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Indianapolis 500 Chronicle (Popely) caption corrections


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#1 fines

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Posted 09 June 2002 - 17:14

There's nothing more annoying to a historian than wrong photo captions. The "Indianapolis 500 Chronicle" by Rick Popely promises to have photos of each and every starter in the "500" up to 1998, but (perhaps inevitably) some of these are wrong. Since I now have access to a lot of information, including the exact time of all qualifying attempts between 1967 and today, I will try to detect these mistakes and make them public here. The purpose is NOT to bad-mouth the Popely book, but to prevent researchers from drawing false conclusions from false pictures or captions.

I'll begin with the 1979 starting line-up:

Joe Saldana, wrong car (this is the picture taken after Saldana qualified his original entry, the #69 Lightning/Offy on May 13. It is the same car as on the George Snider pic)

Spike Gehlhausen, right car despite wrong number (changed to #19 after qualifying)

John Mahler, wrong car (this is the car he qualified on May 19, subsequently bumped)

George Snider, right car despite wrong number (changed to #59 after qualifying)

The picture of Billy Vukovich was taken May 13, before he was bumped, only to get a second chance on May 26. The car, however, is the same.

Somehow the Tom Bigelow picture looks suspect, since it's the only one with the sun shining on an overcast day. However, the length of the shadows does correspond with the time of day (2.10 pm), as does the crowd in the grandstand. The Steve Krisiloff pic should show #7T instead of #7, but maybe that was changed before the qualifying run already, since everything else looks okay.

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#2 Barry Lake

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Posted 09 June 2002 - 18:51

Fines

You must have been reading my mind. When these mistakes were mentioned in another thread I was thinking how good it would be to have the corrections, so we would not be taking in misinformation when using this book.

It's OK when you have the time to compare information from various books. But sometimes time is short and one grabs the closest book...

You've done it again! :clap:

#3 fines

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Posted 09 June 2002 - 19:49

Thanks Barry, but prepare to be patient! I get the feeling that updates to this thread will be quite a bit infrequent...;)

#4 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 10 June 2002 - 03:49

Michael - Thank you. I updated my Popely book. When are you doing 1919-1929? Please let me know. :)

#5 fines

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Posted 12 June 2002 - 17:50

Sorry Hans, but these things are a bit far away atm. For the time being, I have super sources to work with the years from 1967 onwards (my birthyear! :)). It's enough to keep me busy for several years, I fear :lol: I hope that, eventually, I'll be able to check the earlier years also, but don't hold your breath - we can ill afford to lose someone like you to asphyxiation!;)

#6 fines

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Posted 20 December 2002 - 21:26

1980 (difficult year: no sunshine, no shadows to measure! :D)

Rick Mears, wrong year! This is his 1982 mount, which he qualified on pole that year!

Johnny Parsons, wrong year! This is the picture taken after his 1979 qualifying run, although I believe the car is the same.

Tom Bagley, right car, although he qualified it as #20 in blue, white and red colours! It was originally Johncock's car, but Bagley took the ride after Johncock fractured an ankle in a major accident two days before. The picture was taken after a new paint job was accomplished.

Gordon Johncock, right car, although he qualified it as #40 in blue and yellow colours! For the same reasons as above, this picture was taken at a later date.

Dick Ferguson, right car, despite wrong colours! Picture was taken after new sponsor came aboard.

Mike Mosley, right car, although the picture looks out of sequence (he qualified between Karl and Richmond). Maybe taken at a later date, but why?

Tom Bigelow, right car, despite wrong number! Bigelow qualified this backup-car as #45, but had it changed to #3 (which was his original number on the entry list). However, after this picture was taken (apparently in tandem with the crew picture of his teammate, #44 Leffler), it changed again, this time to #43 (heaven knows why)! Nobody said this was easy...

Tom Sneva, right car, even though he never qualified this! He'd recorded 14th fastet time on pole day with his original Phoenix/Cosworth, only to wreck it comprehensively four days later! The team made arrangements to loan Wayne Woodward's ex-Rutherford McLaren #81 (driven by Al Loquasto), but in the end his teammate Vern Schuppan conceded his McLaren #89.

#7 fines

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 09:58

The good news is that from rather cursory checking it seems that the earlier years are a lot more reliable than the late seventies/early eighties period, where there are quite a number of wrong pictures.

The bad news is it will take me a lot longer to post in this thread since I decided to do the whole lot at once, i.e. making a database of all available pictures and thoroughly checking the chassis histories in the same go, something which I have to do anyway, so why not now? Naturally, that'll mean rather slow progress but, heck, I'm only 36, I still have some fifty-odd years to waste in my life... :lol:

So now, onto year...

