years of age. Troy drove his first race in late 1945 at the Tri-City Speedway, a 5/8 mile dirt track located at San Berardino, CA, using his father's souped up Model A Ford roadster. Troy had taken the car without his parent's knowledge or permission, but he won the race.

John, a correction here. Ruttman drove his first race at Ash Kan Derby, just east of San Bernardino, CA. Tri-City operated in the early 30's and its location, between Colton, San Bernardino and Redlands (and being adjacent to Tri-City Airport) gave it it's name. The Tri-City track operated between the late 20's-mid-1930's, usually "outlaw", but for a brief period with AAA sanction and run by the local legion post. In the 30's, early roadster races featuring Mel Hansen, George Robson and Rex Mays, among others took place as did CARA races. The AAA events mainly drew Class 'B' equipment, but several of the regulars on the Pacific Coast circuit did race there, including Mays, Frank Wearne, Herb Balmer and Al Reinke.

#9 john glenn printz

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 17:43

Dear Jim:

Well things do get confused! The major source for my statement is SPEED AGE, October 1948, page 32. In a one page artlcle by Walter A. Woron entitled "TROY RUTTMAN-THE ONTARIO FLASH" the following paragraph is contained (quote), "The meteoric rise of this great driver, who is being compared, and justifiably so, to the late Bob Swanson of early midget car fame, began at the Tri-City Speedway in San Bernardino on a Sunday in May, 1945."

The Los Angeles Times on December 11, 1948, page B2 reports (quote), "Young Ruttman, in May of 1945, committed a bit of grand larceny by filching Papa Ruttman's hot rod and racing it in the Tri-City Speedway at San Bernardino on a sunny Sunday afternoon. He was forgiven because he won-and so started the career of the man Rex Mays says will become an Indianapolis hero." This is in a column about Ruttman by Dick Hyland. Perhaps also Dick took his data here from Woron.

I was aware of his first race being called the "Ash Can Derby". The Tri-City Speedway was in Coulton, CA and may have operated briefly again in 1945. Perhaps more checking on Ruttman's first race needs to be done, but I have no other information at present, but the above is my source material.

Sincerely, J.G.Printz

Edited by john glenn printz, 13 June 2012 - 17:59.


#10 Jim Thurman

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 23:13

Dear Jim:

Well things do get confused! The major source for my statement is SPEED AGE, October 1948, page 32. In a one page artlcle by Walter A. Woron entitled "TROY RUTTMAN-THE ONTARIO FLASH" the following paragraph is contained (quote), "The meteoric rise of this great driver, who is being compared, and justifiably so, to the late Bob Swanson of early midget car fame, began at the Tri-City Speedway in San Bernardino on a Sunday in May, 1945."

The Los Angeles Times on December 11, 1948, page B2 reports (quote), "Young Ruttman, in May of 1945, committed a bit of grand larceny by filching Papa Ruttman's hot rod and racing it in the Tri-City Speedway at San Bernardino on a sunny Sunday afternoon. He was forgiven because he won-and so started the career of the man Rex Mays says will become an Indianapolis hero." This is in a column about Ruttman by Dick Hyland. Perhaps also Dick took his data here from Woron.

I was aware of his first race being called the "Ash Can Derby". The Tri-City Speedway was in Coulton, CA and may have operated briefly again in 1945. Perhaps more checking on Ruttman's first race needs to be done, but I have no other information at present, but the above is my source material.

Sincerely, J.G.Printz

John,

I think that might be the case with Hyland. Probably remembering the old, pre-WWII Colton track, Tri-City, and its brief time in the spotlight on the AAA Pacific Coast circuit. Interestingly, while I haven't had the opportunity to check the Colton newspaper at the Colton library for the specific race, Bob Swanson drove in an early roadster race at Tri-City.

The Dick Wallen roadster book has a small chapter on Ash Kan Derby, but whoever did it missed a couple of things in research, like the opening date...which I found checking microfilm of the San Bernardino newspaper at the UC Riverside library.

I've sent you a personal message (PM).

Edited by Jim Thurman, 14 June 2012 - 06:30.


#11 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:23

ON EARLY TROY RUTTMAN (again): In some of the late May 1949 U.S. newspapers, in a column by Harry Grayson, we read (quote):

"Everybody agrees that young Ruttman is a born race driver. His dad, Ralph R., was a dirt track driver of note in Oklahoma, is now his pit boss and mechanic. Mom and his recent bride, Beverly, root.

Ruttman swiped his father's hopped-up Model A roadster and won his first race at the old Tri-City track, hard by San Bernardino, Calif., in late 1945. Last year, bucking such outstanding drivers as Mac Hellings, Johnny Parsons, and Sam Hanks, he won the UPA midget title with hundreds of points to spare. He won the championship of the hot rod and stock car groups of the southern California circuit, had to drive six and seven nights a week.

He is the most magnetic attraction southern California promotors have ever had."

Again the Tri-City location, as Troy's first race. Someone is confused and someone is mistaken, but I currently don't who is mixed-up and/or who is in error on this question.

Allan E. Brown in his HISTORY OF AMERICA'S SPEEDWAYS, 3rd ed. (2003) page 168, states that the 5/8's mile Tri-City Speedway was in operation from 1933 to c. February 1935 and again in 1945. Allan further says, on page 159, that a 1/2 mile San Bernardino Speedway was in operation during 1945.

In another piece (dated December 11, 1948), by Dick Hyland, we read (quote),

"Rex Mays, who should know, said this week, "Ruttman will be an Indianapolis hero in the near future-and he will win those races from wire to wire or I miss my guess.

Young Ruttman, in May of 1945, committed a bit of grand larceny by filching Papa Ruttman's hot rod and racing it in the Tri-City Speedway in San Bernardino on a sunny Sunday afternoon. He was forgiven because he won-and so started the career of the man Rex Mays says will become an Indianapolis hero."

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 June 2012 - 14:15.


#12 Jim Thurman

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 03:39

Again the Tri-City location, as Troy's first race. Someone is confused and someone is mistaken, but I currently don't who is mixed-up and/or who is in error on this question.

Allan E. Brown in his HISTORY OF AMERICA'S SPEEDWAYS, 3rd ed. (2003) page 168, states that the 5/8's mile Tri-City Speedway was in operation from 1933 to c. February 1935 and again in 1945. Allan further says, on page 159, that a 1/2 mile San Bernardino Speedway was in operation during 1945.

Yes, someone is confused and someone is mistaken, but it's not me :)

I contributed many of the dates for California tracks to Allan E. Brown's book. Check the credits, you'll find my name. Unfortunately, due to illness, I ran out of time as far as getting more into the 3rd Edition. As such, there are many errors, and rough estimates. As such, they shouldn't be taken as gospel. I think Allan himself would be the first to tell you that. He and the many contributors are to be lauded for undertakling such a massive project, particularly in pre-internet times. Much of my research was in the mid-1980's, where I spent many hours viewing micorfilm in far flung county libraries around California and at the State Library in Sacramento.

In the time since, I have made trips to libraries in the San Bernardino area. If the Tri-City track operated after the War, I certainly haven't run across it. I also haven't run across any 1/2 mile track (aside from the pre-WWII Tri-City Speedway in Colton) or any San Bernardino Speedway. I did however, run across an opening date for the Ash Kan Derby track and mention of Troy Ruttman early on at that track. The only mention of local auto racing in San Bernardino from 1945 through to May 1, 1947, was Ash Kan Derby and the same track under its later name, Paradise Valley Speedway. On May 1, 1947, Orange Show Stadium held its first race.

Sadly, Allan plans no more editions and I fear the efforts of myself and others will simply be lost.

Edited by Jim Thurman, 23 June 2012 - 03:44.


#13 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 22:27

Sadly, Allan plans no more editions and I fear the efforts of myself and others will simply be lost.


That's a sad, but understandable attitude. I, too, have run into many errors in his book, but never made an effort to have them corrected (for which I have been critisized, too). The way I see it, you could work on a book like that for a hundred years, and never get it right! His work is an outstanding contribution to racing historians, even if flawed, but there's only so much time you can spend on any one subject. People should be thankful for his efforts, but don't take the information as gospel. Everybody needs to do his own homework!! :well:

#14 Jim Thurman

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 22:35

That's a sad, but understandable attitude. I, too, have run into many errors in his book, but never made an effort to have them corrected (for which I have been critisized, too). The way I see it, you could work on a book like that for a hundred years, and never get it right! His work is an outstanding contribution to racing historians, even if flawed, but there's only so much time you can spend on any one subject. People should be thankful for his efforts, but don't take the information as gospel. Everybody needs to do his own homework!! :well:

:up: Exactly. Sadly, the "hundred years, and never get it right" part is so true. To me, it's still staggering to take in the scope of the project :eek: Instead of dwelling on the faults, I simply am thankful that Allan chose to do his book and made such a sincere effort. I strive(d) to make additions and corrections, but time (as you're well aware) is the enemy :well: Allan's book is a truly outstanding contribution.

I did my homework! :wave: (or at least as much as I was able to before the bell rang)

Edited by Jim Thurman, 23 June 2012 - 22:36.


#15 Michael Ferner

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 20:33

I did my homework! :wave:


That wasn't directed at you! I was thinking, for example, of the Motorsport Memorial staff who are avid users of the Brown encyclopedia. Trouble is, they don't check for errors, and some of their entries end up with rather stupid mistakes. Like, entering pre-WW2 fatalities under modern track names. No, no, the Hillbilly County Fairgrounds have not always been known as the Panasonic/Home Depot/7-Up Super Motorsports Park... :rolleyes:

Also, I have been in arguments where someone was steadfastly refusing to accept any evidence of a race prior to the opening date of the respective track as given by Allen Brown. Heck, I even had newspapers which advertised the exact location, but no, that can't be because "The History of America's Speedways" says the track opened six months later... Oh, well!

#16 Darren Galpin

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:16

Yes, someone is confused and someone is mistaken, but it's not me :)

I contributed many of the dates for California tracks to Allan E. Brown's book. Check the credits, you'll find my name. Unfortunately, due to illness, I ran out of time as far as getting more into the 3rd Edition. As such, there are many errors, and rough estimates. As such, they shouldn't be taken as gospel. I think Allan himself would be the first to tell you that. He and the many contributors are to be lauded for undertakling such a massive project, particularly in pre-internet times. Much of my research was in the mid-1980's, where I spent many hours viewing micorfilm in far flung county libraries around California and at the State Library in Sacramento.

In the time since, I have made trips to libraries in the San Bernardino area. If the Tri-City track operated after the War, I certainly haven't run across it. I also haven't run across any 1/2 mile track (aside from the pre-WWII Tri-City Speedway in Colton) or any San Bernardino Speedway. I did however, run across an opening date for the Ash Kan Derby track and mention of Troy Ruttman early on at that track. The only mention of local auto racing in San Bernardino from 1945 through to May 1, 1947, was Ash Kan Derby and the same track under its later name, Paradise Valley Speedway. On May 1, 1947, Orange Show Stadium held its first race.

Sadly, Allan plans no more editions and I fear the efforts of myself and others will simply be lost.



That's sad. I've contributed a few hundred updates for tracks not in the book, earlier usage dates etc etc over the past few years, which Allan has updated in his database, and it would be good to see a new one see the light of day.

#17 john glenn printz

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 14:49

In Sum:

Well I guess I myself was very confused and mixed up about the whereabout of Troy's first race. I thought the Ash Kan Derby was an event or race name, but not the name of a race track! According to Allan Brown's book again (on page 124) it was a 1/4 mile track which was in operation from 1945 to c. 1947. Allan even mentions that Ruttman began his racing career there.

Due to Mr. Thurman I therefore stand corrected. A historian is always at the mercy of his own ignorance and bogus source material. I therefore now believe that Ruttman began his racing career at the Ask Kan Derby 1/2 mile track in late 1945, and not at Tri-City. I will continue my 1949 writeup shortly.

#18 john glenn printz

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 20:03

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-3) 2. INDIANAPOLIS 500, May 30, 1949. With 20 cars duly qualified, there remained 44 entries to fight for the 13 open starting positions. There were still, in fact, 36 unqualified vehicles at the Speedway. A battle for the remaining starting positions was apparently going to be between a dozen experience veterans and half a dozen youngsters from California, who had mostly just hot rod and midget experience behind them. However the time trials to be staged for May 21 and May 22 were stifled by heavy rain and only four cars qualified on May 21 and none on May 22. Jackie Holmes was the fastest at 128.080 mph using Pat Clancy's six wheeler, while young Ruttman qualified at 125.940 mph in Ray W. Carter's old Wetteroth machine which had won the "500" in 1941, using Davis and Rose. Bettenhausen got in with a 125.754, using one of the ex-Thorne 1938 Sparks/Adam 6's, now owned by Robert J. Flavell. Pat Flaherty made only a 120.846 mph in the Grancor (Granatelli) V8 No. 43, which few thought would hold up.

Speedway president, Wilbur Shaw, said on late May 22 that an extra day of time trials would be provided on May 25 (Wednesday) because of the time lost over the weekend. But May 25, because of high winds and late day showers, saw only three qualifiers, i.e Paul Russo (129.487 mph), Lee Wallard (128.912 mph), and rookie Jim Rathman (126.516). Wallard was using the 1939 Maserati 8CTF in which Wilbur Shaw had won the 1939 and 1940 races. Jim Rathman had switched from the Granatelli team to an old Offenhauser/Wetteroth, now owned by John Lorenz of Chicago. It had once been a Schoof Special!

