1946 AAA National Championship
Posted 12 September 2006 - 19:27
Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:02
Edited by john glenn printz, 05 November 2012 - 15:00.
Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:14
While a minor point of not much significance in the grand scheme of things, I have to wonder why Horn seems to be credited with fewer laps that he actually completed, 91 laps versus the 98 laps he actually completed -- or 97 laps if you accept that his race stopped at the moment he made contact.
Originally posted by john glenn printz
Originally, in 1946 itself, the National Champion was determined by 71 sprint or big-car events and 6 Championship races proper. Thus 77 AAA races counted. Most historians refigure the 1946 point totals using only the six AAA 1946 Championship races. Thus there exist two different 1946 reckonings. Ted Horn is listed 1st in both accounts. If one accepts the later listing, which existed as early as 1954, Horn won the 1946 National Driving Title without having a Championship victory. Horn drove the Boyle Maserati at Indy and the Fred Peters Offenhauser/Wetteroth in the five 1946 Championship 100 mile dirt contests.
When I looked at the contemporary sources, they seemed to support the six race National Championship season, not the 77 race season. Can you explain or produce documentation concerning the how or why of this? Once again, I have to ask the question, " Is the '1946 Records Resume' found in the Gordon White microfilm a revisionist document?" It lists only six events counting towards the National Championship during the 1946 season. Was this document created ex post facto in, say, 1954? Also, I recall -- it is back in the States, the AAA Record Book that Floyd Clymer published after the 1950 season and at some point during 1951, seems to lead one to accept that there were not 77 events in the 1946 National Championship season.
Are there AAA documents that you have which substaniate the 77 -- 71 + 6 -- event National Championship? I am very curious concerning the basis for your stating that apparently there was a "revision" done to the 1946 season in the 1954 -- the timing is interesting -- timeframe.
Sorry, but I have a very healthy sense of skepticism about all this.
Posted 15 September 2006 - 13:21
Just trying to think of one logical possibility...
Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
While a minor point of not much significance in the grand scheme of things, I have to wonder why Horn seems to be credited with fewer laps that he actually completed, 91 laps versus the 98 laps he actually completed -- or 97 laps if you accept that his race stopped at the moment he made contact.
The race was flagged when Horn completed 100 laps, presumably. Hence Connor is credited as winner with 98 laps after Horn is penalized. The others have slightly fewer laps as the race is halted.
Horn is retrospectively penalized. Connor is the winner with 98 laps. The laps led has Horn as leading to lap 97 and Connor for 98.
Joe Langley is listed as being 3 laps behind Connor, which means he was 5 laps behind Horn.
When Ted Horn completed his 97th lap, which is his last "counting" lap, Joe Langley was therefore completing his 92nd.
So, in order to ensure Horn was considered behind Langley, they gave him one less than 92 - i.e. 91 laps. Whether the final laps were counted or not it would therefore be irrelevant as far as Horn was concerned.
A second, perhaps more likely, explanation is that whoever compiled the records saw Horn listed as having completed 97 laps (having been demoted behind Connor) yet listed in 6th place. "Ah," thinks the scribe, "that must be a typo. 7 and 1 look alike, and 91 laps has Horn in 6th. So let's put that down."
BTW, anyone know anything about Steve Truchan? Looking at the late Phil Harms' data, he has this as his first AAA Championship race, and the next year he had a 3rd at Springfield, but 1948 was a disaster with no points finishes and 1949 even worse without even a qualifying run. Was he one who would have peaked in WW2 (although there's nothing pre-1946)? He still seems to be alive and restoring historic racing cars (check here).
Posted 16 September 2006 - 17:57
Posted 17 September 2006 - 04:28
I don't think it is a question of "semantics," but rather how the events for the National Championship were defined and differentiated from the other "Big Car" of "Sprint" events held that season.
I am having problems following your logic on this since if the Contest Board said that the 71 events were not part of the National Championship, on what basis do they get incorporated into the National Championship, especially retroactively?
Posted 17 September 2006 - 16:24
Posted 17 September 2006 - 17:02
Posted 17 September 2006 - 17:35
I have scan of several pages of the 1946 "AAA Records Resume" and it clearly lists only six championship events: Indianapolis (International Sweepstakes), Langhorne, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Indianapolis (Fairgrounds), and Goshen. There is no points total after the results of the six events.
However, on the page devoted to celebrating Ted Horn's winning the championship, it does get a bit baffling....
“The Contest Board of the American Automobile Association takes pleasure in announcing that TED HORN of Paterson, New Jersey, is the NATIONAL AUTO-RACING CHAMPION for 1946.
“Ted won the championship through his participation in the Indianapolis ‘500’, five one hundred mile championship races and 33 dirt track events. His many first enabled him to win a total of 2,488 points which is almost a thousand more than the next highest competitor.
“OUR GOOD WISHES GO WITH TED IN 1947.”
Note the points. Apparently no one seems to have a final tally that matches
On page three of the Contest Board Bulletin for 18 December 1946, there is this interesting tidbit of information:
In view of the fact that the present payment of appearance deals according to point standing was discontinued in 1946, it was the concensus (sic) of opinion that the combined point standing is no longer necessary or desirable. The Board, therefore, voted to revert to the point system used prior to the war which provides for the Sectional Championship as well as the National Championship. Points earned in all National Championship programs appear in the National Championship point standing only, etc.
Add this from the "AAA Record Resume"...
Auto Racings’ Big “10” in 1946
1. Ted Horn (Champion)
2. George Robson (deceased)
3. Emil Andres
4. Bill Holland
5. Tommy Hinnershitz
6. Walt Ader
7. Jimmy Jackson
8. Joie Chitwood
9. Rex Mays
10. Duke Dinsmore
Distribution of National Prize Fund for 1946 to the Drivers and Car Owners Holding Ten Highest Places in the National Point Standings
Position/ Driver/ Amount/ Car Owner/ Car No.
1. Ted Horn, $490.00, Ralph Malamud, No. 29, $490.00
2. George Robson, $350.00, Ted Horn, No. 5, $350.00
3. Emil Andres, $245.00, Joe Thorne, No. 16, $245.00
4. Bill Holland, $157.50, Ted Horn, No. 3, $157.50
5. T. Hinnershitz, $122.50, Ted Hyquist, No. 6, $122.50
6. Walt Ader, $105.00, Ted Horn, No. 4, $105.00
7. Jimmy Jackson, $70.00, Jimmy Jackson, No. 61, $70.00
8. Joie Chitwood, $70.00, Fred Peters, No. 24, $70.00
9. Rex Mays, $70.00, Boyle Racing Team, No. 29, $70.00
10. Duke Dinsmore, $70.00, Frank Blake, No. 18, $70.00
These names match the listing of numbers assigned for the 1947 season found on page 30 of the May 1947 issue of Speed Age.
So, it seem that we have a National Championship that was nestled within a "National Auto-Racing Championship."
No one ever said that this was easy.
Pity the poor historian.
Note: I guess we should be grateful that Ted Horn had such a successful season in both the National Championship rounds -- the IMS and the five one-hundred milers -- and the other Big Car/ Sprint events because this could have been even more interesting....
Posted 17 September 2006 - 18:31
Semantics? Of course, but a re-reading the Contest Board Bulletin and other information from the contemporary brings me to introduce this:
New York Times, 6 October 1946, page S 8:
Regardless of the outcome, Horn is assured the individual auto speed racing championship for this year. He has compiled 1,282 points in AAA competition, nearly 500 points more than his closest opponents, and no one in the field can overtake him.
Did the Times make this points total up? Or were they simply greatly misinfomed (as seems to be the situation for everyone even today)?
Jeez, what a mess....
Posted 17 September 2006 - 19:08
Posted 21 September 2006 - 20:18
The task of figuring out the exact points earned by each pilot, in the shorter milage sprint car events included in the overall totals, proved to be a complex and rather onerous task for a Mr. Dorell, who had been assigned the job of keeping the AAA point standings current. He even got into decimals! It was all a 1946 AAA innovation, putting the Championship and the sprint car points together, but it was never done again by the AAA.
During c. 1951/52, Bob Russo, had a "send in" answer column in SPEED AGE. One reader asked Bob how many times did the AAA combine the Champ and sprint car points into one? Bob's reply was that the Champ and sprint races were never combined together, but were always separate. Here the inquiring reader knew more than Russo. I have also confirmed that there were indeed regional AAA sprint titles in 1946. (I have a 50 page survey on the 1946 AAA Championship season, the only 1946 narrative ever written. What can I do with it? I worked two years writing it and completed it on 18 June 2006 and it certainly would be a rather unique item, with new and interesting data.) The 1946 AAA season is one of the most obscure years in the canon and that why I worked on it.
ADDENDUM AND UPDATE (Jan. 8, 2010). The SPEED AGE inquiry alluded to above appears in the column IT'S A FACT, in the November 1951 issue.
In a preliminary promotion for the 1947 Goshen 100, Jimmy Frattone said (quote), "I hope that Holland and Rose, in their mutual interest, do not forget that Ted Horn of Paterson, N. J.will be going all-out for points, in hopes of retaining the national championship that he won last year in six events, including Indianapolis." (Source: LEBANON DAILY NEWS, August 13, 1947, page 6). This is the earliest reference of which I am aware, making Horn the 1946 AAA Titlist on the basis of just six races. Maybe Frattone just mis-spoke.
ADDENDUM AND UPDATE (Jan. 11, 2012). My above Sept. 21, 2006 statement (quote), "I have also confirmed that there were indeed regional AAA sprint titles in 1946", I now deem entirely incorrect. Here I was misled by THE ALL-SPORT RECORD BOOK by Frank G. Menke published in 1950. On page 14 it states that Ted Horn won the sectional Midwest title in 1946 and the sectional Eastern Titles for 1946, 1947, and 1948. As this information was supplied by Jim Lamb, I took it to be AAA official. However this is 1949 supplied information, not contemporary 1946 data. There is no actual information from 1946 itself, of which I am aware, which confirms these 1946 Midwest and Eastern "sectional" AAA Titles or Championships.
