Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ray Harroun wins Endurance Car Race at Indy

In a nail-biting finish, Ray Harroun won the 500-mile, international endurance race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. Ray Harroun finished the race driving a car from the Marmon Motor Car Company, the #32 car. Ralph Mulford, in a Lozier, No. 33, finished the race in second while driving a Lozier and David Bruce-Brown, in a Fiat, finished third. Ray Harroun finished the race in 6 hours, 41 minutes, and 8 seconds, giving him an average speed of an astounding 75 miles per hour, and that includes pit stops.

This new 500-mile race replaces the series of shorter races that had been run at Indianapolis in recent years.

The last twenty miles of the race saw the most exciting action, as Joe Dawson contended with the top three finishers for the lead but he was forced to pit to deal with tire problems. Harroun, Mulford, and Bruce-Brown were bunched together for the latter parts of the race, and Mulford and Bruce-Brown switched places several times, but they never managed to pass Harroun. The leaders were within a lap of each other going into the last 10 miles, and many at the track put their bets on Mulford to overtake Harroun. The closest competitor to the lead pack was Ralph de Palma in a Simplex, and he was ten laps behind the leaders. Despite the desperate jostling for second place, Harroun captured the win.

The Memorial Day race began in spectacular fashion with a show of aerial bombs and daylight fireworks.

After the race, Harroun announced that the endurace race would be his last, stating that the races had become too dangerous, plus he was hungry.
I had to stop only four times for new tires. My engine gave me not the least bit of trouble. The track was fierce. In the last 200 miles it was like a sheet of glass and I never knew how long I was going to be able to keep her on the course.

The mental strain of the first 100 miles, due possibly to the accident that killed poor Dickson, was much greater than the last 100, even if the finish was in sight then. I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad I'm alive. No more for me.
Mulford was more enthusiastic: "It's Great! I enjoyed every minute of the race. It was like a continual picnic. I never thought of danger. I'm ready to start again tomorrow for another race of the same length."

Link: Harroun Wins Big Motor Race in Record Time [The Washington Herald]

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