With everyone scrambling for speed on May 27, the field was made full and Flaherty was bumped out. The slowest entry in the race day lineup was now Henry Banks at 124.949 mph. The slowest qualifier in the 1948 "500" had been Johnny Mauro (Alfa Romeo) at 121.510 mph. But one day of 1949 qualifications still remained (May 28) and all the five qualified drivers (Bettenhausen, Cantrell, Pratt, Ruttman, and Williams) in the 125 mph speed bracket were beginning to look very unsafe as actual race day starters.

There was a lot of action on May 28. Five cars were bumped out and five drivers moved in. Henry Banks, Tony Bettenhausen, Bill Cantrell, Ralph Pratt, and Doc Williams were eliminated while Agabashian, Andres, Ayulo, Cantrell, and Leverett made successful runs. Cantrell who had been bumped with his 125.022, took over another car and got back in by posting a 127.289. Bill said, "I feel pretty good. I'm sorry I had to bump somebody. But I got bumped myself and that's racing." At the last possible moment rookie Manuel L. Ayulo (1921-1955) took over the Sheffler Offenhauser/Bromme No. 52 from its originally assigned rookie pilot Tommy Mattson (1914-1949), a car in which Ayulo had never even sat in before, and coaxed a four lap 125.799 mph average from it to erase Ralph Pratt (1910-1981) from the lineup. Mattson had crashed the car on May 21 and had spun it earlier on May 28. There was just a 34/1000 mph difference between Pratt's and Ayulo's speeds. The 33 car lineup was now set. Ayulo had the slowest time in the 33 car field while Troy Ruttman wound up as the 32nd slowest. The field mph qualifing average in 1948 had been 125.163 mph, in 1949 it had jumped to 128.057.

There was a down side on May 28 also. A veteran dirt track pilot, George A. Metzler (b. 1912), pushed an ancient-antique vehicle owned by Leo S. Glessner, too far and hit the outside wall in turn one, head on. The old 1936 car was wrecked and George sustained a crushed chest and severe head injuries. His condition was critical. Other rookies at Indy in 1949 had had problems also. Both Byran Horne (1918-1995) on May 2 and Frank Burany on May 19 had crashed. The Glessner car was the ex-Wilbur Shaw owned Indy winner of 1937 and had seen a lot of history. It had been put together originally in 1936 by Myron Stevens and Shaw himself who called it his "Pay Car". Wilbur had wrecked it in the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup on lap 3, and placed 2nd with it at Indy in 1938. After that the car bounded about. At Indianapolis Mauri Rose piloted it in 1939, Billy Devore in 1940, Frank Wearne in 1941 & 1946, and Paul Russo in 1947. George Barringer had been killed in it at Atlanta GA on September 2, 1946.

Exactly 1/3 of the 1949 starting lineup were rookies, the most prominent of which were Ayulo, Fohr, Parsons, Jim Rathman, and Ruttman. Indeed the entire field contained only eight drivers who had had pre-World War II starts at Indy, i.e. Andres, Chitwood, Connor, Hanks, Mays, Nalon, Rose, and Russo. A new generation or two, was now clearly moving the pre-War veterans out. The higher qualification speeds in 1949 were attributed to newer exotic fuels and the bravery of the invading youngsters. Unblown Offy 4's had already won the "500" in 1935, 1937, 1938, 1941, 1947, and 1948. (Louis Meyer always claimed his 1936 winning 4 was a Miller replica). Now in 1949, 28 of the 33 starters used the unblown Offenhauser (or Meyer-Drake) 4. The five exceptions were two Maserati straight 8's, two Novi V8's, and one Sparks straight 6. All five exceptions here were supercharged.

There were five front drives in the 1949 "500" and they were probably then regarded as the "elite" vehicles in the contest. These latter day front drives were designed specially to compete only on the 2 1/2 mile Indianapolis Speedway and were very expensive to build. A front drive is generally completely useless on dirt surfaced ovals and thus they effectively could run only once a year, at Indianapolis, but by far the most important U.S. race. The few unique front drive machines would be dragged out, dusted off, and prepared two weeks before the Speedway opened for practice; and after the race would again be put back in moth balls for the remaining months of the year. Ever since 1925 when the first front drives appeared at the Speedway, there had been front drive cars in the race day Indy lineup. Front drives had proved effective on the board tracks but with the total board track demise after 1931, front drive equipment and their usage was practically confined to the annual race at Indianapolis.

Edited by john glenn printz, 10 July 2012 - 20:13.


#19 Jim Thurman

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 20:26

In Sum:

Well I guess I myself was very confused and mixed up about the whereabout of Troy's first race. I thought the Ash Kan Derby was an event or race name, but not the name of a race track! According to Allan Brown's book again (on page 124) it was a 1/4 mile track which was in operation from 1945 to c. 1947. Allan even mentions that Ruttman began his racing career there.

Due to Mr. Thurman I therefore stand corrected. A historian is always at the mercy of his own ignorance and bogus source material. I therefore now believe that Ruttman began his racing career at the Ask Kan Derby 1/2 mile track in late 1945, and not at Tri-City. I will continue my 1949 writeup shortly.

No problem, Mr. Printz. As I mentioned, I contributed to Allan's book, but I don't believe I was the one responsible for noting Ruttman began his career at Ash Kan Derby. I have a theory on how the error might have happened. Sportswriters in Los Angeles were probably - even then - guilty of being somewhat ignorant of the goings on in the Inland Empire. Perhaps, someone mentioned Ruttman started at a track in San Bernardino, and they instantly recalled the only track they remembered - Tri-City Speedway.

I wrote a short piece about Ash Kan Derby for National Speed Sport News:
http://www.nationals...news.com/?p=510

There are many, many errors on racing in California that have perpetuated (drivers, tracks, etc.) That is the area of my expertise, though Michael Ferner probably surpasses my area knowledge, at least outside of midgets, roadsters and stock cars. I look forward to the rest of your 1949 re-cap and any other seasons. Thanks for doing them.

Edited by Jim Thurman, 04 July 2012 - 17:03.


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#20 john glenn printz

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 15:05

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont. 4) 2. INDIANAPOLIS 500, May 30, 1949. There was technologically very little new at Indy in 1949. Most of the equipment present were the standard AAA Championship level dirt track vehicles which had been evolving steadily since the early 1930s. Frank Kurtis, who was in the business of producing mostly midgets, had introduced the type KK2000 Champ car in 1948 and eight of them qualified for the 1949 "500". The most radical new car in 1949 was the rear engined Rounds Rocket-Offenhauser No. 51 owned by Nat J. Rounds of Beverly Hills, CA. Rounds, then 25, was its designer and it had been built by Emil Diedt and Luigi Lesvosky. The engine installed was a standard four cylinder Meyer-Drake 270. Rookie Bill Taylor (1918-2004), a midget and stock car chauffeur from California, was its assigned driver. By early May, Diedt and Lesovsky were behind work on it. Taylor himself, because of the initial delay, bad whether, and the car's tethering chassis and engine problems never completed his rookie driving test. Chet Miller on May 27 took the car over but could only run one practice lap in the 125 mph range, which wouldn't be good enough to qualify. Even Louis Tomei took a ride in it. Some fuel injection experiments, for the first time ever at Indy, were tried on Howard Keck's front drive car driven by Jimmy Jackson, by hot rod pioneer Stuart Hilborn (b. 1917).

Madcap and/or madman, Joel Throne was at the Speedway in 1949. Joel had purchased Tommy Lee's Mercedes Benz W163 Grand Prix racer, which had been run in the 500 by Duke Nalon in 1947 and by Chet Miller in 1948. Joel had removed its original V12 motor and replaced it with the big unsupercharged 270 cubic inch Sparks 6. The machine's original engine compartment was too small for it to fit, so the engine was tilted on a 45 degree angle and stuck far out of the hood. It looked like an engineer's nightmare, but long before 1949, Thorne's efforts in racing were no longer to be taken seriously. Joel first took to the track on May 26, but never could turn a lap in the Sparks/Mercedes-Benz hybrid higher than 117 mph. Thorne himself hadn't been in a "500" since 1941, when he tangled with Emil Andres on the 6th circuit, and both cars were put out. Joel placed 31st overall in 1941, i.e dead last.

Murrell Belanger in 1949 entered the same two cars he had had in the 1948 "500". Murrell's two chauffeurs for 1949 were Duane Carter and rookie Ralph Pratt. Carter made the show, to start 5th, but Pratt got bumped out at the last possible moment by Ayulo. Pratt was in the Offenhauser/Adams-Wetteroth car that Carter had used in the "500" in 1948. Duane was now in the Offenhauser/Stevens-Wetteroth machine that Tony Bettenhausen had piloted at Indy the previous year. Owner J. C. Agajanian returned in 1948 with the same combination he had in 1948, i.e. Johnny Mantz was again in his Offenhauser/Kurtis KK2000. Their 1949 Indy race strategy was to install huge fuel tanks on the vehicle so that Mantz could run the entire 500 miles without making a pit stop!

Art Sparks, Thorne's old partner, was also involved with the 1949 Indianapolis event. Art was now in the piston business and was at the Speedway peddling his wares. A group of wealthy Indianapolis business men, led by W. J. "Bill" Holiday, had taken over the racing stable of the late Cotton Henning (d. December 9, 1948) and called themselves Indianapolis Race Cars, Inc (IRC). They entered three cars an old 268 cubic inch Miller 8, and two pre-war Maseratis, one of which was Wilbur Shaw's 1939 and 1940 winner. The pilots lined up were Hal Robson, Chet Miller, and Lee Wallard. Ed Metzler was originally the head of the team but seems to have quit. That left everthing in a lurch and Holiday appealed to Sparks to take over the mechanical preparation of the three cars. On May 18 Art accepted thinking that "it might be fun." The first thing that Sparks did was to order a complete set of metric tools and wrenches so that they could work on the two Maserati machines. Peter DePaolo was soon hired by Holiday, as the team's spokesman, which Sparks said was OK because Peter didn't interfere with the mechanical preparation of the cars. Little work had been done on them and the time was short.

Wallard put the ex-Shaw winning Maserati in the show on May 25 by posting a 128.910 mph, to eventually start 20th on race day. The other two IRC machines were more of a problem. Hal Robson never went fast enough in the Miller 8 to make the race. Tommy Hinnershitz eventually replaced Chet Miller on the second Maserati. Sparks said the second Maserati was "loose", but was also entirely worn out. At the last moment Fred Agabashian jumped into it, on the last day of qualifications (May 28), and put up a 127.00 mph clocking which was good enough. So the IRC team got two cars in.

The Granatelli brothers entered four cars, three nominated with rookie pilots, i.e. Dick Frazier, Byron Horne, and Pat Flaherty. Hal Cole was the veteran. A. J. Watson was a Granatelli crew member in 1949 and worked with Flaherty using a car powered by a souped up V8 Mercury engine. Jim Rathman and Spider Webb were also added as "Grancor" sponsored entries. The AAA wouldn't let Frazier to run at all, citing his lack of racing experience. Horne crashed on May 2, while taking his driving test, and was critically injured. The car hit the wall head on and the vehicle was demolished. Horne was driving the same car that Andy Granatelli had crashed during the qualifications in 1948. Only Hal Cole made the lineup in a Grancor team car No. 14, an Offenhauser/Kurtis KK2000, at a speed of 127.168 mph. Webb also made the show in a car owned by Louis and Bruce Bromme.

One surprize was the fate of the Bowes Seal Fast team. When Mays quit the team in late 1948, the mantle was given to Mays' friend, Mel Hansen, who was assigned the big Bowes 8 No. 44 which Rex had put on the pole at 130.577 mph in 1948. The Bowes team now had a second car also, known as the "baby" Bowes No. 55. It was a new dirt track car constructed by Luigi Lesovsky, powered by a standard 270 Offenhauser. It was given over to rookie Kenny Eaton (1916-1980), a midget driver from California. Pete Clark was crew chief on both of the Bowes entries.

Hanson was primarily a midget driver who had competed three times at Indy before the war (1939-1941) and in all the post war 500s. Mel's past car owners at the Speedway were 1939-Joel Thorne; 1940-Harry Hartz; 1941-Lou Fageol. After the war they were 1946-Ross Page, 1947-Robert J. Flavell; and for 1948-Paul Weirick. Mel certainly got around. Hanson's final results at Indianapolis were desultory as his best placement was 8th for Harry Hartz in 1940. In 1949 Hanson could not get the Bowes car up to qualifying speed. The new Lesovsky machine, given to Eaton, had handling problems (a front end shimmy) and the dire result was that neither of the Bowes entries qualified in 1949. This was a bit of a shock, as the Bowes team had never failed to provide a major overall contender at the 500, beginning from 1938 onward. Louis Meyer was their driver in 1938 and 1939; while Rex Mays did the honors during 1940 to 1948. The results were two 2nd place finishes at Indy in 1940 and 1941 with two pole positions (1940 & 1948), and two AAA National Championship Titles in 1940 and 1941, all with Rex Mays.