Perhaps the AAA Contest Board, sometime between 1947 and 1949, divided up their hitherto 77 event 1946 National Driving Championship into three distinct and separate parts, i.e. (1.) the National Championship proper, (2) the Eastern Big Car or Sprint Title, and (3) the Midwest Big Car or Sprint Title. Here also Johnny Shackleford is listed as the 1947 Midwest Titlist and Spider Webb as its 1948 winner. However I have no evidence for this later (1947-1949?) tripartit AAA separation as having occurred for the 1946 season, except for the data that Jim Lamb supplied to Menke in 1949 and a paragraph from the ALTOONA MIRROR, dated February 24, 1949. The paragraph reads (quote), "Ted Horn was the first to win the championship for three consecutive years. He also won the Eastern Non-championship title for the third consecutive year. As of Oct. 15, 1948 he held 91 official track records."
Perhaps this accounts for the fact that Catlin never realized in 1948-49 or ever later, that there existed only one AAA "open wheel" Title in 1946, which included the six Champ Car contests proper and 71 sprint car races. Catlin knows nothing of it in his THE LIFE OF TED HORN, published in 1949! In any case the 1946 AAA season seems to have already been altered, confused, and vitiated in the AAA record books before 1950.
Further I must say that perhaps it wasn't Bob Russo who furnished the incorrect data in the November 1951 IT'S A FACT column, for no actual byline is given. But whoever it was, that person was wrong about the sprint events and Champion races having never been combined into just a single AAA National U.S. Title, for it did happen once, i.e. in 1946.
Edited by john glenn printz, 13 January 2012 - 13:37.
Posted 22 September 2006 - 07:07
I would like to take a look at fruits of your research, as, I am certain, would several others. I would also suggest that a copy be provided to the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) at Watkins Glen so that scholars will be able to use this valuable piece of scholarship in the future.
After mulling this over, I can see where this might might have been seemed to be a "good idea" at the time, especially given the uncertainties that everyone in the automobile racing community were facing that year. It is easy to forget that the status of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the annual International Sweepstakes events was a question mark during the Winter and Spring of 1945/46, as well as automotive-related supplies still being in short supply, car counts were uncertain, and any number of other racing-related problems which were problematical as well.
However, the American public was starved for both entertainment and automobiles. It would seem that the Contest Board took counsel of its fears and hedged it bets. It seems that the Contest Board had little faith in its national championship to draw sufficient interest or attention so it decided to combine the results of the events held to the standards of the national championship (minimum of 100 miles on a one-mile or larger track being the basic criteria plus the sliding displacement/weight scale still in place from 1938) with those for the Big Car (Sprint) events the AAA sanctioned and organized into regional championships.
So, the Contest Board created the "National Auto-Racing Championship" for 1946, an attempt to cover all its bases and make promoters happy since any Big Car event could legitimately be promoted as a "national championship" event. However, it was such an unwieldy and confusing arrangement that they had to be thankful that Ted Horn had such as great season because it might otherwise been an even more confusing mess than it is. It seems that the Contest Board failed to articulate this arrangement very well and then backed away from it retroactively.
This is all supposition on my part, of course.
Jeez, Louise, no wonder it was easy to get this wrong because even the AAA was confused....
Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:52
Don, as you suggest I feel the AAA was concerned about car counts and even the events themselves taking place in the traditional Championship series, and as you mentioned, it appears they chose to hedge their bets.
What if one or two of the Championship events had been cancelled? Well, since the Depression era saw a 2 race season and several 3 race seasons, that had precedence and should not have been reason for overreaction, but post war concerns and looking back at that recent past probably were motivating factors.
I'm wondering how firm they felt any of the Championship events were going to be. As you mention, even IMS was in severe doubt.
Thankfully, not only for the AAA, but for us now - Ted Horn had such a season.
Horn is an important figure in U.S. racing history and in a unique manner now, even more so.
Thank you Eylard.
Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:51
This should be very interesting given the amount of "statistical" data floating around that has been embraced as gospel by many for a number of years. It is interesting that Cadillac is planning to celebrate the centennial of its winning the inaugural national championship event at Portland. I hope that they haven't spent too much money or effort in the planning for this event.
As Mr. Printz and others have made clear, all this was evident and in plain sight for years upon years. And, yet, almost all of us walked right past it. I am really chastened by the way the 1946 season was conducted, in great part due to the conflicting sources, and the subsequent way the information was recorded. I saw what I was "programmed" to see. A tip of the hat to Michael ('Fines") and the others who got it right when I got it wrong.
If nothing else, it will be interesting to see when they correct the 1946 record and see the effect that has on some of the usual statistics. It should certainly boost the records of Ted Horn and Tommy Hinnershitz.
A point to mull over is when will this ever get sorted out and all the bogus championships purged from the record? And the missing 1905 and 1946 events added to the record.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 12:36
I know that 1917 champioship was cancelled after two races actually took place.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 13:46
Originally posted by Agnis
(a) Wasn't the 1905 championship cancelled after the serious crashes?
(b) I know that 1917 champioship was cancelled after two races actually took place.
(a) It was never cancelled, it merely petered out, ending with the event in Poughkeepsie at the end of September.
(b) Which two events? It was my clear understanding from the contemporary sources that the 1917 championship season was turned off by the Contest Board before any events could be held. Also, the calendar for the 1917 season was issued prior to the end of the previous year and quite different from the one used in 1916.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 17:06
But then I want to point out something else. Haresnape was an AAA Contest Board official, wasn't he? His 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 "championship" standings were published in official AAA yearbooks. Of course those who have libraries available know better than I here but weren't there championship medals awarded to those "national champions" from 1909-1915, 1917-1919 still alive in 1926-27?
So if Val Haresnape awarded those championships as AAA Contest Board official, not an independent historian doing his hobby, you can't simply say that it's the absolute truth that 1909-1915, 1917-1919 races were no-championship races.
As I found in this topic, the final rules of 1935 European championship were also written when the first races had actually taken place already. And it's a well known fact that two different point systems were still disputed for 1939 EC season when it neared it's end. So the championships we recognize as championships today should't have always been recognized as championships at the time theyr races took place.
The same with 1909-1915, 1917-1919. It's true that there were no championships at the time. But since AAA Contest Board officially awarded the championships in later years, I think it's fair to include them in overall statistics with an asterisk that they received their status retrospectively.
Russ Catlin was an independent historian, so there is no reason to give any official status to his revisionist work. But the one of Haresnape can be disputed.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 18:22
Originally posted by Agnis
(a) I couldn't find it now but I remember reading somewhere about 1917 AAA NC being cancelled after two events. Maybe it was here, on TNF. Most likely it was wrong information as I have learned now. Thank you!
(b) But then I want to point out something else. Haresnape was an AAA Contest Board official, wasn't he? His 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 "championship" standings were published in official AAA yearbooks. Of course those who have libraries available know better than I here but weren't there championship medals awarded to those "national champions" from 1909-1915, 1917-1919 still alive in 1926-27?
So if Val Haresnape awarded those championships as AAA Contest Board official, not an independent historian doing his hobby, you can't simply say that it's the absolute truth that 1909-1915, 1917-1919 races were no-championship races.
© As I found in this topic, the final rules of 1935 European championship were also written when the first races had actually taken place already. And it's a well known fact that two different point systems were still disputed for 1939 EC season when it neared it's end. So the championships we recognize as championships today should't have always been recognized as championships at the time theyr races took place.
(d) The same with 1909-1915, 1917-1919. It's true that there were no championships at the time. But since AAA Contest Board officially awarded the championships in later years, I think it's fair to include them in overall statistics with an asterisk that they received their status retrospectively.
(e) Russ Catlin was an independent historian, so there is no reason to give any official status to his revisionist work. But the one of Haresnape can be disputed.
I sense a very great reluctance on your part to accept that what has been shown to be artificially-created, ex post facto, retroactive "national championships" are exactly that -- bogus, null & void, made-up stuff.
(a) The 1917 Championship season was to consist of the following events:
30 May, Indianapolis
9 June, Chicago
4 July, Omaha
14 July, Des Moines
3 September, Tacoma
15 September, Providence
29 September, New York
reference: Atlanta Constitution, 18 March 1917, page A 12; New York Times, 18 March 1917, page XX 4; Los Angeles Times, 22 March 1917, page III 1
(b) Perhaps Mr. Printz can discuss this to better effect than I can, but I have no problem stating that "it's the absolute truth that 1909-1915, 1917-1919 races were no-championship races."
That the faux championships created by Val Haresnape and Arthur Means, both employees of the Contest Board, were later declared and treated as "official" has caused no end of confusion and consternation. None of the contemporary sources (1909-1915, 1917-1917) mention a AAA-sanctioned national championship for the years cited. The whole business with the medals needs to be made clear: the first year medals were awarded to the top three in the national championship was in 1926 for the preceding year, 1925. NO medals were ever awarded during the years 1909-1915 or 1917-1919 to anyone. In 1916, Resta received a trophy, not a medal as the symbol of being the champion. The awarding of the medals, as far as I have been able to determine, was made retroactive to 1916 and 1920-onward.
© Not a good case to build upon for your developing a precedent for retrospective championships. The CSI and its problems has little to do with the Contest Board and its problems in this realm.
(d) Here I must truly differ with you. This smacks of something that we would expect of the Winston Smiths of the world. It is also a good example of the thought that if you say something or present something often enough, even if it is not true, that it becomes true. It is not "fair" to place them in with the events that were legitimate championship events.