1935

All very easy, for 32 of the 33 starters are identified in a jiffy, and there's no complaint, the exception being:

Jimmy Snyder in the #39 Blue Prelude

Here's a picture I can positively identify (all pictures are copyright Artemis Images, www.artemisimages.com) :

Posted Image

It's one of the few pictures of the period not acid labelled, but Snyder and his mechanic Jimmy Lowden are easily identified if you look at

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That, by the way, is the first Indy entry of Murrell Belanger, the 1951 winner.

Now, if you compare the first picture with the one in the Popely book, you will note that the cars look alike, but for a number of subtleties, especially the hood and the frame rails. So, what do we know about the car?

All sources agree it's a Russell Snowberger chassis, so let's take a look at what Russ brought to the Speedway in the Junk Formula era. It began in 1930 with this contraption:

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It ran as #22 Russell Eight (Special) with a straight 8 - 5.5 litre Studebaker President engine (the first to appear at Indy), qualified 7th and finished 8th. Snowberger campaigned the car all year, returning no less than three runner-up spots at the Detroit dirt, Akron-Cleveland and Pittsburgh-Bridgeville board ovals in June/July, and also a fifth at the Altoona board in September. The following year, Russ put this car:

Posted Image

on pole position at Indy and finished 5th. I can't be sure, but I believe it's the same car, rebodied, still fitted with the S8 - 5.5 Study engine and now running as #4 Russell Eight (Special). Two weeks later he came eighth at the Michigan State Fair in Detroit.

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In 1932 the Studebaker Corporation, perhaps inspired by Snowberger's success, appeared at the Speedway with five new Rigling & Henning chassis and hot-rodded S8 - 5.5 Studebaker President engines. Snowberger, meanwhile, put a S8 - 5.9 Hupmobile engine in his #4 (ostensibly still the same chassis) and ran it as the Hupp Comet (Special), which is a bit strange since Robert C. "Bobby" Hupp had left that company some twenty years earlier! Nevertheless, Russ qualified 4th ahead of all the Studies, and came home 5th, with Cliff Bergere 3rd in the best works Studebaker. At Detroit in June, he was running 6th when the race was called because of rain, then finished 8th at Roby the same month and 5th at the September meet in Detroit.

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In 1933, Snowberger was back with his #4 Russell Eight (Special) and the S8 - 5.5 Study engine, but this is clearly a new, if similar chassis. Russ qualified a lowly 17th, but with relief from George Howie and Mauri Rose he finished 8th amidst the latest, streamlined versions of the Studebaker Corp. which finished 7-9-10-11-12. Shortly afterwards, the company folded and was sold, but Snowberger had Al Miller finish 9th in his car at Detroit while he retired the Miller-Hartz, and then took 7th himself at Syracuse.

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For 1934 only the colour (blue) and the number (10) changed, with Russ qualifying 9th and finishing 8th again at the Speedway. However, a second Snowberger chassis appeared...

Posted Image

... in the hands of George Bailey, the #58 Scott (Special) owned by Roy Scott and reputedly running with a S8 - 5.9 Studebaker engine. I have not been able to find evidence of another Study engine with this capacity, and since the chassis very much appears to be the old Hupp Comet I wonder if it still retained the Hupmobile engine??? Be that as it may, the car didn't last very long and was wrecked in the NE turn on lap 13. It was repaired and later that year took 6th at Syracuse and 10th at the Los Angeles 200 Mile Road Race, while Snowberger added a 2nd (Springfield), a 5th (Syracuse) and a 12th (LA) to the palmar├ęs of the other car.

Now, if you bear with me, things are getting decidedly interesting! For one thing, the picture of the 1935 Snyder car in the Popely book does seem to resemble the #10 Snowberger car, while the Artemis picture above looks very much like the #58 Bailey car... and suddenly those subtle differences aren't so subtle after all! Also, the Snyder car is said to have been powered by a S8 - 5.5 Studebaker, not the larger engine, and the Popely picture was almost doubtlessly taken at Indy, for the car never again ran with a mechanic aboard, and no other Indy entry with that number (amongst them the Belanger, again) looked anything like it!

Moreover, if you look closely, you will notice that the car in the first picture and the one in the last are photographed in exactly the same spot (look at the markings on the pavement and the wall behind!), even the wheels are exactly in the same position, spokes, Firestone logo et al! Also the shadows underneath the car, the reflections on the body... only the radiator shell and the numbers are different! Is the first picture a fake? It does indeed look artificial, one has to confess...

What about the driver and mechanic, don't they look the same as in the second picture, facial expression, clothes and posture? Yes, my friends, it is indeed a FAKE!!! But why? Is that an example of the infamous Gordon Gecko Gang manipulating the history of a car to make it more valubale? Let's see if that would make sense...