Edited by john glenn printz, 06 September 2012 - 20:15.


#21 john glenn printz

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 18:06

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-5) 2. INDIANAPOLIS 500, May 30, 1949. 175,000 fans jammed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to witness whether the two Blue Crown front drives used by Holland and Rose would beat the two Mobil front drives piloted by Mays and Nalon, or whether vice versa, the two Lou Welch owned Novis would beat the two Offenhauser powered front drives owned by Lou Moore and put the Blue Crowns finally in their proper place. Many thought that the two Novis would finish one-two, but who would win, Mays or Nalon, no one knew. Still Mauri Rose was installed as the pre-race favorite, and Mauri was now going for three straight Indianapolis 500 wins.

At the start Nalon jumped out in front with Mays trailing in 2nd. At 20 circuits (50 miles) the top five were 1. Nalon, 2. Mays, 3. Wallard, 4. Holland, and 5. Connor. Nalon's average at 50 miles was 125.110 mph. Nalon easily led laps 1-23 but on his 24th trip in the third turn the rear axle suddenly snapped and a wheel merrily bounced off. As Nalon told me (quote), "John, I didn't know the axle had broken and when I accelerated it whipped the car around and it hit the outside wall backward." It was one of the most spectacular one car accidents in speedway history. The two Novis had a fuel capacity of 118 gallons each and the Novi tanks ruputured when Nalon's machine hit the outside concrete wall. As the vehicle skidded backwards against the wall, it left a trail of flames in its wake. The entire car was immediately enveloped by fire and the "Iron Duke" was very lucky to escape before fatal burns ensued. When the vehicle stopped the leaking fuel drained down the track's incline and left a trail of fire across the entire paved surface, i.e. from the wall to the dirt infield. The cars on the track were forced to run through the flaming fuel at high speed but there was no damage or real danger, as their contact with the flames was brief and momentary. Nalon had second degree burns on his face and arms but was basically in good shape, considerating the spectacle and horror provided by existing photos and films of this fiery accident. Three weeks after this accident, Nalon from his hospital bed said, "It is only by the grace of God I got loose. If I'd been knocked out I would have fried. I'm a fatalist, I guess. I expect I just wasn't intended to win that race. When I do win it, I'll appreciate it, all the more."

There had already occurred two one-car accidents before Nalon's mishap on lap 24. George Lynch had spun out on lap 2 and Charles Van Acker had flipped his car on circuit 11. Lynch got a broken ankle but Van Acker walked away from his upside down car unhurt.

After Nalon went out, Mays inherited the front position and led circuits 24 to 35, but the Novi's engine was gradually going sour with a magneto problem. Lee Wallard, who had moved up fast, passed Mays on lap 36. At 40 laps (100 miles) the top ten running order was 1. Wallard, 2. Mays, 3. Holland, 4. Carter, 5. Rose, 6. Connor, 7. Chitwood, 8. Parsons, 9. Ruttman, and 10. Fohr. The speed average was now 120.327 mph. On Mays' 49th trip around the track the engine stalled and quit. Mays was now out also and neither Novi had made it to the 125 milage distance marker! On circuit 55 Wallard's 8CTF type Maserati rear end gears collapsed and Lee was retired also. With a short time to prepare all the IRC machinery, Sparks said that the Maserati's rear end gearing was (quote), "The only thing we didn't check."

Wallard's retirement gave the lead to Bill Holland and Bill led all the rest of the way, i.e. laps 55-200. The race order at 150 miles was 1. Holland, 2. Carter, 3. Rose, 4. Connor, 5. Chitwood, and 6. Parsons, while the race average had dropped to 119.830 mph. Lou Moore's cars were now running 1st, 3rd, and 4th (!) while the vaunted Novi challenge and threat was already reduced down to absolute zero.

At 250 miles the order was 1. Holland, 2. Rose, 3. Chitwood, 4. Connor, 5. Parsons, 6. Fohr, 7. Ruttman, 8. Jackson, 9. Carter, and 10. Mantz. The average speed being 120.916 mph. The 19 year old Ruttman was doing a terrific job, having moved the old 1939 Offenhauser/Wetteroth up from its 18th starting position to the 7th position at the 250 mile marker. But then disaster ensued. Troy had to pit and the stop lasted 38 minutes, to repair the brakes and to replace the water pump. After that the car was never right and Ruttman made at least five pit stops in all. At the end he was flagged off, having completed 151 laps, good enough for a 12th place finish but Troy was also dead last among the vehicles still remaining in the race.

The race continued on and the leaders at 400 miles were 1. Holland, 2. Rose, 3. Chitwood, 4. Connor, 5. Parsons, 6. Fohr and 7. Jackson. Holland's average was 120.167 mph. Mauri Rose gradually moved up and was in 2nd place running about 45 seconds behind Holland near the end of the event. However the strap holding the magneto in Rose's car became loose. Instead of slowing down and trying somehow to coax the car home, to remain in 2nd place, Rose did not relax his speed. The strap broke on circuit 193, the engine quit, and the Blue Crown No. 3 came to a halt. No three wins in a row, now. Rose was angry with Lou Moore, and Moore was angry with Rose. Rose placed 13th overall in the final results. Second position paid $18,250, while the 13th placement received just $2605.

Johnnie Parsons, as a new rookie, was told to take it easy and not to be overly aggressive or overly anxious during the race. With about 50 miles left in the event Johnnie was in 4th place and was told to catch and overtake George Connor, who was then in 3rd place. Parsons passed Connor without much trouble and with the retirement of Rose (lap 193), Parsons moved into 2nd place overall.

The final top five placements and there occupants were:

1. Holland, Bill, Offenhauser/Deidt FD (1947), 4:07:15.97, 121.327 mph NTR $51,575

2. Parsons, Johnnie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1948), 4:10:26.97, 119.785 mph $18,250

3. Connor, George, Offenhauser/Moore (1948), 4:10:50.78, 119.595 mph $11,675

4. Fohr, Myron, Offenhauser/Marchese (1938), 4:12:32.65, 118.791 mph $8,574

5. Chitwood, Joie, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1949), 4:12:36.97, 118.757 mph $6,950

Edited by john glenn printz, 27 August 2012 - 12:19.


#22 john glenn printz

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:14

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1949 (cont.-6) 2. INDIANAPOLIS 500, May 30, 1949. Only 32 cars actually took the green flag as Spider Webb's (1910-1990) Offenhauser/Bromme failed to start because of a broken transmission. Jack McGrath (1919-1955), a front row starter, quickly faded and was retired by lap 40 with oil pump failure. McGrath would prove to be a good qualifier at Indy, but was always less successful in the races themselves. Duane Carter (1913-1993), in the Belanger No. 17, ran near the leaders for the first 250 miles and then dropped back. On his 183rd lap he spun, possiblv because of steering failure, and was out. All five of the non-Offenhauser powered vehicles had retired by circuit 117. The car which travelled the furthest among these five was George Fonder's (1917-1958) old 1938 Sparks/Adams car. In 1949 Offenhauser powered equipment took the first 19 positions in the final results! 1949 was the beginning of an almost total Offenhauser dominance at Indianapolis and elsewhere for many, many years. Of the five front drives, only two remained running at the end, but one was the winner and the other was Howard Keck's 1948 Offenhauser/Deidt, piloted by Jimmy Jackson (1910-1984), which came home 6th. Jackson's reputation was fading. Jackson placed 2nd in 1946, 5th in 1947, and now 6th for 1949. Keck and his crew, Travers and Coon, now wanted more of a front running charger type pilot and Jackson would be replaced on the Keck team for 1950.

Rex Mays had now been in twelve straight 500s, but his earlier optimistc hopes for a 1949 victory were dashed. Rex had now led 266 laps in nine different 500s, but none in the last half of any race. Mays had only been able to complete three 500s, and had obtained 2nd in 1940 & 1941, adding a 6th in 1947. Bill Holland now, in just three starts had taken 2nd in 1947 & 1948, and 1st in 1949. George Connor's 3rd place in 1949 was the best he had done in eleven starts. Connor's highest placement hitherton was 9th in 1937 when he was driving for Joe Marks. Johnny Mantz drove the entire 500 miles in 1949 without a pit stop but finished only 7th. Chicago mobster, George Tuffanelli's, two KK2000 entries placed 8th (Paul Russo) and 9th (Emil Andres/Walt Brown). Andres told me that Charles Pritchard, the mechanic on the two Tuffy machines, had had Frank Kurtis make the frame rails of aluminum instead of steel. The idea was to save weight. But Emil said that Pritchard's idea backfired because the aluminum rails lacked rigidity and strength, and flexed too much.

Lou Moore team took 1st and 3rd and Lou now had five wins as a car owner at Indy. Moore said (quote), "We almost had 'em one-two-three but I guess it was too good to be true. I thought even before the race it was Bill's turn." Rose congratulated Holland by telling him, "You really drove a nice race." Bill replied to Mauri, "I'm sorry you didn't make it...but you already have a good batting average." The front drive Novi should have won in 1949 as it was their best chance ever. Its V8 motor had been tested in four previous races (1941, 1946, 1947 & 1948) and the front drive chassis had been tested in three (1946, 1947, & 1948) and 1949 was certainly the time with Mays and Nalon as the pilots. But after its big 1949 debacle no one knew what the Novi's future would be.

On June 3 George Metzler died at the Methodist Hospital (Indianapolis) from his injuries sustained at the Speedway on May 28. George was an old dirt track driver and had begun racing in the early 1930s. 1949 however was his first try at the 500. George was a nephew of mechanic Ed Metzler. The Methodist Hospital was also then housing Byron Horne, still in critical condition; Duke Nalon for burns and George Lynch for a broken ankle. In any case the 1949 Indy 500 was now over and the next Championship event was the Milwaukee 100 slated for June 5.

Edited by john glenn printz, 14 August 2012 - 13:13.


#23 ensign14

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:34

Looking back to the Bowes problems, I take it the team did not try anyone else in the cars? Had the leading drivers considered Bowes were past it and signed up elsewhere?

#24 john glenn printz

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 18:16

Looking back to the Bowes problems, I take it the team did not try anyone else in the cars? Had the leading drivers considered Bowes were past it and signed up elsewhere?


I came across nothing that would indicate that the Bowes team used anyone but Eaton and Hansen. The problems were with the cars. Of course bringing in a new rookie to Indy is always a gamble. The Bowes team in 1949 looked strong initially, but things just didn't work out. The engine design in Hansen's car went back to 1938, the chassis to 1947.

Edited by john glenn printz, 18 July 2012 - 13:04.


#25 john glenn printz

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 19:47

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949. (cont.-7) 3. MILWAUKEE 100, June 5, 1949. Only 18 of the 25 entries would start. Indy winner Bill Holland, was in the Blue Crown that Connor had placed in 3rd at the "500". It was now given the number 7 instead of number 22. Rex Mays was back in the KK2000 Wolfe No. 77 machine and Mel Hanson was in the Bowes Seal Fast "baby" No. 55 which Eaton had failed to qualify at Indianapolis. The top five qualifiers were 1. Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.88 (92.593 mph), 2. Connor (Offenhauser/Bromme) 39.20 (91.837 mph), 3. Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese) 39.48 (91.185 mph), 4. Leverett (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 39.62 (90.863) and 5. Mantz (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 39.63 (90.840 mph). Bill Holland was in, but had only the twelve fastest speed at 41.47 (86.810 mph). Ruttman was piloting the old 1938 Sparks/Adams 6, in which Bettenhausen had qualified at Indy and in which Tony found himself eventually bumped out by Bill Cantrell. It was owned by Robert J. Flavell and Troy would line up 9th with his clocking of 40.35 (89.219 mph). Hansen didn't make the Milwaukee lineup.

Connor led at the start but was passed by for the led position by Myron Fohr on lap 12. Fohr had moved past Mays on circuit 3, to take over 2nd place. Ruttman was the first car out, running just five circuits before a piston let go. Connor was out after 36 laps with a con rod put through the engine block. At 50 miles the top three were Fohr, Mays, and Mantz. Mays lost 2nd place when he had to pit at 70 laps for a right rear tire change. Rex was out after a 32 seconds stop, but was now running 7th. When Mays pitted Mantz moved up to 2nd, but Mantz in turn on lap 84 had to make an 18 second stop for new right rear rubber, which dropped him to the 5th position. Meanwhile Emil Andres was consistently moving forward, as he was 6th at 30 miles, 5th at 40, 4th at 60, and 3rd at 75 miles.

Johnnie Parsons had a bad day. He had started 17th on the grid and had to make two stops during the race. He pitted for new spark plugs on lap 50 and then stopped again on circuit 54 because of magneto trouble. However Johnnie was running at the finish but was flagged off after 92 laps to place 13th. Bill Holland, the year's Indy winner, proved uncompetitive also, and finished 9th overall.

The final top five placements were: 1. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese), 2. Emil Andres (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 3. Mack Hellings (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 4. Jackie Holmes (Offenhauser/Kurtis 6 wheeler), and 5. Johnny Mantz (Offenhauser/Kurtis). Fohr had a three lap lead over Andres at the end and ran the entire 100 miles without a stop, but his right rear tire was showing fabric and the right front tire was also in bad shape. Fohr's time was 1:11:45.44 which was not close to Bill Holland's record 1947 clocking of 1:08:44.64.