(e) The "work" of Haresnape can be disputed and has been.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 19:39
Posted 27 September 2006 - 19:55
It is ahistorical.
It is a sham.
It is not true.
It is fabrication.
Posted 03 October 2006 - 14:35
Posted 03 October 2006 - 17:03
Only four drivers were invited to participate in this race at the San Francico Exposition on 25 Nov 1915. Held on a one mile track, not a "road" circuit, the report in Motor Age begins thus:-
"Barnum of circus fame is credited with saying that the American public enjoys being fooled, and his theory again was proven correct today when over 30,000 people filled the grandstand at the exposition race course and cheered loudly as Earl Cooper captured the winning brackets in the best staged hippodrome ever pulled off in racing history. And the best thing about it was that the public did not realize that it was being fooled........The drivers had not gone more than twenty laps around the mile course before it was apparent to those familiar with motor car racing that the event was to be more a speed exhibition than a championship contest. A blanket could have covered the four cars for the first 60 miles of the century run."
The report then goes on to state how suddenly on the ninety-fifth lap Barney Oldfield tore off only to be chased and passed by Cooper who won by a length.
That an obviously rigged, money-spinner race could be included in anybody's "fanasty championship", whilst claiming the whole exercise as meaningful, is pitiful. Surely the perpetrators of the "championship" must have read this report when compiling their fictitious lists.
As an aside, this hippodroming was bread and butter stuff for Barney Oldfield and Terrible Teddy Tetzlaff, but Durant and Cooper obviously appreciated the pay-off. It makes you wonder if other major AAA races were staged. Of course, IMCA, who came to dominate the fairground racing scene saw motor racing as part of the entertainments industry and consequently historians are very wary about giving their races any proper credence. Do some other major AAA races deserve the same reservation?
Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:18
Posted 08 October 2006 - 17:32
Posted 10 October 2006 - 19:07
Posted 11 October 2006 - 19:01
The annual AAA Contest Board meeting took place in New York between 25-27 October at the Hotel Roosevelt. This was the first such meeting since the last that was held on the day before Pearl Harbour.
One of the things that they decided was that the 1941 National Championship car specifications should be retained for the 1946 season. Cars with supercharged engines were restricted to 183 cu in and 274.09 cu in unsupercharged form. However, the big car specifications for non-championship races (sic), held on circuits of one mile or less, were altered from those applicable in 1941 by raising the limit from 205 cu in to 210 cu in. So by this criterion any AAA big car race that had cars with supercharged engines greater 183 cu.in. could not have been a National Championship race.
Under the heading National Championship Prize Fund was the following statement:-
"One of the most important parts of the circuit plan of operation is the establishment of a Championship Prize Fund to be paid out at the end of the year to those holding highest positions in an "over-all" championship standing. Points earned in all circuits will be combined to consolidate this point standing which will determine the overall champion of the year. Distribution of the Prize Fund will be to approximately the highest 15 in this championship standing". A purse of over $26,000 was expected. So it is definite that in probably 77 races (including the 71 Fines has recorded) points could be earned.
Also in this document there were the regulations concerning the AAA sanction fees that had to be paid by the promoters.
"Big car or standard racing Sprint races on tracks less than one mile in length $225, Sprint races on tracks one mile or more in length $300, National Championship races on tracks up to 2 miles in length $700 and Indianapolis Grand Prix $1,250". By this criterion the only promoters who could advertise their race as a National Championship race were those who paid the $700 sanction fee.
Looking at the adverts in NSSN only six races, including the Indy 500, were promoted as a National Championship race, those listed by Phil Harms.
For comparison a number of AAA big car races were run at Williams Grove and great emphasis was placed on the top drivers who were competing, the likes of Horn, Chitwood, Ader etc but the promoters never referred to their races as National Championship races. It would appear they had only paid the $225 sanction fee.
I could not find any reference to the points awarded at non-championship races although it was a pittance compared to the National Championship races. On May 30 the AAA National Drivers Point Standing " The standing does not include points earned at Indianapolis" showed the following - Ader (186), Chitwood (184), Horn (144), Holland (133), Eddie Husch (115), J.Shackleford (64) etc.
How many non-championship races, allowing 210 cu in engines remember, had been run I don't know but after the Indy 500 Villoresi had 300 points for just finishing seventh! He would even have got 60 points in any of the other National Championship races for a lowly seventh. So to be the 1946 Champion it was necessary to do well in the National Championship races but a few top drivers tried to cram in as many "non-championship" races as possible to garner a worthwhile number of points. This helped auto-racing in the States to get back on its feet
So it looks to me as if there were only six National Championship races but should you wish to know the full point scoring situation it will be necessary for someone (step up, John Glenn Printz!) to make available the detailed results of all the "non-championship" AAA big car races and the points scored in those.
Nasreddin Hodja was once asked to arbitrate in a dispute. After listening to the first party the Hodja concluded that he was right. The man went away happy. The Hodja then listened to the other party, who provided a totally different account, and pronounced that he was right. This man went away happy. A perplexed onlooker pointed out to the Hodja that both parties could not be right and the Hodja replied that the onlooker was right too.
Now quickly into the bunker to avoid the incoming.
Posted 11 October 2006 - 19:25
Russ is also confused as to just what cars Horn used in the five 1946 AAA Championship dirt contests. On page 129 Russ thinks that Horn's piloting of the Peters' Offy at Goshen (6 Oct. 1946) is an exception, whereas in fact, Horn drove the Peters' Offy in all five 1946 Championship 100 mile dirt contests. The Horn owned Championship dirt car, used by Ted in 1947 and 1948, was actually built in late 1946/early 1947 and was first entered in a race, at Indianapolis, with Tommy Hinnershitz as its assigned driver. But the new machine was not ready and neither it or Hinnershitz made the 1947 "500" starting lineup. Nor was Horn's dirt car quite ready for the Milwaukee 100 held on 8 June 1947. After that however the car, called the "Ted Horn Engineering Special" or the "T.H.E. Special", ran in all the AAA Championship dirt contests in 1947 and 1948. All five of Horn's AAA Championship wins came in this particular vehicle. It was also in this same exact machine, that Ted sustained injuries at DuQuoin (10 Oct. 1948) which proved fatal. The car was originally constructed at Horn's shop located in Paterson, New Jersey by Dick Simonek.
And again Russ seems to be singularly unaware also (!), that for 1946 the AAA combined the six Champ Car events proper into just one single National Title, that also included all the 1946 AAA sprint car events. As Catin's book on Horn was written and put together in 1948/1949, it must be said that Russ didn't seem to know what had occurred just two or three seasons before, i.e. in 1946. As Catlin was working for the AAA Contest Board itself in 1948 and 1949, his ignorance about the 1946 AAA Championship season, is indeed both puzzling and amazing.
Edited by john glenn printz, 03 January 2013 - 14:57.
Posted 07 November 2006 - 15:38
Originally posted by humphries
Athough the microfilm of the 1946 NSSN is often difficult to read, and all too often impossible, I have managed to extract a few passages that may be relevant.
Do the 1946 NSSN issues give the full results of the 77 races used to determine the title? If one was to try and reconstruct the 1946 season, would it be possible to do so from the NSSN, or is there not that much info? Just trying to decide if it's worth the money to buy the microfilm.
Posted 17 November 2006 - 18:43
Three time 500 winner, Wilbur Shaw (1902-1954), was depressed and worried by the shape of things when he was doing Firestone tire testing, with synthetic rubber, during the winter season of 1944/45. Would the Speedway revive or survive? There were rumors of all kinds. Would perhaps a consortium of Indianapolis automobile dealers take over the control of the Speedway? A local branch of the American Legion, under the headship of Norman H. Coulon, expressed an interest in 1944 and took out an option to buy on 17 Aug. 1944, but went no further. Wilbur Shaw himself, now on a one-man crusade to save the Speedway, began in early 1945 to enlist and talk to anyone he could find, that might want to take over and purchase the track. Among those he undoubtedly talked to were Harvey S. Firestone (1898-1973) of Firestone Tire and Rubber; Robert A. Stranahan (1886-1962) of Champion Spark Plug; Robert M. Bowes of the Bowes Seal Fast Corporation; and very possibly to Clarence Beesemyer of General Petroleum, an oil firm located in California. An Indianapolis based trio consisting of "Jones and Maley" and a Mr. Mahaffy also expressed an interest. Jones and Maley owned Indianapolis retail automobile dealerships. In early 1945 Robert "Bob" Bowes organized a syndicate to buy and run the IMS but the whole scheme fell into immediate disarray when Bowes died unexpectedly on 24 June 1945 from a heart attack. Bowes had been the president of the Bowes Seal Fast Company which manufactured tire patches for inner tubes and other automotive products and assessories. Shaw was now in panic about the ultimate fate and future of the Speedway.
Obviously, if there was going to be a 1946 "500", something had to happen almost immediately. Likewise the dominant and influential Indiana state politicians did not want to see the hitherto existing 500 mile race disappear either. For the simple truth is that the state of Indiana has very few natural or man made sites or wonders of any interest to a traveler. Indiana itself is mostly flat farm land, and visiting the homesite of the "Hoosier Poet", James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), just doesn't fit the bill. At least the annual 500 mile speed classic had put Indiana and its state capital, Indianapolis, in the national, and even international news, in a totally unique way, one week (late May) out of each year. Through a meeting with Wilbur Shaw one of Indiana's leading citizens, Mr. Anton "Tony" Hulman, Jr. (1901-1977), became interested in buying and saving the 2 1/2 mile track and Hulman bought the entire 433 acre complex on 14 Nov. 1945, from Rickenbacker for a sum of $750,000, which is about what Eddie payed for the track back in 1927. Anton owned "Hulman and Company" of Terre Haute, Ind., which marketed "Clabber Girl" baking powder among other products. Hulman also agreed to spend an additional $250,000 to refurbish the grounds for a running of a 1946 "500". These acts were the most monumental decisions ever undertaken with regard to U.S. National Championship type motor racing. The annual Memorial Day Indianapolis event since from, say, 1916 had been the one pivotal and sustaining nucleus of American big-time automobile racing. With the extinction of the "500", the older concept, dating from mostly 1915/16, of oval type open wheel "big-cars" would have collapsed and entirely disappeared. But the "500" survived and so too did the AAA National Championship level of racing.
