THE INDIANAPOLIS "500"
THE INDIANAPOLIS " 500 "
Arnold On a 100 cubic inch Miller, Winner of American Classic at 100.44 m.p.h.
RECORD crowd pressed its way through the gates of the Indianapolis brick track on the 30th May to witness the eighteenth of the series of the famous 500 mile races, the greatest event of the American automobile racing season. All night the town had been packed with spectators, many of whom had driven long distances from far-off states to witness the classic event which this year was to be run under entirely new rules.
After four years of races under the international 1500 c.c. formula, the event this year was for 6-litre cars, with a weight limit varying with the capacity of the motor, having not more than two valves per cylinder or two carburettors, and no boosters (or superchargers) except in the case of 2-stroke, Diesel or semi-Diesel motors, while the cars had to carry two persons each. Under these rules there appeared quite a number of automobiles merely developed from ordinary production models, and various Miller and such like race cars stripped of their boosters.
As the official car led off the bunch of 37 starters who had qualified in the eliminatory tests, Arnold, driving Harry Hartz's 100 cubic inch Miller racer was given the place of honour, having clocked fastest time in the preliminaries. Punctually at 10 o'clock the cars were let go, and immediately it was apparent that the specialised Miller and other race cars were quite remarkably speedier than the developed production types. There were two European cars in the race, both Italian Maseratis, but neither was able to keep up with the leaders. The first was a 16-cylinder 250 cubic inch (4-litre) machine handled by the Italian ace Borzacchini, who however never seemed thoroughly a t home on :t h e bricks of Indianapolis and who fell out fairly early with
engine trouble. The second car, a 122 cubic inch (2-litre) eight-in-line racer was driven by a local champion named by himself Letterio Piccolo Cucinotta, and naturally enough by the crowd nothing else than" Piccolo Pete," who kept going longer, but not fast enough to trouble the leaders.
At quarter distance Arnold's Miller was leading, having averaged 103.2 m.p.h. for the first 125 miles, and going strong though hotly pursued by William S. Caution on the Miller-Hi-speed, Louis Schneider on another special racer of his own construction, Wilbur Shaw on the Empire State racer and Allen Guiberson on his own machine.
So hot was the pace that there were already 14 casualties marked on the big board, although only one quarter of the race had been run. Shortly afterwards, Roberts driving Peter de Paolo's Duesenberg crashed and involved five other cars in the smash. Fortunately none was hurt, but the cars concerned were not able to continue.
At half distance the order of the leaders was unchanged and Arnold's average was now 102.05 m.p.h. Shortly afterwards he came in, refilled with gasoline, oil and water and changed all four tyres. This process was quite remarkably quickly carried out, and he got away again without losing his position. At about this point Cyrus Marshall, driving the racer entered by George A. Henry got into difficulties at one of the curves and crashed into the retaining wall. The driver himself was badly injured, and his brother, who was acting as mechanic, died shortly afterwards.
" Shorty " Caution was quite unable to catch Arnold who was never headed, and finally received the chequered flag as winner of the 18th Indianapolis "500." The only European car to finish was Cucinotta's Maserati, which was twelfth among the fourteen of the thirtyseven starters who got home. The winners, the first four of which were Miller-type racers were as follows :I. Arnold (Miller), 100.44 m.p.h.
2. W. S. Caution (Miller Hi-speed), 98.05 m.p.h.
3. L. F. Schneider (Miller-Schneider), 97.24 mp.h.
4. L. Meyer (Sampson), 95.25 m.p.h.
5. Cummings (Duesenberg), 93.58 m.p.h.