The attendance was put at 31,762 and the total purse was $21,100. Fohr got $5150, Andres $3708, and Hellings $2060. The next Championship event was the Trenton 100 scheduled for June 19.

Edited by john glenn printz, 14 August 2012 - 15:20.


#26 john glenn printz

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 13:10

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-8) 4. TRENTON 100, June 19, 1949. The Trenton 100 was promoted by Floyd "Sam" Nunis (1903-1980). Nunis had been an assistant to the legendary promotor Ralph A. Hankinson, who died in 1942. After World War II Nunis largely took over Hankinson's racing circuit, business, and promotional activities. The 1949 Trenton 100 was the very first National Chmpionship race held at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. In 1949 the one mile Trenton oval was still dirt, but was paved in 1957.

The 1949 event garnered 21 entries, with 16 to start. The qualifying trials proved to be dangerous. During a warm up lap, Bill Sheffler, had a radius rod snap on his car No. 4, and the vehicle turned over several times. Bill had a fractured skull, a broken arm, and was unconscious. Sheffler was listed in critical condition. Norm Houser, on a qualification attempt, lost control and his car overturned eight times. Norm suffered a broken arm and possible internal injuries. He was listed in serious condition.

The top five qualifiers were 1. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 42.260 seconds or 85.187 mph, 2. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese) 42.260, 3. Mel Hansen (Offenhauser/Lesovsky) 42.496, 4. Johnny McDowell (Offenhauser/Meyer) 43.043, and 5. Mack Hellings (Offenhauser/Kurtis six wheeler) 43.192. Hansen was now piloting the new "baby" Bowes dirt machine.

In the race itself, Fohr led all 100 circuits and won with a time of 1:19:11.156. The first car out was Bill Holland's with radiator trouble. Johnnie Parsons, who started 8th, retired with mechanical problems. Mack Hellings, in the six wheeler, crashed into the board fence on lap 99 while trying to overtake Walt Brown and move into the 3rd position. Mack suffered a bruised leg. Sheffler, Houser, and Hellings all wound up in the Saint Francis Hospital located in Trenton.

The end results (top five) were: 1. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese), 2. Mel Hansen (Offenhauser/Lesovsky), 3. Walt Brown (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 4. Emil Andres (Offenhauser/Kurtis), and 5. Duke Dinsmore (Offenhauser/Kurtis). Fohr won $2148.68, Hansen 1547.05, and Brown $859.47. The next AAA Championship race was at Springfield on August 20.

Meanwhile Bill Sheffler had died on June 28, having never regained consciousness. Bill died at the Saint Francis Hospital where Hellings and Houser were still residing. These latter two were now listed on June 28 as in "good condition". Bayard Taylor Sheffler (1917-1949) competed in 15 Championship contests, with his best finishes being 3rds at Atlanta (Sept. 6, 1948) and at DuQuoin (Oct. 10, 1948). His highest AAA National Championship ranking was 4th in 1948.

Edited by john glenn printz, 15 August 2012 - 11:45.


#27 john glenn printz

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:59

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-9) 5. SPRINGFIELD 100, August 20, 1949. There were 20 entries, with 18 to start. Mel Hansen, with the "baby" Bowes, set the fast time in the time trials, posting a lap at 37.31 seconds or 96.489 mph. Mel was followed by 2. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 37.93, 3. Bill Holland (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.01, 4. Duane Carter (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.11, and 5. George Connor (Offenhauser/Bromme) 38.20.

In the race itself Hansen led all 100 laps and set new Springfield speed records at 25 laps (94.24 mph) and at 50 miles (90.45 mph). Mel's total elasped time for the 100 miles was 1:08:20.91 (87.89 mph), which was not a new record here. Mays trailed Hansen by about nine seconds from start to finish. Johnnie Parsons, who was 16th on the starting grid, gradually moved through the field. Hansen had lapped him on circuit 22, but Parsons unlapped himself on the 59th round. At the time Johnnie was running about one second a lap faster than Hansen, but soon Johnnie's motor began "acting up" and he slowed. At one point Parsons was 28 seconds behind Hansen, and 19 seconds behind Mays. Connor was out after 10 laps and Carter after 18.

The top five finishers were: 1. Mel Hansen (Offenhauser/Lesovsky), 2. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 3. Johnnie Parsons (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 4. Bill Holland (Offenhauser/Kurtis), and 5. Lee Wallard (Offenhauser/Meyer). Wallard had originally started 11th. The total purse was $10,500, of which Hansen received $2,625. The Springfield 100 was run in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair. This was Hansen's second National Championship victory, as he had also won the the Atlanta 100, held on September 8, 1948. And it was the first Championship win for a Lesovsky chassis.

The AAA Championship Trial now moved to Milwaukee for the big 200 miler on August 28.

Edited by john glenn printz, 08 November 2012 - 14:01.


#28 ensign14

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:40

Just run figures through a US inflation calculator, and $10,500 amounts to $101,240 purchase value today. So adding a zero to the end of the prize money gives a good estimation of what these chaps were racing for.

#29 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 16:59

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-10) 6. MILWAUKEE 200, August 28, 1949. The Milwaukee 200 was the second most important event on the 1949 AAA National Championship schedule, but it attracted little attention with the nation's newsmen and the general U.S. public. The Milwaukee 200 mile contest had a total purse of $26,000, compared to Indianapolis' $179,150! The winner at Milwaukee would get 400 Championship points as compared to Indy's 1000. The Milwaukee oval was a one mile dirt track built originally for horse racing, while Indianapolis in 1949 was a 2 1/2 mile asphalt-brick surfaced motor speedway, which had been constructed in 1909 specifically for automobile racing. For the "500" itself there were multiple days for qualifying, but at Milwaukee everything took place on the race day itself, i.e. the time trials were at 1 p.m. and race itself at 3 p.m. Indy could start up to 33 competitors in 1949 while the Milwaukee 200 was limited to just 22. The difference in scale here was giantic. The top three in the AAA point standings before the Milwaukee 200 were 1. Fohr with 1200, while 2. & 3. were Holland and Parsons tied with 1160.

Approximately 30 vehicles were entered for the 200 miler here. The six fastest qualifiers were 1. Mel Hansen (Offenhauser/Lesvosky) 37.27 seconds (96.592 mph); 2. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 37.53; 3. Tony Bettenhausen (Meyer-Drake/Kurtis s/c) 37.95, 4. Neil Carter (Offenhauser/Gdula) 38.15, 5. Johnnie Parsons (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.35, and 6. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese) 38.44. The cars were lined up in eleven rows of two.

Hansen took the lead at the start and led circuits 1-68, before a leaking gasoline line put him out. At 50 miles Mel had set a new Milwaukee track record of 33:27.55. The running order at 50 miles was Hansen, Mays, Fohr, Parsons, Russo, and Andres. At 100 miles the order was Parsons, Mays, Brown, Andres, Bettenhausen, and Fohr. Fohr had pitted for new rubber at lap 75. Parsons led, beginning with lap 69. Most of the leaders made fuel and tire stops before the 110th mile and Fohr now moved up to 2nd position, as he had already pitted on circuit 75. On lap 131, Mays' car lost its right front wheel, but Rex made it back to his pit, and a new wheel was put on. The time lost in the pit was one minute and a half. At 150 miles Fohr was still riding in 2nd when his car developed magneto trouble.

By circuit 175 Parson's right rear tire was looking very bad and Johnnie signaled for a change, but his pit crew waved him on. On lap 198, when Parsons led Walt Brown by three laps, Johnnie's right rear wheel went flat. Parsons decided to stay out and not pit, and eased his car the rest of the distance. At the finish Johnnie led Brown by just one quarter of a lap. Johnnie's elapsed time was 2:19:29.95 (85.818 mph), which was not a record. The top five finishers were:

1. Johnnie Parsons (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 2:19:49.95, 85.818 mph, $6,500

2. Walt Brown (Offenhauser/Kurtis), flagged, $3,900

3. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis), flagged, $2,600

4. Bayless Leverett/Duke Dinsmore (Offenhauser/Kurtis), flagged, $1,820

5. Emil Andres (Offenhauser/Kurtis), flagged, $1,365

Johnnie received $6,500 for first place and the attendance was put at 25,426. Dinsmore had relieved Leverett at about 100 laps. Fohr kept running and completed 193 laps before being flagged off, to place 10th. Parsons, with his victory here, picked up 400 Championship points, while Fohr, with his 10th place finish, got another 60. Parsons now took over the 1949 AAA National Championship lead with 1560 to Fohr's 1260.

The 1949 Milwaukee 200 was run under the aegis of the Wisconsin State Fair, but Tom Marchese was the official AAA promoter. The Championship schedule now moved to the Du Quoin State Fair for the 100 mller tabbed for September 3.

Edited by john glenn printz, 28 August 2012 - 16:40.


#30 john glenn printz

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 18:51

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-11) 7. DUQUOIN 100, September 3, 1949. In the time trials Tony Bettenhausen set a new one lap track record of 35.92 seconds or 100.22 mph. Tony's post of 35.92 was considered a new world's record for a flat one mile dirt track. The car was a new experimental model using a supercharged Meyer-Drake motor with a Kurtis chassis. The next four fastest qualifying speeds were 2. Mel Hansen 36.51 (Offenhauser/Lesvosky), 3. George Connor 36.85 (Offenhauser/Bromme), 4. Neil Carter 37.02 (Offenhauser/Gdula), and 5. Rex Mays 37.26 (Offenhauser/Kurtis). 18 cars started in the race.

Bettenhausen had not entered the Arlington Downs 100 (April 24) or the Trenton 100 (June 19), and at Indianapolis Tony had been bumped out of the starting lineup on May 28, by Bill Cantrell. Tony appeared at the Milwaukee 100 (June 6) with the new Meyer-Drake supercharged 107 cubic inch vehicle. The car was the brain storm of Louis Meyer, the three time Indianapolis winner (1928, 1933, & 1936).

Meyer had come into motor racing via his older brother, Eddie Meyer, who had raced a Ford T with a Rajo head in the California races during the early and mid-1920s. Lou became Eddie's helper, grease monkey, and apprentice mechanic. In 1926 driver Frank Elliott (1890-1957) hired Lou as an extra mechanic. Soon Lou wanted to be a driver himself and took his first start in an AAA Championship contest at the Charlotte board speedway on November 11, 1926 in a 50 mile event. During the period 1926-1929, all the cars running in the AAA National Championship events were supercharged. And it made a lasting impact on Meyer.

With the introduction of Eddie Rickenbacker's "Junk Formula" (up to 366 cubic inches allowed!) at Indianapolis in 1930, supercharging was banned on all four cycle motors, which was upheld for five consecutive AAA Championship (i.e. 1931-1935) seasons. Some, but not all, AAA Championship races for 1930 still allowed the use of blowers. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1936 allowed supercharging, but because of the mandatory restriction on the amount fuel to be used, blowers were impracticable. Their use would make it impossible for a car to complete the full 500 mile distance before it ran out fuel. For 1937 at Indy the fuel restriction limits were cancelled and Art Sparks now appeared with a 336 cubic inch supercharged racer which set a new one lap qualification record of 130.492 mph.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 22, 1937 adopted the new upcoming 1938 international Grand Prix formula of 4 1/2 litres for unblown motors and 3 litres for supercharged powerplants and the AAA did the same for its National Championship division beginning with the 1938 season. The formula would last until the AAA got out of racing in late 1955.

For the new 1938 regulations, Meyer with the financial help of the Boews Seal Fast firm, built a new racer powered by a 179 cubic inch supercharged straight 8 motor. Here Meyer opted for the blown over the unblown. In the hands of Rex Mays this machine won seven Championship events during 1940-1946 and placed 2nd at Indianapolis in both 1940 and 1941. In early 1946 Meyer and his pal and partner, Dale Drake, bought out Fred Offenhauser, and kept producing the famous Offenhauser 270 four banger which dominated AAA National Championship racing for the years 1947 to 1955.

In early May 1949 Lou had this to say (quote): "Big motors soon will be obsolete. I expect within three or four years Indianapolis will announce a drastic reduction in maximum specifications. That'll put us out of business. So we're trying to be one jump ahead of the game.

Our 270 motors are going about as fast as they can go. The supercharged jobs are about at top speed. Our new motors, if successful will revolutionize the race game as we know it.

We are going to build a new 122-cubic inch motor, four-cylinder supercharged, for next year at Indianapolis. It'll be a front drive and Frank Kurtis will build the chassis. It'll only weigh between 1300 and 1400 pounds against the current 1800 pound average. And, like I said, it'll get around Indianapolis better than 130 or it won't cost anybody but Kurtis and us money!

This other deal we are now building will be a sprint car for the dirt races. Kurtis is whipping up a chassis to go with our motor. We hope to be able to test it at Milwaukee. It'll be a 30-day wonder, but if it works then we can pretty it up.

It'll be a 107-cubic inch motor, supercharged and capable of kinking up 230 to 240 horsepower, maybe more. It'll cost about $2600 against the current $4600 for a 270. Frank's building a 98-inch chassis and the car will weigh about 1200 pounds.

It may have too much power for the chassis, just like some of the 220s and 270s now. We'll have to wait and see."