Edited by john glenn printz, 06 September 2012 - 13:04.
Posted 19 November 2006 - 17:36
Al Bloemker (d. 1996), an Indianapolis sports newspaperman, replaced Steven "Steve" Jerome Hannagan (d. 1953 at age 53), as the Speedway's publicity director in late February 1946. Hannagan had been in charge of the Speedways' publicity since the late 1920s. Rickenbacker quit as the Chairman of the AAA Contest Board in late 1945 and was replaced by Colonel Arthur W. Harrington (1891-1970). Harrington owned the Marmon-Harrington Company, located in Indianapolis itself, and founded by him in 1931. It was actually a takeover of the older Marmon automobile firm. Harrington had made a fortune during World War II by making special terrain vehicles for the U.S. army. The previous AAA Contest Board Secretary, Ted E. Allen, was now replaced by stuffy, Jim H. Lamb. Lamb had been Allen's immediate assistant before the war and had been hired by Allen in July 1935. Lamb's personality was narrow and sanctimonious.
Also c. 1949 Russ Catlin (1908-1983) became the AAA Contest Board's records keeper, statistican, publicity director, and news media coordinator. Catlin was an ex-newspaper man and soon began writing articles on the AAA's past racing history, with his main articles appearing in SPEED AGE magazine and later, in AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY. During the years 1948-1983 Russ was considered the top authority on the past AAA racing history (1902-1955), but Russ was an amateur historian and had no historical training as a critical scholar. In 1951 Russ created seven bogus AAA Champions for the years 1902 to 1908, and altered the hitherto and long recognized 1909 and 1920 AAA Title holders. He made George Robertson (1884-1955) the 1909 Titlist over Bert Dingley (1885-1966) and made Tommy Milton (1893-1962) the 1920 Champion over Gaston Chevrolet (1892-1920). It was all historical hocus-pocus.
Catlin also accepted the ten AAA National Champions, 1909 to 1915 and 1917 to 1919 as historical, although in fact they were all the retrospective creations of Arthur Means, invented by Arthur in 1926, 1927, and 1928, under the direction of Val Haresnape. Russ in his HISTORY OF AAA CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1909 to 1917 (SPEED AGE, Dec. 1954 to Aug. 1955) writes up his narrative as if they were contemporary with each season. This is a colossal anachronism and bunder. It is not quite clear if Russ ever realized his mistake. In any case, because of three AAA officials (Means, Haresnape, and Catin), everyone for decades (i.e. 1930-1980), believed that the AAA National Championship Title awarded by a point system began in 1909 and had had a continuous existence since then except for war years of 1942 to 1945. The first nay-sayers about the reality of these 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 AAA National Titles were Mr. McMaken and myself in a 1981 published article (on page 127) which appeared in the 1981 PPG INDY CAR ANNUAL.
Both Arthur Harrington and Jim Lamb retained their AAA Contest Board posts until late 1955 when the AAA got entirely out of racing. Catlin had left the AAA in 1952 to become the publicity director of the Darington International Speedway. The Darington, SC, 1 1/4 mile track was built in 1950. Harrington appears in many photographs during the period 1946-1955 but I honestly don't know of anything he actually did and/or any important decisions he made but Harrington was at least a supporter and fan of automobile racing.
Edited by john glenn printz, 03 January 2013 - 14:59.
Posted 20 November 2006 - 17:58
After most of the U.S. automobile passenger car makers retired from racing mostly during the World War I period (1914-1918), and so too did detailed coverage of the American racing scene, except for the annual Indianapolis 500. All the leading U.S. automobile magazines and industry trade journals ceased to cover the sport except for the "500" and the detailed daily newspaper accounts all but disappeared also. The BERGEN HERALD newspaper became transformed into the NATIONAL AUTO RACING NEWS (later called the NATIONAL SPEED SPORT NEWS) in 1933, and the ILLUSTRATED SPEED SPORT NEWS (later named the ILLUSTRATED SPEEDWAY NEWS) first appeared in 1938. These two motor racing tabloids or "rags" reported the current racing news but even here the coverage of the important AAA National Championship events was often cursory or even at times non-existent. A new monthly magazine SPEED AGE started its publication in 1947 but it did not give consistant or continous coverage of the AAA Championship division until 1950. Bob Russo gained much of his reputation from his coverage of most the of the 1950's AAA and USAC Championship races as he reported and chronicled them in the pages of SPEED AGE. Russo was hired full time at SPEED AGE in September 1952 and Bob's first year of covering the AAA National Championship was 1953. Consequently the AAA seasons from 1930 to 1950 are the most difficult to research. There were simply not enough fans or public interest to merit any kind of detailed or accurate coverage of the then existing AAA Championship trail.
The leading AAA Championship division car owners, just before World War II, had been Mike Boyle, Robert H. Bowes, Lou Moore, and Joel "Joe" Thorne. Michael Joseph "Umbrella Mike" Boyle (1881-1958) was a powerful and corrupt electrial union boss of Chicago who was credited with shutting down the city of Chicago's electric power twice. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE said of him that on a salary of $50 a week Boyle had managed to save $350,000 in eight years. Boyle was twice convicted and served jail time in both 1920 and 1923. Boyle however sponsored bowling teams and was big fan of auto racing. In 1922 he got into the automobile engine valve business perhaps as a cover for his uxexplained monetary gains. The sobriquet "Umbrella Mike" was applied to Boyle from the legend (?) that he always accepted his bribe money, when he supposedly wasn't looking, by it being put into his always present umbrella when it was hanging on a rack or was upright in a corner of a room. Boyle's first forray into auto racing was to finance fellow Chicagoan, Cliff Woodbury (1894-1984), a mid-western ace dirt track pilot, at Indianapolis in 1926. Cliff came home in 3rd place, in his very first try at the "500", in 1926. Boyle's racing cars for many years were called "Boyle Valve Specials" although mostly comprised of parts manufactured by the Harry A. Miller shops.
Cotton Henning had been Boyle's crew chief and top mechanic beginning in 1931. Whatever might be said about Boyle himself he always operated a first class racing team during its entire duration, 1926 to 1946, and used "A-1" grade drivers such as Woodbury, Hepburn, Arnold, DePaolo, Lou Meyer, Moore, Cummings, Horn, and Shaw, etc. Boyle's entries had won eleven AAA Championship victories before World War II, including the Indianapolis classics of 1934, 1939, and 1940. The eleven Boyle AAA Championship wins were (1.) 12 Oct. 1928 Salem 200 (Cliff Woodbury); (2.) 9 June 1929 Detroit 100 (Woodbury); (3.) 4 July Altoona 100 (Lou Moore); (4.) 12 Sept 1931 Syracuse 100 (Moore); (5.) 13 Nov. 1932 Oakland 150 (Bill Cummings); (6.) 11 June 1933 Detroit 100 (Cummings); (7.) 9 Sept. 1933 Syracuse 100 (Cummings); (8.) 30 May 1934 Indianapolis 500 (Cummings) (9.) 30 May 1939 Indianapolis 500 (Wilbur Shaw); (10.) 27 Aug. 1939 Milwaukee 100 (Babe Stapp); and (11.) 30 May 1940 Indianapolis 500 (Shaw).
Edited by john glenn printz, 12 January 2012 - 15:05.
Posted 21 November 2006 - 13:45
Lou Moore (1904-1956) was originally a California driver and he can be traced as having run at such tracks as Ventura in 1924 and Tanforan in 1925. Lou started his racing career at San Luis Obispo during 1922 in a car put together by himself. Moore said in early 1949 (quote), "The car blew up in practice, then I built another and won a lot of West Coast dirt-track races with it. By that time racing was in my blood and in 1928 I had a chance to drive at Indianapolis. I placed second and from then on I was in every race until 1936. I broke down on every occasion except twice and on those times I finished third. Once a con rod failed when I was in second place with half a lap to go, once I ran out of gas 15 laps from the finish when a pin-hole leak developed in the pressure fuel tank."
Moore moved up to the AAA Championship series in 1928, with his first start at Indianapolis. Moore, as a rookie, placed 2nd behind Louie Meyer, another first time starter from California. Meyer however was not considered a rookie because he had relieved Wilbur Shaw for 53 laps (77-129) in the 1927 "500". Moore was never able to duplicate or better his 2nd place as a rookie at Indy but took 3rd in both 1933 and 1934 at the Brickyard. In 1929 Lou won two 100 mile non-Championship races at the 1/2 mile board track located at Woodbridge, PA on June 30 and August 4 respectively. Moore had two AAA Championship wins, both in 1931, at Altoona July 4 and Syracuse Sept. 12, when driving for Mike Boyle's team. Lou's highest annual AAA Championship rankings were 2nd in 1933 and 3rd in 1928. Circa 1933/34, Moore began to own his own Championship level cars. Lou retired as a driver after the 1936 season to devote all his energies to being a car owner and team manager and Moore entries won the "500" in both 1938 and 1941. Moore's wins, as a car owner, before the World War II numbered four, these being; (1.) 14 Sept. 1936 Syracuse 100 (Mauri Rose); (2.) 30 May 1938 Indianapolis 500 (Floyd Roberts); (3.) 10 Sept. 1939 Syracuse 100 (Mauri Rose); and (4.) 30 May 1941 Indianapolis 500 (Floyd Davis/Rose). All of Moore's winners here were built by Louis "Curly" Wetteroth (1901-1975) of Los Angeles and were powered by either standard Miller or Offenhauser 4's. Lou didn't generally indulge in exotic racing designed equipment but placed more confidence and reliance on simple, but effective design motifs.