In 1935, Blue Prelude was owned by excentric Joel Wolfe "Joe" Thorne - it was his first of many Indy entries, and as such it is quite a historic car... but it doesn't have a lot of clout to show for, since it retired around half-distance and later appeared only twice: at Goshen in 1936, where Thorne himself failed to qualify the car, and at the Vanderbilt Cup later that year, where Frank McGurk wrecked it in practice. I don't know of any subsequent history, but to anyone salvaging the sad wreck it can't have been very tempting to restore it to the "glory" of two eighth place finishes and the beginnings of the career of a renowned spoilt brat. So maybe adding the history of the first Indy Studebaker, the one-and-only Hupmobile entry, a pole position and several good placings made all the difference? Well... possibly!

Net result:

1935: all pictures are very probably right!

After all, what originally looked like a quick and quiet check of a randomly chosen Junk era year has finally turned into a veritable detective game! Why can't it always be that much fun? :drunk:

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 14:47

Michael,

Excellent work, as usual!!!

I am staggering through the AAA years right now and have to admit that it is easy to get sidetrcked into similar detective stories with little effort. Admittedly, I am putting most aside until I finish some other work.

Thanks for once again helping shed some light on an area that too often gets overlooked around heere. :up:

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 17:59

Michael - do you blokes still get the eisenkreuz for EXTRAORDINARY work like this????? You deserve a couple... :love:

DCN

#10 Jim Thurman

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 21:11

Michael,

Outstanding :up: Thanks for your efforts.


Jim Thurman

#11 Frank S

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Posted 24 May 2003 - 21:37

Which one do you reckon this is?

1930 Studebaker on FotoTime


(We'll see if this gets de-posted)


Frank S

#12 fines

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 19:33

Originally posted by Frank S
Which one do you reckon this is?

1930 Studebaker on FotoTime


(We'll see if this gets de-posted)


Frank S

Sorry, missed this one. I'd say the radiator and frame look VERY MUCH like the 1933 car, thus...;)

#13 Aanderson

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 12:45

Originally posted by Frank S
Which one do you reckon this is?

1930 Studebaker on FotoTime


(We'll see if this gets de-posted)


Frank S


That frame looks very much like a factory stock Studebaker President chassis to me, frankly. I recall seeing a factory display chassis just like it some years back, either at the ACD Museum in Auburn, IN, or the Studebaker National Museum at South Bend.

A real giveaway is the dog-leg in the frame rail, just about the firewall, which was characteristic of production car chassis, particularly large luxury cars, which the President 8 was.

The 1932-33 Studebaker Factory entries do not have this chassis, as I believe that Herman Rigling of Indianapolis constructed the frames for all those cars (3 of the 1932 Team Cars still exist in their 1932 Race Day configuration, one in the IMS Museum, and two in private hands. One of these three cars used to make the "Great American Race" yearly, as a totally restored race car.

Art Anderson

#14 ensign14

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 13:29

Originally posted by fines
What about the driver and mechanic, don't they look the same as in the second picture, facial expression, clothes and posture? Yes, my friends, it is indeed a FAKE!!!

Photo touching up seems to happen occasionally with Indy pics - a couple I remember OTOMH are:

-LL Corum in the winning Duesy in 1925 - with an apparently superimposed number 15

-Billy Arnold (?) going over the wall in the early 30s (again in Duesenberg?), which looks like a montage, or at least having had the outline of the car retraced for clarity.

I guess it is paradoxically for historical accuracy, in that they want to show what the final car looked like when they did not have a shot.

#15 fines

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Posted 17 January 2005 - 22:11

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Michael - Thank you. I updated my Popely book. When are you doing 1919-1929? Please let me know. :)

When? Well, now - at least partly!;)

1919

Eddie O'Donnell, right car despite wrong number (changed to #10)

Billy Brown: no picture, but car is the same as John Boling in 1920, only engine different

Jules Goux: no picture, except for the cockpit shot at p23 far right - car is Peugeot EX5, same as Wilcox and Klein

Tommy Milton, right car despite wrong number (changed to #9)


1920

Willie Haupt, right car despite wrong number (changed to #34)


1921

Jean Chassagne: I'm not entirely sure for the driver, but the car is a 1920 Peugeot and therefore right (see grid photo p26 top)

Percy Ford, right car despite wrong number (changed to #23)

Eddie Miller, wrong car, but right car type - a 1920 Duesenberg, probably photographed at Beverly Hills Nov 24, it appears to be the ex-Murphy chassis (Joe Boyer in this race), not the #5 (subsequently sold to Joe Thomas), but I'd need a better picture to be sure.