Tony Bettenhausen was hired to chauffeur the new 107 cubic inch supercharged job. The 107 cubic inch motor was an enlarged and modified version of the normal 97 cubic inch engine which Meyer-Drake manufactured for midget racing. Frank Kurtis built a lightweigh chassis for it, more influenced by his midget racing racing car designs than his KK2000 championship vehicles. At Milwaukee (June 5) the car had nothing but problems; i.e. motor and carburetor trouble, a burned out piston, and gear problems. And it did not qualify. George "Babe" Tuffanelli was its nominal sponsor for this new racer when it was first introduced at the 1949 Milwaukee 100.

Edited by john glenn printz, 07 September 2012 - 12:27.


#31 john glenn printz

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 12:29

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-12) The team skipped the Trenton 100 (June 19), but appeared at the Springfield 100 (August 20). Here Bettenhausen qualified at 38.75 seconds (or 92.903 mph) to start 8th, but retired from the race itself after the completion of just one lap, to place 15th overall. In the more important Milwaukee 200 (August 28) Bettenhausen, with 107 cubic inch car qualified 3rd (3795 seconds or 94.862 mph), but retired from the contest after 127 circuits with supercharger failure, to place 15th overall.

Here at DuQuoin Mel Hansen led circuits 1-30, and Bettenhausen laps 31-100. Hansen had to pit on lap 31 for a new right rear tire. Tony's winning time of 1:06:37.13 was a new track record and he did not make a pit stop. Murrel Belanger was now mentioned as a nominal sponsor of the victorious car. Tony's win here was the first victory for a supercharged vehicle in AAA Championship racing since Rex Mays won the Milwaukee 100 on September 22, 1946, if we except Louis Unser's win at the 12.6 mile Pikes Peak hill climb, in Richard A. Cott's blown 3 litre type 8CTF Maserati on September 1, 1947. The top five finishing DuQuoin 100 positions were;

1. Bettenhausen, Tony, Meyer-Drake/Kurtis s/c, 1:06:37.13 (90.065 mph) NTR $2164

2. Holland, Bill, Offenhauser/Kurtis, flagged, $2058

3. Connor, George, Offenhauser/Bromme, flagged, $865

4. Wallard, Lee, Offenhauser/Meyer, flagged, $606

5. Brown, Walt , Offenhauser/Kurtis, flagged, $519

Hansen eventually worked his way back to the 5th position but was then put out by a broken driveshaft. Parson's car began smoking after 65 miles, and he had to pit on circuit 81 for a new right front tire. Parsons was the last car still running, i.e. in 11th place at the end. Myron Fohr finished 8th in the familar No. 2 Offenhauser/Marchese. The attendance was put at about 20,000.

Edited by john glenn printz, 06 September 2012 - 20:28.


#32 john glenn printz

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 16:51

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-13) 8. PIKES PEAK 12.42, September 5, 1949. There were 26 entries and a total purse of $16,700. Again the annual battle between Louis Unser (1896-1979) and Al Rogers (1909-1984) was renewed. Unser had won the event eight times, most recently in 1941, 1946 and 1947; while Rogers had won in 1940 and 1948. Lou had first run in this event in 1926 and had his first win in 1934.

The competitors were dispatched at five minute intervals. For 1949 the top six positions were;

1. Al Rogers, Offenhauser/Coniff, 15:54.26, 46.855 mph, $5,800

2. Louis Unser, Maserati 8CTF, 16:06.22, 46.275 mph, $3,800

3. Charles Bryant, Chevrolet, 16:28.62, 45.227 mph, $2,000

4. George Hammond, Miller, 16:52.08, 44.178 mph, $1,000

5. Mack Hellings, Alfa Romeo, 16:59.50, 43.859 mph, $750

Unser, when near the summit spun, and to lessen the lost of time, put the car into reverse gear and crossed the finish line backwards. Johnny Mauro (1910-2003) using his own Alfa Romeo Tipo 308, with only 10 yards to go hit a parked car, to avoid two women with cameras who were standing on the roadway. Mauro sustained only face cuts. Hammond also spun to avoid some spectators on the third of the five hairpin curves. It was duly noted that the crowd control for 1949 was inadequate. Competitor Jimmie Good skidded off the track at "Glen Cove" and flipped his car. All the action was stopped for 35 minutes until an ambulance made its way down the incline and took Good to the Glockner Penrose Hospital. Jimmie had a broken collar bone and lacerations.

Qualifying trials took place over a six mile course two days before the contest and Al Rogers won the right to start first. Most of the actual 20 starters were not famous names but two old AAA veterans, i.e. Phil Shafer and Russell Snowberger, were among the 18 drivers to complete the 12.42 mile distance. Shafer placed 6th and Snowberger 9th. Shafer used his old AAA Championship two-man junk formula Buick powered racer. Jimmie Jackson and Joel Thorne were among the original entrants but neither started. Unser's 1946 record of 15:28.7 still stood and the 1949 attendance was put as about 30,000.

Edited by john glenn printz, 19 September 2012 - 18:36.


#33 ReWind

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 17:20

Al Rogers (b. 1909)

Just for the sake of completeness [and because at the moment no database on the WWW shows it]:
Al Rogers died in 1984.
(Source)
Posted Image


#34 john glenn printz

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:13

To ReWind;

Thanks for the information! I'll add it to the text.

J.G. Printz

#35 john glenn printz

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 19:33

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-14) Mel Loyd Hansen (1911-1963) began his racing in 1930. Midget car racing started in California in 1933 and by the mid-1930s Hansen was a major performer and practitioner of this new form of American oval track racing. Mel raced the midgets (or "doodlebugs") both before and after World War II. On September 8, 1949 in a midget meet in Detroit at the 1/4 mile Motor City Speedway, while participating in a Australian Pursuit contest, Mel lost control and hit the outside retaining wall. The vehicle flipped end over end twice and landed on its side. In the accident Hansen's spinal cord was severed and Mel was given only a 50-50 chance to live. And even if he did live, said Holy Cross Hospital's neuro-surgeon Dr. Donald R. Simmons, he might be permanently paralyzed.

Duke Nalon, who took Hansen's wife Donna, to the Holy Cross hospital said (quote), "Mel thinks something went wrong with the car. He says the front end wasn't handling right all night. He even considered letting it set in the pits." After an examination of the car some surmized that a torsion bar had let loose.

Mel had been scheduled to run in the 100 mile National Championship contest at Syracuse on September 10, but as that was now impossible, Ralph Pratt (1910-1981) was named as his replacement. Hanson survived but remained permanently paralysed from his chest to his toes. Mel remained a paraplegic until he died, at age 52, on June 5, 1963.

Edited by john glenn printz, 19 September 2012 - 17:51.


#36 john glenn printz

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 14:58

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-15) 9. SYRACUSE 100, September 10, 1949. From 1928 to 1941 the most important dirt track race staged in the U.S. was the annual AAA National Championship Syracuse 100, run always as an adjunct to the New York State Fair. It is unclear as to just why the event wasn't revived immediately after World War II and was defunct until 1949 for the AAA had held Championship races in 1946, 1947, and 1948, but none at Syracuse.

Beginning with the inaugural AAA Championship ranked Syracuse 100 in 1928, Ira Vail was usually the manager of these races, although Ralph Hankinson seems to have been in charge of the 1934 Syracuse 100 contest. Vail was again the manager for the 1949 event. The earliest automobile races held at the Syracuse track, of which I am aware, were staged on September 12, 1903. On that day six 5 mile sprint races were run and driver Jules Sincholle in a Darracq dominated this meet. The one mile Syracuse horse track orginated in 1901. Before that the Syracuse oval was a 1/2 miler.

At the Syracuse mile oval at a race meet held on September 16, 1911, Lee Oldfield (1889-1978) lost control of his Knox. The car plowed into a packed crowd and killed nine persons. Later two more died. This is the most catastrophic accident in U.S. motor racing history. Oldfield himself was not badly hurt, and later in 1937 entered the first rear engine car in the Indianapolis 500, which did not however make the starting lineup.

During 1920, on September 19, short sprint races were held here at Syracuse. There were few entries, but Ralph DePalma in a French built Ballot won the 50 mile feature at 73.749 mph. On September 15, 1923 Tommy Milton won a non-Championship 100 here, which set a new AAA record for 100 miles on a flat dirt track, with a time of 1:15:00.33 or 79.99 mph.

The very first AAA National Championship points race held here was a 150 miler, run on September 15, 1924. The event became famous, or rather infamous, because Jimmy Murphy was killed in it. Murphy was in second place on lap 139, chasing the race leader Phil Shafer, when he lost control and crashed into the inside wooden fence. Murphy was impaled by one of the wood timbers. The next AAA Championship contest staged here was in 1928, which inaugurated the annual Syracuse 100, which continued without a break up to 1941. The pre-World War II Syracuse AAA Champ car point races were thus:

1. September 15, 1924, Phil Shafer (Duesenberg), 150 miles, 70.05 mph

2. September 1, 1928, Ray Keech (Miller), 100 miles, 75.30 mph

3. August 31, 1929, Wilbur Shaw (Miller), 100 miles, 81.06 mph

4. September 6, 1930, Bill Cummings (Duesenberg), 100 miles, 83.48 mph

5. September 12, 1931, Lou Moore (Miller), 100 miles, 75.00 mph

6. July 2, 1932, Bob Carey (Miller/Stevens), 81 miles, 81.14 mph (race halted by rain)

7. September 9, 1933, Bill Cummings (Miller), 100 miles, 81.86 mph

8. September 9, 1934, Shorty Cantlon (Miller/Weil), 100 miles, 79.88 mph

9. September 2, 1935, Billy Winn (Miller/Duesenberg), 100 miles, 83.54 mph

10. September 15, 1936, Mauri Rose (Offenhauser/Miller), 100 miles, 82.37 mph

11. September 12, 1937, Billy Winn (Miller/Weil), 100 miles, 87.49 mph

12. September 10, 1938, Jimmy Snyder (Offenhauser/Lencki), 100 miles, 84.20 mph

13. September 2, 1939, Mauri Rose (Offenhauser/Wetteroth), 100 miles, 74.899 mph

14. September 2, 1940, Rex Mays (Goossen-Meyer-Offenhauser sc/Stevens), 100 miles, 85.254 mph

15. September 1, 1941, Rex Mays (Goossen-Meyer-Offenhauser sc/Stevens), 100 miles, 84.557 mph

After the death of Jummy Murphy in 1924 there were other fatal accidents at Syracuse in connection with the AAA Championship contests. Jimmy Gleason (b. 1898) was killed during a qualification attempt in 1931; while George Brayen (b. 1906) in 1934 and Lou Webb (b. 1909) in 1940, lost their lives in the races themselves. Webb had been a former riding mechanic at Indy. Webb lost control and his car flipped over the vehicle and head of Kelly Petillo, who kept moving and sped by quite unscathed.

Edited by john glenn printz, 16 November 2012 - 21:12.


#37 john glenn printz

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 12:19

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-16). For the 1949 Syracuse 100, 26 drivers and 28 cars had been entered. Soon there arose a serious disagreement between Bill Holland and the race director, Ira Vail. As the year's Indianapolis 500 winner, Holland could command additional appearance money for taking part in a race, and Holland had made some sort of a preliminary deal with Vail. As Bill said (quote), "Originally Vail agreed on a deal for my appearance there. Later he notified me that he would not pay me the price which he had agreed to pay. I called him long distance at my own expence notifying him that I would not bother unless the orginal deal was paid." The race promotors always wanted the Indianapolis 500 victor to appear, as it was thought that this would lead to added and extra customers.

Vail however continued to state that Bill was an entrant. So Holland sent, on September 7, a telegram to the local newspapers stating that he would not take part. Bill's message was (quote), "I understand it is being advertised that I will participate in the 100-mile race at the Syracuse fairgrounds Saturday, Sept. 11. This is not true and the promotor of the race is aware of the fact. Please do me the favor of not using my name in connection with the race." Vail then said he would ask the AAA Contest Board to suspend Holland for a full year if he failed to show up. If thus suspended Holland would not have been able to run at Indianapolis in 1950. As it turned out Holland did not come to Syracuse. Holland said it was (quote), "An outgrowth of a misunderstanding. We'll see about that suspension. Vail did not have my offical entry." Whatever exactly happened here, Bill was not suspended by the AAA.

After Holland won at Indianapolis in May, he and Lou Moore decided to go after the National Championship AAA Title as well, using Lou's dirt car which George Connor had driven to third place at Indy. Bill appeared with this Blue Crown car at Milwaukee (June 5) and at Trenton (June 19), but by the next race, the Springfield 100 (August 20), Holland had switched to piloting Milt Marion's (1909-1999) KK2000. This vehicle had been used at Indy by Sam Hanks.

Milt Marion had been a Depression era AAA driver who had made some forays, mostly unsuccessful, into the National Championship division. For example, in all four (1931, 1932, 1934, & 1937) of his tries at Indianapolis, he failed to make the starting lineup. Milt did start in both of the George W. Vanderbilt Cup races of 1936 and 1937, finishing 44th in 1936 (out after 3 laps) and 14th (still running) in 1937. Marion's best Championship result was a 7th at Springfield on August 24, 1935. Milt's only other AAA Championship start was at Milwaukee on August 29, 1937.