Mapcap Joel "Joe" Thorne (1914-1955) was the heir of a huge trust fund and early showed an interest in motorcycles, speedboats, racing cars, and fast women. Thorne's first year at Indianapolis was 1935 as a car owner. In 1936 Joe wished to drive in the "500" but was told by the AAA that he lacked enough experience. In 1937 Thorne passed the driver test OK, but qualified only 35th fastest and thus was out of the race. However on 5 July 1937 Thorne drove in the international George Vanderbilt Cup race held at Westbury, NY and finished 6th in an Alfa Romeo, against a stellular starting field of thirty.
Edited by john glenn printz, 28 September 2010 - 17:04.
Posted 21 November 2006 - 16:38
However millionaire Joe Thorne had been impressed and tracked Sparks down. Thorne purchased the 337 cu. in. Sparks/Adams car from Art and futher signed up a somewhat bewildered Sparks to a lifetime contract (!) solely to design and construct racing cars, and manage Thorne's racing interests. A new company, located in Burbank, CA, was formed to pursue these ends and interests and was named Thorne Engineering. For 1938, the Indianapolis Speedway abandoned what was left of the 1930 "junk" formula format and adopted the new 1938 International Grand Prix rules of 3 litres (183.06 cu. in.) supercharged and/or 4 1/2 litres (274.59 cu. in.) unsupercharged, supposedly to entice more foreign entries. Single seat cars were now allowed again for the first time since 1929. For the upcoming 1938 "500" Sparks built for Joe Thorne two new blown sixes and in early 1939 took the supercharger off the 337 cu. in. machine, made it into a single seater, and lowed its piston displacement down to 272 cu. in. to allow it to run under the new rules. This older 1937 car was soon dubbed the "Big Six" in contrast to the two other new Thorne-Sparks cars, now called the "Little Sixes". Thorne owned cars had not won the "500" or any AAA Championship races before the second World War but his "Little Sixes" had placed, at Indy, 2nd in 1939 (Jimmy Snyder) and 3rd in 1941 (Ted Horn).
Thorne himself made the Indy lineup for the first time in 1938 piloting a front wheel drive car built by Wilbur Shaw in 1935, for Wilbur's sponsor at that time, Gil Pirrung. After 1938 Joe qualified for the next three successive "500"'s driving his favorite car, the Big Six, which he nicknamed "Suzanna", perhaps after one of his girl friends. Thorne considered the Big Six as the best and fastest of all his racing cars. Beginning in 1938, the core of Thorne's Indianapolis stable consisted of the one Big Six reserved for himself and the two Little Sixes, all three being designed by Sparks, but Joe owned other racing cars as well.
On the eve of the 1946 "500" a Thorne owned "Little Six", as driven by Jimmy Snyder in 1939, still held many official Speedway records. These included the one and four lap qualification marks, at 130.492 mph and 130.138 mph respectively, as well as the actual "500" race records at the 2 1/2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 200, 225, and 250 miles. Snyder might have even won the 1939 race but for an overly long pit stop caused by an AAA pit official. Snyder's car was leaking oil and the official made them clean it up. Jimmy was the best driver on Thorne's Indy teams of 1938 and 1939 but Sparks didn't think the wealthy Thorne always dealt fairly with the poor Snyder. Snyder made his basic living expenses by working as a milkman in Chicago. Unfortunately Jimmy died 29 June 1939 in a midget race held in East St. Louis. Thorne had just a single entry at Indianapolis in 1940 and didn't run either of his Little Sixes because of disagreements between himself and Art. Thorne qualified the Big Six 10th and drove the car to a creditable 5th place finish.
The six 1946 AAA National Championship winners were:
1. May 30 Indianapolis 500, Robson, George, Sparks Adams s/c (1938), 114.82 mph, PO.
2. June 30 Langhorne 100, Mays, Rex, Offenhauser-Meyer-Goossen/Stevens s/c (1938), 85.14 mph, D.
3. Sept. 2 Atlanta 100, Connor, George, Offenhauser/Kurtis (1941), Time not taken, D (race halted at 98 miles because of accident).
4. Sept. 15 Indianapolis Fairgrounds 100, Rex Mays, Offenhauser-Meyer-Goossen/Stevens s/c (1938), 78.88 mph, D.
5. Sept. 22, Milwaukee 100, Mays, Rex, Offenhauser-Meyer-Goossen/Stevens s/c (1938), 84.81 mph, D. NTR
6. Oct. 6 Goshen 100, Bettenhausen, Offenhauser/Wetteroth (1935, RB 1939), 77.75 mph, D. NTR
Edited by john glenn printz, 24 March 2010 - 12:12.
Posted 21 November 2006 - 20:41
Because of the total shutdown of all major motor racing in Europe (1940-45), foreigners were more interested in the revival of the Indianapolis 500 in 1946 than would have been perhaps usual. European teams were entered from England, France, Italy, and Switzerland. An amateur English racing driver, Robert M.W. Arbuthnot (1909-1946), entered a vehicle powered by a Lagonda V12 engine. Pre-war Grand Prix ace Rudolf "Rudi" Caracciola (1901-1959), from Switzerland, entered a 1 1/2 litre, supercharged V8 Mercedes- Benz, Type W165. The W165 had been originally built for the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix run on May 7, where it finished one-two against 28 Italian competitors. The W165's engine had a two stage blower and developed 265 hp at 8250 rpm. Rudi's W165 was to be shipped from England. Caracciola's only previous race in the U.S. had been the 5 July 1937 Vanderbilt race in New York. Out of France came the four team entry (3 Maseratis and 1 Alfa Romeo) of Harry O'Reilly Schell (1921-1960). Before World War II Harry's father had operated a racing team but upon his death, Harry's mother, Lucy Schell, had taken over its managerial duties. Lucy, in fact, had entered a two car team at Indianapolis for 1940. Its drivers were Frenchmen Rene Dreyfus (1905-1993) and Rene LeBeque (1914-1946) and the cars were both Maseratis. LeBeque even managed to qualify, and with relief help from Dreyfus (laps 46-97 & 151-192), finished 10th overall in the 1940 "500". Harry's 1946 Indy driver lineup was Louis Gerard, Lanza, "Raph", and himself. "Raph" (1910-1994), whose real name was Bethenod de Monthressiens, always raced with this nickname and had been an entrant in the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup race. The 1946 Indianapolis Harry Schell, by the way, was the very same Harry Schell who competed in the World Championship Grand Prix events during 1950-1960. Harry's best ranking in the World Driving Title standings was 5th in 1958 and his best finish in a race was 2nd in the Netherlands Grand Prix (25 May 1958) in a BRM. Harry was killed practicing in the wet at Silverstone, England when a wheel became detached on 13 May 1960.
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 14:18.
Posted 22 November 2006 - 13:17
Much closer to home, Mike J. Boyle entered two cars. Back in early 1939 Mike had purchased a new 3 litre supercharged Grand Prix Maserati (Type 8CTF) which Wilbur Shaw used at Indianapolis in 1939, 1940, and 1941. Shaw (1902-1954) responded by winning both the 1939 and 1940 Indy races. This Maserati was the first foreign built machine to win at Indianapolis since an EX5 Peugeot did so in 1919. In the 1941 "500" Shaw was leading the race with it once more when a wire wheel collasped on lap 152, sending the car into the outside wall. For 1946, of course, Wilbur had now exchanged his racing goggles and helmet for a tie and business suit as the newly appointed President and General Manager of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Shaw was now the handsome, dapper, and well dressed racing executive with an official office and large desk. Shaw, upon his retirement from racing in 1946, had the best record of any competitor at the 2 1/2 mile Brickyard. Wilbur had placed 1st in 1937, 1939, and 1940; 2nd in 1933, 1935, and 1938; and was 4th as a rookie in 1927. Shaw's first attempts at motor racing occurred in 1921, when Milton, Murphy, and Sarles were the top stars in the AAA big-time. When Frank Lockhart (1903-1928) was killed on 25 Apr. 1928 at Daytona Beach, Ray Keech (1900-1929), Cliff Woodbury (1894-1984) and Shaw instantaneously became the top dirt track aces in the entire U.S., for the period 1928-1930. AAA dirt track 100 milers were now becoming much more important because of the rapid demise of all the board tracks. Shaw's first AAA National Championship victory occurred at Syracuse on 31 Aug. 1929. Wilbur quit the dirt tracks after failing to qualify at the Syracuse 100 in 1937 and raced only at Indianapolis beginning in 1938.
Edited by john glenn printz, 11 November 2010 - 16:42.
Posted 22 November 2006 - 20:41
Connor meanwhile hitched a ride driving a car put together by Frank Kurtis in 1941 and owned by Ed Walsh. It had originally been assigned to Henry Banks but Connor was probably the better and more experienced pilot of the two in 1946. The upshot then was that Boyle had but a single entry in the 1946 race, but it was a car that had won here both in 1939 and 1940. Connor's first "500" had been in 1936 and he had started in seven races with his best finish being 9th in 1937.
