N0 very full account has come from U.S.A. of the only race of 1941— the 500 Mile Classic at Indianapolis. But we know that a terrible fire burnt out the pits and timekeepers’ huts and delayed the start of the race. Curiously, the heading to one of Joe Copps’s famous race-news sheets from Indiana was: “Look out for Sparks this Year 1 ” These newssheets illustrate very nicely the American outlook on motor racing, but as they are intended for the dailies we shall only keep the majority of them to write ” copy ‘ on the backs thereof. However, we quote from a few, to get the atmosphere of Indianapolis across : INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., April.—Early spring and a warm track, which reminds
this Hoosier capital that May 30th and the annual 500-mile race are but a few weeks away, also brings a dramatic realisation that this is the only major automobile race left in a troubled world.
An important race it is, too, becausel the American racing car designers, after’ some four years of experimenting, are ready to move in on the foreign cars which have dominated the field for the past three years and bring racing glory as well as a good portion of the $100,000 in prize money back to crown Yankee heads and line Yankee pockets.
There is also a little “unfinished business” to be taken care of because of an untimely drizzle, which not only thwarted speed records in the last 125 miles of the 1940 race, but, many think, prevented a last-minute neck-and-neck race between Wilbur Shaw, eventual winner in an Italian-madelMaserati, and Rex Mays, who was trailing him by a few miles and seemingly was holding himself for a Garrison finish. Mauri Rose, in third place, was also ready to move up to contest the finish when it “came up mud.”
The proof of this contention seems to be that in 1939 Lou Meyer, driving the same car which Mays piloted last year, had no trouble keeping ahead of Shaw until he took a spin in the late stages of the race and was out of the competition.
Already the heavy-footed boys have started gathering about the famous 21-mile oval, and early trials indicate that the American ears have increased their speed and stamina to reach a commanding position over the challenge of foreign-designed cars. Shaw won in both 1939 and 1940 with his Italian-engineered Maserati, and is back trying for his fourth victory this year, he having won in a car of his own design in 1937. Mays, new National champion, in the car engineered by Lou Meyer, retired three-time winner at Indianapolis, of course leads the field as the American favourite, but close behind in not only popularity but in solid appreciation by the mechanical minded, comes the old veteran and Mays’s team-mate, Ralph Hepburn, with a spanking new motor which has high promise. This new motor was east from the same patterns as the Meyer motor, but Lou and W. C. ” Bud ” Winfield have set it up as a V-8 instead of a straight-in-line eight power plant and added a few mystery gadgets which have
not yet been disclosed. The Mays-I lepburn team will run wider the colours of Robert Bowes, who has financed this formidable racing threat.
Top-ranking equipment has also come back to another veteran of Indianapolis, William ” Shorty ” Cantlon, formerly of Detroit, but now of the Hoosier City, who finished second in 1930 and get back into the money with a sixth place in 1935. Caution has been elected to drive “Big Bertha,” a car entered by Alden Sampson II and which has not lived up to its capabilities in the past two races. The name which fans have given this car is misleading, because, although it has 16 cylinders, it is really engineered from two 91 cub. in. Motors and its total cubic inch displacement is but 182 cub. in. The blocks were taken from the motor in which the late Frank Lockhart attempted
to set a straight-away world record at Daytona Beach a number of years ago. A check this summer revealed that the motor, which experienced race drivers petted with knowing eyes, has not been developing its full power in its last two tries because of faulty timing, and it will come to the contest on Decoration Day in full power this year.
One of two rear-motored jobs which Eddie Offutt has been experimenting with during the past two years earned its spurs on the salt beds of Bonneville, Utah, last July, when it ran the full 500 miles, under official sanction and timing, at an average of 143 m.p.h. The late Floyd Roberts set the existing 500-mile record at Indianapolis in 1938, when he completed the distance at an average of 117.2 m.p.h., and although Indianapolis is a far more difficult course than the ring-around-arosy course over which the Offutt car ran, a 143-m.p.h. car is a definite challenge, particularly when it has a sister car just as capable.
After quitting the competition with this ,articular car for a year, Art Sparks. top racing engineer, and backer Joe Thorne, millionaire driver, are bringing he famous record-breaking Snyder back to the starting line this year, after some wo years of work on it. This is the alcohol-burning car which sent the late Jimmy Snyder to a lap record and ualifying record of better than 130 m.p.h. in 1939, and which records still stand.
With Lou Moore rebuilding the French entry of last year, which Rene Dreyfus and Rene Le Begue put into tenth place, and several other mystery cars en route to the big racing test, the only/automobile race left in the world bids fair this year to become one of the best in the history of speed competition. INDIANApouslInd., May.—A fast and capable field of 42 ears are eligible to
compete in the only major automobile race left in the world—the 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The entry list officially closed at midnight on May 1st and elimination trials to trim the field to the 33 fastest cars will get under way on Saturday, May 17th.