On the eve of the Syracuse 100 the top three point leaders were Parsons with 1520, Holland now had 1320, and Fohr's total was 1310. For whatever reason, Holland did not appear at the Milwaukee 200 (August 28) which gave its winner 400 Championship points. On this occasion, Emil Andres drove Marion's KK2000, to place 5th overall. And here again at Syracuse, Andres was in Marion's car. Ralph Pratt was not in the Bowes dirt track vehicle either, but rather Spider Webb was now in the cockpit.

Qualifications began at 1 p.m. and the race was scheduled for 3 p.m. The fastest 18 were to start.

Edited by john glenn printz, 05 October 2012 - 12:09.


#38 john glenn printz

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:24

AAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY 1949 (cont.-17) The five quickest entries in the time trials were: 1. Spider Webb (Offenhauser/Lesovsky), 37.87 mph or 95.062 mph; 2. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 37.84; 3. Paul Russo (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.06; 4. Walt Brown (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.09; and 5. Lee Wallard (Offenhauser/Meyer) 38.33. Parsons qualified the 10th quickest with a lap at 38.97 seconds. The Meyer-Drake supercharged car no. 99 was not entered, so Bettenhausen drove for Joe Lencki instead.

The race was to start at 3 p.m. but was delayed a half hour. The New York State Fair management allowed all State Fair customers to enter the infield area to watch the race, without any further monetary payment. The racers objected to all the added and free spectators, and demanded more prize money. This debate got nowhere. Meanwhile the PA men were ad-libbing to the audience to keep them calm, but finally the crowd was beginning to get unruly. With the argument still unresolved Rex Mays told his crew to fire up his car. Rex then drove onto the track and continued to circle it. Soon everyone else also started their vehicles, drove onto the track; the cars were lined up in the proper order and the race was started.

Mays led the first 40 circuits and set new records for the 5 (3:16.71), 10 (6:32.07), and 25 (16:34.18) mile distances. Paul Russo passed Rex on lap 41 and set a new speed time for 50 miles (32:35.37). Parsons, who started 10th, gradually moved up through the field and was riding in 2nd place by lap 72. Johnnie was gaining on Russo by half a second a lap and passed Russo on circuit 87 for the lead as Russo was now having brake problems. Parsons led the rest of the distance. The track surface began to breakup and deteriorate at 50 miles and the race pace fell off. Parson's winning time was 1:09:36.52 or 86.196 mph. Billy Winn's old 1937 mark of 1:08:34.71 (87.49 mph), made with a Miller/Weil, still stood. The top five 1949 placements were:

1. Parsons, Johnnie (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 1:09:36.52, $3243

2. Russo, Paul (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 100 laps, $2335

3. Webb, Spider (Offenhauser/Lesvosky), 100 laps, $1297

4. Brown, Walt, (Offenhauser/Kurtis), flagged 99 laps, $908

5. Connor, George, (Offenhauser/Bromme), flagged, 99 laps, $778

Mays had retired after 73 laps with tire problems, while Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese) finished 6th. The attendance, with the people in the infield included, was placed at 80,000.

With his win here, Parsons was beginning to put some real daylight between himself and Myron Fohr in the Championship point standings. Johnnie now had 1720, Fohr 1390, Holland 1320, and Connor 1060. 700 of Connors' points had been obtained at Indianapolis in May. The Championship Trail now moved to Detroit, where a another 100 miler was scheduled for the very next day! All the teams would have to hustle now and make a quick trip across Canada from New York state to Detroit.

Edited by john glenn printz, 11 October 2012 - 14:12.


#39 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 17:32

John, I hope you don't mind me posting this article here that I wrote a few years back, as a sort of exercise for a website project (that still hasn't seen the light of day... :sigh:). It is relevant to your last post, and to this thread.




<<< All Races >>>
<<< This Championship >>>
<<< This Venue >>>

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1949

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New York State Fair

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September 10 (Sat)
New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse (NY)
161 km (100 laps of 1.6 km dirt oval)
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Parsons comes through, but controversy rules
Johnnie Parsons moved one step closer to the Championship by winning at Syracuse, but even though he was absent, Bill Holland got most of the headlines, if for all the wrong reasons! The return of the prestigious State Fair race was welcomed by all concerned, but controversy ruled long before the day of the event, and in the midst of it all none other than the Indy 500 winner, whose earlier antics at Phoenix and Arlington hadn't exactly endeared him to the race promoters and fans, but the stunt he was now about to pull off on Syracuse race director Ira Vail was completely out of the ordinary, and would have repercussions far beyond the interests of those two people alone. Later, it would transpire that the seeds for the conflict had already been sown earlier in the year, when Sam Nunis Speedways had lost out on a deal to run the race at Syracuse, and the State Fair board had appointed Ira Vail again as its director of racing, continuing the successful arrangement of the prewar years. Incensed by the decision of the fair board, Nunis was intent on retaliation, and soon found an ally in Holland, whom he signed for a lucrative appearance deal at his Sprint Car show at the Juniata County Fair in Port Royal (PA), the same day as the Syracuse race!

What made the situation even more delicate was the fact that the race at Port Royal was supposed to be a points paying round for the URC "Class B" cars and drivers, something which both Nunis and Holland chose to ignore in their selfish actions. Naturally, the club members were incensed by the politically induced move, as it promised to keep the bulk of the purse from within their reach, and especially since it came only five days after a similar plot played out by the Nunis/Holland combo at Rochester in New York - only this time Holland didn't break down in time trials, and duly won by a country mile, depriving the URC members not only of first place money, but also receiving a bucketful of cash from the appearance deal! Meanwhile, accusations and telegrams flew back and forth, with Vail trying to hold Holland to his signed entry form, and the driver expressing anger at the promoter's refusal to pay him more than the statutory $500 for his appearance at Syracuse. Coming hot on the heels of Holland's recent run-ins with offialdom during the summer, Vail was sure to have the backing of the AAA in threatening Holland with a year's suspension, but a breakdown in communications, apparently induced by the appearance of several Contest Board luminaries, including secretary Jim Lamb, at speed record attempts in Utah, while chairman Art Herrington confered with Holland from New York City, meant that the whole episode finally hinged on a formality, and the driver once again escaped a fine. Holland's car owner, Milt Marion, however, was not inclined to miss his homestate event, and so Emil Andres got another chance to sub for the Indy winner.

Several other entry changes were in evidence, the most important of which coming about by the decision of Meyer-Drake Engineering to park their car until a buyer was found, so that Tony Bettenhausen, the most recent winner on the championship trail, was forced to go shopping for a new ride which, initially at least, he found with the Pete Wales outfit and their "three-quarter" car. Somehow or other, however, he ended up taking the seat of Sam Hanks in the Lencki/Offenhauser, the same car he had finished second with in the last race at Syracuse back in 1941, and which had won the race three years earlier with the late Jimmy Snyder handling the driving chores. This, in turn, opened the door for his former team mate Duane Carter to drive the oversized Sprint Car, as the Belanger team opted to give the race a miss, leaving Ralph Pratt out in the cold. Rex Mays was back in the Wolfe entry, and Hank Rogers was once again handling the Scopa/Offenhauser, but Phil Catalina's return to the Clancy four-wheeler was nullified by the team's decision to give the young Californian Sprint Car and Midget chauffeur Jimmy Davies a chance - an inspired choice, as it would soon turn out! Davies's former ride, the Van Emerick/Offenhauser, was to appear once more and to be driven by rookie Bill Boyd from Michigan, while another addition from the Sprint Car ranks, Emmett Shelley and his new Offy, was originally assigned to the promising young Pennsylvanian Bill Gouse, but eventually driven by the more experienced Ottis Stine, and Mark Light was a late replacement for Eddie Zalucki in the Johnston/Offenhauser.

On a much sadder note, the week leading up to the New York event also saw another seat up for grabs, as Mel Hansen had crashed a Midget at Detroit's Motor City Speedway on Thursday night, suffering terrible injuries which would not only end his brilliant driving career, but also confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Fellow Californian Spider Webb was ready to step into the potent Bowes/Offenhauser, and take up where Hansen had left off with his recent performances, a fact he was to demonstrate only too amply by putting the car on pole position during time trials, and with a new track record at that - only minutes earlier, Rex Mays (back again in the Wolfe entry) had eclipsed his own 1937 mark of 39.00" by more than a full second, only to find Webb upstage him by another one hundredth of a second! Paul Russo was next, but now driving the Tuffanelli team's 1948 Kurtis, with team mate Walt Brown in his regular mount on the outside of row 2, beating Lee Wallard for top homestater. Next were championship contender Myron Fohr and Johnny Mantz in the Agajanian Kurtis, back again after giving the Du Quoin race a miss, followed by four more Californians (Connor, Davies, Parsons and Carter) and two buddies from Illinois (Bettenhausen and Andres), before a quartet of stragglers completed the field at seventeen. No fewer than six drivers failed to qualify, five of which already broke down in practice, including road racer George Weaver and his Maserati V8RI, who would have the consolation of winning the Seneca Cup at Watkins Glen a week later.


Starting Grid Spider Webb
Bowes/Offenhauser
37.87" (152 kph) Rex Mays
Kurtis/Offenhauser
37.88"
Paul Russo
Kurtis/Offenhauser
38.06" Walt Brown
Tuffanelli/Offenhauser
38.09"
Lee Wallard
Iddings/Offenhauser
38.33" Myron Fohr
Marchese/Offenhauser
38.39"
Johnny Mantz
Kurtis/Offenhauser
38.51" George Connor
Bromme/Offenhauser
38.63"
Jimmy Davies
Clancy/Offenhauser
38.64" Johnnie Parsons
Kurtis/Offenhauser
38.97"
Duane Carter
Kurtis/Offenhauser
39.01" Tony Bettenhausen
Lencki/Offenhauser
39.22"
Emil Andres
Kurtis/Offenhauser
39.29" Hank Rogers
Scopa/Offenhauser
39.61"
Buster Warke
Walsh/Offenhauser
40.09" Milt Fankhauser
Hall/Offenhauser
40.15"
George Fonder
Sparks-Thorne/Offenhauser
41.15"
Did not start Mark Light Sparks-Weirick/Offenhauser mechanical (time trials)
Charley van Acker Lyons/Offenhauser mechanical (practice)
Ottis Stine Shelley/Offenhauser mechanical (practice)
Duke Dinsmore Ralph Miller mechanical (practice)
George Weaver Maserati mechanical (practice)
Bill Boyd Van Emerick/Offenhauser mechanical (practice)
Did not appear:
* Bill Holland (Kurtis/Offenhauser) driver elsewhere
*# (Tony Bettenhausen) (Kurtis/Offenhauser) ?
# (Duane Carter) Sparks-Weirick/Offenhauser did not arrive
George Lynch Boyle-Miller/Offenhauser did not arrive
* Eddie Zalucki (Sparks-Thorne/Offenhauser) ?
* Bill Gouse (Shelley/Offenhauser) ?
* Sam Hanks (Lencki/Offenhauser) ?
* Mel Hansen (Bowes/Offenhauser) driver injured
* Phil Catalina (Clancy/Offenhauser) ?
* alternative driver # alternative car

With ten of the seventeen starters inside the old track record in time trials, a fast race was in prospect, but before the engines could be fired for the 100 mile race, there was another commotion: drivers (Webb, Russo, Bettenhausen, Andres, plus Nalon, Marion and Agajanian?) strike, start delayed 35' spectators: Litz, Nalon, Milton, Shaw, Hulman weather: clear & cool, light wind

Narrowly pipped for his fifth pole position in the last six races at Syracuse, Mays was still intent on extending his winning streak at the track which went back to the beginning of the decade, hoping to become the first three-time winner of the event since Ralph de Palma (1920, '25 & '26), and took an immediate lead once the cars were released from starter Duke Dawson/Billy van de Water's orders. Russo soon disposed of Webb, but had a hard time following the flying yellow Kurtis/Offenhauser of Mays, who mowed down track records for five (3'16.71") and ten laps (6'32.97") with ease. Meanwhile, Wallard drew cheers from the crowd by first moving past Brown and then, around lap 15, by taking third place from the erstwhile pole sitter. At this, the race began to settle down somewhat, with Mays still leading rather comfortably, and though his average speed began to drop ever so slightly (16'34.18" at 25 laps), it was still almost twenty seconds under the existing track record. Russo, however, began to speed up noticeably, and in no time at all was up with the former champion, and by lap 36 past into the lead. Not only that, but he continued to go great guns, and by half distance (32'55.37") had upped the average again, about 50 seconds under the former record!

By now, Parsons had charged up the field and into fifth position, disposing of Brown, and already setting his sights on Webb. Over the next ten laps, he not only passed the new Bowes driver, but Wallard also, and with Mays beginning to fade because of tyre trouble, the race was coming alive again. In addition to the forward thrust of the championship leader, the track itself now became a centre of attention, as it began to break up rather badly, and consequently slowed down the cars as their tyres were desperately clawing for traction. The rough and dusty track took its toll on the drivers as well, and Emil Andres was into the pits, asking for relief, at which Tommy Hinnershitz, enjoying a weekend free of Sprint Car activity, stepped in to save the day for the only homestate team. Meanwhile, Parsons was continuing his climb, and by lap 65 was up into second, and closing in on the leader! Wallard delighted the crowd no end by relegating Mays to fourth place, but sadly, his engine gave out only a couple of laps later, although for Mays this proved the be only a short respite, as he was soon being passed by Webb, and out of the race altogether on lap 74.