Charlie Bowes entered Rex Mays with the same machine Rex had piloted to two consecutive AAA National Championship Titles, i.e. 1940 and 1941. This supercharged straight 8 had originally been built for Louie Meyer's use in 1938 and Meyer had driven it in the "500" both in 1938 and 1939. Its engine had been jointly designed by Leo Goosen, Fred Offenhauser, and Meyer himself. This powerplant is usually called a "Winfield", probably because Bud Winfield became the chief mechanic on this Bowes car for 1940 and 1941. Bud was, no doubt, called in about its carburetor problems and setup in 1938 and 1939. At Indy in the 1939 race Meyer had lost control on the 198th circuit and was thrown out of the car. As Mr. Meyer expressed it, "I decided to quit as a racing driver while I was still in mid-air." After Louie's retirement, Rex Mays was assigned the car, starting in 1940. Mays had placed second in it, in the last two 500's held, i.e. 1940 and 1941, and was now looking forward to winning the 1946 "500" with it. The two Winfield brothers, Ed and Bud, along with Pete Clark were busy getting this car ready for the big 1946 race.
Lou Moore did not have an entry in the 1946 "500". He had sold all three of his Championship level machines, i.e., his 1940 Maserati and his two Indy winning Offenhauser/Wetteroths. Lou sold the Maserati, which Mauri Rose put on the pole in 1941, jointly to Lawrence Jewell and Willard Taylor, who in turn sold it to Richard "Dick" Cott, of Detroit. Cott than hired the veteran Russ Snowberger as its chauffeur. Moore's 1938 Indy winning Offenhauser/Wetteroth was purchased by Cliff Bergere's wife, Shirley. Cliff had driven this car to 5th position in 1941. Moore's 1941 Indy winning Wetteroth, built originally in 1939, was sold to Fred A. Peters, who put would-be Cherokee Indian Joie Chitwood in the saddle. Moore agreed however to help both Bergere and Peters prepare their new purchases at the Speedway, and Lou did so.
Joel Thorne entered two cars, the Big Six for himself and a Little Six for George Robson. Although wealthy, Thorne was an irresponsible spendthrift, who was always in need of more funds. To raise some quick cash Joel had sold one of the Little Sixes to Robert Flavell. Flavell nominated Harry McQuinn as its driver. The totally irresponsible Thorne, on 21 Feb. 1946, had crashed into an automobile while riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles. Throne broke both legs and suffered a fractured wrist. The Speedway officials were dumbfounded when Thorne, still in a wheelchair, named himself as the driver of his own "Big Six". Art Sparks, Takeo Hirashima, and Eddie Offutt prepared the two Thorne Engineering Specials for the 1946 running of the "500".
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 14:22.
Posted 22 November 2006 - 21:32
Posted 23 November 2006 - 11:15
Therefore I offer some correction re. the Italian participation to the 1946 Indianapolis 500 miles race.
1) It was Corrado Filippini – not Covorado. Filippini’s name was mi-spelled Covorado in some official document so American sources have reproduced it since.
2) Corrado Filippini was not the “owner of Scuderia Milan”.
3) Filippini was a well-known motoring journalist, Editor of the illustrious Auto Italiana before the war. In the late 1920s he had founded the Italian drivers’ association together with Alfieri Maserati. Enzo Ferrari commented once that this was more the drivers’ Union than their association as Filippini was continuously acting on their behalf. By today’s standards Filippini could be called a manager: he had helped Italian drivers racing abroad in signing collective contracts for single races, minimized the expenses by organizing the trips, pooling resources and so on. He continued after the war even though he had been ousted from the association. In fact he had been blacklisted in 1945 since he had for while also been the Editor of the Fascist sports newspaper Il Littoriale. Still, thanks to his innumerable international connections, Filippini, operating privately, had organized the expeditions of the Italian drivers to Nice and Geneva during 1946, in a very hostile atmosphere towards he Italians. and to Argentina from 1947 and 1951. At the beginning of 1948 Filippini was cleared, while Auto Italiana – which had also been tainted by the odour of pro-Fascism – was freed from the administration of an external commissioner. Italian participation to the races at Nice and Geneva had been politically decisive for the sudden re-admission to racing of Italian drivers and teams after the war as opposed to the exclusion of the Germans, and the South American expeditions would be extremely profitable for the personal finances of top Italian drivers such as Varzi, Villoresi Ascari and Farina.
4) Scuderia Milan. The Milan based Scuderia Automobilistica Milan S/A, Milano, was managed by Arialdo Ruggeri (b. 1906) with his brother Emilio. The Scuderia was founded in January 1946 – and presented to the press on January 12th - with the backing of a group of enthusiasts and industrialists from Gallarate, the hometown of the Ruggeris. This town is located in the outskirts of Milan, but their shop was “downtown Milan” in via Mosé Bianchi.
President of the Scuderia was Arnaldo Mazzucchelli and the technical director was professor Mario Speluzzi of the Milan Polytechnic, an expert in supercharging whose ideas had been put into practice mainly on speedboats.
The Ruggeris had built a 1100cc coupe Special for the 1940 Mille Miglia based on Fiat-SIATA components, and a series of new ones – neatly bodied by Bertone in barchetta fashion - was built in 1946 around a Fiat 1100 engine tuned with the help of Speluzzi and of ing. Egidio Arzani, the designer at Volpini. These cars were soon dropped to concentrate on Speluzzi’s experiments with two-stage supercharging for Maserati engines. In 1946 they raced six 4CL Maseratis plus a car, owned and mainly used by Sommer, which was a 6CM chassis with a 4CL engine – and a similar one in addition plus an older 6CM, and the 8CL 3035, making it ten racing cars! One of the reasons for the variety of cars used by the Scuderia is that it enjoyed direct works support this year, and it was therefore considered as a unofficial works team, and rather correctly so. Works support was abruptly ended in March 1947. Ruggeri (born in 1906), who had already seen action in pre-war Voiturette racing, was an inconsistent racer who at times looked indifferent in his driving. However the importance of the presence of his Scuderia in immediate post-war races cannot be questioned, at least for the huge number of cars that were engaged. The Scuderia had overxtended their resources, so not astonishingly it went into a sudden decline, but kept racing internationally until 1951.
5) Scuderia Milan arrived with three cars; two 1500cc Maserati 4CL supercharged voiturettes and the second example, chassis 3035, of the 3.0 litre supercharged Maserati 8CL which had only been completed on April 3rd and had been sold to the Scuderia. The car was going to be driven by Gigi Villoresi, while Achille Varzi and American Duke Nalon (1913/2001) were going to drive the 4CLs. The 3-litre Maserati was a potential winner, even though it was a pre-war design, and the Milanese outfit spared no effort and no expense to that purpose. A numerous staff accompanied the very strong team of drivers. The president of the Scuderia Arnaldo Mazzucchelli and Emilio, one of the Ruggeri brothers, left Italy with Corrado Filippini, while Count Giovanni ‘Johnny’ Lurani acted as interpreter and, as he puts it, “executive officer”. He was in fact the only one able to speak English, fluently in his case, of the entire delegation. The locally hired pit crew were headed by famous Maserati chief mechanic and head tester Guarino “Guerrino” Bertocchi, which was another indication that the ties between Scuderia Milan and the works were very close during 1946.
Villoresi and especially Varzi found great difficulty in adapting their driving style to that required by the peculiar Indianapolis track. In particular, the full use of the brakes was a practice heavily disapproved of by the race officials on the grounds that differences in driving techniques on a busy track would increase the danger factor.
It is clear, in any case, that the potential of the Italian team was completely different than that of the Schell’s team – which arrived with the two very old and ineffective Maseratis owned by colourful Gerard – and of the eccentric Arbuthnot’s enourmous Le Mans Lagonda.
Posted 24 November 2006 - 16:44
In 1934 Mauri had a real chance to win the AAA Driving Title and was still in contention when the last contest, i.e. the Mines Field 200 (23 Dec 1934) was staged, but Mauri didn't bother to enter. I asked Rose years later why he didn't compete and Mauri replied, "I was just too busy at work, to take the time off to travel all the way to California." In 1936 Rose did win the National AAA Title by placing 4th at Indianapolis (May 30), 6th at Goshen (June 20), 1st at Syracuse (Sept. 9), and 8th in the revived Vanderbilt Cup (Oct. 12). Rose always seemed to be involved in the middle of controversy. At the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup, Rose was the first U.S. driver to cross the finish line, in 7th, but later was dropped to 8th. The event required a mandatory pit stop of at least one minute's duration for "inspection" and Rose originally had beaten Bill Cummings to the wire by 7.87 seconds. The Mike Boyle team protested Rose's 7th place finish, saying that Mauri had only stopped for a 48 second interval during the required one minute stop. The Boyle-Cummings' protest was upheld on 18 Jan. 1937 by the AAA Contest Board and Rose found himself now dropped to the 8th finishing position just behind Cummings. Before World War II, Rose had finished at Indianapolis, 2nd in 1934, 4th in 1936, 3rd in 1940, and 1st in 1941. In addition Mauri had won AAA Championship 100 milers at Detroit, and at Syracuse twice (15 Sept. 1936 and 2 Sept. 1939); and a non-Championship Springfield 100 (21 Aug, 1937). At the time the annual Syracuse 100 was the most prestigious dirt track race in the entire country. At Indianapolis in 1934, Rose's crew protested the Cumming's win, saying that Bill had gained much illegal ground or distance during the caution periods. The protest was denied.
However Rose's greatest exploit at Indy occurred in 1941. Mauri was driving for Lou Moore that year and now had one of the Maserati cars which had been brought over the year before by Lucy Schell. In fact this Maserati had been Rene LeBegue's mount in 1940 and Moore had purchased the Italian machine from Lucy. For 1941, Rose put the car on the pole with an average speed of 128.691 mph. Rose led laps 39-44 but spark plug problems of some sort eliminated the Maserati after 60 circuits. Back in the pits Mauri told Moore that he was going to walk up and down pit row to see if he could line up some further work as a relief driver. Moore quickly told Rose to stay put, that Floyd Eldon Davis (1905-1977) in another team car wasn't doing so well, and that he could soon replace Davis. Davis was running in 12th position at the time. Rose said, "O.K., but let's gas up the car when Davis comes in so I won't have to stop again." Thus Rose, on lap 72, replaced a very indignant and unhappy Floyd Davis. Rose then moved up steadily and took over the front position on lap 162 and led the rest of the way. There was a great deal of happy euphoria in victory lane and Moore stated, "Mauri did a terrific job and is the only driver I know of who could have done it." Rose requested specifically that Davis be present in victory lane to share the honors and everyone seemed quite happy, but Davis held a grudge against Rose ever thereafter.