Wilbur Shaw, dapper little home-town boy and three-time winner, is back to attempt two things no man has done before. First, to win four Indianapolis classics, and second, to win three races in a row. Rex Mays, of Glendale, California, is back again to take up the race which many thought was interrupted by rain, which slowed down the last 125 miles of the contest last year. Mays finished second, and will drive the same car, whiol is entered by Bob Bowes and which was designed by Louis Meyer, retired threetime winner, who will run Ma,ys’s pit. Ralph Hepburn, veteran driver, will be Nlays’s running mate, behind the wheel of a new Bowes Seal Fast Special, which
has a new motor featuring Many new racing gadgets never before tested at the track.
Mauri Rose, who finished third laSt year, vill leave his defence work at the Allison motor plant for the day to drive one of two ears entered by Lou Moore.
Officially entered and frantically attempting to secure steamship reserva t it a is to get here are two Frenchmen, who have already cleared their ears through the British blockade and need only preferred permission to board an American ship froni Lisbon, Portugal. They are Ilene Le 13egue, who raced at Indianapolis last year into the tenth money spot, and Jean ‘Ire vatix, famous French driver, who will be making his lirst trip to America. The ears are French built Talbots, which were completed just before the German invasion and have never been raced because of cancellation of major European automobile races.
Colourful Kelly Petillo, 1935 winner, has entered his car, but in all probability Roy Bussing, hot-foot from the Pacific eoast, N.-ill do the chauffeuring, while Petillo completes a deal to drive another car. It is known that Kelly is eyeing, the second car which the French invaders brought over last year and which has been purchased by a piston pin company. ‘I”lw racing inillionaire, Joe Thorne, whose race car plant at Burbank, California, is engaged in making plane parts as a part of the defence programme, will take a leave of ahciiii H ly to Indiana polis to attempt to his car, will return by plane to California to keep his plant in operation and return by air in The entry list follows :— Driver
George lioF)son, Ihmtington Park. Cal. Merrill ” !toe ” Williams, Frani:lin. Ii d. Duke ,Nalon, Chicago, Ill. Mauri Rose, Indianapolis
Tony Willman, Milwaukee, Wis.
Cli Bergere, Hollywood, Cal. Unnanted •••
Ira Hall, Terre Haute, had. …
Wilbur Shaw, Indianapolis …
Chet Miller, Detroit, Mich. … George Connors, Los Angeles Wm. ” Shorty ” Caution, Indianapolis
Russell Snowberger. Detroit. …
Sam Hanks, Alhatnbra, Cill.
Rex Mays, Glendale, (al.
Ralph Hepburn, Van Nuys, Cal.
Kelly Petillo, Huntington Park, Cal. Unnamed Ificrry MeQninn, Indianapolis Al Miller, Detroit, Mich. ••• George Barringer, Houston, Tex. • • Frank Brisk’.’, Chicago Unnamed Emil Andres, Chicago Joe Thorne, Burbank, Cal, Mel Hansen, Los Angeles Billy De Vow, Indianapolis Unnamed Unnamed Unna t 1.11111allied Paul Russo, Kenosha, Wis. Ilihl Lipseombe, Van Nuys, (
thite to participate in the race on Decoration Day.
Chet, Miller, racing hero No. I in 19:19, when he drove his car throuah a guard rail to spare a wrecked driver who was lying on the track, has returned to his old love, the Mikc I ,yte, raving team, as a mate for ‘Wilbur Shaw and George Connors, who has heretofore driven for Joe Marks, front U:> -y, Indiana. Marks has enteret1 two ears, one to be
driveu by Tc»iy Cliff Bergere, Hollywood stunt man Oil VaCitt loll returns again as car owner as well as driver. lie finished third in 1939 and went out of last yc.zir’s race with a broken oil line, tut he needs Only 186 miles in the race this year to become the ” iron man of the Speedway and top Lou :Mever’s record of 5,064 miles driving in competition in tiw 500-mile race. :Mechanically there are an even di wen supercharged motors in this year’s race, which ineans that. their cubic-inch displacement averages around 182 cub. in., while the rest of the field varies from 225 to 276 cub. ill. SeVell Of the cars arc front wheel drives, while two of then> drive off of all four wheels with the motors mounted in the rear. There are 20 four-cylinder
motors, cight-eylinder motors, siN six-cylinder motors, and one twelve and one. sixteen-eylinder engine in the competition. New or redesigned cars which will attract the interest of the railbirds this year are led by the hair-wheel drive, rearnaitor guinea pigs,” which the old master Harry designed three >,c;irs ago, but have just. been brought to a point. of perfection. Now handled by I he a I Cal Unnamed Cull:mad Noe-Out I lose Clamp Special Elgin Piston Pin Special … Marks Siweial Noe-Out llose Clamp Special T.E.C. Special Bill Holabird Special Boyle Special Boyle Special Boyle Special Sampson Special … Sportsman’s Club Special
‘financed … Bowes Seal Fast Special Bowes Seal Fast Special
Unnamed … Elgin Piston Pin Special Unnamed … Miller Special Miller Special Zollner Piston Special Blue Crowa Spark Plug Special tinnatneti leagcol Stweittl Hollywood’s Pay I .1:1V Iwcial
Greenfield S. & S.