About seven seconds adrift of the leader, Parsons now really had the bit between his teeth, but Russo was not about to give up easily, and for the next dozen laps or so, his advantage dwindled slowly, but surely, until the red Kurtis house car moved into the lead on lap 87, and that was that. Russo was in no position to retaliate, and Parsons ran out the laps very easily to a clear-cut victory. The diminutive Russo was a distant (and disappointed!) second, for the third time in less than two years, but Spider Webb was delighted with third place, his first top finish in a Champ Car. Walt Brown drove a consistent race in finishing fourth, a lap down, and was followed by George Connor and Myron Fohr, the latter keeping his championship hopes alive, if only by the slimmest of margins! There wasn't much time for celebration, nor for counting one's share of the $12,974 purse, as next on the menue was a 500-mile trip... not on a brick speedway, but on narrow two-lane highways heading west! The Michigan State Fairgrounds were back on the schedule, after an even longer break than Syracuse, but - unfortunately - for the very next day!

L5: 1 Mays 3'16.71" ®, 2 Russo, 3 Webb, 4 Wallard L10: 1 Mays 6'32.97" ®, 2 Russo, 3 Webb, 4 Wallard, 5 Brown L15: 1 Mays, 2 Russo, 3 Wallard, 4 Webb L20: 1 Mays, 2 Russo, 3 Wallard, 4 Webb, 5 Brown L25: 1 Mays 16'34.18" (R/was 16'51.90"), 2 Russo, 3 Wallard, 4 Webb, 5 Brown L35/41?: 1 Russo, 2 Mays L40: 1 Russo, 2 Mays, 3 Wallard, 4 Webb, 5 Parsons L43/59?: Hinnershitz for Andres L50: 1 Russo 32'55.37" (R/was 33'45.20/21"), 2 Mays, 3 Wallard, 4 Webb, 5 Parsons L60: 1 Russo, 2 Mays, 3 Parsons, 4 Wallard L65: 1 Russo, 2 Parsons, 3 Wallard, 4 Mays L70: 1 Russo, 2 Parsons (- 7"), 3 Webb, 4 Mays L75: 1 Russo, 2 Parsons, 3 Webb L85/87?: 1 Parsons




Final Results 1 Johnnie Parsons Kurtis/Offenhauser 1:09'36.52" (138 kph)
2 Paul Russo Kurtis/Offenhauser finished
3 Spider Webb Bowes/Offenhauser finished
4 Walt Brown Tuffanelli/Offenhauser 99 laps, flagged
5 George Connor Bromme/Offenhauser 99 laps, flagged
6 Myron Fohr Marchese/Offenhauser 98 laps, flagged
7 Duane Carter Kurtis/Offenhauser 97 laps, flagged
8 Jimmy Davies Clancy/Offenhauser 97 laps, flagged
9 Ottis Stine (Tony Bettenhausen) Lencki/Offenhauser 93 laps, flagged
10 Tommy Hinnershitz (Emil Andres) Kurtis/Offenhauser 93 laps, flagged
11 Johnny Mantz Kurtis/Offenhauser 92 laps, flagged
12 Hank Rogers Scopa/Offenhauser 91 laps, flagged
13 Buster Warke Walsh/Offenhauser 88 laps, flagged
Retirements:
Milt Fankhauser Hall/Offenhauser 82 laps
Rex Mays Kurtis/Offenhauser 73 laps, puncture
Lee Wallard Iddings/Offenhauser 67 laps, engine
George Fonder Sparks-Thorne/Offenhauser 44 laps
* starting driver # relief driver

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#40 john glenn printz

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 15:43

Dear Michael:

Any added information is always welcomed. You have a lot of data that I have no knowledge of. Your post is both supplemental and generally confirmatory to my investigations.

#41 john glenn printz

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 17:00

HISTORY OF 1949 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING. (cont.-18) 10. DETROIT 100, September 11, 1949. The earliest automobile races held in the Detroit area were staged on October 10, 1901, at the one mile dirt horse oval located in Grosse Point. The track was owned by the Detroit Driving Club. These were very probably the first motor races ever run in the state of Michigan. They really had no real significance at all, but Henry Ford (1863-1947), in a two car ten mile event on the program, defeated Alexander Winton (1860-1932), when Winton's car started malfunctioning. Ford's racer, nicknamed "Sweepstakes", was a specially constructed 2 cylinder 538 cubic inch job, put together in late 1901 by Ford, Oliver Barthel, and Edward "Spider" Huff. This remained Henry Ford's only drive in an actual automobile race. Henry's winning time was 13 minutes and 23 seconds for a winning speed of 44.83 mph.

The first Michigan State Fair was held in 1849, but the fair had no single location or permanent site, but moved about. In 1904 a State Fair Land Company was formed by Joseph L. Hudson (1846-1912), to give the Michigan State Fair a permanent location. The Fair area covered 135 acres and the site was at Woodward Avenue and 8 Mile Road. Included was a flat one-mile horse track. Before 1906 the major automobile racings meets in Detroit were held at the Grosse Point mile horse oval. But after 1905 this activity moved to the new Michigan State Fairgrounds. The earliest known race meet at this new site, known to me, occurred on July 20-21, 1906. It was a typical U.S. motor program of its day with a series of short sprint races using different classes of cars. Barney Oldfield (Peerless) and Albert C. Webb (Premier) were the stars of this meet and Bob Burman (Jackson) was also present. On June 21-22, 1907 Frank Kulick and Bert Lorimer drove to victory here a 40 horsepower Ford, covering 1135 miles during a 24 hour marathon contest.

One of the 1917 matchups between Ralph DePalma (Packard V12) and Barney Oldfield (Miller 4 "Golden Submarine") took place here on July 4. These so-called DePalma vs. Oldfield duels, held during 1917, were promoted by William "Bill" Hickman Pickens and probably were staged. Sometimes DePalma won and sometimes Oldfield did, to keep the public interest up.

Between 1915 and 1925 the Michigan State Fairgrounds' one mile dirt oval was a bastion and mainstay for the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) programs and promotions. Beginning in 1926 however, the Michigan Fairgrounds races, switched over to the AAA as the sanctioning body. This was due, I surmize, from the efforts and influence of Waldo D."Eddie" Edenburn (1885-1934). Edenburn was a very important AAA Contest Board official, who then resided in Detroit. Edenburn was the Chief Stewart at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1919 to 1934. Beginning in 1926 the Michigan State Fairgrounds began staging 100 mile AAA races. The very first of these was run on September 11, 1926 and was won by Frank Lockhart. Frank's time was 1:21:30.62 (73.610 mph). And starting in 1928, and up to 1933, at least one annual 100 mile AAA Championship event was run at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. In 1932 two such events were held here. The Great Depression killed all National Championship contests here after 1933. The AAA Detroit Championship races 1928-1933 with their dates and the winners were;

1. June 10, 1928, Ray Keech (Miller), 77.87 mph

2. June 9, 1929, Cliff Woodbury (Miller), 76.22 mph

3. June 9, 1930, Wilbur Shaw (Miller/Smith), 76.22 mph

4. June 14, 1931, Louis Meyer (Milller/Stevens), 68.25 mph

5. June 5, 1932, Bob Carey (Miller/Stevens), 71.61 mph, 84 miles (race halted by rain)

6. September 10, 1932, Mauri Rose (Miller/Stevens) 74.46 mph

7. June 11, 1933, Bill Cummings (Miller), 73.90 mph

There were no driver fatalities with regard to the above Detroit National Championship contests but William Barry, a riding mechanic, was killed in the 1930 time trials when a car crashed, piloted by George "Doc" McKenzie (1906-1936). In a non-National Championship 100 mile contest held here on July 15, 1928 George Souders' (1900-1976) Miller plunged through the inner fence and rolled over a dozen times. Souders was badly mauled, unconscious, and it was thought that he would not live through the night. George suffered a compound fracture of the skull, broken bones in each arm, and severe contusions about his body.

Souders' mishap occurred near the end of the race, which was won by Howard Taylor of Flint, MI. Only two cars finished the race. Howard was using a front wheel drive job and Bud Marr from Detroit was 2nd, a lap behind. Taylor average speed was 73 mph. By July 20 George was much improved and in a semi-conscious condition. Souders, the rookie winner at Indianapolis in 1927, made a good recovery but emerged with a badly and permanently mangled arm. The Detroit accident resulted, in effect, in putting an end to Souders' racing career.

(P.S. Just a note. For more information about Joseph L. Hudson consult the thread "AMERICAN RACING 1894-1920", continuation 58, of July 14, 2008. Hudson was a very important Detroiter c. 1890-1910.)

Edited by john glenn printz, 05 November 2012 - 13:35.


#42 Michael Ferner

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 20:13

Site with very interesting pictures from the 1949 Indy 500:

http://indiamond6.ul...ppress/0/page/1

#43 john glenn printz

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 12:27

HISTORY OF 1949 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (cont.-19) The revival of the AAA National Championship Detroit 100 was announced on June 23. Its promotor was Andy Barto, who ran the 1/4 mile Motor City Speedway, where Mel Hansen had been injured on September 8. It was to take place on September 11 as part of the Michigan State Fair and a $75,000 purse was guaranted or 40% of the gate, if it proved larger. A crowd of 30,000 was expected. The 1949 Detroit race drew a whopping 36 entries, partly because most of the competitors thought the prize money would be greater than that of the Syracuse 100. Detroit area car owners who entered were Bill Corley, Dick Cott, William Lutes, Norm Olson, Lou Rassey, and Dick Van Emmerik.

With this race being the first AAA Championship contest held in Detroit since 1933, history questions came up with Duke Nalon and Tommy Milton present. One question was, What was the fastest 100 miler even run on a dirt track? "I hold that record", Nalon replied. And Milton said, "And I set the first AAA recognized record for the 'hundred' back in 1923 at Syracuse, N.Y. I'll try to make it brief, but I consider it the best job I ever did in auto racing. I cut the record, which was my own, though not then AAA recognized by 15 minutes. I averaged 80 miles an hour in the '100' at Syracuse that year. I might add, too, there was prize money up. $100 a mile and I picked up $10,000. After the race was over the then Governor of New York, Al Smith, asked me if I would try to break the mile record. I was a little 'done in' but he didn't realize it and his friends were present. I forgot what the record was and what speed I made but I remember I cut it a third of a second on a track that already had been hashed to pieces by 100 miles of racing." Nalon, who was in town to drive the pacecar said, "Those must have been great days. I didn't get a hundred. But I did get the record, 92.79 miles an hour and I set it at Langhorne, Pa., in 1941. It still stands."

16 cars were to start and the top six fastest postings in the qualifications were: 1. Duke Dinsmore (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 38.59 seconds (93.288 mph), 2. Tony Bettenhausen (Meyer-Drake sc/Kurtis) 38.69, 3. Spider Webb (Offenhauser/Lesvosky) 38.76, 4. Neal Carter (Offenhauser/Bromme) 39.02, 5. Jimmy Davies 39.18 (Offenhauser/Kurtis 6 wheeler), and 6. Johnnie Parsons (Offenhauser/Kurtis) 39.31. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese) started 13th with time of 39.99.

Carlyle John "Duke" Dinsmore's (1913-1985) winning of the pole must have been a surprize. Dinsmore had raced before the war, going back at least to 1936. Originally Dinsmore came from California, but moved to Dayton, OH where he teamed up with car owner, Ralph S. Miller. Duke fought in World War II and had been a B-17 gunner with about 30 bombing missions over Germany to his credit. He was shot down and had to make his way back to safety by travelling through enemy territory. His first AAA Championship division start was at Indianapolis in 1946 and thereafter he was a regular competitor on the AAA Championship Trail. He drove for the car owners Fred W. Johnson, Norm Olson, William Schoof, and Ralph Miller.

Generally the actual results were mediocre but occasionally Duke placed high up. In his 21 starts before the Detroit 100 he was 2nd at Dallas (April 25, 1948), 3rd at Goshen (October 6, 1946), and obtained 4ths at Milwaukee (September 2, 1946) and Goshen (August 17, 1947). The most famous incident relating to Dinsmore however was when he was thrown from his car during the running of the June 6, 1948 Milwaukee 100 and Rex Mays spun his car into the outside concrete wall to avoid running over a prostrate Dinsmore.

Dinsmore was a starter at Indianapolis in 1946, 1947, and 1949, but missed the show in 1948. For the 1948 "500" Dinsmore was orginally to drive for Ralph Miller but the car showed up late, and Duke may have made a tentative agreement to pilot a car owned by William Schoof, but the time ran out. Dinsmore's best Indy finish was 10th in 1947, he being flagged off after completing 167 laps.

At the Detroit 100 start, Dinsmore led for four circuits and then Webb sped by in the Bowes No. 55 dirt car. Spider's goggle strap broke on lap 20 and on lap 30 the car lost its brakes but Webb kept going. After 45 miles the Detroit oval had broken up badly and the riding was rough. By lap 50 Parsons had moved up to 3rd, but a wheel spindle let go, and the machine bounded into the outside fence on the northeast turn. The car stopped and was left hanging over the rail. Parsons was unhurt and walked away, but the machine remained there for the entire duration of the contest. Dinsmore quickly faded having to make five pit stops, two for plugs and three for more oil.