For the 1946 "500" Rose had linked up with car owner and machinist Joe Lencki (1903-1994). Lencki had owned cars in the "500" as far back as 1933 although none of them had been particularly successful, a 5th in 1938 with Chet Gardner and an 8th in 1937 with Tony Gulotta being the best placed positions. However on 10 Sept. 1938, Jimmy Snyder won the Syracuse 100 in a new Lencki owned single seater. Since 1939 Joe had been trying to promote a Lencki 6 engine, a powerplant that was really nothing more generally than a six cylinder Offy, a fact however that the pesky Lencki didn't care to admit. Lencki had two entries in the 1946 "500", a six cylinder car for Mauri Rose, and a car powered by a standard Offy 4, for rookie Tony Bettenhausen (1916-1961). Tony had not been an entrant at Indianapolis before 1946 but had driven in the last two AAA Championship 100 mile dirt races held before the war, i.e. at Milwaukee (24 Aug. 1941) and Syracuse (1 Sept. 1941). In 1941, with a Lencki built car, Tony placed 6th at Milwaukee and 2nd at Syracuse. Bettenhausen had started his racing career in early 1938, racing midgets. The Joe Lencki car which Tony piloted at Milwaukee and Syracuse in 1941 was originally constructed in 1938 and was the same machine with which Jimmy Snyder had won the 1938 Syracuse 100 (September 10).
Edited by john glenn printz, 06 March 2012 - 15:32.
Posted 26 November 2006 - 17:41
For 1935 and 1936 Rex joined up with the famous pair of car owners, machinists, and mechanics, Art Sparks and Paul Weirick. Art and Paul took Mays to Indianapolis in 1935 and 1936, and Rex responded by winning the pole position both years. In the 1935 "500" Rex was out with a broken spring at 123 circuits completed and in 1936 he ran out of fuel after 192 laps. Fuel allotment limits were in use at Indy during the years 1934, 1935, and 1936. Only 37 1/2 gallons of fuel were allowed for the entire 500 mile distance in 1936 and Mays was not the only competitor to run out of fuel before the 200 laps had been completed, another half dozen cars did likewise. In both 1934 and 1935 Mays won the tough AAA Pacific Coast Title for single seat sprint cars. The Pacific Coast title was the first of the annual AAA regional sprint car awards, having been first inaugurated here in 1929. Its previous West Coast winners were Mel Keneally (1929); Francis Quinn (1930), and Ernie Triplett (1931-32), and Al Gordon (1933). The AAA Midwest and Eastern regional sprint titles were added in 1933. During 1935 Rex was not present at any other Champ car events except Indianapolis itself, but for 1936 Mays drove the entire AAA Championship schedule and continued doing so for the rest of his racing career. There were only four AAA Championship contests staged in 1936 and after Indianapolis the next stop was Goshen, NY (June 20) where Mays scored his first Championship win. At Syracuse (Sept. 15) Rex was 3rd and then everyone got ready for the first running of the George Vanderbilt Cup race to be held on the new Roosevelt Raceway (Oct. 12). However, much to the exasperation of Sparks, Mays crashed their two-man car during practice on October 7 and was a non-starter.
The Sparks-Weirick parnership dissolved in late 1936 and Art went off to design and build the big 337 cubic inch supercharged machine for the upcoming 1937 Indianapolis "500". The ban on supercharging and all fuels limits had been lifted for the 1937 "500" althought two-man cars were still mandatory with an accompanying riding mechanic. The Sparks-Weirick owned two-man car that Rex drove for them in 1935 and 1936, had originally been constructed for them by Myron Stevens (1901-1988) and Phil Summers in early 1934 and Al Gordon (1903-1936) drove it at Indianapolis that year. Kelly Petillo (1903-1970) won the 1934 Mines Field affair in it. Although California was always a hotbed of automobile racing in the U.S., the Mines Field 200 of 23 Dec. 1934, was the last AAA National Championship contest to be held in California until car owner and promotor, J. C. Agajanian (1913-1984), staged a 100 miler at Sacramento on 30 Oct. 1949.
Edited by john glenn printz, 07 December 2010 - 14:36.
Posted 27 November 2006 - 13:16
Posted 27 November 2006 - 21:00
I once inquired of Art Sparks, as to how Bill White had gotten rich. Art replied that his understanding was that Bill had operated an exclusive taxi service to Hollywood's biggest movie stars in the early 1920's. I then asked Art, "But how would a man get rich doing that? Didn't the stars and the rich movie moguls have cars and chauffeurs of their own? Would Fairbanks Sr., Pickford, Valentino, Wallace Reid, De Mille, or Stroheim be using cabs?" Well Sparks acknowledged that he didn't really know how. I quickly suggested that an aristocratic and/or exclusive cab service might make a very good and useful cover for an illegal and lucrative liquor operation. Art readily agreed that that was very possible. "Ask Fengler, he would know, as Bill and Harlan were very good friends in the early twenties", Art replied. Unfortunately I never got to ask Fengler the question. But whatever, White later married into big money anyway.
White also in 1935 took over the managerial duties of the famous Ascot Speedway located in Los Angeles at the drivers' request. This 5/8's mile oval had been originally built by George R. Bentel in late 1923/early 1924, and its first day of races occurred on 20 Jan. 1924. There was never any AAA Championship level events held here although there was some talk of running one or some in 1933. Rickenbacker, early in 1933, even went to California to inspect the Ascot track. Bill White in October 1936, said he wished to make Ascot part of the AAA National Championship circuit. White never attained that goal but he did stage two races using exclusively the AAA Championship two-man cars and drivers. These two contests were run on 15 Dec. 1935 and 26 Jan. 1936 and both events were won by Rex Mays in the familar Sparks-Weirick two-man car.
White's two ventures here were staged in cooperation with "Champion Drivers, Inc." This was an organization, offically announced on 12 June 1935, whereby the drivers themselves promoted their own races. Their idea was to eliminate the middle man and/or the promotor and to collect all the proceeds and ticket money themselves. Charter members of this group included Cantlon, Cummings, Frame, Gordon, Litz, L. Meyer, Moore, Rose, Shaw, and Stapp; but Petillo, the 1935 Indy winner, refused to join. Anyway the two Ascot races for two-man cars had the odd arrangement that every participant would collect an equal payout regardless of their final position in the race results. In the 26 Jan. 1936 Ascot race both Al Gordon and his riding mechanic, Spider Matlock, were killed which put a halt to all racing at the Ascot track. The AAA, on 28 Feb. 1936, demanded changes to the Ascot oval before they would sanction any further races there and these demanded alterations were not forthcoming. A few months later the grandstands burned and that was the end of the Ascot Speedway, as well as Champion Drivers, Inc. Shaw, Rose, Mays, and Horn had all raced at Ascot at one time or another.
Champion Drivers, Inc. had promoted an AAA National Championship 100 mile race at the new 1935 Altoona-Tyrone Speedway. It was a 1 1/8's mile dirt oval constructed where the now defunked wooden board track had been located during 1923-1931. The original date for this 1935 Altoona Champ car race was July 27, but the oval was not ready yet and the event was rescheduled to August 3rd. This 100 miler was further delayed by two rainouts on August 3 and August 10. Louie Meyer finally took the checkered flag on September 7. Naturally Champion Drivers, Inc. lost its shirt on this one. As with similar "driver" promoted events in the past, i.e. 1917 (Minneapolis) and 1919 (Cincinnati), they all learned the hard way that it is perhaps best to leave the promotion to the promotors.
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 14:29.
Posted 28 November 2006 - 20:20
For the 1937 Vanderbilt Cup contest both German teams came over to correct a, perhaps, false impression of Italian motor racing savvy made the previous year. Both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler were trying to use motor racing for nationalistic and propagandistic purposes. Rosemeyer's winning Auto-Union had Nazi swastikas on it and was the only rear engined vehicle ever to win an AAA National Championship event. For 1937, at the Vanderbilt Cup, the best the official Ferrari-Alfa Romeo team could do was 5th with Giuseppe Farina (1906-1966) at the wheel. The next win for a rear engined car in American National Championship competition (now under USAC sanction however) was Jimmy Clark's victory at the Milwaukee 200 on 18 Aug. 1963. The Americans who were present at either the 1936 and/or 1937 Vanderbilt Cup races, quickly realized that American racing car construction and engineering had been largely stagnant since 1929, and that the German and even Italian equipment, was years ahead of the U.S. racers in design and subtlety. For the 1938 "500" White had Ernie Weil construct a new chassis around the Type 8C-35 Alfa Romeo motor but this car completed only 45 laps before its supercharger failed and again Mays found himself out of the race and on the sidelines. White continued to enter this Alfa Romeo/Weil machine at Indianapolis for years to come. Babe Stapp had it at Indy in 1939; Harry McQuinn in 1940 and 1941. For the 1946 "500" White lined up IMCA star Jimmy Wilburn (1908-1984) for the ride and in 1947 used Cy Marshall (1902-1974). Stapp's 5th place finish in 1939 was the best White's Alfa Romeo/Weil ever did in the "500".