Unnamed … Kimmel Special Leader Card Speeial Greene n.’ci:ui xpert mechanic, Eddie Offutt, the cars given exhaustive tests in Utah this with one of them chalking up an
500-mile record average of better than 143 m.p.h. The official 500-mile record at the Speedway still stands at 117 M.p.h. set by the late Floyd Roberts in 1938.
Ralph Hepburn’s new motor, which features a fuel cooling system, will fascinate the experts, who also have been interested in the news that the sixteenSampson entry, which contains the Frank Lockhart motor, has given up secret of bad timing, which had handicapped it in the last two races. The Maseratis, which were driven by the two French drivers laSt year, have been revitalised with American parts by American and early tests have shown theta running with increased horse-power. The intense interest in the race this year, which is indicated in a recordbreaking advance ticket sale, is said by officials to be traceable to the intense rivalry in the field because of the virtual interruption of the competition by drizzling rain for the final 125 miles last yeill. ; the &iliac improvement in American racing cars, which are expected to wipe the two-year foreign car reign with a victory this year ; a renewed interest in speed and motors because of the defence programme ; and the fact
that Friday, May 30th, Decoration Day, will he the start of a three-day week-end holiday period. Weather permitting, Speedway officials predict the largest crowd in the history of the race, which has played before more
I 150,000 persons.
I. 1 4 8 4 4 6 4 8 4 16 4 4 8 4 8 8 6 6 6 4 6 6 t 4 8 4 4 12 8 ( I
ub. n. 182″ 255t 270 217709* 270 181* 253 179* 268t 257 183* 255t 270 180 * 2118878020441 180*t 180*t 227621t 265 271 270t 272 272 255 260 269 182* 226 Owner Leon Duray A.M.[“. Inc. Lou Moore .II’i7 \11:(1)r(kfisv Cliff Bergere Art Sparks f Aahur Sims W. S. Holabird M. J. Boyle M. J. Boyle M. J. Boyle Alden Sampson H. Snowherger Ed. Walsh Bowes Racing Bowes Racing Kelly Petillo
Elgin Piston Pin Co. Bill White Eddie Offutt Eddie mutt Frank risk° BJoe Leneki Joe Lencki Joe Thorne Lou Fageol Fred Surber f Carl Magnee 1 Ted Nowia.k Mark Bowles Geo. Lyons Louis Kitmnel Carl Marchese Donald Greene
(Under the International Formula rules adopted for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway supercharged motors cannot exceed 183 cub. in. piston displacement, and non-supercharged motors cannot exceed 274 cub. in., and the size of the motor governs the weight of the car.) Bergere’s car was the 1938 four-cYlinder machine which that year did 117.2 miles in an hour. It ran this year with a larger tank, new wheels and a “non-Collapsible oil line,” to combat oil-pipe breakage. Thirty-one cars started, and Rex Mays led for 50 miles, ahead of Shaw and Rose. Then Rose experienced carburetter trouble and retired at 152 miles, only to take over as relief driver to Floyd Davis. From
eighth place he came up to win at 115.117 m.p.h. Shaw, trying hard for his third successive victory, crashed, unhurt, while leading at 115 m.p.h. and by 2i miles, 200 miles from his goal. At 400 miles Bergcre was leading at 113.9 m.p.h., but Rose and Mays came past and Bcrgere fell right back. Some 160,000 people watched the race. Result
1st, Mauri Rose and Huy(‘ I )avis (Elgin Piston Pin Special), 4 hr. 20 min. 36.24 sec. 115.117 m.p.h.
2nd, Rex Mays (eight-Cylinder Bowes Seal Fast Special), 4 hr. 22 min. 6.17 sec. 114.813 m.p.h. 3rd, Ted Horn (unnamed six-cylinder),
4 hr. 23 min. 28.29 Sec. 118.864 m.p.h.