At 60 miles the running order was; 1. Bettenhausen, 2. Webb, 3. Mays, 4. Pratt, 5. Fohr, and 6. Wallard. Wallard had lost a right rear wheel on the back straight, on his 15th lap, but had made it back to the pits O.K. on three wheels. Mays was out after 59 miles and on circuit 86 Fohr got by Pratt, to move into 3rd place. The final top five results at 100 miles being;

1. Tony Bettenhausen (Meyer-Drake sc/Kurtis), 100 laps, $4875, 1:13:50, 81.264 mph, NTR

2. Spider Webb (Offenhauser/Lesvosky), 100 laps, 7 seconds behind, $3510

3. Myron Fohr (Offenhauser/Marchese), 100 laps, $1950

4. Ralph Pratt (Offenhauser/Adams-Wetteroth), flagged 98 laps, $1365

5. Lee Wallard (Offenhauser/Meyer), flagged 96 laps, $1170

Tony's total time of 1:13:50 beat the old 100 mile National Championship race record here, set by Ray Keech on June 10, 1928, of 1:17:15 or 77.879 mph. Bill Holland qualified the 16th fastest at 40.81 but was never a factor in the race. He was flagged off, in Milt Marion's car, after having completed only 88 circuits. The total attendance was put at 21,813.

After the race Tony said (quote), "My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 33. It was a birthday gift from the god of speed I guess. I was never worried after I got the lead. According to my margin over "Spider" Webb, I kept my 'tach' showing all the way from 7,500 rpms down to 5,300 and back up again. But were there ever bumps in that track! Those turns! When I could, I steered away from them. When I couldn't, I took them head on and bounced. From the 80th to 90th lap were the worst. I counted the last ten and knew I had the race easy."

The next AAA National Championship test would be a second 1949 100 miler at Springfield on September 25.

Edited by john glenn printz, 02 November 2012 - 12:06.


#44 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:12

With this race being the first AAA Championship contest held in Detroit since 1933, history questions came up with Duke Nalon and Tommy Milton present. One question was, What was the fastest 100 miler even run on a dirt track? "I hold that record", Nalon replied. And Milton said, "And I set the first AAA recognized record for the 'hundred' back in 1923 at Syracuse, N.Y. I'll try to make it brief, but I consider it the best job I ever did in auto racing. I cut the record, which was my own, though not then AAA recognized by 15 minutes. I averaged 80 miles an hour in the '100' at Syracuse that year. I might add, too, there was prize money up. $100 a mile and I picked up $10,000. After the race was over the then Governor of New York, Al Smith, asked me if I would try to break the mile record. I was a little 'done in' but he didn't realize it and his friends were present. I forgot what the record was and what speed I made but I remember I cut it a third of a second on a track that already had been hashed to pieces by 100 miles of racing." Nalon, who was in town to drive the pacecar said, "Those must have been great days. I didn't get a hundred. But I did get the record, 92.79 miles an hour and I set it at Langhorne, Pa., in 1941. It still stands."


Interesting. None of them were right, of course - racing driver amnesia, or perhaps even conceit? Bob Carey did 100 miles on the 1-mile dirt track Oakland Speedway in San Leandro (CA) in 59 minutes, 34.9 seconds on February 5, 1933. Because that track was steeply banked, the record was filed under a different heading. All the other mile-tracks were flat (horse) tracks, and it took almost a quarter of a century to cover 100 miles in one hour on any of them. It was finally accomplished by Johnny Thomson at Langhorne Speedway in Pennsylvania on June 2 in 1957, in a dramatic effort that included a spin, and a pit stop! But Langhorne wasn't a horse track, so when was it finally achieved on a "proper", traditional mile? I believe it was Pancho Carter at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on October 2, 1976, in 59 minutes, 14.504 seconds. A hell of a long ride, from Carey's 255 cubic inch Miller 4-cylinder, to Carter's 330 cubic inch Chevy V8. Yes, that's right, the stock blocks still needed almost a hundred cubic inches more to eclipse the Miller records from half a century ago.

What about Milton's record, then? All right, he actually averaged 79.994 mph, not 80, but we can forgive that. Yet he's mixing up the facts. His Syracuse record wasn't the first recognized by the AAA, not by a long way. Yes, he broke his own record, but by 9 minutes, not 15. And he won "only" $5,000 that day. The $10,000 he recollects were awarded to him for his record at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix on October 10, 1920 - he averaged 71.422 mph that day, officially breaking the record of Eddie Hearne (67.3 mph) on the same track eleven months earlier. And again, that's only part of the truth, as AAA did keep different sets of records. Earl Cooper had done 68.35 mph at Ascot Speedway in 1917, but that track was considered "paved", even though it was dirt to our understanding of today - it was no longer used for horse racing, and the surface had been treated with road oil. There are also contradicting stories about a possible record set by Ira Vail in late 1920, at Bakersfield in California, eleven weeks after Milton's record at Phoenix - he may have averaged 72 mph that day.

Milton's 1923 record appears to have stood until Frank Lockhart averaged 80.8 mph at (North) Randall Park in Ohio on September 25, in 1927. Two years later, Wilbur Shaw made 81 mph, and then Bill Cummings 83.4 mph in 1930, both at Syracuse. Within six weeks, Frank Farmer (85.841 mph) had taken the record to Langhorne Speedway, where it remained until that track was paved 35 years later, and beyond! Except for a short spell when the 'Horne went "outlaw", that is - and for the insanely fast Oakland Speedway, of course: Bob Carey lowered the overall record no fewer than four times at Oakland, breaking the "90-mph barrier" first on February 21, 1932 (90.284 mph), and finally the century less than a year later. At Langhorne, Kelly Petillo averaged 91.89 mph in 1935, then it was Duke Nalon twice, first at 92.6 mph (1940), then the aforementioned 92.79 mph.

The Duke was finally bettered by Bill Schindler at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, August 16 in 1952 (94.3 mph), and also by Jack McGrath at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in Milwaukee (93.6 mph in 1953) during Langhorne's outlaw spell, but as soon as the "Big O" was back it reclaimed the record: Jimmy Bryan's 97.5 mph on June 20, 1954, even bettered the pavement record set a fortnight earlier in Milwaukee! The story is now complete except for one little curiousity, mostly forgotten in all the accounts of the 100-mile dirt track records: on September 11, in 1955, Langhorne Speedway staged a 100-miler in two parts, to allow the Sprinters to refuel for the long distance event. The incomparable Jimmy Bryan took this event at the astonishing speed of 101.712 mph, two years before Thomson's century in a Champ Car! Because of the hour-long intermission, that record was never accepted as official, though.

Edited by Michael Ferner, 20 October 2012 - 12:39.


#45 john glenn printz

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 20:20

Dear Michael;

Well I won't disagree with any of your additional information here! It shows much "out of the way" learning! Some of it I knew, but most of it probably not. They are great additional comments!

I may point out that the 1923 Syracuse 100 (Milton), the 1927 Cleveland 100 (Lockhart), and the 1941 Langhorne 100 (Nalon) contests were not AAA National Championship point races.

Maybe you will be the first one to write an accurate and complete history of major league U.S. open wheel automobile racing. I aspired to it myself in the 1970s, but am not going to be able to do it. Sincerely, J.G. Printz

Edited by john glenn printz, 20 October 2012 - 20:33.


#46 Michael Ferner

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 19:29

Thanks, John, but I still have a great deal to learn. That's why I love reading your threads, such as this, and keep coming back for research. I couldn't have asked for a better teacher!

:)

#47 john glenn printz

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 19:31

Surely, but slowly, the story of American "Big League" motor racing is being set down. Back in the mid-1970s, I thought the years 1933 to 1948 were the most obscure and opaque, but now even that period of time is no longer a total blank. As far as I can fathom, the two of us will carry on. There wasn't even an available list of which events (AAA or USAC) were of National Championship status and who won them until 1981! Believe it or not!

#48 john glenn printz

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 19:52

HISTORY OF 1949 AAA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (cont.-20) After its second win here at Detroit, Louie Meyer and Dale Drake had to give up their unique experiment of running a lightweigh vehicle powered by a 107 cubic inch supercharged motor. This was due to the constant criticism of all the Offenhauser users and buyers (and who wasn't), that they shouldn't be subjected to racing against the Meyer-Drake Company itself, which was obviously using a superior motor to those which they sold to others. So Drake and Meyer were eventually forced to sell their No. 99 speedster.

At first the buyer was going to be Carmine George "Babe" Tuffanelli of Chicago or Blue Island IL, who was a south side Chicago "numbers racket" mobster. Tuffanelli has sponsored midgets after World War II, but had moved up to the AAA National Championship division, as a car owner, in 1948. However Tuffanelli's mechanic, Charles Pritchard, thought the No. 99's Kurtis built chassis was way too light for constant use on the Championship Trail and he also regarded the car's small supercharged motor as perhaps just too complicated and therefore nothing but trouble. This information I got from Emil Andres. So instead, immediately after the 1949 Detroit 100, it was purchased by Murrell Belanger of Crown Point, IN to soon become the famous No. 99 "Belanger Special". Meanwhile Meyer and Drake were working on a 177 cubic inch supercharged Offenhauser 4 motor for general AAA Championship use, which would be ready for the 1950 AAA Championship season.

Edited by john glenn printz, 25 October 2012 - 12:33.


#49 john glenn printz

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:30

HISTORY OF 1949 AAA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (cont.-21) 11. Springfield 100, September 25, 1949. The fastest 18 cars were to start. Chuck Stevenson (1919-1995) failed to qualify in a Schoof Special, but was then put into the Marchese car No. 2 because Myron Fohr had become ill. Stevenson's qualification lap was the 11th fastest. There were 29 cars entered. The top six qualifiers were 1. Jimmy Davies (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 35.50 seconds, 101.408 mph, 2. Bayliss Levrett (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 3. Paul Russo (Offenhauser/Kurtis), 4. Neil Carter (Offenhauser/Gdula), 5. George Connor (Offenhauser/Bromme) and Tony Bettenhausen (Meyer-Drake sc/Kurtis).

The lap leaders were Davies 1-37, Carter 38-44, Connor 45-60, Mays 61-82. and Parsons 83-100. Parsons had moved up from his 17th starting position and won with a time of 1:06:07.85 or 81.729 mph. The top five were:

1. Johnnie Parsons (Offenhauser/Kurtis), Kurtis-Kraft No. 12, 100 laps, 1:06:07.85, 81.729 mph, $1750

2. Rex Mays (Offenhauser/Kurtis), Wolfe No. 15, 100 laps, $1260

3. Lee Wallard (Offenhauser/Meyer), Iddings No. 6, 100 laps, $700

4. Chuck Stevenson (Offenhauser/Marchese), Marchese No. 2, 100 laps, $490

5. Walt Brown (Offenhauser/Kurtis), Tuffy's No. 18, 100 laps, $420

Chuck Stevenson had just made his AAA Championship division debut at the Milwaukee 200 on August 28, in a Schoof Special, where he was out after 164 circuits to place 14th overall. Bettenhausen's supercharged No. 99 car placed 9th here at Springfield, and now for the first time ever, ran as the Belanger Special instead of the Meyer-Drake Special.

Edited by john glenn printz, 19 November 2012 - 13:12.


#50 john glenn printz

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 17:46

HISTORY OF 1949 AAA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING (cont.-22) By mid-September 1949 it was definitely known that Lou Moore and Mauri Rose had split up. Rose in 1949 was the most respected, feared, and honored pilot in the U.S. by his fellow peers. In 1949 Rose was the only active three time winner of Indianapolis (1941, 1947, & 1948) still competing, although beginning with the 1947 season, Mauri drove solely at Indianapolis in May. All three of Mauri's victories at Indianapolis had been in cars owned by Lou Moore, as well as Rose's two Championship wins at Syracuse in 1936 and 1939.

Tony Bettenhausen was now nominated as Bill Holland's new teammate at Indy for 1950 and as Rose's replacement on the vacated front drive vehicle. Talking about Indianapolis Bettenhausen said in September 1949 (quote), "I haven't been able to finish down there, but I think I will this year. I'm going to take over the car that Mauri Rose drove the last four years."

Driver Jimmie Jackson (1910-1984) had been millionaire oil man Howard Keck's (1913-1996) pilot at Indianapolis in both 1948 and 1949 in an Emil Deidt constructed front drive. But Jackson proved to be a disappointment to the Keck team. Jimmie was more of a 'stroker', who moved up in the race standings, more by cars running into trouble and/or dropping out, than by any active driver effort. Jackson's best Indy finish for Keck was 6th in 1949. It was decided that the team needed a more assertive and aggressive chauffeur. So on October 13, 1949 came Rose's annoucement (quote), "Moore and I had our differences. I wasn't satified with things and turned down his contract to drive the 500 next year. I'll be at Indianapolis next Memorial day though, in a front-drive car owned by Howard Keck of Los Angeles." At the time no driver was considered more aggressive than Rose.

Edited by john glenn printz, 05 November 2012 - 13:32.