For the 1938 "500" Mays drove for Joel Thorne in one of the "Little Sixes" and had as teammates, Jimmy Snyder, Mel Hansen, and Thorne himself. And for the month of May, Rex was reunited again with Art Sparks, but it didn't do Mays much good. Mays' Thorne owned Sparks/Adams car was out after 145 laps with piston ring problems. After Louie Meyer retired in 1939, Bob Bowes replaced him with Mays for 1940. Rex took over the big Bowes supercharged straight 8 machine built for Louie's use in 1938. Meyer advised Mays not to use the car on the dirt tracks but Rex and/or Bowes elected not to follow Meyer's advice. Rex piloted the car in the AAA Champ car events run both at the Brickyard and on the dirt horse racing ovals. Immediately Rex's fortunes improved. Mays won the 1940 Indy pole with a 127.850 mph clocking and for the first time in seven tries found himself still running at the finish of a "500." He was second only to Wilbur Shaw, in first, and Mays felt he could have won if the last 50 laps hadn't been run under caution because of a light shower.
Later in 1940 Rex copped the only two other AAA Championship contests, i.e. Springfield (Aug. 24) and Syracuse (Sept. 2) to take the 1940 AAA National Championship Driving crown with 1225 points. 1941 was largely a repeat of 1940. With the same exact vehicle Rex was 2nd at Indy, and won the only two other AAA Champ races of the 1941 season, i.e. Milwaukee (Aug. 24) and Syracuse (Sept. 10), to capture the 1941 AAA title with, again, 1225 counters. For the upcoming 1946 season Bud Winfield, the racing carburetor expert, was replaced by Pete Clark as the chief mechanic on the machine. Bud Winfield had now turned his main attention in 1945/46 to a new project, i.e. a front wheel drive supercharged V8 car to be piloted by the veteran Ralph Hepburn (1896-1948), and built for owner Lew Welch (1907-1984) of Novi, MI.
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 14:33.
Posted 29 November 2006 - 17:47
Tucker was also trying to take advantage, somehow, of the fact that Harry Miller (1876-1943), the greatest racing car builder and constructor in the U.S., was now bankrupt, out of work, and standing on the sidelines. A Ford-Miller project might put some real money into Tucker's and, perhaps, Harry Miller's pockets. Tucker's loquacious disquistions finally convinced Edsel and the order came down at last to start construction on ten Ford V8 powered, front wheel drive racers. The cost of the ten cars would be borne by voluntary contributions from various Ford dealerships across the country. The ten Ford/Miller cars were built in Detroit, in a shop on Michigan Avenue, not far from Briggs Studium, where the Detroit Tigers then played baseball. Even Louis Chevrolet supposedly worked on the Ford/Miller cars. The resultant vehicles looked modern and even had style. Tucker himself was trying to milk as much money from the project as possible and had members of his family employed as "office" workers. Preston thus was also on the lookout for anxious, eager, and talented rookies to drive most of the cars because they could be employed on the cheap, always a big asset in Tucker's eyes. Ted Horn was one of these, hoping to get into his first "500".
Only four of the new Ford/Millers managed to make the 1935 race day lineup and among the four starters were the two rookies Ted Horn and Bob Sall (1908-1974). The other two successful Ford/Miller pilots were George Bailey (1900-1940) and Johnny Seymour (1896-1958). Bailey had had only one previous start, in 1934, and went only 12 laps before crashing out. Seymour was the real veteran here with four previous Indy starts, but Johnny's best finish was 17th in 1928, as a rookie. In 1928 Seymour, an ex-motorcycle racer, went 171 laps before being put out with supercharger problems. Of the four Ford/Miller cars in the 1935 "500", Horn's lasted the longest, travelling 145 laps before the steering box locked up tight. The problem with the Ford/Millers was that the steering boxes were positioned too close to the hot engine. Gradually all the lubricant in the boxes was boiled out and then the whole steering assembly locked up solid. But now, at least, Horn had gained 145 laps of Indy experience driving a front wheel drive job on the rough Indy bricks. After the 1935 "500" Horn demonstrated annually a knack which Rex Mays, who had a much heavier foot, didn't possess: namely the ability to keep moving until the race was officially flagged over and done. Thus Horn was 2nd in 1936, 3rd in 1937, 4th in 1938, 4th in 1939, 4th in 1940, and 3rd in 1941, in six consecutive Indy starts.
Edited by john glenn printz, 19 October 2009 - 15:47.
Posted 01 December 2006 - 20:11
Hartz's racing career as a driver came to an abrupt halt at the Rockingham-Salem board speedway on 12 Oct. 1927, when he lost control of his car on lap 53 while trying to pass Frank Lockhart for the lead. Harry was violently thrown out of his Miller 91 and suffered a broken leg and severe head lacerations. Hartz was in the hospital for months and his recovery took more than two years. At the time it was said that this incident was Harry's very first accident in a race. Perhaps so..., but Hartz had been involved in a very nasty mixup just before the start of the Beverly Hills 250 run on 29 Nov. 1923. Just a minute or so before the pace lap, Hartz was given special permission by flagman and starter, Fred J. Wagner, to test his car's motor by taking one or two fast laps around the course at high speed. Hartz's Miller 8 had been having carburetion problems. But just as the signal was given to the parked field to move out, Joe Boyer's Duesenberg, located in a back row, caught on fire. Instantly nearby crewmen grabbed fire extinguishers and surrounded the burning vehicle, as well as interested onlookers, forgetting or not knowing, that Hartz was still on the track and moving at high speed. The resultant hubble around Boyer's car blocked the hitherto two or three open lanes on the right side.
When Hartz came out of the fourth turn he found himself confronted with a choice of crashing into the rear of the still parked field on the left or trying to thread his way between them and the outside rail on the right, now filled with men, and partially blocked visually by smoke from Boyer's burning Duesenberg. Hartz made the quick choice of driving to and through the righthand lanes, but his Miller 122 struck two men at about 80 mph. Harry J. Hughes, a news photographer, was killed instantly; while George L. Wade, a car owner, died minutes later in the speedway hospital. The whole incident took about three seconds and there was another victim as well. A Duesenberg mechanic, Jimmy Lee, had been clipped by a hub on Hartz's car and Jimmy sustained a broken leg. The whole disaster was witnessed by thousands in the main grandstands including the movie stars Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Antonio Moreno, and movie director Cecil B. De Mille. Among the other notables present was William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941), a very famous political figure of the time, who had married the daughter of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914. McAdoo was instrumental in bringing into existence the national banking reform laws known as the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which is still in use. Three times McAdoo was in contention for the Democratic party's nomination for the Presidency, most seriously perhaps in 1924.
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 14:36.
Posted 02 December 2006 - 15:57
Welcome & thanks, Mr. Printz, for some wonderful and valuable information, and for sparing me the time to go through all of this just to convince my friend Don! I hope I can soon re-enter the debate, for time's still not my own, but maybe early next year I have a LOT to add. I have spent almost the entire last 12 months researching AAA Big Car racing, Indy, Champs and Sprints the whole lot, and I'm working on something wonderful and new. Bear with me...;)
Posted 03 December 2006 - 17:30
What happened in the 1930 Indianapolis race itself was unexpected. Louie Meyer (1904-1995), in a 16 cylinder job (Miller/Stevens), led the first two circuits and then Arnold got by Louie, and moved into first place. After that Arnold was never headed and he continued to pull away from every competitor in the 38 car field, on each and every lap thereafter. The 1930 "500" was a runaway for Arnold who led 198 laps in all and beat Shorty Cantlon, in a Bill White entry, by over seven minutes. Arnold's leading total of 198 laps in this race is still the record for the most laps led in a single "500". The two next best are Ralph DePalma, who led 196 in 1912, and Bill Vukovich with 195, in 1953. Arnold, in 1930, was also the first man to win the "500" at a pace of over 100 mph (i.e., 100.448 mph), without relief. Peter DePaolo (1898-1980), who won in 1925 at an average of 101.13 mph, had been relieved by Norm Batten (1893-1928) for laps 106-127.
Arnold's 1930 win was also the first victory at Indianapolis for a front wheel drive vehicle, a design feature first brought to the "500" in 1925, by Harry Miller, with two machines. After Indianapolis, Arnold drove the same Hartz car at the two big 1930 AAA Championship contests held at Altoona (June 14 and Sept. 1) and won them both. All of which helped propel Arnold to the 1930 AAA National Driving Title. For the 1931 "500" Hartz entered two cars, i.e., Arnold with the 1930 winning Miller/Summers and Fred Frame in a thoroughbred Duesenberg racer. Fred and Augie Duesenberg had differed as how best to approach the new 1930 AAA Championship car regulations and now split up, and went their separate ways. The newly introduced "junk" formula rules required two-man bodies with an accompaning riding mechanic, a total ban of all supercharging on four cycle motors; but piston displacement was now allowed up to 366 cubic inches, in stark contrast to the 91 1/2 cubic inches limit used for the 1926-29 "500"'s.
Fred Duesenberg, more in the true spirit of the new rules, built two new cars for Peter DePaolo using modified Model A Duesenberg passenger car straight 8 engines. The Model A type Duesenberg stock car had been manufactured during the years 1921 to 1926. The much more famous Model J Duesenberg was introduced in 1928/29. Augie instead, chose rather to alter and modify the older thoroughbred 91 1/2 cubic inch Duesenberg AAA Championship racing cars proper, to conform to the new 1930 regulations; first introduced by Eddie Rickenbacker at the Speedway. Augie's solution was to remove the blowers, up the piston displacement of the original 91 1/2 cu. in. blocks, and make new bodies to accompany two passengers. Three such modified 91 1/2 cu. in. Duesenbergs ran in the 1930 "500", i.e., those piloted by Chet Gardner, Deacon Litz, and Babe Stapp. Hartz's 1931 Duesenberg entry for Fred Frame (1894-1962) was probably one of these, but none of Augie's three modified "91's" got pass the 22nd lap in the 1930 race because of accident.
Edited by john glenn printz, 02 April 2012 - 12:48.