Howdy Wilcox: no picture, but I'm pretty sure it's the same car he drove in 1919 - for a (probable!) photo of the car in 1921, see Dick Wallen's "Board Track", p112

Bennett Hill, right car despite wrong number (changed to #21)


1922

Jimmy Murphy, right car despite wrong number (changed to #35)

Peter DePaolo, right car despite wrong number (changed to #7)


1923

Bennett Hill, right car despite wrong number (changed to #35)

Phil Shafer: appears to be the right car despite wrong number - I can't explain #24 on it; it was a brandnew car when it came to the Speedway on the morning of the race - possibly a 1924 picture??? Nah, doesn't make sense... :confused:


1924

Peter DePaolo, right car (probably), although it doesn't really look like it's the right driver

Lora Corum, right car (probably), despite superimposed #15 - the cars were brandnew on arrival, no time for fancy paintwork

[I have to admit that I'm not terribly sure about the monoposto Duesys... same goes for the Fronty-Fords!]


1925

Ralph Hepburn, right car despite wrong number (changed to #17)

Herbert Jones, right car despite wrong (?) number (apparently changed to #29, but I've no explanation)


Enough for now!

#16 fines

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 14:22

1964

All pictures are right, except for Dick Rathmann's which is quite obviously another picture of Don Branson's Watson/Offy.

Here's the right one (copyright Artemis Images, www.artemisimages.com) :

Posted Image

#17 Herbert

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 16:49

Originally posted by fines
1964

All pictures are right, except for Dick Rathmann's which is quite obviously another picture of Don Branson's Watson/Offy.


Well, Johnny Rutherford's car is the right one, but it got a different colour scheme for the race. Racing Associates picked up Bardahl sponsorship a few days before the race and the car was repainted in bright yellow.

It looked like this:

Posted Image

#18 biercemountain

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:05

Originally posted by fines
Jimmy Snyder in the #39 Blue Prelude

Here's a picture I can positively identify (all pictures are copyright Artemis Images, www.artemisimages.com) :

Posted Image

It's one of the few pictures of the period not acid labelled, but Snyder and his mechanic Jimmy Lowden are easily identified if you look at

Posted Image


Comparison of these two photos using Adobe Photoshop leads me to believe that the drivers in the #39 car were retouched into the picture. They are EXACTLY the same as they are in the #43 car.

#19 Michael Ferner

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 18:43

With the help of a recent bumper acquisition of Hungness yearbooks, this is now going to be a lot easier, because the pics in the yearbooks are usually correct, no doubt mostly because they were compiled within the same year, rather than many years later as with the Popely book. But, every rule seems to have its exception...

1981

Tom Sneva: right car, in spite of the wrong number - changed after qualifying.


1982

Tom Bigelow: right car, in spite of the wrong number - changed after qualifying.


1983

everything fine

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#20 Michael Ferner

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 19:33

1984

Danny Sullivan: wrong car!!! This is the Shierson he qualified on the first weekend far too slow to make the field. The team purchased a Lola, and withdrew the in-house car on the second weekend before it could get bumped.


1985

Kevin Cogan: right car, right number - so why bother? Well, this time Hungness got it wrong, and pictured Cogan's primary car that was bumped on the second weekend. Cogan came back and qualified his backup car, correctly pictured in the Popely book.


1986

All qualifying pictures are correct, but the cars of Mario Andretti, George Snider and Roberto Moreno were all wrecked after qualifying, and the three drivers took the start in their (mostly identical) spare cars.

#21 Allen Brown

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 13:03

1986

All qualifying pictures are correct, but the cars of Mario Andretti, George Snider and Roberto Moreno were all wrecked after qualifying, and the three drivers took the start in their (mostly identical) spare cars.

How interesting. When was that first allowed? In the early 1970s, any qualified car had to be repaired if it crashed after qualifying.

#22 arttidesco

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 14:12

According to wobbly wisdom Wiki Andretti crashed his qualified car during practice week 2 totalling the tub and anounced he would race his back up car sending him from 5th to 30th on the grid.

Roberto was involved in a Carburation Day incident with Firestone who's car was split open on the pit wall after a brake disc exploded , Moreno was sent spinning down pit road into Snyder.

Snyder and Moreno went to the back of the field in backup cars, Firestone withdrew his entry allowing Dick Simon the 33rd spot on the grid :-)

#23 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 18:10

How interesting. When was that first allowed? In the early 1970s, any qualified car had to be repaired if it crashed after qualifying.


It was the same scenario that Tom Sneva used in 1980. I checked the 1980 yearbook, and it says:

a new procedure which was instituted late last year


Not sure if this means late May in 1979, or fall/winter!?!?